In a dream world, desserts would be low in calories and fat, and eating one cookie wouldn’t tempt us to eat five more.
Sure, healthy substitutions can be used in baking — apple sauce for butter, whole-wheat flour for white. But in some recipes, substitutions might only slightly improve the nutritional content of the dessert or leave you with cake or cookies that fall flat and keep you craving the decadent variety.
But bakers are getting creative and reaching further in the pantry to find nutritional ingredients that provide value while maintaining texture and taste.
For example, here’s a healthy baking swap that sounds to gross to be true: Beans.
Legumes have a wonderful way of keeping desserts moist and chewy, while cutting back on calories and adding fiber and protein. The result? A dessert that leaves you satisfied and doesn’t tarnish your healthy-eating streak.
Using black bean puree instead of butter or oil in this brownie recipe doesn’t sacrifice texture or taste. We promise! (Daily Record/Sunday News — Kate Penn)
Using black bean puree instead of butter or oil in this brownie recipe doesn’t sacrifice texture or taste — we promise. (Daily Record/Sunday News — Kate Penn)
Pureed beans can be substituted for oil/butter — fat — or flour. When substituting for butter or oil, try a 1:1 ratio. In this recipe for Black Bean Brownies, pureed black beans take the place of all the fat and some of the flour.
Before you think twice about using beans, try the recipe. You won’t be able to taste the difference.
Black Bean Brownies
2 cans of black beans, pureed with 1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons Stevia
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup whole-grain flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Rinse and drain 2 cans of black beans and add to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of water and puree for about 1 minute or until smooth.
3. Transfer puree to a large bowl and add sugar, Stevia, milk and vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
5. Add dry ingredients to bean puree and stir until batter is smooth.
6. Add chocolate chips.
7. Spray 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan.
8. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until brownies pass the toothpick test.
Nutrition information (serves 24/serving size 1 brownie): 130 calories, 4 grams fat, 24 grams carbohydrates and 4 grams protein.
Baking with beans: Try substituting legumes in cookies and cakes, too. For light-colored desserts, use beans of similar hues.
Written by Leigh Zaleski. This post was originally published May 29, 2013.