By mixing in these six surprising ingredients from your grocer’s produce aisles, you’ll boost the nutrition, moisture, texture—and most important, flavor—of baked goods.
- Avocado. Mash this rich source of monounsaturated fats and add to baked goods in place of oil or shortening.
- Beets. Fresh, finely grated beets add colorful sweetness when blended into brownies or chocolate cake, such as Red Velvet, and can be a healthy replacement for artificial colors, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children. If baking a yellow or white cake, swap red beets out for golden.
- Kabocha squash. A Japanese staple. Deseed and steam squash cubes, leaving the nutritious skin intact. Then purée and incorporate into muffins or cakes for added sweetness and moisture, plus beta-carotene, which the body can convert to vitamin A. It can also be a hearty replacement for pumpkin in seasonal pie.
- Pumpkin. Use antioxidant-rich canned pumpkin to enhance the flavor, moisture, color, and sweetness of cakes, muffins, or smoothies.
- Sweet potato. Steam and purée this beta-carotene-rich root vegetable to bring natural sweetness and color to bread, cakes, cookies, and pies.
- Zucchini. Finely grate this versatile veggie into bread, cakes, and cookies to add moisture, organic texture, and vitamin C to baked goods.