Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tricks for Making Halloween Treats That Aren't Overly Sweet

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tricks for Making Halloween Treats That Aren't Overly Sweet

Article excerpt

MY FRIENDS seem to abandon health and nutrition on certain holidays. Take Kay, for example, a stalwart follower of low-fat healthy cooking 364 days of the year.

Halloween is the one exception. Kay has three children who complain loudly about anything but traditional trick-or-treat goodies.

"When Halloween draws near, the competition for my kids' sweet tooth gets fierce," she said.iml Crisp fall days already speak baking to me, so it was no hardship to lure Kay into the kitchen one Saturday afternoon with the promise that I would help her make treats her kids would love. But making treats without butter, egg yolks, sugar and white flour is not as simple as it sounds.tq In traditional cookie and bar recipes, sugar bonds the dough by crystallizing as it bakes. Crystallized sugar is what makes cookies crisp and crunchy. If you've already tried an alternative sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup or even fruit juice concentrate, you may have discovered some differences. Soggy cookies, with unpleasantly doughy insides, are a common result. Fat makes baked goods moist and creamy-tasting; it adds lightness and lift. When you take out the fat, you get dense, heavier products. In baking, fat includes dairy products, egg yolks and oils. Low-fat cooking means very little of the first, no egg yolks at all and much reduced amounts of oil. What's the solution? Two simple ingredients that solve both fat and sugar blues are fruit purees and egg whites. Unsweetened applesauce, pureed dates or prune puree are viscous enough to hold moisture in a cookie or muffin dough, and you can substitute an equal amount for up to half the oil in most baked goods with little flavor or texture loss. In fact, wise manufacturers are selling these simple purees as "baker's helpers." Egg whites, softly whipped and folded into a batter, add practically no fat and a lot of rising power. …

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