Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Natural Sugar - Part 5

Natural Sugar and Spice - CAN Really be Nice! Part 5
Guest Post By Regina
First read part one and part two and part three and part four

I've created a chart to make it easy to see and understand how we can use all the sweeteners we have discussed.
Sweetener            Ratio to 1 c. sugar      Decrease                   Add                    

Honey
2/3 to ¾ c.
Liquid by ¼ c.
¼ tsp. baking soda
decrease by 25 degrees
Maple Syrup
2/3 to ¾ c.
Liquid by 3 T
¼ tsp. baking soda
decrease by 25 degrees
Sucanat
Cup for cup
None
None
Keep same
Stevia
1tsp. liquid or
1/3 to ½ tsp. powder or check the back of your container to see what the company recommends.
None
Add 1/3c. of bulk per 1c. of sugar replaced. Use yogurt, applesauce, egg whites, smashed bananas, etc.
Keep same

Xylitol
Cup for cup
None
Absorbs a lot of moisture so add 1T of liquid.
Keep same
(Gina - Oops! The right hand column isn't showing up and I don't know how to fix it. The missing column lists the oven temperatures. For honey and maple syrup, decrease oven by 25 degrees. For the others, stay the same.)
Note: To replace corn syrup in baking or candy making, use a generous ¾ cup of honey plus 2-3 tablespoons of water to make 1 cup - for every 1 cup of corn syrup. 
 
These sweeteners replace white and brown sugar and corn syrup very well. In making icing and recipes that take a lot of 10x sugar, I have not found a good substitute.
****
Armed with these ratios, I did a test bake in the kitchen one wintry day. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and made four batches replacing the white and brown sugar with honey, Sucanat, stevia, and xylitol.

The cookies made with honey baked beautifully. They were extremely moist and soft and had a delightful flavor. 
 
The Sucanat cookies baked flatter but crispier and darker. It is hard to tell when they are done because of the darker color; be careful you do not over-bake.

The stevia cookies baked fat and very soft. 
 
The xylitol was my flop. The cookies baked flat and lost all shape; I think I added too much extra water. They had a shiny appearance and after sitting a day or two, began to be crumbly. (Xylitol worked great when I made a chocolate cake.) 
 
Now came the fun part; I HAD to eat cookies; it was part of my homework assignment!

(Just remember, even though these sweeteners are natural and better for you than white sugar, that doesn’t give you or Tommy free reign to eat all the baked goods you want. It doesn't put them in the same category with veggies and fruits. Honey, maple syrup and Sucanat will still add calories to your food and will affect your blood sugar levels.) 
 
To me, the honey cookies won hands down for flavor and texture. 
 
My husband disagreed and placed his vote on the Sucanat. He liked the crispy texture and the deeper flavor Sucanat added. 
 
Even though they flopped, the xylitol cookies were surprisingly good. I detected a slightly cool aftertaste in my mouth, but others in the family could not.

Stevia cookies looked nice, tasted very sweet, and were moist and soft. The drawback was the slight aftertaste, but even with that, I enjoyed the stevia cookies the most because they were sugar-free and were missing the calories honey or sucanat would have added. If you don't need to worry about calories- count your blessings!

Thanks for following along on this series on natural sweeteners. I'd love to hear your experience with using natural sugars in baking.

7 comments :

  1. Thank you, thank you for these informative posts on natural sugars. You've done much of the research for me.

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  2. Thank you so much for these posts. You answered a lot of my questions. And I LOVE this chart. I have been wanting to use more of these natural sugars but was totally unsure of how to substitute them and wasn't sure where to begin to research it.

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  3. What about molasses?

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  4. As long as you used pure unsulfered molasses,it would be a great choice. I would make sure it was not mixed with high fructose corn syrup. I have never used it as a sweetener except for sho fly pies, and over ice cream etc. so do not have much experience with using it as a sugar substitute. Since it is very strong in flavor, I wonder if you would want to mix it with honey or maple syrup so your baked goods would not be overwhelmed by the flavor and then decrease liquid if your recipe calls for any. Unsulfured Molasses contains a very high source of iron, so it is a great food to use!
    I'm sorry I don't have more info for you. I hope this helps a little and I will have to do some experimenting with it!
    Regina

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  5. i thank you as well for these informative posts on sugars! i've been gradually "improving" on the sugars we use, but i still have a lot to learn. thankfully, after reading your posts, i don't have quite as much to learn! =) also, i just read on a website where the blogger has made her own powdered sugar by putting sucanat through her blender. here's the link to the article~ http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/make-your-own-powdered-sugar-with-sucanat

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  6. after reading your very informative posts about sugars, i saw this about making your own unprocessed powder sugar. http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/make-your-own-powdered-sugar-with-sucanat thanks for your help on the sugar issue!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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