The sweet goodness of apple butter

Have you ever tried to alter a
recipe to lower the fat and calories? 
Depending on the type of recipe you choose to change, the end product
may not always be what you hope or expect.

There are many low-fat and fat-free
substitutes that can be used to replace high-fat ingredients in baked goods.
Low-fat yoghurt, buttermilk, applesauce, mashed bananas, pureed prunes, and
mashed sweet potato and pumpkin are just a few of the many nutritious substitutes
you can use to ‘lighten up’ the calories in your baked-good recipes. 

Although I have used many of the
above ingredients to replace fat in certain recipes, my ultimate favourite fat
substitute is apple butter. I have used it for many years and it has never once
failed me.

Texture, not ‘butter’

Contrary to what its name may
imply, there is no ‘butter’ in apple butter. The name simply describes its
smooth, buttery texture. 

Apple butter is made from apples
that have been slow cooked with apple juice concentrate or sugar and spices. It
is usually dark brown and thicker and sweeter than applesauce. 

It is a very versatile ingredient
that is not limited to use as a fat substitute. Apple butter can be used as a
sweet spread on whole-grain toast, crackers, waffles or pancakes. 

It can also add a sweet tang to
your morning bowl of oatmeal, low-fat cottage cheese, a turkey sandwich, and
even pork tenderloin.

One of the most common criticisms
of altered recipes is that the texture is dry or there is a lack of moistness.

This is because fat imparts a moist
and creamy texture to foods and baked goods. When all or part of that
ingredient is literally ‘taken out’ of a recipe, so is that wonderful
mouth-feel quality. 

If you ever try to play with the
fat in a baked good recipe, remember that the baking time and temperature may
have to be altered as well to retain moistness. Whatever type of fat substitute
you plan to use, remember to bake your fat-reduced cakes, muffins, and quick
breads at a slightly lower-than standard temperature – between 325 to 350
degrees F.

When using apple butter, replace
all or part of the butter, margarine, and other solid shortening in cake,
muffin, quick bread, and cookie recipes with half as much apple butter. If your
recipe calls for oil, replace all or part of the oil with three-fourths as much
apple butter.

Apple butter is readily available
in most supermarkets. You will likely find it stocked near fruit jams and nut
spreads.

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