Healthy Sweets: Can It Be Done?
So my latest obsession is trying to avoid sugar in my diet. Which leads to sugar cravings, which lead to wasted hours on the Internet researching sugar alternatives and healthy baking. Not to mention labour and expensive ingredients that may not pay off more than caving in to a simple chocolate bar. But despite this, I’ve decided to try to make sweets that I can justify. That means substituting cane sugar for natural sweeteners and using flour alternatives to try to add protein and other nutrients rather than straight-up carbs. Sugar alternatives I’ve found are agave syrup, honey, apple juice concentrate and actual fruit can’t hurt either. Almond or hazelnut meal are good for going flourless, and buckwheat or brown rice flour are much better than plain. I made some carrot cookies recently and the concept of putting veggies in my sweets (which makes them much more justifiable) inspired me to try a beetroot recipe. Here is what I made by combining a few recipes.
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1 & 1/2 cup hazelnut meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour (or just more hazelnut meal)
3 eggs (separated if you can be bothered)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (could use 2 tsp of cinnamon instead)
1 tsp baking powder
1 medium beet, grated
Most recipes seem to suggest adding a pinch of salt. Decided not to bother with my home brand table salt.
My adapted make-do method:
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Combine wet ingredients. Then mix in the dry stuff. Stir in beetroot. If I had a whisk and was good at making egg whites into peaks I would have added those peaks in now instead of using the whole egg before. Bake for 25 mins. I used a (not greased well enough) muffin tray.
My mixture seemed quite moist when I spooned it into the muffin cups. You can see the gooey bright beet-red mixture below. I thought it might be too moist and was thinking next time I’d lose the apple juice but I like the results moisture-wise.
They weren’t quite sweet enough for my taste; the beetroot was just a little too present. Next time I would add more honey/apple juice/agarve. The texture of the beetroot also reminded me too much that it was there. So next time I would do what I read in another beet-cake recipe and boil the beet first and then puree it. Anyway here’s my healthy sweet-fix muffin result: