It seems like no one has time for making baked goods from scratch anymore! As convenient as it seems to purchase some ready-made cookies or a store-bought cake, making baked goods from scratch isn’t as time consuming as you would think. There are also numerous health benefits to homemade cookies, cakes, and other sweets. With all the shortcuts and easy recipes, baking doesn’t take as long as you would think! If you’re a novice baker and wouldn’t think for a second to make your own treats, keep these seven benefits in mind.
1. Lower Refined Sugar Levels
We all know baked goods are loaded with sugar, hence why we avoid them as much as possible. But there’s always that time when PMS strikes or you’re at an event with a sumptuous spread of irresistible desserts! If you’re trying to indulge in a healthier dessert, consider making baked goods from scratch. There are a million websites you can find that offer fruit-based ways to cut unneeded and refined sugar from your baked goods, ultimately leaving you with a much healthier treat!
2. Few Artificial Ingredients
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list of a typical box of cookies or crackers? Chances are you’ll find nasty ingredients like refined oils and high fructose corn syrup. These artificial ingredients may taste harmless, but they certainly can harm your health! Making your baked goods from scratch allows you to eliminate potentially hazardous ingredients that are manufactured in labs and designed to make food taste good instead of be good for you. Even if you use white flour and real butter for your own sweets, you’re still one leg up from the food companies that use maltodextrin, xanthan gum, and all sorts of additives.
3. Great for Food Allergies
Is your child lactose intolerant? Or do you have a coworker who is allergic to eggs? While it may have been difficult in the past to buy desserts and other baked goods that taste good and are safe to eat, you can avoid this predicament by making your own desserts. There are plenty of online sites and social media platforms that provide recipes for those with food allergies. I learned through a forum, for instance, that I could substitute olive oil for butter and applesauce for eggs to make egg-free, dairy-free brownies for one of my best friends who has crazy food allergies. Remember that food isn’t just about calories or weight management; it’s also a celebratory process that everyone likes to participate in regardless of their allergies.
4. Butter Substitutions
I used to cringe at the thought of using several pounds of butter in a cookie or cake recipe. Between the butter needed for the dough/batter to the additional butter needed to grease the cookie sheet or cake pan, I sometimes felt completely overwhelmed about the amount of fat I was putting into my baked goods. I realized, however, that food companies are using just as much if not more fat in their products and that there were plenty of ways to reduce the butter and overall fat content of my desserts. I eventually learned that pumpkin makes an excellent substitution for butter and that I could substitute up to half the butter content of a recipe for pureed pumpkin! This will not only create a rich pumpkin flavored dessert, but also add essential nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C while avoiding saturated fat.
5. Healthier Breakfast Options
Do you enjoy pastries like muffins or donuts for breakfast? If you love these flaky baked goods in the morning but feel guilty about the refined sugar and flour, making your own baked goods is a great way to have your cake and eat it too—literally! On weekends, make your own bran muffins or other breakfast items for the week. Not only will breakfast for that week require little preparation, but you can still indulge in your favorite breakfast items guilt-free.
6. Gluten Free Alternatives
With the gluten free craze still going strong, there are many people that still want baked goods, but also want to avoid white flour and gluten. Many health food stores now carry gluten free flours that are designed for home bakers. Amaranth flour, almond flour, and rice flour are just a few of the alternatives you can cook with. Instead of spending money on expensive gluten free breads or sweets, take the time to make your own gluten free baked goods!
7. Fresher Taste and Texture
It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month to bake, pack, and ship those baked goods you love at your local grocery store. In fact, that’s part of why so many preservatives and additives are used. These artificial ingredients preserve the shelf life of the baked good and keep it fresh until you purchase it. I say why not skip the additives and chemicals and instead bake our own cookies and cakes? Not only will you have a much fresher product, but it will also taste light years better!
Making your own baked goods from scratch can be a rewarding and fun experience. Almost nothing beats the smell of freshly baked cookies or cakes in your kitchen! What are some of your favorite desserts and pastries to bake? Do you have any shortcuts or recipes that even a busy, working woman can manage to make?