mother-daughter-baking

Comfort baking with a healthier twist

By Elise Harlow, clinical dietitian at CHOC Children’s

With more free time on our hands this summer than most, many of us have turned to baking to provide some comforting treats for ourselves and our families. Baking at home is not only a great way to experiment with new recipes, but also a good time to get the kids in the kitchen. Having your kids bake with you in age appropriate ways can help them learn to cook, get familiar with new foods and maybe even practice some math and reading skills by helping follow a recipe. Most comforting treats do a lot to satisfy our soul but little to satisfy our nutrient needs. Here’s some recipes for comforting treats with a twist so we can feel both satisfied and nourished!

Whole wheat banana bread muffins

This banana bread muffin recipe uses mostly whole wheat flour with a small amount of white flour. By using whole wheat flour, you get an added fiber boost!

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 large bananas)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions:

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk together the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together the coconut oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and egg whites in a separate medium bowl until well combined. Stir in the mashed banana. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts if using.
  3. Fill the lined muffin cups about three-quarters of the way with the batter (a generous 1/4 cup in each; see Cook’s Note). Bake on the center rack until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Cook’s Note – when measuring flour, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods. A cookie or ice cream scoop makes it easier to portion the batter.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Vegan banana bread

For those of us running low on butter and eggs, this vegan banana bread recipe is for you!

Yield: 1 loaf (8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 ¼ cup)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup plain soy-milk yogurt (Note: if you do not need this recipe to be 100% vegan, you can use regular plain yogurt)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and two long sides of a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each long side, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk the bananas, sugar, yogurt, oil and vanilla together in another medium bowl. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until the batter just comes together (it’s OK if there are lumps). Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes; tent the loaf with foil if it is browning too quickly. Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then lift it from the pan by the parchment overhangs and cool completely on the rack. Store the loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Blueberry pancakes

These pancakes use oatmeal instead of flour for extra fiber and protein, and the blueberries add some e extra vitamin C.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ½ cup blueberry

Instructions:

  1. Mash bananas in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in eggs and vanilla until well combined, then mix in oats. Fold in blueberries carefully.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium and add in a scoop of the pancake batter. Smooth out to form an even layer. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until you start to see bubbles releasing from the top of the batter. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Garnish your pancakes with your favorite toppings! (We used Greek yogurt, granola, fresh blueberries and maple syrup.

Recipe courtesy of Tasty

White bean chocolate chip cookies

Don’t let the beans in this recipe scare you! By using these mild tasting beans, there is less butter and more fiber and protein than regular chocolate chip cookies.

Yield: about 2 ½ dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Meanwhile, put the beans in a food processor; add the maple syrup and puree until very smooth.
  3. Add the bean mixture to the creamed butter in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until completely smooth, stopping and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula several times, about three to four minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions; add the vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled; it will smooth out when you add the dry ingredients.
  4. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared pans, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies begin to turn golden around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes; do not overbake. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Brownies

This brownie recipe uses less butter than standard recipes. The secret is the applesauce, which you would never guess is in there and provides extra vitamin C and fiber!

Yield: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup applesauce

Topping

  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in applesauce. Pour into an 8-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  2. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

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