Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to Bake Without Cholesterol

We’re dedicating this week to tasty treats. Why? We had a nice three-day weekend and I’m not one to let a good thing end too soon. So we’re going to deliciously drag out Memorial Day all week. But, sticking to my rehab theme, we’re keeping it healthy.

Well…. Healthier

You read the title correctly. How would you like to eat some chocolate chip cookies with zero cholesterol? Or some cake, for that matter?

And what if I could told you, you could eat the batter and not have to worry about food poisoning?

Well, I can show you how to do that and a lot more, but first we have to use the v-word.


That sound you’re hearing is the sound of viewers clicking the X button at the top of their browser because they think I’m about to start preaching. I’m not. What you eat is your business, same as your religion, sexuality and political views. But keeping an open mind leads to more fulfilling experiences than saying “no” over and over again with your eyes closed and your fingers jammed into your ears.

Yep. The vegetable-people have found ways to make cakes, cookies and pies without cholesterol. Their baked goods can also be fat-free and contain a serving a fruits as well! From personal experience, I can tell you that the taste does not suffer in the slightest.

So what’s the secret?

The cholesterol that comes in your baked goods typically has two sources: butter and eggs. That’s due to the fact that these are the ingredients that come from animals. Butter is cultured from milk, which has fat and cholesterol to feed a baby calf. And eggs have fat and cholesterol to nourish a growing chick. To get rid of this cholesterol, we have to get rid of the animal-based ingredients.

Fun fact: the term "mammal" comes from "mammary gland." All mammals produce milk for their young.

Replacing Eggs:

Eggs are the easiest to substitute. The next time you’re at Kroger or any other large-chain supermarket, grab a box of egg-replacer. Not egg-substitute, egg-replacer. Egg-substitute is a carton of goo meant to simulate scrambled eggs. Egg-replacer is a powder that has the same chemical properties as an egg, without the calories, fat or cholesterol! The two brands I’ve used so far are ENER-G and Red Mill.

Look at that majestic beard. This man clearly knows his stuff.

Replacing Butter:

Now, as for butter, switching to margarine is the easiest way to cut fat and cholesterol. Instead of milk-based butter, margarine has a vegetable oil base. Still, some margarine has whey and other dairy ingredients. So if you’re committed to cutting the calories, read the labels to check for those sneaky additives. Two brands I’ve found that are purely vegetable oil are BestLife and Earth Balance. BestLife is cheaper, but Earth Balance is easier to find.

If you’re even more interested in cutting fat (and don’t mind dabbling with odd food preparations,) you can substitute unsweetened applesauce for butter in most baking recipes. This adds a serving of fruit and completely removes the fat and cholesterol!

"But mommy! I don't want to be butter!"

Oh, and that bit I said earlier about eating the batter? Eggs can carry salmonella and that's why raw batter makes you sick. Using egg-replacer changes the game. No eggs, no salmonella.

Half of my cookies never make it to the oven.

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