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Just Desserts: Diet-Friendly Baking Tips

Decadent cupcakes, brownies, and cookies do have a place in a healthy diet. The secret: sneak tweaks that bring your baked goods out of guilt-inducing territory and into a whole new "light."
Beets "Beet" Your Sweet Tooth

"Beets add sweetness and moisture without taking away from the flavor," says pastry chef Marisa Churchill, the author of Sweet & Skinny. Add two-thirds of a cup of finely grated raw beets to brownie batter and you can reduce the sugar by a quarter cup.

Use Your Bean

When researchers served brownies made with pureed white beans in place of half the shortening, testers rated them just as tasty as their full-fat counterparts. To make the switch, pulse cannellini beans, black beans, or lentils in a food processor with a little water, then replace half the butter, oil, or shortening in your baked goods with an equal amount of the puree.