I really do love baking. OK, let’s not kid each other here: I love the benefit of making the house smell like a slice of heaven; licking the bowl doesn’t hurt any, either. My signature dessert gift is pumpkin bread. Thank you for acting surprised even though we both know you’re not – I’m not called ‘the crack-pot who puts pumpkin in her black bean soup’ for nothing.
I make many loaves, wrap them in saran wrap and festive holiday paper and give the bread to neighbors, family, and friends. I’m not the only one who uses the holidays as an excuse to bake. I’ve seen many foodie blogs with gorgeous photos of their own traditional creations and think, what a work of art. They truly are, too.
What’s so unfortunate about many of these holiday desserts though, is that many recipes call for vegetable oil which can be a killer to those of us who are watching our weight. For example, I have a pumpkin bread recipe that makes two loaves. Among other ingredients it also calls for one cup of oil. That may not seem like a lot for the overall size of the recipe, but one single tablespoon has 124 calories and 14 grams of fat. So now, let me just get out my calculator here……yes, adding one cup of oil means you’re adding 1,927 calories and 218 grams of fat to your recipe. That’s just insane.
I know you’ve heard about it; I know you’ve wondered how it must taste. I’m here to tell you: replacing the oil with an equal amount of sugar free applesauce will not only taste as good but it adds only 100 calories to the recipe. I am not kidding.
Still not quite sure that you want to give up all of that oil? If you simply cannot part with it, consider using half oil and half sugar-free applesauce. You’ll still save plenty of calories and will feel better about what you’re putting into your body.
One note about using applesauce in baking: even though it’s a miracle substitute for recipes that call for oil, do NOT use it as a substitute for butter. Trust me on this one. I’ve tried it, each time thinking that I will MAKE it work. It just wasn’t meant to be
Why does applesauce work, anyway? Although oil adds texture, the primary reason why we use oil is to prevent a reaction that would give cake-like substances the texture of a piece of rubber. This is also why recipes usually include instructions about keeping the liquid and dry ingredients separate until the very end and then just barely mixing them by hand until moist. Remember to use that same technique when mixing with applesauce, too.
This is generally the week when my baking is high priority around here; I don’t want to bake too soon before Christmas so that the food ends up sitting around begging to be eaten, yet not too late in the season when I have so many other things to tend to that I don’t enjoy it. Today I’ll be baking, and here is the recipe I’ll be using:
Low Fat Pumpkin Bread
Two cups of sugar
One 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
One cup of unsweetened cinnamon-flavored applesauce
1/2 cup of egg substitute, like Egg Beaters
3 1/3 cups of flour
Two teaspoons of cinnamon
Two teaspoons of baking soda
One teaspoon of baking powder
One teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, egg substitute in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice.
Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir just until mixed. Spray two 8×4 loaf pans and pour batter evenly into each. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until bread springs back in center when lightly pressed with your finger.
Let bread sit for 5 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Once cool, cut each loaf into 10 slices.
Calories per slice: 106