By Candice Kumai, Chef and Author of Clean Green Eats
We all have a sweet tooth once in a while, there's no denying that! Why not up the power punch of nutrition in your baked goods, for a sweet treat that you can also feel good about? By mixing in these six surprising ingredients from your grocer’s produce aisles, you’ll boost the nutrition, moisture, texture — and most important, the flavor — of your favorite homemade treats.
Mash this rich source of monounsaturated fats and add to baked goods in place of oil or shortening.
Fresh, finely grated beets add colorful sweetness when blended into brownies or chocolate cake, such as Red Velvet, and can be a healthy replacement for artificial colors, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children. If baking a yellow or white cake, swap red beets out for golden
3. Kabocha squash
A Japanese staple. Deseed and steam squash cubes, leaving the nutritious skin intact. Then purée and incorporate into muffins or cakes for added sweetness and moisture, plus beta-carotene, which the body can convert to vitamin A. Can be a hearty replacement for pumpkin in seasonal pie.
Use antioxidant-rich canned pumpkin to enhance the flavor, moisture, color, and sweetness of cakes, muffins, or smoothies.
5. Sweet potato
Steam and purée this beta-carotene-rich root vegetable to bring natural sweetness and color to breads, cakes, cookies, and pies.
Finely grate this versatile veggie into breads, cakes, and cookies to add moisture, organic texture, and vitamin C to baked goods.
Candice Kumai is a classically trained chef, healthy lifestyle expert, and best-selling author of Clean Green Eats, Clean Green Drinks, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy and Cook Yourself Thin. She is a regular contributor on E! News and The Dr. Oz Show, and has appeared as a regular judge on Iron Chef America and Beat Bobby Flay. She contributes to food and lifestyle publications such as Cosmopolitan, Shape, Men’s Health, Clean Eating and Prevention, and volunteers at dozens of charitable organizations. She is a Top Chef alumni, and is obsessed with avocados, coconut, and her cat, Sisi. She lives in New York City. Be sure to pick up her newest cookbook: Clean Green Eats.