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Food Network Star Duff Goldman Shares His Healthy Baking Tips

Photos: Courtesy of Charm City Cakes

Celebrity baker Duff Goldman has launched two cookbooks, “Ace of Cakes” (2009) and “Duff Bakes” (2015), and serves as a judge on Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship,” “Spring Baking Championship,” and “Kids Baking Championship.” His new book “Super Good Baking for Kids” is available for pre-order now.

We talked to Goldman about how home bakers can make delicious goods that are diabetic-friendly and health-conscious.

What are some of the best low-sugar substitutes for baking? 

Monk fruit seems to behave the most like sugar.

Can you share some ways to incorporate naturally sweet ingredients into baking? 

If you want to try and mess with a recipe and you want to use fruit as a sweetener, make sure to reduce the amount of sugar and liquid in that recipe. Also, add a pinch of salt to help make the fruit flavor bigger. You can totally add fruit to your recipes to add extra flavor, you just have to be careful of that extra liquid it adds to your recipes.

When baking for people who have dietary restrictions, what are some things you keep in mind? 

I think the biggest thing, for example a gluten-free cake or a low-sugar cake, is to keep in mind that it’s not going to taste like a regular cake you make — it’s going to be different. The texture and overall flavor will be different. But it’s still going to be awesome, because you’re making something from scratch, which is special because there aren’t a ton of options out there for people with dietary restrictions. 

As people become increasingly health conscious, what are some trends you are noticing in the baking world that follow this? 

Definitely gluten-free baking and flour replacers. I’m also noticing this with deep-fried foods; people are using almond flour for that. Low sugar baking is a little more difficult because of the chemical processes involved. In general, I think flour replacers are way ahead of the sugar replacers on the market.

Vegan & Gluten Free Shortbread Bars Recipe:

These are unbelievably delicious and ALL VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE, guys. They’re great for dialing down on those sweets, but still good for when you’re looking for a little something. You can totally experiment with different preserves, I like blackberry or blueberry, or if you’re feeling super adventurous, try whipping up some homemade preserves!

Makes 16 bars.

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) vegan butter or margarine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup fruit preserves
  • Sliced almonds, for topping
  • Options: To make in a non-GF/ vegan version, use regular butter and substitute equal amounts all-purpose flour for the rice flour and potato starch.
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan.
  2. With a hand or stand mixer, beat the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the flours, starch, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the “butter” mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Press two-thirds of the dough into the pan and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crust is pale light brown. Remove it from the oven.
  6. When the pan has cooled enough to handle, spread the preserves evenly over the crust.
  7. Break the remaining dough into little tiny pieces and drop them evenly over the jam. Top with the almonds.
  8. Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown.
  9. Cut into bars and serve immediately, while still warm, or store them in the refrigerator.
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