I'm Dreaming of a Light Christmas -- with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Live Events Transcript; Event Date: Wednesday, December 15, 2004
MODERATOR: Onion relish or mango pepper jelly is great too, as is
Major Grey's chutney.
MAGEE: The key here is light cream cheese and serving it with
something higher in fiber and lower in fat, like the crackers we talked about
earlier. Even a nice sliced baguette can work; it's bread. If you can find a
whole grain baguette, go for it. Even that is pretty good.
MODERATOR: Let's talk about holiday baking.
MEMBER QUESTION: I see a new sweetener advertised that is half
Splenda and half sugar. Have you tried it yet? Does it work as well for baking
as they say?
MAGEE: Great question. Thanks so much for asking. I created this
blend -- ha ha! I've been using half sugar, half Splenda the last year myself.
Basically what they've done is to blend it for you and sell it off the shelf
that way. So have I tried the actual mixed product? No, because I mix it myself
at home. I'll tell you why I prefer to do that, because in many recipes it will
call for a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown. If I'm mixing it at home, I
substitute it for the granulated (white) sugar, then add the brown sugar
myself. I like the freedom of choosing to use it for the white sugar and add
the brown sugar myself. Using this type of half Splenda/half white sugar
equation tends to work pretty well. My husband tends to know when I've used
Splenda, but most people are going to be in the dark that you've used half
Splenda. It's just a simple way to cut the sugar calories in half without
changing the texture or taste too much.
MEMBER QUESTION: Can you make a direct substitution of the Splenda
mix for real sugar, cup for cup? Will the cookies have the same crispy edges
and same flavor?
MAGEE: Great question and it is going to depend on the cookie. You
may want to do one-third Splenda, two-thirds sugar to start with. You may find
better results with that for a higher profile cookie. You're going to have
generally better results in a muffin or cake. Cookies tend to be tougher
candidates for lightening fat and sugar basically because a big part of a
cookie's characteristics are about fat and sugar.
Let me just give you a quick tip about lightening the fat in cookies. A
pretty sure-proof way that works is to substitute that low trans margarine with
8 grams of fat per tablespoon -- cup for cup -- for butter or shortening. This
is going to lower the fat from 12 grams per tablespoon to 8 grams of fat per
tablespoon, basically cutting the fat by one-third. Every time I've done that
they've turned out excellent. If I cut a little bit more fat than that, it's
less "cookie" and it becomes more like a muffin because you're changing
it too much. I tried this, substituting the lower fat margarine recently in a
Russian tea cake recipe and it was awesome. I tried it in the thumbprint cookie
recipe. Again, awesome. Nobody knew the difference.