(BPT) - What are the benefits of baking from scratch? Mostly, it's fun, and your whole family can join in. On top of that, nothing tastes as good as fresh baked treats right out of the oven. For another bonus, it makes the whole house smell great. But perhaps the most important reason to bake from scratch is that you'll know exactly what’s going in everything you make.
Even when baking delicious treats, you can savor all the flavor while also looking out for your family's well-being. Choosing ingredients carefully makes all the difference. If you want to reduce your family’s consumption of artificial ingredients, here are tips for baking more natural treats this holiday season.
1. Choose natural sugar
Skip the refined white sugar and substitute the same amount of Sugar In The Raw, made exclusively from natural sugarcane grown in the tropics. The hearty, golden crystals are made from the first pressing of sugarcane and never bleached, so they keep the rich flavor and color of natural molasses. Available in bulk, the 2lb box or 24oz, 4lb or 6lb bags of granulated Sugar In The Raw will keep you prepared for your holiday baking blitz. The product is Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Vegan, naturally gluten free and Kosher certified.
Try this recipe for Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peppermint Glaze:
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 65 minutes Servings: 16
Softened butter for greasing pan
2 cups Sugar In The Raw, plus more for sprinkling in cake pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup white chocolate chips or 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Crushed peppermint candies (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Liberally butter a 10” Bundt pan. Place some sugar inside pan and rotate to coat evenly. Shake out excess.
2. In large bowl, whisk to combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
3. Add coffee, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean or with moist crumbs attached, 50-60 minutes.
5. Let cake cool in pan 15 minutes, then invert onto rack, removing pan. Let cake cool completely.
6. In small saucepan bring cream to a boil. Take off heat, add white chocolate, cover and let sit 5 minutes.
7. Stir until smooth, then stir in peppermint extract. Let cool 15 minutes.
8. Pour glaze over cake, letting it drip down sides. If desired, sprinkle cake with peppermint candies.
2. Use natural food coloring
For recipes needing colored icing or colored batter, you can now find natural food coloring on the market that uses 100% natural vegetable juices, rather than relying on artificial additives.
3. Try butter alternatives
While regular dairy butter provides a unique texture that other products can't always duplicate, you can substitute at least part of the standard butter in many recipes with other choices like vegetable oils, cultured organic butter, grass-fed butter, clarified butter (or ghee), or even coconut oil as more healthful alternatives. Experiment with a favorite recipe first to see what ingredients work best.
4. Bake with fresh produce
When you're baking pies or making other dessert recipes that contain fruit, opt for the best quality fresh produce you can find in your area. You, your family and guests will all notice the difference in taste.
Make your holiday baking tasty and wholesome this year by using the best natural ingredients available. You and your family will love your baked goods as much as you enjoyed making them.