Pretty much everyday I meet someone who would like to switch from refined, white sugar to natural sweeteners but they all encounter the same old problem: how to replace it in recipes? Sure, it’s easy to dissolve some honey in the tea, but when we have to bake, things get serious.
Here is a guide to substituting sugar with my favorite products; the amount indicated is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar:
Honey 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup – all purpose especially raw desserts bases (lower oven temp by 25 Fahrenheit degrees when baking)
Stevia 1 tsp you may have to experiment to get the ratio right – great for baking, doesn’t melt well in liquid
Agave nectar 3/4 cup lower oven temp by 25 Fahrenheit degrees when baking
Brown rice syrup 1 1/2 cups good for hard or crunchy baked goods, very light flavor
Maple syrup 1/2-3/4 cup good for baking, desserts, sauces (lower oven temp by 25 Fahrenheit degrees when baking)
Xylitol 1 cup great consistency but does not work well in breads or hard candies
– when substituting a liquid for a granulated sweetener (e.g. using honey when the recipe calls for sugar), for every 1 cup of honey, subtract 1/4 cup of liquid from the recipe (that means also, for every 1/4 cup of honey, subtract 1 tbsp of liquid).
– when substituting a granulated for a liquid sweetener (e.g. using xilitol when the recipe calls for maple syrup or honey), for every 1 cup of sweetener, add 1/4 cup of liquid from the recipe (that means also, for every 1/4 cup of honey, add 1 tbsp of liquid).
After a lot of playing around creating sweets and desserts, my 4 top tips are:
– for the first time, try half the recipe only, so if it’s wrong, you limit the damage to half the ingredients
– start from a recipe already converted by someone else and then adjust it with your family secrets
– take notes of the adjustments you have done, at least next time you’ll know where to start from
– keep trying, if the first time didn’t come out perfectly, try again! Worse case scenario, the dessert is not sweet enough and you will have to add some natural jam / chocolate spread on the top. Sounds horrible…:P