“Syrups like agave are popular ingredients for a gooey flapjack or a sticky ginger cake – but whether you opt for golden syrup, maple syrup, honey, agave or rice syrup they’re all classed as ‘free’ sugars – the type we should be cutting back on. Subscription offer: save 44% and receive a brand-new cookbook. I replaced the jam with St Dalfour jam (naturally sweetened with grape juice) and gave the buttercream a miss. The flapjacks didn’t hold together very well. It didn’t need it but, if you were desperate, you could add some lightly whipped double cream instead. We have plenty of ideas for sweet treats using the most popular sugar substitutes. You need to be prepared for some trial and error before you get your favourite recipe to work. As a result, it has become increasingly popular as a substitute to white and brown sugar. My second experiment adapted our apricot, honey & pistachio flapjacks. Armed with this information, I chose a few of our most popular recipes and substituted the ingredients. Magazine subscription – save 44% and get a cookbook of your choice. Despite its synthetic-sounding name, xylitol is extracted from hardwood trees and the fibres of some fruit and vegetables – it looks and tastes like sugar – although some people experience a slight after-taste. It is far less sweet than syrup or honey and the darker the molasses, the less sugar it contains. With fewer calories than refined sugar and a low glycaemic index (GI) it has less of an impact on blood sugar levels, which means you can enjoy that sweet taste without the resulting ‘rush’ that regular sugar gives you. Palm Sugar – The Health Benefits. Stevia is available as granules, tablets or in liquid form and is stable at high temperatures, so it can be used in baked goods and puddings. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. In the stores, palm sugar is available in the block, granular and liquid form.Palm sugar has been a common ingredient used in the preparation of traditional dishes in south and south-east Asian cuisines. All the remaining ingredients were exactly the same along with the oven temperature. Stir well and bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. It is a natural / unrefined sugar made from the sap of palm trees. (Alternatively, pound the paste until smooth in a pestle and mortar.) Palm sugar makes appearances in curries, desserts such as puddings and sweet snacks such as Indian peanut brittle, and adds some sweetness to the Indian dish sweet and sour bitter gourd, or karela. If you cannot find palm sugar, substitute sugar or brown sugar. Sugar substitutes offer a lighter way to enjoy a sweet treat, but there are a few things you’ll need to know before using them. Use them if you prefer an unrefined sugar but remember they are still just that – another form of sugar.”. So, what are the most useful alternatives to sugar? “I’m often asked about the benefits of some popular alternatives like agave and coconut sugar. Serve with steamed sticky rice. Fresh palm sugar juice goes into a refreshing Thai drink called nam taan sod. Kerry Torrens BSc. Stevia “If you’re worried about calories, try stevia. Sugar also keeps baked goods moist, so sugar-free versions may need to be wrapped before storage to prevent them drying out.”. One particular ingredient – nolen gur or coconut/ palm sugar, is the sweet makers’ secret weapon. First up, our 5-star rated classic Victoria sandwich. Baking is one of life’s pleasures, but if like many of us, you’re taking steps to cut the sugar in your diet, it shouldn’t mean an end to it. Instead of 300g light muscovado sugar, I used 150g agave syrup. As well as being calorie-free, stevia contributes nothing in the way of nutrition, so it’s what we call a non-nutritive sweetner – it supplies that sweet taste and that’s all.”, Syrups, coconut sugar, palm sugar and jaggery. You can use it as a substitute in many recipes [in a one-to-one ratio], but not those which use yeast as a raising agent. Since palm sugar is an unrefined sugar, it is known to be rich in vitamins and minerals. Palm sugar is a sweetener derived from any of a variety of palm trees. See our website terms and conditions for more information. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are needed for cell growth and repair. “If you’re looking for a substitute that will give you a straight swap for sugar, xylitol may be the answer. It is used in making curries, sauces and desserts. A thick, dark, heavy syrup which is a by-product of sugar refining. Traditionally, you would break it in a mortar. Made from the leaves of a plant that contains sweet-tasting compounds called steviol glycosides, stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so the amount you use is tiny in comparison. Add the potato, chillies, stock, coconut milk, tomatoes, lime leaves, star anise, fish sauce, The sugar has a mild caramel flavour and in its liquid form resembles honey whereas in the granular state, it is not much different in taste as compared to white sugar. Blend the ground spices with all the remaining curry paste ingredients in a food processor, until smooth and well combined. The result, a beautifully light cake with some colour. For the massaman curry paste, heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. A low GI indicates that the food is slowly absorbed, preventing the spike in insulin level. One word of warning: xylitol can have a laxative effect so go easy when you first try it – a slice of cake shouldn’t be an issue though. Tip 1: To remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, lightly crush them with the side of a knife, then tip them into a small container and discard the husks. Beer 52 exclusive offer: Get a free case of craft beer worth £24. This traybake turned out beautifully. I think a reduced amount and no honey would have worked better. Palm sugar is a sweetener that is made from the sap present in the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. I spoke to Good Food nutritionist Kerry Torrens who pointed out that, “Using sugar in baking isn’t all about sweetness – it also gives us that delicious texture and crumb, the lovely golden brown colour and it prolongs how long we can store our bakes. What do you think of them? Among all the things that Bengal is renowned for, the locals eternal love for sweets undoubtedly ranks at the top. Get clued up on other ingredients you can use in your bakes: Whether you’re looking for sweet substitutes, tips on how to cut back on sugar, or your recommended daily amounts, find all the answers in our sugar hub: All you need to know about sugar. To serve, spoon the Thai massaman curry into bowls and garnish with the extra Thai basil leaves, the sliced red chilli and remaining peanuts. Chill until needed, covered. Have you tried any alternatives to sugar in your baking? Since palm sugar is an unrefined sugar, it is known to be rich in vitamins and minerals. You will need to use a specially adapted recipe, though, because swapping the quantity of sugar for stevia is not a straight swap. “Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. I replaced the 200g caster sugar with 200g xylitol in the sponge batter; a straight swap as caster sugar doesn’t have a particularly distinctive flavour, unlike its brown relatives. That’s if your cake hangs around long enough! Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food. However, it is even healthier than agave because it has a lower fructose content. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves and half the roasted peanuts. Be warned, though, if you have a dog in the family, keep it well away from products made with xylitol – it’s highly toxic to our canine friends.”, Recipes using xylitol:Sugar-free lemon drizzle cakeLow-sugar chocolate sandwich cakeCinnamon apple pecan puddingMoroccan orange & cardamom cake, “If you’re worried about calories, try stevia. It has a low glycemic index, like agave. These ingredients are being used more and more frequently but don’t forget they’re simply sugar by a different name. Looking for a natural alternative to sugar in your cakes? It contains the same 16 amino acids as present in the sap from which it is derived. The sap from the tree is heated to wick away the moisture content until a thick syrup is obtained, and this sweet nectar is then further reduced to crystals. Add the onions and fry for 8–10 minutes, or until softened and light golden-brown. “Xylitol has another benefit – it doesn’t cause dental decay. Recipes using xylitol: Sugar-free lemon drizzle cake Low-sugar chocolate sandwich cake Cinnamon apple pecan pudding Moroccan orange & cardamom cake. What’s nicer than sharing homemade cake with family and friends? This article was last reviewed on 13 September 2019 by Kerry Torrens. Each originates from different botanical sources and each has a slightly different chemical composition, but both are processed in the same manner and are similar in their applicaAdd Newtions. Add half the curry paste (see tip). Palm sugar is commonly used in Asian cuisine. Fry for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant.