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The wide-spread availability of white sugar is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, sugar only existed in certain areas. Even after it started being traded across Asia and Europe in the 8th century AD, it was still extremely expensive and limited only to royalty and rich merchants.
Many of today’s bakers try to avoid refined sugar in their cakes and cookies due to health concerns like diabetes. If you’re trying to create delicious desserts without the tempting white granules, try these tricks for making substitutions.
Unless you can’t handle any form of sugar due to blood sugar concerns, natural alternatives are best because they offer more digestible forms of sugar mixed with vitamins and minerals.
Brown Rice Syrup
This product works 1:1 when the recipe calls for a liquid sweetener. If you’re using a recipe calibrated for dry sweeteners like granulated and powered sugar instead, drop the amount by a single tablespoon for each cup. This translates to a single teaspoon if you’re only supposed to use 1/3 of a cup of dry sugar.
Unlike other liquid sweeteners, 1/2 cup of honey translates into 1 cup of dry sugar. You’ll also need to reduce at least 1/4 cup’s worth of other liquid from the recipe to get the same consistency in the finished baked goods.
You’ll need more agave syrup that sugar because of the reduced sweetness. Try 1 1/4 cups of this syrup for every cup of sugar, then drop a tablespoon or two of liquid from the recipe.
Most products, if they’re designed for baking, substitute at a straight 1:1 ratio. Check the packaging for exact ratios since each product contains a different amount of sweetener and base filler.
When even natural sucralose is out of the question, you’ll need to turn to the artificial products based on sugar alcohols.
Avoid this product when baking sweet treats. Even in small amounts, the aftertaste is very unpleasant, especially after being heated up and cooled again.Aspartame – Again, this product isn’t heat stable enough to withstand the rigors of baking. Stick to using it in glazes, frostings, and other unheated toppings for your cakes instead of mixing it into the batter.
Commonly sold under the brand name of Splenda, this is one of the few artificial products available for baking. A 1:1 ratio works fine, but most people find the taste more palatable with only about 75% or 50% of the usual amount of sugar replaced with sucralose.
Experiment on your own to see what type of sweeteners you prefer the most for your cookies, pastries, and cheesecakes. You might find that combining a low glycemic index natural sugar with an artificial product provides a more stable glucose response without adding noticeable after tastes to the treats. You should also reduce the oven’s temperature by 20 to 40 degrees while baking since most of these substitutes cause foods to brown faster.