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Comparing the Effects of Fat and Flour Substitutes on the Quality of Baked Goods

Kileigh Chapman
Russel Sage College

Comparing the Effects of Fat and Flour Substitutes on the Quality of Baked Goods

There are numerous types of fats that are used in many different food products for various
functions. Different types of fats include butter, margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils. They
are used as spreads on bread products, shortening or tenderizing ingredients in baked products,
emulsifiers, flavoring agents, and as a cooking medium in deep fat frying (Walter & Beathard,
2015). Fats can provide color, flavor, texture, and tenderness to their products (McWilliams,
2016). For example, butter will provide a yellow or creamy color to its product (McWilliams,
2016). Many companies are adding beta carotene to margarine and shortening to stimulate the
color of butter (McWilliams, 2016). Fats also contribute the rich flavor and mouthfeel to
products. Each fat product has their own unique flavor. Some margarine and shortening products
will have synthetic butter flavoring added to it (McWilliams, 2016). Fat also gives pastries that
flakiness of the crust from the distribution of fat globules in the dough (McWilliams, 2016). The
different fats will have a different shortening power that contributes to the tenderizing effect of
that fat (McWilliams, 2016). Fats and oils are used for a cooking medium because they can be
heated above the boiling point of water (McWilliams, 2016). Certain types of fat are better for
deep fat frying because of their smoke point. Smoke points of fats are when the fats start to
decompose (Walter & Beathard, 2015). In baked goods, substitutions can be made for part of
the fat or for all the fat in the recipe (Walter & Beathard, 2015). Common substitutes for fat
include fruit purees or flavored oils (Walter & Beathard, 2015). The functions of fat need to be
considered when making substitutions for fat in baked goods.

In this lab, brownies will be made with different fat substitutes and flour substitutes and
then compared to the basic recipe for brownies. The substitutes will include applesauce, prunes,
black beans, and cornstarch. The purpose of this lab is to evaluate the differences between foods
prepared with fat and the food prepared with a fat substitute. The second purpose of this lab is to
evaluate the differences between substituting flour with a gluten free alternative such as
cornstarch and comparing it to the basic recipe for brownies. Other goals of this lab are to gain
experience preparing baked goods with alternative ingredients. The expected outcome of this lab
is that the substitutions will produce an altered appearance, flavor, and texture to the brownie.
The lab was conducted by following the procedures in Understanding Food Principles
and Preparation: Lab Manual, Unit 15, Procedure F (Walter & Beathard, 2015). The basic
recipe for brownies was followed and then evaluated and recorded for appearance, flavor, and
texture. The applesauce variation was prepared following the basic recipe for brownies, except
substituting the applesauce for the margarine. The results for the applesauce variation were
observed and recorded in the table. The second variation was done by following the basic recipe
for brownies but substituting the prunes for the margarine in the recipe. The results were
evaluated and recorded in the table. The third variation was the black bean brownies following
the recipe in Attachment 1. The results for the black bean brownies were also evaluated and
recorded in the table. The final recipe variation was the gluten free brownies following the recipe
in Attachment 2. The results were evaluated and recorded in the table.


As seen in Table 1, the basic recipe for brownies produced a brownie that was flat and
light brown in appearance, had a buttery flavor and was less chocolatey, and had a chewy
texture. The applesauce variation had a dark brown appearance, apple flavor, and cakey texture.
The baby food prunes variation had a light brown appearance, sweet flavor, and chewy texture.
The black bean recipe produced a brownie that was very dark brown, dull, and flat appearance,
very chocolatey flavor, and a smooth and creamy texture. The last variation was the gluten freecornstarch recipe and it produced a spongey appearance, chocolatey flavor, and chewy and
spongey texture.
Table 1- Comparing Fat Substitutes and Flour Substitutes of Brownies
Brownie Variation
Basic Brownie
Flat, light brown
Butter, less
Baby Food Prunes
Black Bean

Dark brown
Light brown
Very Dark brown

Very Chocolatey

Smooth, creamy

Gluten Free-

Dull, Flat


Chewy, spongey


Any substitution to a recipe will affect the outcome of the product in some way.
Even if the substitution is in the exact quantity for the ingredient its substituting for it
may alter the outcome. When substituting for ingredients the function of the ingredients

needs to be accounted for. Fats will provide color, flavor, texture, and tenderness to their
products and recipes (McWilliams, 2016). These characteristics need to be considered
before choosing a substitute. The original recipe for the brownies had a rich, buttery
flavor with a chewy texture. When substituting applesauce for margarine the flavor and
texture needed to be considered. The brownie tasted like applesauce and was cake like.
When substituting the prunes for margarine it had a sweet flavor but the texture was still
chewy. This would be a good product for someone who enjoys those characteristics.
When using black beans, the brownie had a lot of chocolate flavor but was not chewy like
the brownie but rather smooth and creamy texture. If a client has a gluten free sensitivity,
the gluten free recipe was close to the original recipe. It did however have a spongey
texture compared to the original. As expected, each brownie substitution had an altered
appearance, flavor, and texture when compared to the original recipe. When suggesting
ingredient substitutes to individuals the functions of the fats should be addressed.

Walter, J.M., & Beathard, K. (2015). Understanding food principles and preparation: Lab
manual (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
McWilliams, M. (2016). Foods experimental perspectives (8th ed.). Upple Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Education, Inc.

Attachment 1

Dark chocolate and black bean brownies

Yields 10-12 servings

1 15-5 oz. can black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained

1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup + tablespoon unrefined sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon
i_nstant coffee
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/ 3 gup_dax.k-ekeeelate-ckips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper in a 8x8" baking pan. This
will be your security blanket to make sure the brownies don't stick to the pan!!
Place all the ingredients except chocolate chips and walnuts in a food processor or
blender and pulse thoroughly until smooth and well combined.
Pour batter in the baking dish. Top with nuts and chocolate #ips. Bake for 30-35
minutes or until the top is dlY and edges begin to pull away from the baking dish.
Cool completely before cutting.
Adapted from all recipes

Attachment 2

Gluten-Free Fudgy Pecan Brownies

Skipping wheat flour doesn't have to mean forgoing decadent baked goods. These
rich, nutty brownies are irresistible and easy to make.

PREP: 20 mins

TOTAL TIME: 50 mins

YIELD: Makes

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup cornstarch (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Here's the Scoop

Cornstarch helps give these brozvnies structure, just as the gluten in

flour would. Spoon and level it in a measuring cup.


1 . STEP 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan
and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
Whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. In a large
microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and chocolate in 30-second
increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
Add cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and
begins to pull away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes. Stir in pecans.
2. STEP 2
Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in
center comes out '*ith a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes,
rotating pan halfivay through. Let cool completely in pan on a wire
rack. Using paper overhang, lift cake out of pan and cut into 16

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