Last year I made all my Christmas cookies trying to make low fat and sugar free. I didn't use any oil, I used soft spreadable margarine for all of them and for the sugar I used Splenda. They all turned out with mold after a month. Was this because of the margarine and not using any oil or the butter? Hopefully someone can help me and tell me what kind of oil I should use. Thanks so much.
First of all; you cannot freely substitute the soft, spreadable margarines freely for solid fats and oils. The reason for this is that they are mostly water, which will affect your baked product. I have not used the Splenda; but they lead you to believe it can be substituted for sugar 1:1.
For fats, you can try substituting applesauce or prune puree 1:1. It might take some experimenting for recipes to come out right.
As for the mold--where were you storing them? I would store a low-fat cookie (except biscotti) in the freezer, or at least the fridge, if you're keeping them longer than about a week!
My suggestion: I have found biscotti recipes that are largely fat free. Look for recipes already tested for reduced fat and sugar. Just do a google search using terms like "low-fat" AND "reduced sugar" recipes.
Soft-spread margarine has water whipped into it. The extra moisture caused the mold. Either keep treats frozen and advise receiptients to do the same, or use regular margarine or shortening.
Soft spreadable have a note on all packaging about not to be used for baking. Certain recipes of bars/cookies, etc cannot be interchanged, as well as there are those that can be.
You can reduce the sugar to approx 1/3 cup of regular recipe (calls for 1 cup, use 2/3 cup). Source of moisture in place of oil can be used by fruit puree of your choice. I like to use pear puree for many things.
In reductions, please note you will find you need to change up your flour use.
Breads are more forgiving on all aspects of ingredients as you 'feel' texture and decide what must be added/deducted. Whether yeast or quick breads.
Even using generic store brand margarines is an iffy thing. You are choosing trans fatty acids. If I have to choose one, I will use the butter or specific baking Crisco as packaging describes product changes.
I have used sour cream as the fat in baking, but, fat free does not make a good product. You can use yogurts in place of some of the fat as well as the fruit puree listed.
When changing up ingredients, make practice batches in smaller amounts than the actual recipes. There are sites called recipe converters to break it down to the 1 egg (least common denominator) etc.
Above all, put your baking into the freezer. For freshness sake, as well as mold preventative. Also, to assist in the low fat, sugar free category, you still have carbs as long as you are using a grain or flour to hold the product together. Freezer keeps it out of mind as well, avoiding the unavoidable 'pig out' times with the baked goods.
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