Baking Low Carb
Tips and tricks from a kitchen magician
By Marlene Koch, author of Eat What You Love: More than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories
Who doesn't love the mouthwatering smell of a freshly baked cake, the perfect pie, or cookies right from the oven? Having diabetes doesn't mean you can't enjoy your favorite sweet treats. The challenge with most desserts is that they are very dense in total carbs (not to mention calories), which can make them tough to fit into a healthy diabetes diet. The secret to "having your cake and eating it too" while managing your blood sugar is to learn how to creatively curb the total carbs or mediate their impact on your blood glucose. All it takes is a bit of kitchen chemistry!
Substituting alternate flours for some of the all-purpose flour in baked goods is one way to help cut carbs and keep blood sugar in check by adding more fiber.
White whole-wheat flour is an easy choice, as it has all the fiber of whole wheat, with the mild flavor and lighter color of all-purpose flour. Substitute white whole wheat flour for up to half of the all-purpose flour in cakes and cookies, and 100% in muffins and hearty quickbreads.
When using regular, whole-wheat flour, start by replacing just one-fourth of the all-purpose flour. In heartier baked goods, this flour adds a nice, nutty, whole-grain taste but if you use too much it can weigh down your recipes. For pie crusts, pastries, and lighter textured baked goods, substitute whole-wheat pastry flour.
With a lower glycemic index and more fiber and protein than all-purpose flour, oat flour is another delicious and carb conscious addition to most baked goods. To make your own oat flour, simply grind uncooked, old-fashioned or steel-cut oats in a food processor or blender until they reach the texture of flour. You can use it to replace up to one-third of the flour in your recipe. Oat flour has the added benefit of adding extra moistness. Store oat flour in the fridge or freezer.
Soy flour is also a great option, with just one-third of the carbs of all-purpose flour. Made from soybeans, it's higher in protein than wheat flours. Use it in recipes for pancakes and oven cakes, but be sure not to replace more than one-forth of the all-purpose flour, unless the recipe specifically call for it.
One of the tastiest ways to curb carbs is with nut flours or "meals" (almond, pecan, Brazil nut, etc.). Nut flours add texture and flavor while slashing carbs. A cup of nut flour has just one-fourth the carbs of wheat flour. Nut flours can replace up to one-fourth of the regular flour in most muffins, cookies, and cakes and up to one-half the flour in pie crusts. Nut flours are commonly found in the baking section or can be made by grinding nuts in a food processor or blender until fine. Store in the fridge or freezer for freshness.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...