If you follow the all-natural, grain-free, low-glycemic diet that our ancestors enjoyed, then you might have decided that most cookies, cakes and breads just aren’t on the menu.
But thanks to a new breed of all-natural sweeteners and flour alternatives, it doesn’t have to be that way…
Over the next three days, we’ve asked healthy baking expert, Kelley Herring, to show you exactly how she creates easy-to-make, paleo-friendly desserts (as well as breads, biscuits and crusts) that are every bit as delicious as they are nutritious.
Here’s just part of what you will learn:
- How to develop structure in your baked goods so they come out of the oven fluffy, tender and moist – without the use of gluten (or any grains at all).
- How to achieve all the sweetness you desire using all-natural sugar substitutes that won’t spike your blood sugar or sour your health.
- Which healthy fats you can rely on to create buttery-richness in your baked goods.
So, without further delay, here’s Kelley!
The first step in making healthier baked goods is to take a close look at the type of flour you use. Many people think they are making a healthier choice by choosing whole grain flours, instead of the typical refined white flours.
Unfortunately, however, whole grain flours are still high in carbohydrates and score high on the glycemic index. And that’s a really bad thing. High glycemic foods cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar and a corresponding rise in insulin levels.
Over time, this can lead to a host of problems. Elevated blood sugar levels have linked to nearly every chronic disease, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, macular degeneration, PCOS and many more.
In fact, insulin has even been called the “fat-storage hormone” because it prevents fat burning and promotes the storage of fat. So, if you want to avoid that “muffin top” then stay away from grain based flours.
And here’s another reason to avoid traditional flours: Most are made from wheat and contain gluten – an allergenic protein that causes health issues for many people.
But what about gluten-free flours and baking mixes?
Unfortunately, the term “gluten-free” does not always equate to “healthy.” That’s because most gluten-free flours use a combination of high glycemic ingredients, including rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and sorghum flour. So while the gluten is missing, all the blood sugar-spiking effects are still there.
The good news is that there are truly healthy options you can use to create delicious baked goods… I’m talking about nut flours!
Nut flours are surprisingly versatile. They lend buttery richness to all kinds of baked goods – from crisp biscotti to moist cupcakes. And unlike grain-based flours, they are naturally gluten free and low carb too.
Here are the best nut flours to use in your baking:
- Almond Flour: This staple flour can be used to create everything from fluffy pancakes to crispy cookies. However, opt for “blanched” almond flour, which contains no skins. Unblanched almonds can add an unpleasant aftertaste when baked.
- Coconut Flour: Coconut flour appears light and fluffy, but it is actually quite dense and fiber-rich. So take note: a little goes a long way. A good rule of thumb is to use one egg for each tablespoon of coconut flour in your recipes. Also, most recipes that call for coconut flour specify “sifted coconut flour”. This is important, because one half cup of coconut flour does not equal one half cup of sifted coconut flour. You should always sift and then measure, or your baked goods can end up dry and dense.
Hazelnut and Pecan Flour: These nut flours are a bit richer. They are best used in combination with almond flour to punch up the nutty flavor. They are great when used to make pie crusts and cookies of all kinds.
It’s also important to note that nut flours contain healthy fats… but these fats can go bad if they’re not protected. You should store nut flours in airtight containers away from light and heat. Preferably, they should be refrigerated. If you buy in bulk, freeze in airtight bags.
Now that we’ve explored the healthy “flour” options, it’s time to tackle the one ingredient that we all have a love–hate relationship with: Sugar. In tomorrow’s message, I’ll show you how to create the exact taste and texture of sugar, with none of the guilt. Stay tuned to discover how you really can have your cake… and be well too!