7 genius baking swaps you can make to cut calories and fat

brownies with oil pan and plate

Some of these hacks sound downright crazy (avocados and tofu in brownies?!), but the results are just as delicious — without the guilt.

Use cream cheese instead of butter in chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Not only does this result in the fluffiest, chewiest cookies ever, it cuts the calorie count in half and drops the fat from 12 grams per tablespoon to 5. And here’s how to justify going in for cookie three: You’ll get more protein with each bite. One cup of butter has only 1.9 grams of protein, while a cup of cream cheese has 14.

Mashed avocado makes an excellent butter substitute

avocado guacamole

Fresh off the year of the avocado (it was shaved and stuffed and rolled , oh my!), but here’s a use for the green stuff that you might not have tried yet. If you swap half of the butter that’s called for in your recipe with mashed avocado , the calories will decrease drastically. Half a cup of butter contains 810 calories on average. Half a cup of avocado? 184.

Try tofu in your brownies

Brownies with butter pan and plate

Tofu is notorious for its mild taste, so it makes sense that it’d result in an almost unnoticeable swap . You’ll want to get the silken or soft variety and purée it, then use it to replace half the fat in your recipe on a one-to-one ratio. Try this hack with a super chocolatey brownies.

Sweet beets allow you to reduce the sugar


Raw beets are naturally pretty sweet — which you can totally use to your advantage when baking. Pastry chef Marisa Churchill told Fitness Magazine that adding two-thirds of a cup of finely grated beets to your brownies means you can decrease the sugar by a quarter cup. You can make beet cookies , too.

Replace oil with applesauce


This is the OG “skinny” baking trick . For every cup of oil called for, use three quarters cup of applesauce and check for doneness 5 to 10 minutes before the full bake time. The results of swapping just half a cup of oil for applesauce will blow your mind: A batch of brownies will have 913 less calories. That’s 76 per brownie!

Make a graham cracker pie crust using milk instead of butter

Graham crackers

Probably make thousands of southern grandmothers roll over in their graves, but pie crusts don’t actually need all that butter to hold them together. You could just reduce the amount by a couple tablespoons — or you could be a revolutionary and use milk instead. You’ll need to pack the crumbs down really tightly to prevent them from crumbling when baked.

Embrace the prunes in brownie recipes


You can say buh-bye to all of the oil in your recipe by swapping it for puréed prunes . (Skip doing it yourself and just pick up some jars in the baby food aisle of your grocery store.) The best ratio to stick to is three quarters cup of puréed prunes for every cup of oil. And since prunes are naturally sweet, you can cut the sugar in your recipe by a quarter.

Recipe by: Fine Dining Lovers


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