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Sugar substitutions in cooking

lady_mishegas asks, I answer.

From the Measurement Conversions page of Karen's Kitchen

Sweetener Equivalents for 1/2 Cup of Sugar

Agave Nectar: 3/8 cup (reduce other liquids by 1/3)
Barley Malt: 1 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar 1/2 cup
Corn Sweetener 1/2 cup
Date Sugar: 1 cup
Fruit Juice Concentrate: equal to sugar (reduce other liquids by 1/3)
Granular Fruit Sweeteners: equal to sugar
Honey: 1/3 cup (reduce other liquids by 1/3)
Maltose (from sprouted grains): 1 1/4 cup
Maple Syrup: equal to sugar (reduce other liquids by 1/3)
Molasses: 1/3 cup
Raw or Organic Sugar: 1/2 cup
Rice Syrup: 1 1/4 cup
Sorghum Syrup: 1/3 cup
Splenda: 1/2 cup
Stevia Powder (SweetLeaf Brand) 1 Tbsp.
Stevia Liquid (Sunnydew or Sweetleaf Brands) 1/2 tsp.
Sucanat: equal to sugar
Turbinado: 1/2 cup

Here are some definitions of the various sweeteners, but the reality is, even though the raw ones have SOME nutritive values, it really isn't very much...!!!

Agave Nectar
Agave nectar comes from the agave plant, which grows naturally in the desert southwest and is found abundantly in Mexico. The plant itself is a succulent that looks a bit like a pineapple. The nectar of this plant is obtained by pressing the leaves of the agave plant. Agave nectar, or syrup, is about 50% sweeter than table sugar but has a low glycemic index. While it's not considered a "free" food for diabetics, it can be part of a diabetic's diet if counted as a carbohydrate. It's a wonderful alternative for honey for vegans.

Barley Malt
Barley malt is made from sprouted barley. It's a thick brown syrup that has a taste similar to molasses. It can be used as a substitute for molasses or other sweeteners. It's about half as sweet as table sugar, so you'll need to adjust amounts to taste. It can be combined with maple syrup in recipes to yield a sweeter result. It contains complex carbohydrates as well as minerals and protein. You'll need to adjust the other liquids in the recipe DOWN to accomodate the added liquids of the Barley Malt.

Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice and has a slightly butterscotch flavor. It's about half as sweet as table sugar and can be used in recipes like other sweeteners. It can be combined with honey or maple syrup to yield a sweeter result. When using in a recipe, reduce the liquid by about 1/3 from other liquid ingredients.

Date Sugar
Date sugar is made from dates and comes in a granulated form. Date sugar is a course, brown granule that can be used instead of table sugar. However, date sugar burns easily, so use caution in recipes where high temperatures or long cooking time (stove top or oven) come into the picture. Date sugar contains complex carbohydrates and is fairly high in folic acid.

Honey is made by bees, which extract nectar from flowers. The color of honey depends on the plants from which the bees extract nectar - the color can be a light golden color to a rich dark golden brown. It is about 20-60% sweeter than table sugar, so you should adjust your measurements accordingly. Honey contains complex carbohydrates and some proponents believe that consuming honey from your local area may help reduce seasonal allergies, if those allergies are related to local plant pollen.

Maple sugar
Maple sugar is the granulated product made from maple syrup, which comes from the sap of maple trees. Maple sugar is a coarse light brown sugar that has roughly the same sweetness as table sugar. It contains complex carbohydrates as well as calcium and potassium. It can be used in recipes as an equal replacement for sugar. I'm quite fond of Maple sugar which has that exotic taste of maple, put measures like sugar. When I make waffles, I will sprinkle a small amount on the TOP of the batter before closeing the lid in the waffle iron, which your tongue will taste, but requires less to make your tastebuds happy than adding it to the entire batter.

Maple syrup
Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and is a rich, deep golden brown color. It is about as sweet as table sugar and less sweet than honey. It can be used in recipes where sugar is called for and can be combined with other less sweet sweeteners (brown rice syrup, barley malt) for a combined flavor that's both pleasing and unique. Like maple sugar, it contains complex carbohydrates, calcium and potassium. Maple syrup comes in different grades. Grade A Amber is a light syrup with a mild flavor often used for making maple candy. Grade A Medium Amber has a slightly stronger maple flavor and is most often used as table syrup. Grade A Dark Amber has a stronger maple flavor and a darker color. Grade B, sometimes called cooking syrup, has the strongest maple flavor and some caramel flavor. It is sometimes used as table syrup for it's distinct (and strong) maple flavor and also works well in cooking. With maple flavor, a B will get you A+ results!

Sucunat (a registered trademarked name) is made from dehydrated fresh cane juice. The process leaves more nutritional components in the product and it contains calcium, potassium and a small amount of iron. It has a taste similar to sugar and molasses. It comes in both syrup and granulated form and can be used in recipes calling for sugar of all kinds.

Stevia comes from a South American plant by the same name and is related to the Marigold family. The leaves can be used as a sweetener, but has a bitter residual taste. The most common form found on the market today is either a liquid, or a fine white powder that looks similar to aspartame or artificial sweeteners. The powder is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar by some estimates, so small amounts will provide significant sweetness. Stevia has no glycemic value and does not contain carbohydrates, glucose or any form of sugar. Thus, it is safe for diabetics and has no side effects that artificial sweeteners (and aspartame) can have. I have noticed that you perceive the sweetness of stevia with the same receptors as that of the artificial sweeteners, so I will sometimes supplement with a small amount of sugar so that the sweetness of my food has a fuller flavor. Stevia has been used for thousands of years by the ancient people of South America and it is widely used in Japan to sweeten soft drinks, ready-made beverages and tea. It can be difficult to use in baking because it does not caramelize or melt like sugar does and it does not make baked goods crispy or gooey. If you want to use it for baking, look for stevia recipes or experiment, but don't use it as straight substitute for sugar in baking. It's great in non-baked products that require sweetening. Interestingly, it also has properties that help prevent cavities, so you can get your sweets and help your teeth all at once. It is purported to stablize blood sugar in healthy individuals.

Turbinado sugar
Turbinado sugar is made from the cane plant, as is white table sugar. Turbinado sugar is slightly less processed than table sugar and through a tumbling process has about 2/3 of the molasses removed from it. This yields a light brown sugar that has the same sweetness as table sugar but is slightly less refined. It contains some complex carbohydrates has a slightly better nutritional profile than refined white table sugar. But all said and done, the amount of nutrients is SO SMALL it is hardly worth mentioning.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2006 06:38 am (UTC)
Great list! Thanks!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )