When you think of applesauce, you probably assume that its uses are limited to a side dish for pork or a light breakfast. In fact, apple sauce has many uses in baking. It can be substituted in recipes to make lower-fat versions of your favorite baked goods. Applesauce will not change the flavor or texture drastically, but it can remove quite a few calories. Did you know that vegetable oil has about 120 calories in every tablespoon? Applesauce can reduce the calorie and fat content of most baked dishes. Here’s how apple sauce can be used in baking:
- Choose the right applesauce. Unsweetened applesauce is best, because it doesn’t add any unnecessary sugar to the recipe. Other than that, you can use any type of applesauce, including homemade or store-bought. In fact, any fruit puree will work, although apple sauce is best because it contains the right pectin levels, which act like shortening by coating air bubbles in the batter, which affects the texture. Applesauce with apple chunks will work, but be aware that the apple chunks will still appear in the finished baked goods, so you may want to use a smoother apple sauce instead.
- Use the right kind of recipe. You cannot substitute applesauce in some cases, such as pastry crusts, because the applesauce will change the texture too much. This method works best in cakes and breads, and will keep these baked goods very moist. It even works for boxed cake mixes.
- Determine the correct ratio. In most cases, you can simply substitute the fat or oil for an equal quantity of applesauce. So, if a recipe calls for one cup of vegetable oil, use one cup of applesauce instead. This can save nearly 2000 calories from your recipe! If your recipe calls for quite a bit of oil or fat, consider substituting only part of it. Some fat may be necessary for the right texture or flavor.
- Take steps to ensure the right texture. Removing the fat can make your baked goods denser. To make sure your low-fat baked goods have the right texture, just add an extra tablespoon of flour, and do not over-mix, which will make the batter rubbery.
- Bake as directed. Other than the applesauce substitution, follow the recipe as you normally would. Bake at the same temperature and at the same time.
Many bakers find that baked goods using applesauce are even moister and better tasting than their full-fat counterparts. This substitution is easy to do and so much better for you than full-fat recipes.