So since I’ve been on this healthy, diet-like kick lately I’ve really missed baking. I’ve always thought I was a bit of a walking contradiction since I own a special-order bakery but can go on and on about the dangers of sugar. I’ve been called hypocritical and my response is…”I KNOW right?!” But whatever. I kind of fell into it, baking cakes and cupcakes, and it provides some extra money..and I’m not forcing cupcakes down peoples throats. Be responsible for yourself. Anyway – I miss baking. And in conversations with people about my being a hypocrite some have suggested that I bake healthy desserts. Um, healthy desserts? Oxymoron of all oxymorons. I don’t want a healthy dessert, who wants healthy dessert? It cracks me up when people are like “Oh I made this cake but I used low-fat cream cheese for the frosting!” Uh…yea, that cakes full of sugar, dear, it’s still bad for you.
Food is the most important thing to me next to God and family. The. Most. Important. Thing. I dream about it, it’s almost all I think about. I plan trips around it. For me, the only reason to travel is so you can eat food. Museums, history, blah blah blah, when do we eat and more importantly, WHERE? Life is too short to not enjoy your food. I refuse to eat food that doesn’t taste good. Therefore – healthy desserts are a no-go for me because, sorry, that cake sweetened with Stevia? That doesn’t taste good.
So here I am wanting to bake, determined to make something healthy that also tastes good and zucchini bread comes to mind. Well, I think to myself, I’ll just go to Pinterest (sorry, Google) and find a healthy zucchini bread recipe! But all I find are recipes with 2-3 cups of sugar. “Oh but I used applesauce instead of oil!” Face-palm. The 3 cups of sugar cancels out the lack of oil in a gargantuan way! This is what I was getting at in that paragraph up there, if you’re going to put 3 cups of sugar into ONE LOAF of bread, just use the oil! Don’t waste the applesauce! Because trust me, that is wasting the applesauce. I started to realize that I was going to have to come up with my own recipe. But then I found this recipe for Healthy Zucchini Bread from http://www.kneadtocook.com. Marvel upon marvels, only 1 cup of sugar! For me that was still too much though since I try to avoid sugar completely. (Unless it’s in dessert.) But this recipe I could definitely modify:
I try to stay away from oils except for coconut, sesame, olive, peanut and always organic. So I decided to replace the canola oil in the recipe with coconut oil. For the coconut haters out there, trust me, you don’t taste it a bit.
I also wanted to use less white flour so I ground up some oats and used that as a replacement. I was going for as guilt-free as possible with this and the presence of white flour brings guilt.
And the most exciting replacement: The sugar! Instead of 1 cup of white sugar I used 1/2 cup of brown – which – spread out over a whole loaf, that’s not too bad. I could have left it out altogether but again, I need it to taste good, not just BE good. The other 1/2 cup of sugar I replaced with 1/4 cup of Maple Syrup. Yes – maple syrup! Did you know that maple syrup has half the calories of honey but is twice as sweet so you need half as much? Did you further know that not only is it half the calories, it is actually MORE nutritious! For example it has trace minerals in it that are essential for good health. I found this out throughout the past few weeks and let me tell you, it was like Christmas over and over again to realize that I can drizzle maple syrup on my apples and not feel a shred of guilt. Maple Syrup may single-handedly make it possible for me to stay healthy AND happy. Well that and what I just found out about sourdough bread!
To sum up – with a few replacements I was able to make a guilt-free snack that even my 2 year old gobbled up.
Here is the recipe with my changes:
3 cups of shredded zucchini
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of coconut oil (melted)
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup
1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1.5 cups oat flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray your loaf pan or muffins pans with non stick baking spray. Set aside.
In your stand mixer with the paddle attached, blend zucchini, applesauce, oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Then blend the remaining ingredients adding the nuts last and stirring those by hand. Spoon the batter into your prepared pans and bake. Loaf – bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Muffins bake for approximately 20-24 minutes.
I somehow mis-read the instructions and actually blended all of the wet ingredients in my food processor. This is what happens when you are frantically trying to bake something before the Jungle Book ends while simultaneously trying to avoid stepping on the baby who is trying to climb up your leg. But it actually worked, I like to think I get more zucchini flavor in every bite. In the pan it looked like meatloaf though:
I also couldn’t tell from the original recipe if she used one pan or two. She kept referring to them as “pans” plural, sooo…..it came out amazing but really short.
So that’s that folks. A healthy treat that actually tastes good. But don’t get any ideas, I absolutely will not be making honey sweetened buttercream any time soon.