browniesat is an important ingredient in baking; it helps make baked goods tender but sugar can do the same thing although in a different way. Tenderness is greatly influenced by the gluten content of the dough; the more gluten, the less tender the product. Gluten forms when gliadin and glutenin, proteins in wheat, are combined with water. Fat coats these proteins and the water can’t get to them while sugar binds with the water so it can’t hydrate the proteins. In either case, the result is less gluten and more tenderness.

You can’t eliminate all fat in a recipe but sugar can usually replace 1/3 to ½ the fat. You can use any fruit puree but applesauce is the most versatile. Pureed peaches, pears, or beets, and mashed bananas, white or black beans, squash, carrots, or sweet potatoes can also be used. The choice of the fruit or vegetable depends on such factors as color and seasoning so that the end product is both attractive and tasty. The best recipes for trying a substitution are muffins, brownies, cakes, and quick breads. Since fat also contributes texture and flavor , some baked goods such as shortbread and sugar cookies need the fat and a substitute is not a good alternative.

By Karen