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Seasonal

5 nutritionist-approved tips for better holiday baking

(BPT) - ‘Tis the season for sweet and savory treats. The holidays bring loads of goodies, but the problem is these temptations can put a big strain on your nutrition goals.

If you’re whipping up some tasty holiday dishes this season, you don't have to choose between your health and favorite indulgences. Transform any recipe into a healthier version simply by following these smart tricks from registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN CSSD.

Flour: Swap 25 percent of the white flour for specialty flours such as almond or oat flour. Since specialty flours do not act the same in baking as white flour, you can’t do a full 100 percent swap, but even just a little will provide more nutrition.

Butter: Try swapping 25 percent of the butter in a recipe with something else creamy such as pureed white beans, mashed banana, pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, mashed avocado or nut butter. It shouldn't affect the recipe results and cuts down on fat and calories.

Eggs: Not all eggs are created equal. Eggland’s Best eggs have double the omega-3s than ordinary eggs, an “essential” fatty acid that's important for maintaining good health. Since the body cannot make them on its own, you must eat them. Omega-3s also lead to a better baking recipe, as they improve emulsifying qualities. Blatner says Eggland’s Best eggs are the only eggs she recommends to her clients and family for that added nutrition.

Sugar: Decrease the sugar in recipes by 25 percent and add nothing in its place. Recipes will turn out just fine if you pull back some of the sugar, even if you aren’t swapping in something else.

Half-batch: You want Grandma's famous cookies, but you don't need four dozen tempting you for weeks on end. Instead, make a half batch by halving all ingredients in the recipe. Then you can enjoy the food memories without having too much lingering around.

Want some holiday baking inspiration that uses these smart baking tips? Whip up some cute and scrumptious Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and make your entire crew happy.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: 25 cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Bars
2 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
1 (14 ounces) bag sweetened coconut flakes, plus more for topping
2 cups dark chocolate chips
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

Glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Cookie Bars

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 13-by-9 baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, stir together the coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Add in the almond milk, vanilla extract, flour, salt, melted butter, brown sugar and eggs and beat until combined.

Pour batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bars begin turning golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Glaze

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and vanilla until smooth.

Gently spread over the cooling bars.

Top with toasted coconut and allow to cool completely before eating.

Tip: Try cutting the bars up and placing them in the refrigerator, they taste even better cold!

 
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