Christmas time is usually the one time a year when a lot of people make something from scratch! Naturally, I love seeing people give Grandma’s cookie recipe a try, or trying a new recipe for the first time.
Black Friday is our family’s annual baking day – and my mom and I had way too much fun this year. We did certainly miss my little sister, though.
Here are 5 tips for tweaking Christmas baking to make it just a little bit better for you!
1. Use a better flour.
A simple change in flour can make a big difference!
Best: White whole wheat flour.
White whole wheat flour is nutritionally equivalent to whole wheat flour made from red wheat. White wheat grasses simply have a slight change in their DNA, resulting in a wheat grain that does not have the traditional red bran coloration. The removal of the bran gene results in a flour that is lighter in color & texture, and less bitterness in flavor.
White whole wheat’s draw back is that it does change the texture of baked goods; you’ll want to compensate by measuring just a little under on your flour measurements.
Better: Eagle Mills Flour with Ultragrain
Costco sells an all purpose flour with a white whole wheat hybrid Eagle Mills is calling “Ultragrain”. Ultragrain is a combination of two white whole wheat plants, and the results is a lighter in color & taste flour that they claim substitutes cup for cup with all purpose flour.
I love the consistency of this flour and have found it works as a perfect substitution for all purpose flour in Christmas cookies.
2. Use butter, just less of it.
Don’t be tempted to use margarine in your baking this Christmas. If you need a substitute, adjust the recipe and go with olive oil. But, if it’s butter the recipe calls for, use butter.
The thing is, you can easily reduce the total amount of butter in most recipes by 2 T easily, and sometimes by 3 T. Nervous, try reducing the butter by just 1 T. Removing 1 T saves you 100 calories and 11 grams of fat. And, 3 T makes that 300 calories and 33 grams of fat! Those savings add up.
If you are making a cake or bread, consider substituting applesauce (unsweetened, plain) instead!
3. Freeze goodies before baking.
If you’re like me, you enjoy a variety of Christmas goodies around the house. Here’s a way you can "make your cake & eat it too” – the freezer.
Freeze that cookie dough. Make up a whole batch of your favorite Christmas cookie, and bake 6 or so cookies. Store the rest in the freezer either as dough balls all ready to bake, or in small portioned containers.
If you freeze the dough rather than the baked goods themselves, it takes just one more step before you can eat them. For me, that extra step keeps me from sneaking unto the freezer for just a snitch.
4. Reduce the sugar.
Almost every recipe I’ve made, I reduce the sugar & no one knows. Take for example, this apple cheesecake recipe – 40% less sugar than the original, and it was still plenty sweet.
Nervous? Just try not packing your brown sugar. Brave? Try 1/8 C or 1/4 C less sugar for every cup. Bold? In a recipe that calls for 2 C sugar, try 1 1/2 or even 1 1/3 C.
5. Share the wealth.
Bake with family or friends; each person choosing a recipe or two and dividing up the loot. No one close by who can bake with you? Make a list of who you can take treats to: librarians, cashiers at your local grocery store, public transportation drivers, Post-office workers, even the homeless in your town.
Make your baking a blessing to someone else this season.
Linked to: Kitchen Tip Tuesday