How to bake snacks and desserts with low calorie count
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Just because you've switched to a healthier lifestyle doesn't mean you have to bid goodbye to your favourite baked goodies. While all-purpose flour or maida is the basic ingredient in most baking, it can easily be replaced with healthier alternatives. Preparing your own batch of freshly baked goodies, instead of going for those readily available in the market, is another smart hack. This gives you more control over the quality and quantity of ingredients and doesn't come in the way of your healthy diet either. You can choose to cut down on proportions of certain ingredients, swap or skip unhealthy fats, use healthier flour and ditch the sprinkles, to steer clear of calories and yet indulge in your favourite baked goodies for snack time. Start experimenting with these baking recipes which are easy to make at home and are low on calories to satisfy your craving without killing your diet plan. 

Dalia whole wheat bread 
You may have already made the switch from white bread to brown bread but making whole wheat bread from scratch at home will give your healthy eating plan an instant boost. Before you begin to worry about the time and effort this may demand, did you know that you can easily make a loaf of whole wheat bread at home in less than 40 minutes? To make dalia whole wheat bread, you will need whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast, dalia, olive oil, lukewarm milk and water.

Begin by sieving a kilo of wheat flour and keep it aside. Pour 30 ml of lukewarm water in a fresh bowl and add 20 grams of yeast and 60 grams of sugar. Keep it aside for 5 minutes to let the yeast get activated. Now, add the yeast mix to the wheat flour. To this, add 200 grams of dalia and 50 ml of olive oil. Gradually add about 500 ml of water and knead the mix into a soft dough. Keep the dough aside for 10 minutes and then place it in a bread mould. If you like, sprinkle some oats over the dough and keep it aside for 45 minutes. Bake the loaf at 180 degree Celsius for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for another 20 minutes after which it will be ready to serve!

Oats Cookies 
Readily available cookies and biscuits from the market are a big no-no if you want to stick to your healthy eating plan. Instead, stock up on homemade oatmeal cookies that need just a handful of ingredients to make and will be ready in less than 45 minutes. To make oats cookies, you will need oats, refined flour, low-fat butter, vanilla essence and sugar-free substitute.

Start by mixing 5 grams of a sugar-free substitute in 150 grams of refined flour and sieve this mixture into 100 grams of low-fat butter. Add 40 grams of oats, some skimmed milk and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Mix these ingredients well to make a semi-firm dough. Refrigerate this dough for half-an-hour. Then, flatten the dough to make thick sheets with a rolling pin. Hand press a small bowl on the dough sheet to cut out circles or if you want to get creative, use a cookie cutter to make cookies of different shapes. Sprinkle some oats over them and then bake at 160 degree Celsius for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once cool, they will be ready to be devoured.

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Baked doughnuts 
Baked doughnuts are healthier and have a lower calorie count as compared to the traditionally-made doughnuts which are fried. If you're in the mood for a weekend of baking experiments, why not make your own doughnuts at home? To make the doughnuts, you will need refined flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil, skimmed milk, salt, icing sugar, cinnamon powder, mixed jam, coconut powder.

Begin by activating the yeast. Add 50 ml of lukewarm milk to 12 grams of yeast with a teaspoon of superfine sugar. Keep it aside to allow the yeast to activate. Now, sieve 500 grams of refined flour and add the yeast mixture. Add 40 grams of olive oil and 200 ml of skimmed milk to soften the dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it. Keep this aside in a warm place until the dough rises. To check if the dough is ready, press it with your finger. If the indention remains, the dough is ready to use. Upturn the bowl of dough onto a floured surface and flatten it out with a rolling pin. Keep the thickness at around half an inch. Cut the dough sheet using a dough cutter and place the pieces in a baking tray. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for about 12 minutes. For the garnish, mix 30 grams of icing sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and sprinkle it on top of the baked doughnuts. You can also pipe out some jam and top it with coconut powder.

Multigrain whole wheat pizza base 
If you love indulging in pizza topped with healthy veggies, why not go the whole nine yards by turning the regular pizza base into a multigrain whole wheat pizza base? To make it, you will need whole wheat flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, sugar, water and multigrain mix which includes wheat, oats, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and barley.

For a healthier pizza base, sieve about 500 grams of whole wheat flour and keep it aside. In another bowl, mix 10 grams of yeast, some lukewarm milk and 10 grams of sugar. Keep this aside for the yeast to get activated. After 5 minutes, add the yeast mix to the wheat flour followed by 8 grams of salt, 100 grams of multigrain mix and 25 ml of olive oil. Add about 250 ml of water and knead this mixture into a soft dough. Keep the dough aside for 15 minutes and then roll out into evenly sized discs. Keep them aside for another 30 minutes and then bake at 180 degree Celsius for about 5 to 7 minutes. Once your homemade pizza base is ready, spread some homemade pizza sauce over it. Sprinkle sprouts, corn, bell peppers, tofu as toppings and your healthy pizza is ready!

With inputs from chef Rubal Pupneja, Hotel Samrat, Delhi

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Quinoa honey loaf with virgin olive oil 
If you want to get a little creative, you can try this high-protein loaf with a nutty texture. To make low-calorie quinoa honey loaf, you will need flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, extra virgin olive oil, raw honey, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, almond powder, cooked quinoa, golden raisins, apricot.

Start by rinsing 350 grams of quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Add the rinsed quinoa to a pan with double the amount of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep it covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and keep it aside.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a large mixing bowl, combine 560 grams of flour, 12.5 grams of baking soda, 12.5 grams of baking powder and some salt. Pour in 300 ml of olive oil, 300 ml of raw honey, 280 grams of buttermilk, 4 eggs and 12 ml of vanilla extract. Use an electric mixer to blend the ingredients just until combined. Do not over-mix. 

Using a spatula, fold in 150 grams of almond powder, stir in the quinoa, and then stir in the mix of raisins and chopped apricots. Pour this batter into a greased baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. To check if it is cooked, insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake. It should come out clean but moist. 

To prepare the syrup, mix 280 grams of honey with 7 ml of almond extract in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Use a toothpick to poke holes throughout the baked cake and slowly pour this syrup over the cake. After a while, cut into the desired shape and serve it warm or at room temperature.

Recipe by chef Nelson Fernandes, Executive Pastry Chef - The Lodhi, New Delhi

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