How To Bake Healthy Holiday Treats
Giving baked goods a healthier spin this holiday season is easier than you think. We asked Marina Cortese, holistic nutritionist and owner of Oats & Ivy, to share some of her best tips.
Choose Quality Ingredients
Start by choosing quality ingredients, recommends Marina. “We’re wheat-free at Oats & Ivy, but we do use organic butter in some of our recipes.” Stay away from processed ingredients and shortenings and choose natural ingredients, like nuts and seeds, instead. “Most of these ingredients are available at bulk stores now, so they’re really accessible,” adds Marina.
Try A Raw Recipe
If you’re in charge of the baking this holiday, Marina suggests trying a few raw recipes so you can sneak in some superfood ingredients, like hemp. Mix in spices like cinnamon and cloves to help give raw recipes some holiday flavor. Try our Spiced Raw Chocolate Mousse recipe.
Make Good-For-You Swaps
“I find the easiest thing to do when baking is to substitute a liquid for another liquid or a solid for another solid. Once you start swapping a solid for a liquid or vice versa, things can get really tricky,” says Marina. Here are three of her favorite baking swaps:
Granulated sugar for coconut sugar: “Coconut sugar is an easy swap, as it’s a one-to-one ratio for granulated sugar. You can find it at bulk stores or niche health food stores. It has more of a caramel flavor than regular sugar,” says Marina.
Cow’s milk for nut milk: Nut milks are another no-brainer swap: Use a one-to-one ratio when baking. “At Oats & Ivy, we soak the nuts overnight when making our nut milks so the nutrients become more bioavailable. Almond and cashew milks have pretty basic flavors, so you can really add a lot to them,” says Marina. To make your own nut milk at home, blend 1 cup soaked nuts with 4 cups water, then strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. “I love using cashew milk when making hot chocolate. It’s a bit creamier than almond milk, so you get that extra richness. Our Oh-So-Creamy Hot Chocolate is so easy to make. You basically pour all the ingredients into the pan, heat and stir – that’s it!” Get the recipe here.
TIP: To make non-dairy whipped topping, chill one 14-oz. can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight (look for brands that stick to simple ingredients, like coconut cream and filtered water, and avoid ones with additives like guar gum or anything you can’t pronounce). Scoop out the creamy top portion and whip it with about 1 tsp vanilla extract and about ¼ cup coconut sugar.
Eggs for chia seeds: “Chia seeds are a great replacement for eggs,” notes Marina. Just mix 1 tsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water for every 1 egg replacement. “Once the chia seeds get soaked in water, they become gelatinous. That’s what helps bind everything together in your recipe.”
Make Oats & Ivy’s Ginger Molasses Cookies for a healthy take on Christmas cookies. Get the recipe here.