Healthy Substitutions for Baking

36
10
Joined Jan 6, 2011
What's your definition of "healthy"? (real ingredients, low sugar, low fat, gluten-free, organic, a good source of protein/nutrients, low-cal, etc)

What market are you baking them for?
 
10
10
Joined Jan 12, 2011
In whatever manner, as long as its healthier than then typical eggs, bleached flour, granulated sugar, or butter. I am looking for items that can easily be swapped out to make cookies sugar-free- like an alternative to brown sugar would be spectacular. Ideas for gluten free, high protein... I'm just trying to pick some brains about items that are easy to add into a typical recipe to boost fiber/protein or items I can swap out for healthier choices (like swapping eggs for flax seed and water mixture)

I run a mail order cookie company so the market is mainly families and health nuts, not large scale in stores yet.
 
Last edited:
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Well, anyway, the concept of "healthy" is so different from person to person - some can't tolerate gluten, but most can, and gluten is the protein in flour, isn't it? so it would be a shame not to use it.  Eggs are healthy for those not allergic to eggs or sensitive to the cholesterol in the yolk and add nourishment to a cookie.  Sugar substitutes are usually very UN -healthy so why would you use them?  If the person can't eat sugar, they can't eat sugar, not in fruit form nor in any other form.  It's a real risk to be giving diabetics stuff made with fructose or date sugar or other stuff, that sometimes can be even worse than regular sugar for insulin levels.  But most people are not diabetics, and if they want cookies, i imagine they want sweet. 

Anyway, to increase nutriments in cookies, i guess you can make them with whole grain flour (though that usually makes a pretty unpleasant cookie, but sometimes the health nuts won't eat it if it isn't dry and full of bran), you could add nuts and nut meal and dried fruits, you could use molasses (high in iron) .  Instead of whole wheat flour you could use white flour and add wheat germ, which has much of the nourishment of wheat.  In fact,  the bran is not nourishing, but has a more mechanical function for the intestine. 

I think nothing will replace butter, and you just have to give up the qualities that butter gives if you want to eliminate it. 

Sugar also makes the texture better.  It seems that molasses or real brown sugar would give more nourishment than honey, since it has lots of iron, while honey has possibly some trace elements, and i wonder if these are not affected by cooking.  Anyway, sugar makes them moist, makes them hold the moisture. 
 
1,447
47
Joined Apr 3, 2008
you could go the sneaking in spinach and carrots route.  I don't remember the name but there is a cookbook put out by a woman who adds spinach to brownies and carrots to cookies so her kids will eat some vegetables. It's not replacing sugars or gluten free but may interest some people.
 
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
you could go the sneaking in spinach and carrots route.  I don't remember the name but there is a cookbook put out by a woman who adds spinach to brownies and carrots to cookies so her kids will eat some vegetables. It's not replacing sugars or gluten free but may interest some people.

Carrots can make for good deserts, also squash and pumpkin, potatoes, sweet potatoes, as well as fruits, of course, but spinach!?!   and apparently what is contained in chocolate makes what is contained in spinach difficult to assimilate, so what's the point?  Maybe preparing vegetables in interesting ways would be a lot more useful for the kids.  I've encountered very few kids who won't eat a vegetable soup if it's been pureed. 
 
428
14
Joined Nov 5, 2009
I use organic eggs and organic buttermilk and sour cream.  When I need to use shortening, I use non-hydrogenated, organic, Spectrum.
 
4
10
Joined Jan 22, 2011
I try to use organic ingredients as much as possible. I also incorporate whole wheat flour, and coconut oil where I can. I once made cookies with agave and they were very moist and delicious!
 
227
14
Joined Jan 8, 2006
I am not so sure that cookies are meant to be 'healthy'. Take out the fat, the sugar, the gluten, and well, you no longer have cookies.
 
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
I am not so sure that cookies are meant to be 'healthy'. Take out the fat, the sugar, the gluten, and well, you no longer have cookies.
I tend to agree.  and then again, who says fat, sugar and gluten are unhealthy?  Gluten is protein.  what is the problem?  And we need fats and sugars.  Yeah, if you have a specific disease like celiac disease, fairly rare, or a very specific health problem, then maybe there are things you can;t eat, but there are allergies for EVERYTHING, and someone is going to get sick from anything you can make. 
 
36
10
Joined Jan 6, 2011
IMHO, there are very few unhealthy foods, when eaten in moderation!

That's the problem; the average American has no concept of moderation in eating (says the girl who had chocolate mousse for breakfast /img/vbsmilies/smilies/blushing.gif  ).  That's why the need for cookies with no butter, oil, sugar, gluten, flavor, or happiness - because people would rather have a dozen subpar cookies than one really amazing cookie.  That's also how McDonalds and other national chains bring in money hand-over-fist...people would rather pay $1 for a not-beef burrito from Taco Bell, then go to a quality restaurant or buy the ingredients to make it at home.  
 
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Shavy, my impression is that someone might buy the dozen no-sugar, no-fat, whole-not-wheat, no chocolate, carob filled sawdust tasting cookies, and then after eating them, will go eat another dozen really crap-filled cookies, because the "healthy" ones didn;t satisfy them.

Not that I don;t think we can make tasty healthy snacks, if you consider healthy to mean wholesome, that is, not chemical, not growth-induced, not fake-o ingredients.   Some of these snacks may have even quite a lot of nutrients (like molasses, oats, raisins).

I just don;t get the idea that butter, eggs, milk and flour are "unhealthy" 
 
36
10
Joined Jan 6, 2011
Shavy, my impression is that someone might buy the dozen no-sugar, no-fat, whole-not-wheat, no chocolate, carob filled sawdust tasting cookies, and then after eating them, will go eat another dozen really crap-filled cookies, because the "healthy" ones didn;t satisfy them.

Not that I don;t think we can make tasty healthy snacks, if you consider healthy to mean wholesome, that is, not chemical, not growth-induced, not fake-o ingredients.   Some of these snacks may have even quite a lot of nutrients (like molasses, oats, raisins).

I just don;t get the idea that butter, eggs, milk and flour are "unhealthy" 
Totally right.  That's why a lot of pre-made snack diets fail...people aren't satisfied by a shake for breakfast and a shake for lunch...especially when those shakes taste GROSS.  

I agree that most Americans have a skewed idea of "healthy", considering a 100-cal snack pack full of dyes, preservatives, and stuff i can't even pronounce over something like a homemade ice cream.  I buy my dairy, bread, and veg from local producers.  Oftentimes meat, if I can afford to spurge on it (grassfed, organic, AND kosher makes that stuff more expensive than crack).  I'd consider that kind of diet far healthier than the average fad diet full of ready-made snacks.

Back on topic, I think there are *some* substitutions that can be made to make baked goods more wholesome or lower in calories or saturated fat.  However, each ingredient plays a greater role in the sum of that product than just flavor.  Trying to substitute EVERYTHING in a cookie will result in an inferior cookie, always.  One needs to be judicious in their application of substitutions and understand that one cookie can't be everything to everyone (ie, low-fat, low-cal, non-dairy, gluten free, vegan, nut-free, raw, etc etc).
 
3,599
45
Joined Aug 13, 2006
 Trying to substitute EVERYTHING in a cookie will result in an inferior cookie, always.  One needs to be judicious in their application of substitutions and understand that one cookie can't be everything to everyone (ie, low-fat, low-cal, non-dairy, gluten free, vegan, nut-free, raw, etc etc).

I've got it!  Compressed chaff! 
 
Top Bottom