Colette's Blog

The Joy of Low Carb Holiday Baking

Colette-Heimowitz

Written by Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. on November 30, 2023.

Scientifically reviewed by

Jonathan Clinthorne, PhD Human Nutrition

November 30, 2023

Tried-and-true tips for low carb holiday baking and delicious, new holiday recipes.

Just because you live a low carb lifestyle does not mean you have to skip out on freshly baked holiday goodies. In this blog, I’ll unwrap the secrets to low carb holiday baking, including must-have tips for working with low carb flours, sweeteners that won’t spike your blood sugar and gluten-free binding agents that help your treats stay fluffy and moist. Then, you can practice your new low-carb baking skills with delicious new recipes for some holiday favorites.

Tips for Low Carb Holiday Treats

With these tips for baking holiday treats, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Essential Low Carb Baking Ingredients

Here’s a quick list of popular low carb baking ingredients used in many recipes:

  • Almond flour replaces wheat flour. Almond flour is ground from blanched almonds, providing a moist texture and rich, nutty flavor. It’s packed with protein and healthy fats and has a low glycemic index, making it a favorite for carb baking.
  • TIP: Because it’s gluten-free, almond flour doesn’t provide the same structure as wheat flour. It often requires more eggs or binding ingredients.
  • Coconut flour replaces wheat flour. Coconut flour is a dense, highly absorbent flour made from dried coconut meat. It’s high in fiber and protein but low in carbs. Its absorbency means you’ll use less coconut flour than wheat flour.
  • TIP: Add more liquid to your recipe, as coconut flour can thicken the batter. A common ratio is ¼ cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of wheat flour, and you can increase the eggs to add moisture.
  • Erythritol replaces sugar. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness close to sugar but with almost zero calories and carbs, and it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels. It tends to have a cooler taste.
  • TIP: Erythritol is less sweet than sugar, so you may need to use more to achieve the same sweetness level.
  • An erythritol, allulose and stevia blend is a new entry to the low carb sweetener market. It browns like regular sugar and reduces any cool notes from erythritol, aftertaste from stevia or metallic notes from allulose.
  • TIP: Use it as a one-to-one replacement for sugar.
  • Xanthan gum replaces gluten. It is a binding agent that helps mimic the effect of gluten, which is missing in gluten-free flours like almond and coconut flour. Gluten normally helps trap air, giving baked goods structure and fluffiness.
  • TIP: A little goes a long way. Typically, only ½ teaspoon is needed for every cup of flour to provide the necessary texture for the dough.  

What to learn more? Check out our extensive low carb baking guide for other low carb flours, sweeteners and flavor boosters.

Low Carb Baking Techniques

There are secrets to baking with different flours or preventing common issues such as overly dry or crumbly baked goodies. Here are some tips for baking success:

  • Let your eggs come to room temperature. This helps with even mixing and baking.
  • TIP: If you forget to take your eggs out early, put the eggs you need in a mug or bowl and let them sit in hot tap water for 10 to 15 minutes while you are getting the rest of your ingredients out.
  • Ensure you also allow your butter, cream cheese, and other fat to be at room temperature. This usually takes at least 30 minutes.
  • TIP: Cut butter into smallish cubes to help it soften more quickly.
  • Almond and coconut flours tend to clump. Sift them or use a fork to break up visible clumps before adding them to your recipe.
  • TIP: Store your flour in the refrigerator or freezer for a longer shelf life.
  • Both almond flour and coconut flour are more likely to burn, so if you use these flours when baking, watch closely.
  • TIP: Cover with foil if they look like they are getting more brown than desired.

Low Carb Holiday Baking Recipes

This festive collection of low carb holiday baking recipes will make your holiday treats a hit. Get ready to bake, share and enjoy every bite.

Keto Cranberry White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Cherry Hazelnut Biscotti

Low Carb Cranberry Cake

Holiday Gingerbread

Chocolate Yule Log

Colette-Heimowitz

Author

Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc.

Vice President of Nutrition & Education

Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. is a former Director of Nutrition at The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City. With 20+ years of experience as a nutrition expert, the NY Times best-selling author is the current Vice President of Nutrition & Education at Simply Good Foods Company.

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