I’ve loved to cook and bake ever since I was a child, but nearly 5 years ago, when I dove head first into the Trim Healthy Mama plan (read my testimony here), I traded in all I knew about working with all-purpose flour and white sugar for a whole new world of healthier baking with different ingredients.
It took some time for me to get comfortable baking with alternative flours and sweeteners, but through a lot of trial and error, I’ve come to love baking the Trim Healthy Mama way even more than I previously enjoyed baking off-plan. There are few kitchen experiences more wonderful than making a scrumptious cake that not only looks and tastes divine, but does your body good, too.
If you’ve been disappointed trying to bake on-plan, I hope these tricks will eliminate the learning curve.
Here are my top tips and tricks for successful Trim Healthy Mama baking!
Cookies and baked goods made with Trim Healthy Mama approved sweeteners are not nearly as shelf stable as baked goods made with sugar. They should be stored in the fridge or freezer in an air tight container.
Trim Healthy Mama baking tastes the best the next day. This gives alternative sweeteners a chance to lose any cooling effect or aftertaste.
Trim Healthy Mama baking is typically much more filling than traditional baking with empty carbohydrates. It contains more protein and fiber, and the ingredients are usually more dense, so you can serve smaller pieces and get more servings out of a recipe!
For fluffier cakes, I use a stand mixer to whisk the eggs for a solid 5 minutes until they’re very light and airy before adding in my dry ingredients.
Less is more when it comes to alternative sweeteners. Trying to increase the sweetness of a baked good by adding more stevia or a sugar alcohol typically results in an unpleasant aftertaste or cooling effect. It’s important to follow recipes as they are written for the right balance. Adding a pinch of salt or extract can enhance the flavor of a recipe without increasing the sweetener.
Trim Healthy Mama Xylitol
Xylitol tastes the closest to sugar, in my opinion, and measures nearly the same (I use approximately 3/4 cup of xylitol for every cup of sugar). It also has a nice, granulated consistency (a bit larger than real sugar), which gives volume and substance to baking. Some people use a coffee grinder to decrease the size of the granules, but I never have. Xylitol doesn’t dissolve quite as well as real sugar though, so you will need to whip or beat it longer in your recipes to get it fully incorporated. As much as I love using xylitol, it is not a good choice if you have pets; it can be fatal to furry animals. Xylitol can also cause digestive distress in some people if they consume excessive amounts.
Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet
If I could purchase Trim Healthy Mama’s xylitol-free Gentle Sweet locally (shipping is very expensive in Canada), this would be my sweetener of choice. You can use it in any recipe that calls for xylitol, but in half the amount. It also adds necessary substance and volume to baked goods.
Trim Healthy Mama Super Sweet
Trim Healthy Mama Stevia
Super Sweet and stevia are great choices if money is tight. These sweeteners are very potent, so you only need a very small amount. Super Sweet can replace xylitol in 1/4 of the amount (or 1/2 the amount of Gentle Sweet). Stevia can be tricky to use in baked goods because it lacks volume and has a very detectable aftertaste if you use too much. It’s better saved for things like puddings, custards, mousses, and sauces. Adding a pinch of salt when you use stevia will cut down on or eliminate its aftertaste.
Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend
Trim Healthy Mama-friendly baking blends tend to be more thirsty and drier than whole grain flours, so you cannot substitute cup for cup with all-purpose or whole wheat recipes. THM flours are also missing the gluten that holds wheat-based recipes together. This means that, when substituting with a THM-friendly Baking Blend in an off-plan recipe, you will need to add more liquid (ex: eggs, butter, coconut oil, or nut milks for S; egg whites, nut milks, 0% fat Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, mashed banana for E), and you’ll need a binder (like eggs or egg whites, xanthan gum or gluccie, pysllium husk, oat fiber, or whey protein powder) to keep your baked good from falling apart.
If you can’t afford the Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend (a Fuel Pull flour suitable for all baking fuels), you can make your own by using equal parts of coconut flour, almond flour, and golden flaxseed meal. However, this substitute is an S and will turn your E baked goods into Crossovers. Alternatively, Briana Thomas has a Fuel Pull baking blend recipe with a few more specialty ingredients that you can also make yourself.
Lily’s Chocolate Chips
Lily’s and Trim Healthy Mama chocolate chips are wonderful, convenient, sugar-free chocolate chips that work well in recipes, but if finances are tight or you have a large family, chopping up a bar of 85% Lindt chocolate, or melting down unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate squares, adding in your own sweetener, and pouring the mixture into a chocolate chip mold or honeycomb shaped silicone trivet is an easy, frugal alternative.
Almond flour is on plan as an S ingredient, but be careful of using it in large quantities as it is very calorie-dense and too much of it may cause a weight loss stall for some people. You can often replace 1/2 a cup of almond flour with 2 Tbsp of psyllium huskor 2 Tbsp of coconut flour.
Coconut flour is also on plan as an S ingredient. It is a very absorbent flour, so you will only need a small amount in recipes that call for it. It’s very hard to substitute for coconut flour in recipes because of its unique thirsty properties, but sometimes you can replace half a cup of coconut flour with 2 Tbsp of pysllium husk mixed with 1/2 cup of almond flour.
Pysllium husk is extremely high in fiber and can absorb a lot of liquid. It has a tendency to gel, and works well as a binder, holding dough together much like the gluten in wheat flour does. You only need a very small amount (1-2 Tbsp) in a whole batch of dough. It is carbohydrate-free. You should be able to find it in the laxative or supplement aisle of your grocery or health food store.
Trim Healthy Mama Oat Fiber
Oat Fiber is a carbohydrate-free ingredient that is nearly impossible to purchase locally, but you can buy it online and use it to flour your pans, and as a fiber-enhancer and moisture-absorber in homemade baking blends.
Xanthan Gum and Glucomannan are interchangeable in recipes. They act as thickening agents and binders. You can use them in sauces and puddings you might have previously thickened with white flour or corn starch, but you will need much less with these two. Glucomannan (or “gluccie”) tends to be slimier than xanthan gum.
Trim Healthy Mama Gelatin
Gelatin is such a wonderful and interesting ingredient. In addition to being a relatively tasteless, dairy-free source of protein, it has the ability to set liquids into delicious desserts and treats that are firm enough to slice. You can read more about it and find 44 Trim Healthy Mama-friendly gelatin recipes here.
E baking can be tricky since little to no fat is used. I’ve found the best fat-free ingredients to use for moisture are egg whites, unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin puree, 0% fat Greek yogurt, nut milks, and mashed bananas.
Trim Healthy Mama Pristine Whey Protein Powder
Trim Healthy Mama Collagen
Aside from giving baked goods a protein boost, protein powder and collagen can often act as a Fuel Pull flour and a lifter in Trim Healthy Mama-friendly cakes, breads, and muffins. Example: Candy-Cane Cake from Grace-Filled Homemaking.
Egg yolks can accumulate quickly on Trim Healthy Mama since only the whites can be used in Fuel Pull or E dishes. My favorite use for extra yolks is turning them into these Lemon Squares which use up 7 of them!
Pure Vanilla Extract
Pure extracts are a big part of Trim Healthy Mama baking and beverages, so they are well worth investing in. I can hardly wait until Trim Healthy Mama’s Natural Bursts line of extracts becomes available (which should be very soon!). The extracts I use most are:
Coconut oil, eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and butter are readily available and essential Trim Healthy Mama-friendly baking ingredients. In most recipes, you can replace butter with coconut oil and heavy cream with canned coconut fat for dairy-free alternatives.
Trim Healthy Mama Himalayan Salt
Baking soda, baking powder, and salt are regular baking ingredients that you can still use with any Trim Healthy Mama Fuel type. Consider switching from refined salt to Himalayan salt and from regular baking soda to aluminum-free to increase the nutritional benefit of your baking and decrease the toxicity.
I hope that was helpful to you! If you have Trim Healthy Mama baking related question that I didn’t address, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer. 🙂