The most important ingredients for baking without sugar are muscovado sugar and coconut blossom sugar, honey, rice syrup, erythritol, xylitol and dried fruits such as dates. Here are some explanations of sugar alternatives:
- Whole cane sugar is unrefined sugar made from sugar cane juice that is filtered, thickened and dried. Depending on the region of origin, the degree of grinding or the manufacturer, whole cane sugar is available under names such as Muscovado or Rapadura. The dark, caramel-like sugar visually resembles normal brown sugar, but it is only coloured industrial sugar. The light-coloured raw cane sugar is crystallised whole cane sugar that has been processed a little further. However, it still contains some minerals and vitamins.
- Coconut blossom sugar is the dried, ground nectar from blossoms of the coconut palm. The golden-brown, fine sugar has a low glycaemic index, i.e. low effects on blood sugar levels. It is as strongly sweetening as sugar, but tastes beautifully of caramel and malt.
- Honey is one of the oldest and most natural sweeteners of all. Besides fructose and glucose, it also contains minerals, vitamins and enzymes; however, some of the latter are lost during baking. Honey has varying consistencies and flavours – accordingly, the baked goods always taste a little different. Mild acacia honey is particularly suitable for baking.
- Rice syrup is also a very old sweetener and is made from cooked, fermented rice flour. The light and mild syrup has a slightly lower sweetening power than sugar. Rice syrup is also suitable for people with fructose intolerance.
- Agave syrup is the name of the filtered, heated and thickened juice of Mexican agave plants. It contains a lot of fructose and is sweeter than sugar. Agave syrup ensures a slower rise in blood sugar than household sugar; on the other hand, fructose is now also associated with many negative health consequences.
- Maple syrup has a comparatively intense taste. The thickened sap from mostly Canadian sugar maple sweetened like normal sugar. Maple syrup is available both light and rather mild and dark and strong.
The differences between white sugar and alternative sweeteners
Why bake without sugar? While natural sweetness from fruits and co. comes with valuable vitamins, trace elements, fibre or enzymes, normal white household sugar is the result of an industrial process in the course of which vitamins and trace elements are lost that were once in the sugar cane or sugar beet. Alternative sweeteners are not only much less processed. They also offer a more varied taste experience. But: Even if sweetening alternatives are somewhat healthier and more natural, sugar ultimately remains sugar and should be dosed rather sparingly.
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