Basics for Baking

Makeover Morning Glory Muffins

Makeover Morning Glory Muffins

Looking for a few homemade nibbles that won't cash out your calorie reserve? Want to lighten up your most-requested goodies? Add the following to your grocery list the next time you want to bake a sweet treat:

Applesauce. Fruit purees such as applesauce can replace up to half of the fat called for in baked items. The natural sugars and fibers in applesauce help to retain moisture.

Cocoa. Reduce the amount of baking chocolate in a recipe with low-fat cocoa. Three tablespoons of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of water equals one square of baking chocolate. Mix the cocoa into the dry ingredients and stir the water into the wet or creamed items in the recipe.

Confectioners' Sugar. Leave that can of frosting on the shelf and reach for the confectioners' sugar instead. A light dusting over cakes and brownies significantly cuts calories and fat compared to heavy frosting.

Nuts. It's okay to keep nuts on your shopping list—simply decrease the amount you usually purchase. Toast the nuts before mixing them into your batter or dough. This will give them a stronger flavor so you can use less of them.

Yogurt. Replace up to half of the butter in your recipe with half as much low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt. Not only does this decrease the fat, but it also helps create tender products.