Low carb baking tips
Lowering the carb count of baked goods requires a few easy recipe modifications. Though it is impossible to tastefully create a cookie, cake or other baked dessert with zero carbs, you can significantly reduce them with the following tips.
Cut the sugar
Even though sugar is all carbs – and simple quickly digested carbs at that – it does serve a significant function in baked goods. Sugar provides the expected sweetness of desserts as well as leavening, color, and the moistness that makes cookies, cakes and quick breads melt in your mouth.
However, in addition to simply cutting the sugar in half (with most recipes, you won't even notice a taste difference), you can opt for sugar substitutes, which are typically even sweeter than sugar and provide few, if any, carbohydrates. Be sure that the sugar alternatives you use are actually made for baking – read the label for appropriate substitution.
Find a lower-carb flour
With the vast array of low carb cookie, cake, pie crust and quick bread mixes, you can make your low carb holiday baking a breeze.
If, on the other hand, baking from scratch is an integral part of your holiday spirit, find low carb versions of your favorite recipes, many of which substitute soy flour, whole wheat flour or even almond flour for all purpose flour.
You can also lower the carb count by using your traditional recipes and substituting one-fourth to one-third of the all purpose flour with soy, whole wheat or almond flour.
Another option is to look for flour-less desserts recipes (for example, flourless chocolate cake or chocolate torte) but make sure they are also lower in sugar.
For baked goods that call for chocolate chips, substitute low carb chocolate morsels.
Replace part or all of the dried fruit with finely chopped fresh fruit (be sure to pat it dry or the juice will make the texture soggy). You can also replace part of the dried fruit with chopped nuts.
For recipes that call for candy – like candy cane brownies or peanut butter cup cookies – use low carb or sugar-free candy.
Cheesecake is an excellent low carb (and very decadent!) dessert. Replace the graham cracker crust with a crushed low carb variety of cookie or substitute half of the crushed cookie with finely chopped nuts or almond flour. For the filling, substitute an equivalent amount of alternative sweetener for the sugar.
When recipes call for freshly whipped cream, omit the sugar – the dessert itself will be sweet enough – or replace it with an equivalent sugar substitute.
And don't forget, the best way to lower your carb intake is to enjoy modest portions – slow down and savor every bite and it will be more satisfying than quickly gobbling up a large serving.
Next up…Two luscious low carb desserts