I wrote recently that I’m enjoying baking, and doing more of it lately. It is an effective way to get veggies into my kids’ bodies. But I’m running into some issues with the recipes. They use a lot of sugar!
I have a great recipe for zucchini muffins. They are chock full o’ the green stuff, but also include almost 2 cups of sugar (a mix of mostly white, and some brown). I mentioned before how I tried reducing the amounts of sugar, but discovered that it’s there for more than just flavour – the chemistry of baking requires the stuff. When I reduce the sugar, I get denser muffins with a not-so-pleasing texture. The zucchini ones are edible, with a generous dab of homemade organic butter, but they aren’t the sort you’d bring to a picnic with your friends.
I tried carrot muffins for the first time last week. I Googled “healthy carrot muffins” in an attempt to find something that wasn’t so sugar-laden. I chose this recipe. I used cows milk instead of soy, and I skipped the sunflower seeds. I got suspicious when mixing the batter – it was far too dry. I had to add another 1/3 cup of milk to get it at a decent consistency, but even then I was certain something wasn’t right. Sure enough, they had the weight and density of hockey pucks and the taste was bland. Even my homemade organic butter was not enough to make these palatable. Most ended up in the trash.
I know whole wheat flour is heavy. Even with my homemade waffles and pancakes I use half wheat and half white. I’m beginning to despair that healthy muffins = yucky muffins. Or, at the very least, muffins that don’t make you go “Yum!”. I know I’m very new to this idea of baking, but I’m not hopeful that there is a magic answer out there. I don’t know enough to look at a recipe and imagine how they’ll turn out, but I sure don’t want to be going through tons of recipes wasting food to find something I can live with from a nutritional perspective and enjoy eating (and sharing!) at the same time.