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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Healthy choices from the Cafe Ridgewood cookbook

Published: October 14, 2011
Section: Arts, Etc.

The ambient scent of Bubbi Ethel’s house permeates the building of Ridgewood A on a daily basis, as my suite has begun a baking crusade this semester. It began simply enough with chocolate-chip cookies, a reasonably addictive treat that can be easily consumed every night. We only noticed our baking spiraling quickly out of control as we packed away our second 24-lb bag of flour neatly into Tupperware. Antiquing—throwing a handful of flour in somebody’s face—has become an Olympic sport here and thoughts of opening a Ridgewood bake stand have been popping up in our minds.

So far, we’ve mastered every type of cookie and muffin known to man: lemon squares, apple cake, berry crisp, banana bread, carrot cake, the list goes on and on. We may not be trained bakers but, through the pursuits of our stomachs, I can safely say we are culinary extraordinaires and have discovered new healthy alternative recipes that can entice any lover of baked goods without packing on the pounds. Here are some baking tips we’ve created that will make your desserts decadent, delicious and diet-friendly!

– Substitute eggs with any fruit with a high pectin content—think bananas, applesauce or blended fruits like smushed mango—to decrease the amount of fat and cholesterol.

– Substitute oil and butter with a non-dairy “fake” butter like Earth Balance in order to make cookies have a lower fat content. This will also make them parave.

– Split flour into half white flour and half whole-wheat flour to increase the fiber content and decrease the amount of chemically-enhanced ingredients.

– Opt for a darker chocolate or dried fruit when putting chocolate chips in your baked goods. This increases anti-oxidants and provides added benefits.

– Invite friends over. More people eating the final product means less eating for you, saving you from lots of calories and making the experience more enjoyable!

We made these discoveries as we were trying to justify our Ridgewood gluttony but they’ve actually turned out to be helpful not only for our hungry tummies but also for our fellow bakers. We wish you the best of luck in your baking pursuits and, if you don’t have an oven, feel free to smell your way to our suite and have a bite!