Tips to Bake with Less Fat

While cookies, cakes, bars, and other baked goods aren't known for their healthful qualities, they can be made lighter and healthier with a few tricks. We'll show you how.

Raeanne Sarazen, R.D.


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Tips to Bake with Less Fat
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    Bake recipes are carefully balanced formulas. In baked goods, fat tenderizes, adds moisture, carries flavor, and affects the finished shape. Baked goods with too little fat can be tough or dry. But we've found these techniques work well to cut fat without messing up the final formula.

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Cut the Fat in Cookies

    For cookies, try simply reducing the amount of butter or oil called for in a recipe. As a general rule, you can decrease the total fat amount by half of what is called for. You may have to experiment, but the end product will ultimately be fine.

    Start off right with one of our best heart-healthy cookie recipes:

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Cut the Fat in Cakes and Muffins

    For cakes and muffins, use applesauce or a fruit puree, such as pureed prunes, in place of some or all of the butter or oil. (You can use fruit purees in cookie recipes, but it is usually not as successful.) As a general rule, use half applesauce and half fat. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil.

    And remember, if you are using oil, opt for heart-healthy oils such as canola oil.

    Get some of our best cake and muffin recipes:

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Reduce the Oil or Butter

    Use half the butter or oil called for and replace the amount of fat eliminated with prune puree. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup butter or oil, use 1/2 cup butter or oil and 1/2 cup prune puree. You can puree your own prunes, purchase pureed prunes, or use prune baby food. You'll want to strain the baby food to remove excess water.

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Coat Your Pans for Heart Health

    Use parchment paper or a vegetable spray instead of butter or margarine to coat baking pans. Cleanup will be easier, too.

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Substitute Egg Whites

    In cookie recipes, for each whole egg use two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute. However, this may not work with all cookies, as it can make them rubbery. If so, use an egg substitute for half of the eggs called for in the recipe.

    It's true! There is such a thing as a heart-healthy egg recipe. Check out these examples:

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Replace High-Fat Dairy Items

    Milk products can have a lot of fat. Luckily, a variety of heart-healthy options are out there:

    -- Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk.

    -- Replace whole milk with fat-free or low-fat milk.

    -- Replace sour cream with fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream or fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt.

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Bring Back Flavor

    Remember, when you remove fat you remove some of the flavor. Consider these ways to get the kick back into your baked goods:

    -- Add extracts, spices, or grated citrus zest.

    -- Chop dried, frozen, or fresh fruit and toss it into the batter.

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Mix in Whole Grains

    Get whole grains into your baking without overwhelming the taste. Try these tips:

    -- Substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe.

    -- Use rolled oats in place of some of the flour. Start by using 3/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup plain rolled oats in lieu of 1 cup flour.

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