Try a healthy ingredient substitution: applesauce

Whether you’re baking for the holidays or making a birthday cake, there’s a good chance your recipe calls for ingredients like butter, shortening or oil. You probably realize that those ingredients are what keep your dish flavorful and moist, however, did you know you can cut most of those ingredients in half? Yep, it’s an easy way to reduce the fat and calories, just remember to replace them with a moist ingredient like applesauce, orange juice, or low-fat yogurt. You’ll also want to make sure your substitution will compliment the flavors of your recipe.

If you’ve never tried this method of ingredient substitution, check out this recipe for orange spice molasses cookies, which includes applesauce to keep the cookies moist.

orange spice molasses cookies
Photo courtesy of WebMD


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ cup light or dark molasses
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. To prepare the rolling sugar: Pulse 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest in a food processor until well combined. Place in a shallow dish and set aside.
  3. To prepare cookie dough: Grind oats in a blender until they look like a fine powder, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Beat butter and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest and beat another 2 minutes. Add molasses, applesauce, egg yolk, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, pepper and salt; beat on medium-high until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer to medium and slowly add the ground oats. Scrape down the bowl; with the mixer on medium, slowly add whole-wheat flour. (The dough will be moderately sticky.)
  6. Using a slightly rounded tablespoon of dough, roll into balls, then roll in the rolling sugar to coat. (If necessary, wet your fingers to help roll without sticking.) The zest will make the mixture slightly wet and it will clump; lightly brush off the excess so that just a thin coat is on the cookie. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies in batches until the edges are set and the tops are cracked, but the centers are still soft and puffy, about 10 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 8 minutes. Serve warm or cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information:

Makes: 40 cookies

Serving size: N/A

Calories 85, Fat 2 g, Carbohydrates 16 mg, Protein 1 g, Sodium 48 mg, Cholesterol 9 mg, Potassium 77 mg

Recipe: © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission. For more recipes go to

Source: WebMD

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