avocado

After all the decadence over the holidays and Valentine’s Day, your waistline could use a break. But the thought of giving up your sweets is enough to send you into sugar shock. Try these butter alternatives the next time you bake for a lower-fat version that’s just as tasty. After all, one cup of butter in a recipe adds a whopping 1,600 calories and 177 grams of fat. Eek!

Avocados: The naturally smooth and creamy texture of avocados is a perfect sub for butter. Though baking with avocados won’t make your breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, and pies taste like avocados, it will give light-colored dough a slight green tint.

How To: Start off by scooping the green flesh out of the skin with a spoon and using your blender to pulse into a puree. You can add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice per cup for light-colored dough to avoid browning. When using in lieu of butter, substitute 1 cup of pureed avocado for every cup of butter. Reduce your oven temperature by 25 percent and increase your baking time. This will help to prevent your cake from rising up in the middle or, alternatively, caving in. It’ll also prevent the cake from browning too quickly.

The Advantages: It’s a great way to reduce fat in your desserts. A 3.5-ounce serving of butter has a whopping 81 grams of fat compared to 14 grams in the same serving of avocado. You’ll also eliminate saturated fat from your desserts, replacing them with healthy fats. Plus, avocados not only have a ton of vitamins, but they also may reduce cholesterol and fight heart disease.

YogurtAdd moistness, creaminess and tenderness to baked goods with non-fat yogurt. Certain brands can make your dessert taste tart so try Dannon and Stonyfield brands which are less bitter.

How To: Replace butter by adding yogurt ounce for ounce. If a recipe calls for a ½ cup of butter, use a ½ cup of non-fat yogurt instead. You can also try vanilla yogurt for a little extra umph. Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees and test for doneness earlier than the recipe requires.

The Advantages: Baking with non-fat yogurt eliminates most of the fat in the recipe and adds extra protein and calcium to your sweets.

Fruit Purees: Apple, bananas, peaches, pear and prune purees are great for swapping in sweet treats. They will make your dessert moist and cut the fat.

How To: Use only half as much of the puree as the total amount of butter. So if the recipe calls for ½ cup of butter, use ¼ cup of the puree. If the mix seems really dry you can add a little more. Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees and test for doneness earlier than the recipe requires. Try these purees in these types of desserts:

  • Applesauce – most cakes, muffins, gingerbread, cookies
  • Mashed bananas – chocolate cakes, spice cakes, muffins, other quick breads
  • Pureed peaches – spice cakes, muffins
  • Pureed pears – coffee cakes, quick breads
  • Pureed prunes – spice cakes, muffins, scones, chocolate cakes, coffee cakes, crumb crusts, brownies, cookies

The Advantages: Less fat and extra vitamins and minerals from the fruit. Yipee!

Would you try baking with avocados, yogurt, or fruit instead of butter for healthier desserts?

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Image by Norwich Nuts