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Dutchess_III's avatar

What are your thoughts on the idea of cutting back on certain ingredients in a dessert so it won't be so fattening?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46938points) April 10th, 2016

Eons ago my girlfriend used to make these awesome cookies at Christmas. It’s been 25 years since I had them so around Christmas time I got ahold of her to get the recipe.

I almost never make desserts (too many useless calories) so I was really looking forward to them. However, when I made them something was missing….something wasn’t right. It wasn’t like what I remembered. in fact, I didn’t eat more than 2 because they just weren’t right.
Then I noticed that it called for a cup of real butter, but only ½ a cup of sugar. I asked about that and she said yes, the original called for a full cup of sugar but she cut that in half so they wouldn’t be so fattening…... ?

I’m making them again today, using a full cup of sugar.

What do you think?

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38 Answers

LostInParadise's avatar

I am confused. Is the recipe that you were given, with the reduced sugar, the same as the one that was used to create the Christmas cookies? If so, why don’t the new cookies taste the same as the old ones?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, she started that a few years ago because she and her husband were putting on weight.

Jak's avatar

Substitute with Stevia. You will have the same bulk that way but significantly fewer calories.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s been my experience that attempts to remove or limit the decadent aspects in a dessert invariably result in disappointment and throwaway disasters. And it isn’t just true with desserts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Me too, @stanleybmanly. If you really don’t want the calories, don’t make the food!

@Jak with a cup of real butter, I don’t think the calorie reduction would be that significant, relatively speaking. And it isn’t the bulk, it was the taste.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t usually eat dessert but if the cookies taste great I might eat six.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@flutherother That’s about where I’m at now! If I actually make the decision to eat some, that’s what I sit down and do. And then I usually don’t eat for the rest of the day.
That extra sugar was definitely what was missing. Man, they’re good! I’ve had 5. I think I’m done now.
Tomorrow I shall donate them to the gals at the utility office or something.

Jak's avatar

@Dutchess_III there are 778 calories in one cup of sugar. 5 calories in a cup of stevia. The bulk of sugar to stevia is equal. This is important in bakjing, since changing the amount of a dry ingredient affects the consistency of the product, as well as how it bakes. Since there is the same amount of butter in both instances, the reduction of calories was from going from one cup to half a cup oif sugar. But half of 778 is still a lot of calories. I offered you a way to have the full sweetness with almost no calories. I can not imagine why you bring up the calories involved in the butter, since you did not propose to change that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Almost no calories…” are you crazy?! There are over 1600 calories in a cup of butter! Plus then you roll them in powdered sugar.

Anyway, Why would I want to change the calories in the butter? It wasn’t my idea to change the calories in anything in the first place.

Anyway, that extra half cup really made the difference. Those are the cookies I remember. But next time I’ll make a half recipe, because now I have all these cookies and I gotta get rid of them!

janbb's avatar

If I’m treating myself to a baked goody I want it the way it should be made. I’ll make up the calories elsewhere. But each to his own.

janbb's avatar

PS Freeze the cookies you don’t want to eat.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right, @janbb. What’s the point? It’s a splurge. I mean, if you eat desserts every day as part of your diet I guess I could see cutting back on the stuff that makes them so good….but again, what’s the point?

No, because they’ll just be taunting me from the freezer. Besides, I DO want to eat them, so I’ll take them somewhere else. Rehoming cookies. I’ve been doing that forever. Sometimes candy would end up in the house. I had the day care. I’d just yell out the back door, “I have candy!!!” and it would just disappear like magic!

Jak's avatar

^^ Your original post said nothing about butter, just the reduction of sugar. I am clearly not addressing butter, just pointing out a sugar substitute. Going from 778 calories to five is a saving of 773 calories.
I never said to change the calories in the butter. You brought that up after I gave you a sugar alternative which would give you all the sweetness without the calories of said sweetness.
Crazy? no. Courteous under continued discourtesy? Yes. All I did was address your ORIGINAL question; “What do you think?” I THOUGHT that you wanted to have a full cup of sugar but not the calories. I tried to point out to you that there was a way, I was not trying to re write the whole recipe and talk about the other ingredients. Just the sugar. Another time I will refrain.
Namaste.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, it wasn’t me who was worried about the calories. It was my friend, who gave me the recipe. Sorry for the confusion.

If I want to avoid calories, I just avoid the foods that contain those calories. I think it’s pointless to create something that is super yummy, then take out all the stuff that makes it super yummy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, and I’m an expert calorie counter too, BTW. Have been since the late 80’s. I know where all them little boogers are hiding! It’s such a part of my every day life that I hardly even think about it any more before I make my food selections.

Anyway, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, @Jak.

Jak's avatar

Copy. Thank you.

yankeetooter's avatar

I’d rather leave the recipe the same can just eat much smaller portions.

jca's avatar

My mom cuts the sugar in recipes all the time. Maybe by 25%.

JLeslie's avatar

It can be tricky with baking, because changing the ingredients can change the flavor, texture, how well it rises, how well it sets, depending on what you are making.

I do cut back on egg yolks often. If something calls for two eggs I might put one whole and one white. I cut fat in brownies sometimes using half the oil and apple sauce for the rest for moistness.

I rarely cut sugar, and when I do it’s never as much as half. I don’t do it for calories, because it isn’t enough calories difference to really matter, but I do it if I feel it’s too sweet.

If milk is in a recipe I often use lower fat milk. Skim can screw up a recipe if it’s where most of the fat comes from, but if there is other butter or oil sometimes skim will work. Also, evaporated skim is a great substitute for whole milk.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Growing up, down the street was a friend of my sisters whose mom was German. She made the BEST bread. When I was growing up she’d send over a loaf occasionally. Oh, so, so good. Long story short I reconnected with her daughter and asked what her mom’s secret was. She said she didn’t know for sure, but it was probably extra eggs, extra yolks. “She did that with everything,” she said.
She and her brother walked out of war torn Germany when she was just 13. I imagine protein was a priority.
Her daughter gave me the whole story a while back, which I saved.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t put any eggs in the bread I make. What kind of bread was it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um….really GOOD bread! I don’t know. I was a kid. It was heaven.

I actually tracked her down in the 80’s. after I got married. They were in St. Louis. She just kept saying, “It’s just a bread recipe! Nothing special!” She couldn’t tell me what was so special. She didn’t think it was special.

Some recipes call for eggs, some don’t. I usually put eggs in my bread. It depends on the texture I’m looking for.
I also use a dark lager for the liquid. I’ve been trying to duplicate her bread for all these years. Have yet to make some with the extra eggs tho. That may be the secret. I imagine it might mess up the cooking time, but we’ll find out!

ibstubro's avatar

Make the recipe as designed, or search for a less fattening dessert, IMO.

JLeslie's avatar

I know some bread recipes have egg. Challah, egg bagels, and more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro let’s clear this up. I’m not the one worried about the calories. My old girlfriend, who sent me the recipe, apparently was. I guess she makes them often enough that it’s a concern. Therefore, I was not going to make the recipe she sent me “as designed,” because it didn’t have enough sugar in it.
When I made them last night, I doubled the sugar and they are now what I remembered from all those years ago.
Are we clear now?

Well, sometimes I add an egg, sometimes not, @JLeslie. It just depends on what it is I want. I tend to tweak all my recipes to suit myself. Our German neighbor made the very best bread I’ve ever eaten and her daughter told me recently that she probably added extra eggs, or extra yolks or whatever, because that’s what she did with “everything.”

Soubresaut's avatar

When it’s just about flavor, I cut the sugar way back—most things taste too sweet to me, and it overwhelms the other flavors.

When it’s about texture, though, I’m cautious for the same reason as @JLeslie… the butter and sugar proportions (to each other, and to the other ingredients) are part of what gives cookies their crisp, flat cookieness.

Also though, depending on the recipe, there may be room to cut back. The recipe passed down my family calls for 1 cup butter to 1 cup granulated sugar AND 1 cup brown sugar. Cutting the sugar back to ¾ cup each doesn’t affect the texture, and makes the cookie somewhat less sweet (which I appreciate). Cut the sugar in half and the cookies no longer lay out flat. (Cut any of the butter and the cookies don’t lay flat.) So the way I look at it (not being a culinary expert), 1½ cups of the sugar in my family’s recipe are necessary for the baking process, and ½ cup was just additional sweetness.

Which is a long way for me to say—when it’s about the sweetness, I cut the sugar; when it’s about the texture, I experiment to see how much I can cut back while not affecting that texture.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m pretty sure yolk acts like a rising agent, so less yolk might mean a little flatter or denser. You can compensate with a mini bit more baking powder maybe, but that won’t compensate for the richness in taste the yolks add.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I….think the eggs actually create a little denser, richer bread, not a lighter bread. And I don’t user baking powder. I use yeast.

jca's avatar

Some recipes call for baking soda and powder (for example Irish Soda Bread and other quick breads like banana bread, pumpkin bread, blueberry muffins), and some call for yeast.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. I was only thinking of yeast bread because that’s what my German Lady Neighbor made when we were growing up. Tthat’s why the whole subject turned to eggs, anyway.

I make a mean banana bread, too, BTW. A recipe from the 1940’s that I’ve since tweaked.

jca's avatar

I love love love banana bread.

Dutchess_III's avatar

M. Me too~! Especially mine. Warm, dripping with butter. yum.

jca's avatar

I also like banana cake.

I like nuts in the banana bread. I like nuts in most breads.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, that’s where we part! I don’t like nuts in most of my food. It messes up the texture, IMO.

jca's avatar

Yeah some people tell me that. I guess I’m into a nutty texture. I also like chunks – chunky applesauce, chunky peanut butter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! Keep them nuts out of my ice cream! Oh gosh. I can not stand that. Ice cream is creamy, smooth, not crunchy!
Growing up I used to call them “things” in my food. I didn’t like “things” in my food.

ibstubro's avatar

Family anecdote:
About the time I was learning to talk, my mom left me at my aunt’s house for her to babysit, as my aunt’s daughter was only one year older. As a treat, she served us dishes of ice cream. Chocolate chip ice cream.
Story goes that I took one look at the ice cream, pointed to it, and said excitedly, “BUGS!”
@Dutchess_III

JLeslie's avatar

I was thinking of eggs not only in bread, but cakes and cookies too when I mentioned it helping baked goods rise. I’m not sure if it actually helps or not.

I think on the brownie mix I buy it says to add an additional egg to make them more cake like. Maybe I remember that incorrectly.

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