Paula Deen vs Scroungelady: cut the fat

Today’s lesson – how to decrease fat content in recipes and still have something worth eating.  Back in my recipe gunslinger days, I was tasked with 6-8 recipes/day  to make work in a mass quantity setting or not.  It was interesting to see ingredient proportions shift over the 10 year period I was involved with recipe development.  As a general rule you can decrease the fat content of recipes by 25-30% and not miss it.  Some fat is necessary but not as much as you think.  Let’s compare Paula Deen’s 2011 blueberry muffin recipe and a 1971 blueberry muffin recipe.

Paula Deen’s Blueberry Muffins (makes 12)               1971 recipe (either from Joy of Cooking or Betty Crocker, not sure which)

2 cups all-purpose flour                                                                    2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar                                                                                      1/4 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons baking powder                                                        1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter                                                                     1/4 cup oil

1 egg                                                                                                     1 egg

3/4 cup milk                                                                                       1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cup blueberries                                                                        1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

Paula’s has no salt, which really isn’t a good thing.  Salt helps control the reaction between the baking powder and the sugar.  The leavening power of the baking powder will be compromised.  Not inedible, but it will have a dense texture.  Anyway, compare nutrients: Paula Deen muffins have 197 calories and 8 grams of total fat, 5 grams saturated fat.  The 1971 muffins have 162 calories, 5 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat.

If you want to give it a try, whip out your calculator and multiply the amount of fat in a recipe by .3  Or if you want to be conservative, multiply by .25   For Paula’s recipe above, that’s  8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) X .3  = 2.4 Tablespoons.  You can round up to 3 tablespoons or make the amount 2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons ( approximating one-half tablespoon).  The result is a muffin pretty darn close to the old “slightly sweet” muffin of past days, not the cupcake in disguise we have today.

It sounds more complicated than it is.  You also can do the math in your head and get a workable answer.  I had to be more exacting ‘cuz it was my job.

Let me know if you’ve got questions.  Next post, biker chili cook-off.  Class dismissed.

The Midnight Rider does not like chili

The Midnight Rider does not like chili

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