I love to bake. I'll take a recipe and make it vegan or gluten free so it's healthier for me and my family. Here are some easy substitutes I use at home that you can use in your recipes for healthier baked goods!
1. Creaming butter/oil and sugar - I like to use applesauce and honey. (you can also use pure maple syrup). Make sure you buy applesauce without added sugar or make your own. Since applesauce is naturally sweet you won't need as much honey as the recipe calls for. I usually cut the measurement in thirds. I.E. 1 cup of sugar = 1/3 cup honey. If it's not sweet enough just add more honey to taste.
2. Eggs - bananas, , chia seeds and flax seeds can all be great egg substitutes
- Bananas - I like to use very ripe ones (almost black skinned) and mash them up.
- Chia Seeds - (http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/egg-replacers/chia-seed-binder)
- Flax Seeds - (http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/egg-replacers/flax-seed-egg-replacer)
3. Oil - almond milk is a great substitute for oil. Not only is it healthier but it's packed full of protein instead of fat.
4. White Flour
- Gluten Free - I like to use a mixture of brown rice flour and almond meal. You can also use any other gluten free flour.
- Oats - often times I'll do a mixture of wheat flour, oats and almond meal. (this option is not gluten free) The oats add texture and again this is a healthier option that just white flour.
- There are a lot of healthier flour substitutes out there like Oat Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Coconut Flour, Tapioca Flour, etc. Try some out and see which ones you like the best. I find that a combination of different flours works best in baking.
- Almond Meal, Cashew Meal and Hazelnut Meal are all delicious flour substitutes as well but should be combined with flours in baking so your products aren't too dense.
5. Fruit - Adding fresh or frozen fruit to your baked goods is a great way to add natural sweetness and extra nutrients while cutting back the sugar in your recipe. Add some chopped apples to your cinnamon coffee cake or top your banana bread with fresh berries.
6. Spices - Spices are another great way to add flavor so you can cut back the sugar. Add in an extra spoonful of cinnamon or experiment with exotic spices like ginger and clove to create more complex flavors.
7. Nuts - I love all kinds of nuts and add them to my baked goods for extra protein and texture. I like to use my mortar and pestle to pound my nuts. Then I'll dry toast them with oats, spices and a little bit of honey and use that as a streusel topping on coffee cake or muffins instead of butter, flour and sugar.
Great online resource for vegan baking - http://www.veganbaking.net/