My baking is either going to become very dull, or more interesting, over the next few months, and I'm not sure which direction it's travelling in yet.
CT (Chief Tester, my son) has discovered that he has raised cholesterol levels. He's far too young to be tested as a routine event, but it's suspected that Hubs has the inherited form of high cholesterol levels, so his doctor advised that our children should be checked too. CT has no other risk factors for strokes or heart attacks - he's thin, doesn't smoke at all or drink a lot - so instead of starting on lifelong medication while still in his 20s, his doctor wants him to try a diet containing less saturated fat, for three months initially.
This doesn't mean a lot in terms of everyday meals - they can easily be adapted where necessary, and we eat fairly healthily anyway. CT's downfalls are a love of cheese, a tendency to eat a lot of meat (even at breakfast), and not being very fond of fresh fruit. I can do something about the first two, if not the last!
Baking is the major problem, of course - CT expects a piece of cake or a few homemade cookies as dessert every evening and perhaps more during the day at weekends. Obviously I can't carry on using massive amounts of butter in things I am cooking primarily for him, but it doesn't seem fair to expect him to cut out baked goodies altogether.
So the search is on for adequate replacements for butter. Olive or vegetable oil is the most obvious substitute, and the place where I chose to start. Finding recipes using oil isn't hard - knowing which sources I can trust may prove more difficult!
Fudgy Brownies from Allrecipes.com; brownies are one of CT's favourite cakes/desserts and this recipe had lots of good reviews - far outweighing the bad ones. It also used cocoa instead of chocolate, so would be even lower in saturated fat. The recipe was simple to follow and was mixed in just one bowl, so it was easy on the washing up too. I cooked the batter in a slightly smaller pan (8 x 12"), but it was still cooked in the recommended time, and made brownies which were the perfect height for me.
It's hard to define what was wrong with these, but they were a little below the 'very good' mark. The crust was fragile and very sugary; the flavour was OK, but had no depth - I think that a recipe using chocolate might give better results. The texture was the biggest problem I think - it looked moist and fudgy but didn't feel that way in the mouth - in fact it was crumbly and on the dry side rather than fudgy. Also the texture wasn't firm and dense as you'd expect with a good brownie - they felt quite fragile when handled - as if a hard squeeze would collapse them to nothingness. Overall, a worthy attempt, but I'm sure I can find better recipes.
If you have any tried and tested baking recipes with a low saturated fat content, which CT might like - remembering how fussy he is (not carrot cake, nor too much dried fruit) - please leave a comment and link, or contact me via my gmail address. Ideally I'm looking for recipes which will keep a few days, rather than things like fat-free sponges which need eating quickly.