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Apr 15, 2010 01:25 PM

How to bake, healthy?

Ok chowhounders, I got a question. My son was recently put on an organic, no dye, no hfsc, low sugar, no white diet. (Has to do with some behavior issues, and has made a ton of difference.) He is adjusting, but I am having issues. I love to bake and am not sure where to turn for recipes. Can I substitue wheat flour for white, or what? Can I just reduce the sugar recipe calls for because let's face it treats are usually too sweet anyway?
Do you have any fabulous cupcake, cookies, brownies recipes that fit the criteria?
My one friend offered me her sneaky chef dessert cookbook, but it's not a matter of incorporating more veggies (plus I have issues with 'sneaking' veggies)
Please help me with some great recipes, so we all can be sane and happy.

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  1. You can use nut flours. Look on low-carb and gluten-free sites for recipes.

    1. You can use whole wheat pastry flour very successfully in many recipes. It should work fine for cookies and tea breads. Some cakes not so. Just make sure it's pastry flour. As for sugar, I almost always cut it back by at least 1/3 in most recipes, just because I prefer things less sweet. But if that's still too much, in tea breads you can often use bananas or apple sauce instead. There are many recipes available on the web, and Jane Brody's old cookbook has a pretty decent selection of work-a-day low sugar recipes.

      1. I use White Whole Wheat Flour almost exclusively instead of regular white flour. Sold by King Arthur and others, it is 100% whole wheat but has a milder taste. I'd suggest you get a copy of King Arthur's Whole Grain Baking Book, a thorough resource for understanding and using other-than-refined grains/flours. There are loads of threads on whole wheat flour - just search this board, clicking on "relevance".

        Cut back on sugar, and/or replace part of it with Splenda (not Equal, which doesn't hold up at high heat) and.or brown rice syrup or agave nectar. These last 2 are sugars but don't spike blood sugar the way refined sugar does. Be aware that sugar is needed for crispness, so the texture of cookies will change if you substantially change the amount.

        1. here's a link with basics on substituting whole wheat for white.

          You can usually reduce the sugar in cakes by about a quarter without much change in texture. It's a little trickier with cookies. Google weight watchers choc chip cookie recipe, its pretty good. I substituted a third of the flour with oatmeal. I think it might work with whole wheat.

          I would suggest using recipes designed for whole wheat & reduced sugar rather than trying to adapt yours. Try searching, or google the specific dish you're looking for plus whole wheat & reduced sugar.

          An invaluable guide is The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking. Even if you don't plan to bake bread it gives you a good working knowledge in using whole grains. Maybe your library has it.