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10 Ways to Cut Calories in Baking Recipes continued...

8. Go Cuckoo for Cocoa

Cocoa is a great way to add the chocolate flavor to bakery recipes without getting the saturated fat (and calories) found in chocolate chips or chocolate squares. Cocoa has the healthy flavonol antioxidants found in the cocoa bean, too. Look for recipes that call for cocoa instead of chocolate chips or bars, or use 6 tablespoons of cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil plus 1 tablespoon of fat-free sour-cream instead of 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate. For every 2 squares of baking chocolate you replace, you'll shave almost 90 calories and 14 grams of fat (most of which is saturated fat).

9. Add Zest to Your Batter With Citrus

The zest, or outermost layer, of a citrus fruit is full of aromatic oils and flavor. Adding citrus zest is an easy, zero-calorie way to boost the flavor of low-fat dough and batters. I use zest in all sorts of recipes, from muffins, cookies, cakes, and bars to frosting, pies, and pancakes.

10. Use Cooking Spray and Nonstick Pans

Using nonstick pans and dishes and a spritz of canola cooking spray means you'll need less fat in the batter or crust to keep food from sticking. All sorts of nonstick bakeware are available, from springform pans, to cake and muffin pans, to cookie sheets and deep-dish pie plates. When you use one of these pans, your lighter cakes, muffins and tarts will come out nicely brown and won't stick.

Lighter Holiday Recipes

Here are two holiday recipes that illustrate some of these lightening techniques.

Chocolate Mint Snowball Cookies

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion light dessert + 1 tsp. margarine, light

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mint-flavored, semisweet chocolate morsels (like Nestle Toll House)*
3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg (use a brand higher in omega-3s, if available)
2 tablespoons egg substitute or 1 egg white, beaten slightly
Powdered sugar

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