Q: I always cut back on sugar in cookie and cake recipes. Sometimes that affects the texture. Is there anything that can be added to the ingredients to compensate for that?
— Gigi Sesti, Middletown, New York

A: In addition to sweetness, sugar adds moisture to baked goods. The granules add bulk to recipes, and reducing them will affect the overall structure and texture of the finished product.

It’s also the caramelization of the sugar that helps baked goods to brown.

Reduced-sugar items often are tough, dry and pale.

Generally, you can reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe by 25 percent without too much trouble. That would mean using ¾ cup instead of 1 cup in a recipe.

You might also consider using a sugar substitute formulated for baking such as Splenda, in a half-and-half ratio.

To replace moisture, you could add some applesauce. How much, however, will depend on the recipe, its size, and how much sugar you are removing.

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