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Healthy Holiday Baked Goods

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I know there have been lots of threads on good to give at Christmas, but I didn't find many healthy recipes and am not having much luck on my recipe websites.

I have a large family and am saving up this year for some big things and cannot spend what I normally spend on some of my further out family. I love the Martha Stewart baking book, and her sugar cookies, but I have many relatives who are watching their weight so I wondered if anyone had some healthy suggestions for those people or any recipe, cookbooks or website threads that would be helpful for this?

I have read you can put some fiber in stuff now to counteract some of the butter what are peoples' thoughts on that?

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  1. I recently made this nice Banana Molasses Oat Bread from recipezaar...I upped the ww flour to 3/4 cup for more fiber and decreased the AP flour to 3/4 cup. I brought it to work and everyone really loved it; a co-worker asked me to make it for his birthday, too, which I was so happy to do:

    http://www.recipezaar.com/182284

    1. For whole grain baking, I like King Arthur Whole Grain Baking and One Smart Cookie (lower fat cookies of all types) by Julie Van Rosendaal, also her Grazing cookbook for other snack type things (another low fat cookbook). Here's a sample cookie recipe from Julie's site: http://www.onesmartcookie.ca/index.ph...
      Here are some recipes for baking with whole grains from the King Arthur site:
      http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/l...

      1. no easy feat!
        My Recipe has some Cooking Light cookie recipes including this one for Biscotti which uses very little fat or sugar. Leaving out the chocolate, you could change the flavorings and add-ins for variety.
        http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

        Package in clear cello bags with a pretty tag and you are good to go.
        http://www.michaels.com/art/online/di...

        1. Meringue cookies are cute and diet-friendly. Maybe some peppermint meringues for a festive flair?

          1. I make a healthy Toll House cookie with 50/50 whole wheat/unbleached flour, organic sugars and butter and eggs, dark chocolate, pecans, etc. They are chewy and "nutty" and people don't recognize them as Toll House!

            My thoughts on this are that when I am trying to lose weight, I limit myself to a few very high-quality sweets--I never cut chocolate out altogether--and I certainly don't turn up my nose at real Christmas baking. I would recommend making small but excellent cookies that are oh-so-worth-it :)

            Many German cookie recipes call for store-bought wafers. These have very few calories. You could dip them in chocolate & decorate ...

            1. About the fiber and butter balance... I think that the amount of fiber in a food is taken into account when calculating points on weight watchers. I doubt they really counteract each other in the body.

              In terms of adding fiber, are you referring to powders such as Benefiber? While it'll add some extra fiber to the product, it dissolves completely and doesn't add any bulk, so in the end, your baked treats will have the same number of calories, though with a touch more fiber.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Reene902

                I was under the impression that fiber absorbs fat, but have never tried to take advantage of this, so don't know details ... I know people who will buy anything with "fatbuster" in the name, but I've always thought the way to weigh less was to eat less ;)

                1. re: foiegras

                  Benefiber and other such powders contain soluble fiber, which carries LDL (aka bad cholesterol) out of the body, but it won't absorb fat or interfere with the body's ability to process fats.

                  Oh how I wish it would though! I'd spend my day eating brownies and chasing each brownie with carrots to negate the effects!

              2. For most recipes, you can substitute half the flour with white whole wheat and won't be able to tell. Also, you can substitute half the oil w/ applesauce or pumpkin. You can do more but it does affect the final product more. Fiber can't counteract butter for people watching their weight. For people on glycemic diets, it helps slow the blood sugar if they're eating glucose. But, butter will still have the same calories, saturated fat, etc., no matter what you add.

                As recipes go, I really like this sweet potato and zucchini bread. You can easily but the sugar because of the sweet potatoes and zucchini. Plus, I substitute applesauce for half the oil and that adds sweetness. Half white whole wheat flour. It's really moist.

                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                I like these pumpkin cookies but I've cut the sugar in half and they end up almost like biscuits. The sugar on top makes up for it. They're very sweet still. Again, I do half white whole wheat. These are "healthy" as much as healthier than other options.

                http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Iced-Pum...

                1. As one of those people trying to lose a few pounds... I don't "diet" I eat balanced meals and have the occasional sweet - key word here is occasonal. When I make sweets as a gift I keep this in mind and still make rich, sweet, desserts... I just make them small.... mini cheesecakes and tarts (the size of a one bite brownie), truffles, rum balls, and cookies... so that indulging in just one means maybe 150-200 calories max.

                  This way I've "had my cake and eaten it too" and I don't feel the need to splurge or raid the fridge at midnight ;)