Reducing sugar in sweet treats

WHAT'S COOKING

December 08, 1993

Q: I'd like to reduce the amount of sugar in the cakes and cookies I make for my family. How much can I cut back and how will the end product be affected?

A: It is safest to start conservatively and decrease the sugar amount by about 25 percent. If you have satisfactory results you may be able to decrease the sugar by as much as 33 percent. This will take some testing, and cakes will be trickier than cookies. The product will, of course, taste less sweet. Other changes might include a slight decrease in tenderness of texture and a slower browning.

Q: How can I control a bowl from moving when I am working?

A: Try using a heavier-weight bowl made of glass instead of a stainless or plastic bowl. You can also try placing a damp towel underneath.

Q: I have trouble getting a flat, even cake. My cakes are usually high in the middle and low on the sides. Can you help?

A: Cakes may peak on top if the batter is thick from too much flour and too little liquid. Another possibility is you are overbeating the cake and creating too much air, causing the cake to rise too much and form a peak. Finally, an incorrect pan size may be the problem. A too-small pan will result in a deeper batter.

Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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