“I bet you could cut back on the sugar and flour in that recipe!”
My mental response: “You’re dead to me”. My actual response: “Well, it doesn’t really work like that, but maybe I’ll figure out how!”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard something like this, whether it’s certain skinny family members or the gluten-intolerant, coconut oil-slurping residents of the city in which I call home, Boulder,… well I’d be a very rich lady!
I certainly wouldn’t be able to eat dessert everyday if I ate like an idiot. I eat fairly healthy and exercise regularly. But does that mean I’m going to throw all-purpose flour, cane sugar, and unsalted butter out the window? Heck no!
Can you replace ingredients in baking recipes with healthier options? Of course. If that’s what you’re looking to do, Bake Like A Champ is probably not for you. There are a ton of really great resources online about how to do that. My viewpoint is that traditional recipes, ingredients, and techniques generate the best result for taste and texture.
In addition to replacing ingredients, cutting back the volume on ingredients is also not the smartest option. Baking is chemistry. It’s true! Once you adjust the volume of an ingredient, it throws off the ratios of everything else. Sometimes, you can improvise and it works really well. The key is to know where we can improvise. For example, if you like pie with a lot of spice, go ahead and add more cinnamon! If you like milk chocolate better than dark chocolate, be my guest and replace it in a chocolate chip cookie! However, adjusting the core ingredients like sugar, flour, fat, baking soda, baking powder, eggs, etc will just cause you heartbreak in the kitchen. Cooking is the place for improvising with ingredients, not baking. And while this might seem annoying, wouldn’t you rather know that if you follow a recipe precisely, you’ll end up with an amazing result?
So the moral of the story is: if I’m going to eat a cupcake, I’m going to eat a frickin cupcake.