With all the extra time spent at home these days while quarantining, many people find themselves baking more often for something to do. Baking is a fantastic way to spend more time with family as it provides feelings of comfort and connectedness. Home made goodies also have the bonus of being made with more natural ingredients to begin with as commercial baked goods are filled with preservatives, dough conditioners, artificial flavors, and colors just to name a few. So already, you are doing you and your family a favor. However, regular consumption of sugar, flour, and butter will still lead to excess pounds, diabetes, and heart trouble to name a few things. So, if you looking to take your baking and your health to the next level, here are some things you can try. These swaps will naturally help you increase the nutritional value of your treats without even realizing it!
1. Replace white flour with whole wheat flour. Start by just replacing ½ the amount with whole wheat until you (or your fussy eaters) adjust to the taste of whole wheat. Once everyone is happy with the taste, try taking it a little further.
2. Work towards replacing white sugar in recipes with healthier alternatives such as maple syrup, honey, or dates. Better yet, try swapping in applesauce or ripe mashed bananas.
3. Replace unhealthy vegetable oils with healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or even a nut butter.
4. Start with a previously successful recipe and slowly swap out the unhealthy ingredients a little at a time.
5. Sneak in a superfood! Try adding a tablespoon of maca powder to a batch of cookies, or a scoop of greens powder to a batch of brownies. Keep it a secret and wait and see if anyone even notices!
Here's a brownie recipe to try that serves up an impressive 30% of your daily fiber and iron requirement! Hello happy bowels and taste buds!
2 cups black beans
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup honey
100 grams dark chocolate (dairy free if needed), chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper. (Use a bigger dish if making more than 9 servings.)
Add the cooked black beans and eggs to a food processor. Turn it on and stream in the coconut oil. Let the food processor blend for about 60 seconds, or until the black beans are very smooth.
Add vanilla, salt, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, honey and baking powder to the black bean batter. Blend until all incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Add half of the chocolate to the brownie batter and pulse 5 or 6 times until it is mixed in.
Transfer brownie batter to the prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate and the sliced almonds evenly over top of the brownies.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Let the brownies cool completely before transferring to the fridge for at least 4 hours before cutting into squares. Enjoy!