The Sweet Stuff
The use of natural and alternative sweeteners is becoming more popular in desserts and tasty treats. With the ability to flavour and keep the calorie content at bay, more bakers are jumping ship and leaving refined sugar in the bowl – not in the mix. Here are some of the best alternatives to white sugar.
Fresh, frozen or dried; apricots, banana, dates, raisins and figs work well. They add moisture and density as well as fibre and
other valuable nutrients.
A plant used as a sweetener for centuries in Paraguay and Brazil, it contains no calories or carbohydrates, and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Tate & Lyle’s Tasteva is a great tasting, zero-calorie sweetener from this natural source.
Unrefined and rather coarse, it has a nice, dark flavour profile. It sweetens and adds a depth of flavour; perfect for an apple pie.
Made from the bark of birch trees, it looks and tastes like sugar but has fewer calories and a low GI. Not to be used as a yeast raising agent and go easy on the amount as it has a laxative effect. Cakes sweetened with xylitol don’t colour very much, so it’s better to use in darker cakes like coffee or chocolate.
Sweeter than sugar (and high in calories) go easy on the amount. Works well in moist, dense full-flavoured bakes.
With a low GI but being about 30% sweeter than sugar, you need less to achieve the same taste. It works well in flapjacks, sticky cakes and muffins in place of syrup.
At 0.2 calories per gram, this sugar alcohol is not quite as sweet as natural sugar so good for chocolate brownies.