Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adventures in sugar-free baking

My main New Year's resolution this year is to cut out sugar. I have a lot of reasons--mainly to clear up some persistent yeast and thrush issues in both Mia and myself, but also to just clean up my diet in general and kick-start my post-baby weight loss. I started a very strict no-sugar and no-yeast diet on Jan 1 and it's been surprisingly easy so far. I do miss bread, but I'm surviving. :) I'm doing one month of zero-sugar and I'll take it from there, but I'll probably be strictly limiting it at least as long as I'm breastfeeding.

Sugar I can give up, but I could never give up chocolate or baking (or brownies!) and Bianca loves to bake too. So I've been searching for good alternatives to my favorite recipes.

I've made a super healthy banana cookie recipe twice since New Years, and I'm so excited that I found it. Super easy, vegan, good source of fiber, and a great way to use up those bananas we always seem to have around. Bianca ate about five of these right away the first day I made them. Plus, with so few ingredients and no milk, sugar, or flour to spill or clean up, they're fast to make and clean up, even with preschooler "helping". :)

Banana cookies
3 mashed ripe bananas
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins or chopped dates (or chocolate chips)
*Optional--2 tbsp applesauce or you can substitute applesauce for all or part of the oil

Mashing the bananas--for this I use my potato masher, of course.

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes, then scoop with a spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and cool on a rack.

Brownies with agave nectar
We always have agave nectar around--it's a low-glycemic sweetener that tastes like a cross between maple syrup and honey. We use it in place of syrup on our Saturday-morning pancakes. It can also replace sugar in recipes but I've never tried it. Since my go-to brownie recipe, the one I make all the time and know by heart, uses a full cup of refined white sugar, I needed to find something else. This recipe is similar, except without the sugar. I found it on this blog.
1/2 cup butter or butter substitute (I used Earth Balance buttery spread)
2/3 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Heat oven to 325. Grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
Melt butter in microwave.
Add all ingredients to bowl or blender.
Blend or mix until smooth. Add nuts if using.
Pour into pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool and serve.

They were very good, and Steve didn't guess that they were sugar-free (shhhh!). They'd be AWESOME with frosting, but I don't think I have the ingredients on hand for a sugar-free version, so I'll save that for another day.

After nearly two weeks of the diet, Mia's yeast diaper rash is completely gone, so that's motivation enough for me to keep going.

Who needs sugar with these two sweeties around? Bianca loves to hold Mia's hand--part of her ongoing effort to help Mia learn how to grab things. :) This morning she was just standing here like this holding Mia's hand while she was in the swing--she's not posing for a picture. Little goof.


Amy said...

Keep posting any yummy recipes you come across! I think I might try the banana cookies later this week. Nice to have recipes with so few ingredients.

Kora said...

Those banana cookies look good!

becjacobson said...

Thanks for passing along the recipes! We will try them down here in AZ and let you know what the girls think. :) Looking forward to more!