7 Alternatives to White Sugar
We all have heard that white sugar is not the best choice to use when cooking or baking.
So what is?
What are the top choices that the professionals turn to?
Here’s what some of the top pastry chefs are using.
- Brown Sugar: Raw, light and dark, this partially refined sugar is loaded with more minerals. Some of which are calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron, thanks to all the molasses. It adds more depth of flavor to foods. It gives a more interesting almost caramel taste rather than just sweet.
- Date Syrup: Fiber is your friend in this glossy thick syrup. It’s been the sweetener of choice in the Middle East since ancient times, maybe even biblical times. Unrefined and made mostly of puréed dates, the molasses-like syrup is less sweet than honey but more so than granulated sugar.
- Honey: Sticky sweet and touted for its anti-inflammatory quality and high amount of antioxidants, honey can also save your desserts from becoming dry. Honey is going to add moisture to any recipe, and knowing how to manipulate a recipe so that you can account for the honey is the fun in baking. And stop counting on the bear-shaped bottle on the shelves of your local grocery store. There is a whole world of honey out there! Buttery avocado, delicate clover, mild tupelo are just a few. Any one of them is simple to swap into your sweets. Use three-quarter cup of honey to every one cup of white sugar. In most cases, brown sugar can be used one for one.
Add on from one of my good readers reminds “that honey must be raw without any filler commercially added or any other ingredients if you are a diabetic”. Thanks, Fabiola at http://www.fabifabu.com/
- Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is underutilized and has great caramel flavor and lower glycemic index than white sugar, making it diabetic friendly. The camel colored grains long relied on in South and Southeast Asian cooking are made by collecting sap from cut coconut palm flowers and boiling off the water. They can be a bit pricey, but the conversion from granulated white to coconut sugar is a no-brainer (one to one), making cinnamon toast and matcha gingerbread cookies all the easier.
- Fruit Juice: Fleshy fruits, especially in season citrus, are basically sugar and water, and pastry chefs are taking advantage. Use apple juice, freshly made and reduced, and a lot of compressed fruits where the natural sugars are intensified. They’re a go to in smoothies and green juices.
- Maple Syrup: Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup, tapping trees and boiling down the sap for three-fourths of the world’s syrupy stock. Yes, you can do the usual pancake pairing. Maple mixed with confectioners’ sugar (and some salt, orange juice and zest) makes a great glaze for scones, pumpkin bread or any other pastry.
- Kokuto: Japan’s southernmost tropical climate is perfect for sugarcane. Considered by some the world’s healthiest sugar (and often attributed to the long life of Okinawans), Japan’s version of brown sugar comes from a painstaking process. Harvesting, pressing, boiling and stirring with a large bamboo stick yields the grassy, acidic sugar, perfect for testing out in chocolate chip cookies.
What sugars will you choose for that next recipe?
If you have liked this you may want to see my post on Diet Restriction Substitutions