If you are one who endorses the, “life is short, eat dessert first” rule, then you’re going to want to pay attention. Annie Forsyth, from Natural Sweet Recipes, promotes the use of natural sweeteners and whole grains to create delicious desserts that are guilt-free. She has spent countless creative hours in the kitchen developing natural recipes. We will learn from Annie how to enjoy the best of both worlds – delicious desserts that we can call healthy!
Annie believes that small changes can make a big difference, and that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. She said, “As a baking addict and a huge dessert lover, I have always loved creating sweet things in the kitchen! But when I understood how harmful sugar can be and saw my health decline, I was inspired to make some changes. Natural Sweet Recipes began as a way for me to document my healthy baking experiments.”
Here are four steps that Annie has shared with us, to show how simple it is to make a few ingredient switches for more nutritious desserts:
- Focus on WHOLE foods
The fastest way to become more natural in your kitchen is to truly bake from scratch with whole, pure ingredients. Skip the margarine, pudding mixes and cool whip. Instead, choose ingredients such as heavy cream, pure maple syrup and real fresh fruit.
- Switch out the white sugar
Instead of using white sugar in your everyday baking, try using sweeteners like coconut sugar, maple sugar, raw honey, or xylitol. These sweeteners are less processed, still contain original nutrients, and have a lower glycemic index. For more information on these sweeteners and other sugar subtitutes, see: Natural Sweetener Guide
- Switch out the white flour
Through experiments, I have found what flavors work well with wheat flours, or found a way to omit flour completely from a recipe. There are other nutritious flours that work great in baking. Some of my favorites are spelt flour, oat flour, coconut flour and gluten-free flour mixes.
- Switch to organic
When it comes to baking, using the best products will yield the best results. This is true for our health as well. Eating organic foods is a good way to limit chemicals and other toxic ingredients in the foods we eat. It may be more expensive, but you can be sure the ingredients are pure and better for you.
Annie is an expert at making “natural” and “sweet” come together in the kitchen. Her main objective is to remind us that, “No matter your health goals or diet, you can enjoy your favorite desserts with a few ingredient switches and a little creativity.”
Annie’s simple steps are an inspiration to make small changes in our baking habits by focusing on whole foods, switching out the white sugar, switching out the white flour, and switching to organic.
Let’s give it a try! Take a look at the zucchini bread recipe below, that uses natural ingredients to create a rich, chocolatey taste.
2 large organic eggs
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (from the can)
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur’s brand)
2/3 cup naturally sweetened or dark chocolate chunks or chopped chocolate, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 1/2 cups shredded organic zucchini
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 mini loaf pans with parchment paper and gently spray with cooking oil.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk and melted oil until combined. Add the coconut sugar, sea salt, cocoa powder and baking soda and mix all together. Add the flour with the chocolate chunks and zucchini. Gently stir to combine but be careful not to over mix.
Bake bread at 350 for 35-38 minutes in mini loaf pan or for about 50-55 minutes for a single 9×5 standard loaf.
Follow @naturalsweetrecipes for updates on refined sugar-free and plant-based recipes.