Is it possible to be healthy, and still enjoy home-made cupcakes, cookies & pies? What about a normally decadent desert, such as fudge orbrownies? The answer is yes! And you can do it all without white flour and sugar.
When I began experimenting with sugar-and-gluten-free baking in the 70’s, my gracious family washed down many heavy, dense desert-like creations with hot tea so they wouldn’t choke! The light gluten-free flours that we have now didn’t exist. And, there were few substitutes for sugar except honey, which made everything taste like — you guessed it — honey. We love our bees’ handy work,but sometimes you want sweetness withoutany distinct flavor.
Enter the golden age of healthy and delicious food products! It all started with pioneers Paul and Patricia Bragg, of course, whose lifestyle brand inspired others to produce the goodies we see in health food stores today. There aresugar and gluten-free baking mixes of all kinds, where all you have to do is add eggs and water. However, it’s easier than you may imagine to whip up a chocolate cake or pastry on your own that is so delectable, everyone you serve will be surprised it’s actually good for them!
The top healthy chefs all recommend the following mixture of flours for delicious baked goods:
1/4 white rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour.
It’s worth the time it takes to blend these flours together, because they render the fluffiest baked goods!
Of course, you may also use the following flours:
- Almond flour. This is high in protein and can be added to any recipe!
- Cassava flour
- Coconut flour
- Buckwheat flour (delicious for pancakes)
- Chickpea (also high in protein, with a nutty taste)
Our favorite healthy sugar substitutes are listed below, with directions for how to bake with them:
- Monk Fruit; 3 tbs. for every cup of sugar. Monk fruit tastes very sweet and has no after-taste! Zero glycemic.
- Stevia; 3 tbsp for every cup of sugar. Stevia is a safe natural sweetener; zero glycemic.
- Agave; 1/2 cup for every cup of sugar. Agave is made from cactus and has a rich flavor, similar to honey, but a lower glycemic content.
- Rice syrup; 1/2 cup for every cup of sugar; very mild flavor and low glycemic content.
- Coconut sugar; extracted from the coconut plant, and contains inulin, which is a type of soluble fiber that is good for digestion. However, it does contain fructose and should be used in moderation
- Honey; Has many benefits, especially if you are using locally sourced, raw honey. it does have a higher glycemic content than the choices above, so use in moderation
With a little practice, you will discover your favorite sugar substitute. Other wonderful ways to sweeten baked goods are by adding ripe bananas, applesauce, pure fruit purees, dried fruit purees and baked sweet potato. In pies, I often use organic sugar-free jam or jelly as the sweetener; it works perfectly!
Please beware of dangerous “artificial sweeteners” such as Aspartame, saccharine and sucralose (brand names: “Equal,” “Splenda,” “Sorbitol” & “Nutrasweet.”) They are known to cause cancer, among a long list of other diseases, and affect the brain and nervous system. Hidden in “sugar-free” candies and gums, these are toxic!
We would love to hear your stories of sugar-and-gluten-free baking!