Cut the Fat

A 4-H project

4-H is an organization that empowers young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. The 4-H motto is LEARN BY DOING.

Healthy eating doesn't mean giving up all the foods you love! Smart substitutions can help you maintain an overall healthy eating pattern. You can make many of your favorite recipes healthier by using lower-fat or no-fat ingredients. These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats and cholesterol, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.

Today's Mission:

Can applesauce be substituted for butter when baking cookies?

The preteens split into two teams. One group baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies using the original recipe. The other group substituted applesauce for the butter.

The batter with the butter was firm.

The batter with the applesauce was runny.

The cookies made with butter were crisp and golden brown.

The cookies made with applesauce had a cake-like consistency.

The Verdict:

Results were mixed. Some liked the original recipe made with butter (right). Others liked the cookies made with applesauce (left). If you're looking for a healthy alternative, applesauce is the way to go.

Interested in why this swap works (and when it doesn't)?

A short chemistry lesson: Although fats add richness and texture, the primary job of fat in a recipe is to keep the flour protein from mixing with the moisture and forming long strands of gluten – a reaction that would give cake the texture of a rubber tire.

That's why it's important to keep the liquid and dry ingredients separate until the very end, and to mix them together very gently by hand. When you substitute the applesauce, it's even more important to work the batter gently, and as little as possible, in the final mix.

Cinder Fukunaga September 2016 All photos taken with an IPh6. IPhone Photography Academy/ Masters

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