Holiday baking can prove to be a health challenge to many of us! Whether you’re at risk for diabetes, want to lose weight, improve your cholesterol, or generally eat healthier, using whole grains can help you better enjoy your holiday baking. The lower glycemic index and higher vitamin content leads to a healthier diet and improved overall metabolism…and a little less holiday guilt!
It’s even possible to improve the health merits of your desserts by using whole-wheat and whole-grain flours. However, as desserts are often dependent on a particular flavor and texture, you must be careful when using whole grains.
Whole-wheat flour is healthier, and you can make your dessert more healthy by using whole-wheat. Here are some dos and don’ts of using whole-wheat flour for your holiday baking.
Whole wheat baking DOs
Do use whole-wheat flour in cookies and biscuits. Oatmeal cookies and gingersnaps work very well with whole-wheat flour. Some biscotti recipes work well with whole-wheat flour.
Do use whole flour in banana and zucchini cakes. The sweet flavor of the produce ingredients balances out the heartiness of the flour, making for a healthy and delightful desert.
Do use whole pastry flour. Whole pastry-flour is ground finer and gives a smoother, lighter texture to desserts while providing nearly all the same health benefits.
Whole wheat baking DON’Ts
Don’t try making whole grain piecrust. Unfortunately, they don’t provide the light flakiness that a piecrust really needs. You can get away with it somewhat if you use half whole-wheat and half white-flour. Mixing all-purpose flour with a fine whole pastry flour can help improve the texture.
Don’t depend on whole-wheat flour for any dessert that really needs to be light and fluffy. Whole-wheat flour is healthy and flavorful, but it is makes baked goods heavier. For the rare desert that really needs to be light and fluffy, using all-purpose flour will give you the best results. After all, eating a small amount now and again won’t do you harm. Sometimes, it’s worth having a perfect dessert.
Healthy Holiday Baking Tips
It can take a little while to get used to whole-wheat desserts, especially if you’re used to white flour. Soon, you’ll appreciate the flavor and find white-flour desserts rather lacking.
It’s important to remember that a whole-wheat dessert won’t taste exactly like its white-flour counterpart. Remember that this isn’t a bad thing. Whole-wheat has its own unique flavor and texture that can work very well in holiday baking.
Using half-and-half whole-wheat and white-flour helps you lower the glycemic index of your dessert while also having a little indulgence and more traditional dessert texture.
For more tips on baking with whole wheat, check out CookingforSeven’s Whole Wheat Primer.