Baking with Alternative Sweeteners

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Maple Sugar, Brown Rice Syrup, and Date Sugar Can Be Used to Make Tasty Desserts

Baking with alternative sweeteners is a great way to enjoy desserts but without the negative side effects of sugar. It’s not widely known or readily accepted among mainstream medicine that sugar suppresses the immune system. The white processed sugar known as table sugar that is sold in most supermarkets is the least “healthy” of all sugar products. Evaporated cane juice is a less processed sugar product that you can purchase at natural grocery stores and some high-end supermarkets. While evaporated can juice is less processed than traditional table sugar, it has basically the same effect on blood glucose levels. Baking with alternative sweeteners can allow you to enjoy dessert with little expense to your health and well-being.

If you insist on using a dry sugar product in lieu of baking with alternative sweeteners I would recommend Rapadura by Rapunzel. Rapadura is an unrefined and unbleached whole cane organic sugar which still contains molasses. It can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for any recipe calling for sugar, but because of its dark brown color it might not be your best choice for light-colored cakes.

What are Alternative Sweeteners?

By now you might be wondering what alternative sweeteners are. I am going to provide you with information about a few alternative sweeteners that you can use to create amazing desserts. I’ll also provide you with some suggestions for baking with alternative sweeteners.

Baking with Alternative Sweeteners

There are both liquid and dry alternative sweeteners. Maple syrup is one example of a liquid alternative sweetener, and maple sugar is one example of a dry alternative sweetener. Maple sugar, as the name implies, is made from boiling maple sap beyond the point needed to make maple syrup. Baking with alternative sweeteners such as maple syrup and maple sugar provides a small improvement over using traditional table sugar; however maple syrup and maple sugar still fall under the realm of simple sugars and have a similar effect on blood glucose levels just as sugar does.

Maple sugar can usually be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for any recipe that includes sugar as an ingredient. When you are baking with alternative sweeteners such as maple syrup, you will usually substitute about ¾ cup of liquid sweetener in place of 1 cup of sugar. However, this usually requires you to adjust the liquid-to-dry ratios in your recipes such as using less oil or other liquid ingredients. It can take a while until you become familiar with how to modify favorite recipes using liquid sweeteners. To avoid disappointment, I recommend you try actual recipes that include liquid sweeteners on the ingredient list. Christina Pirello, host of the popular whole foods cooking show Christina Cooks, has a variety of cookbooks on the market which have delicious recipes using the liquid sweetener brown rice syrup.

What is Brown Rice Syrup?

Brown Rice syrup is a liquid sweetener that is actually a complex carbohydrate and is made from malted brown rice. It will not result in a spike in insulin levels and does not adversely affect blood glucose levels the way that sweeteners containing simple sugars do. The only drawback for most individuals is that brown rice syrup is about half as sweet as sugar. It will definitely take time for you to adjust to baked goods made with brown rice syrup. Even though they might not taste as sweet, you will quickly come to love the fact that you won’t have incredible swings in energy like you do after eating foods containing regular sugar.

Date Sugar

Date Sugar is a dry sweetener that can be used in place of sugar when baking. It is available at natural grocery stores such as Whole Foods and is a great alternative to table sugar. The downfall is that it costs a lot more, somewhere around $4 for about six ounces. You can make your own date sugar at home by baking dates in the oven then grinding them in a food processor. Date sugar isn’t a complex carbohydrate sweetener, but it does provide more health benefits than traditional sugar because it is rich in vitamins and minerals and high in fiber.

There are other possibilities for baking with alternative sweeteners not mentioned here including honey, agave syrup, and molasses. Baking with alternative sweeteners is not as difficult as it sounds, and with a little time and patience you can make scrumptious desserts that can be healthy as well.

While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!

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