Light Dessert Secrets from the Test Kitchen
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Use Less Sugar
Decrease the sugar by an eighth or a fourth. When sugar isn't needed for crisping, tenderizing, or caramelizing, use a heat-stable sugar substitute such as Splenda or Sweet'N Low, or a sugar-substitute blend such as Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking.
Substitute Low-Fat Dairy
Turn plain fat-free yogurt into yogurt cheese and use it in place of whipped cream, sour cream, and cream cheese. Or switch to fat-free milk, reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream, and light whipped dessert topping.
To make yogurt cheese: Line a yogurt strainer, sieve, or small colander with three layers of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth or a clean paper coffee filter. Suspend lined strainer, sieve, or colander over a bowl. Spoon in plain yogurt. (The amount depends how much you want to make. Use a brand of yogurt that contains no gums, gelatin, or fillers. These ingredients may prevent the whey from separating from the curd to make cheese.) Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator; drain and discard liquid. Cover and store yogurt cheese in refrigerator for up to one week.
Capitalize on fruit's natural sweetness and fiber.
Use Special Flour
Bake with cake flour for a more tender cake, then use less sugar for tenderizing. Or replace one-fourth of the white flour with whole grain flour.
Skip the Frosting
Instead of frosting, top baked desserts with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a chunky fruit salsa.
Use One Crust Instead of Two
Skip the crust when baking cheesecake, and use only a top or bottom crust for pie.
Use Unsweetened Cocoa
Use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of higher-fat chocolate products.
Top with Cereal
Try crispy whole grain cereals to top desserts or struesels instead of a high-fat, high-sugar crumb topping.
Use Egg Whites
Opt for egg whites or frozen or refrigerated egg product in place of some or all of the eggs.
Try 'Free' Products
Experiment with sugar-free and fat-free packaged dessert products, but read the labels to make sure the carb and sodium counts fit your guidelines.