Is your new year’s resolution to eat a bit healthier? Here is some information on healthier and natural sugars and how you can incorporate them into your baking this year!
Agave nectar (or agave syrup) is a natural sugar which is lower on the Glycemic index (blood sugar level) compared to refined sugars but is slightly sweeter in taste. Sap is extracted from the agave plant and then filtered and heated to break down the carbohydrates into sugars. There are 3 types of agave nectar; light, amber and dark, each getting stronger in flavour. You can also use it in vegan bakes as it is not an animal product (like honey). So how would you use it whilst baking compared to refined sugars? Here are our top tips on how best to bake with Agave Nectar:
- Line your tin as your batter / mix will be stickier than usual
- Bake on a lower temperature as it will turn a golden brown colour faster than if you were using other sugars
- Reduce the amount of other liquids in your recipe
- Mix in with other liquids and fats before adding to dry ingredients.
Collected from maple trees and then boiled and filtered, maple syrup is another natural sugar you can use in your bakes instead of refined sugars. Pure maple syrup is healthier than sugar as it contains additional nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids and is 100% natural. Baking with Maple Syrup is similar to baking with agave nectar, for best results; lower the temperature on your oven and reduce the other liquids in your mix.
Honey is another natural sugar you can use in baking; it is sweeter than sugar but contains double the amount of nutrients. Honey is rich in; potassium, vitamin B and vitamin C. Although a healthier alternative, it does contain more calories per tea spoon than sugar but as its sweeter you may use less of it. Again it is best to reduce your baking temperature and also the other liquids in your mix.
By juicing a sugar cane and heating the liquid, a dark syrup called rapadura is made. The benefits of using this instead of refined sugars are that it contains many minerals and vitamins and contains less sucrose. Rapadura when baked gives a rich molasses taste and has a nice dark brown colour. Therefore it is best substituted in recipes that use brown sugar such as gingerbread or carrot cake.
We’d love to hear what you’re baking this year and if you’re looking to substitute to healthier or natural sugars!