7:41 AM How’s your baking season doing? Already started baking your dear favorite cookies? Luckily, I’m done early for this year and I am happy to sit back now and enjoy all my sweet treats whenever I find the time to sit down and relax.
While I was baking my cookie selection, I often noticed that many recipes enjoy a “modern” update, since more and more people use different sugars for their recipes. Besides white and brown sugar, people love to include other sweeteners to enjoy a richer flavor of their favorite pleasure. Others switch and change sugars, since they live healthy and don’t want to say no to their favorite holiday tradition.

Today we are really lucky to have a variety of healthy and not so healthy sugars, so it’s up to us if we want to educate ourselves or if we want to stick to our always winning team.

Since I am super active and I love to try new things, I often try to include “new sugars” to my baking adventures. I started cutting white sugar and mix it with brown or coconut sugar – a rich caramel flavor which I truly enjoy in my desserts. But there is more to know…
Let’s discover some great healthy sugar alternatives for your perfect baking season!

1. Coconut sugar: This sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree and is touted as being more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index than sugar – sounds good, right? On the first look, it can be confused with brown sugar, because both share the clumpy and moist brown look. The only difference here is that coconut sugar has a deeper and richer caramel flavor which I love a lot.

2. Maple syrup: I guess maple syrup is my favorite. Coming directly from a plant’s sap, it contains about 50 antioxidants which will make your body beyond happy. In addition to that, real maple syrup (not the industrial produced stuff) comes in different grades from extra light to dark. Also, there are two grades to choose from: Grade A with a mild flavor and grade B with a sharper and darker maple appearance. No matter which one you choose – go with the organic one and treat your body (and pancakes ~)

3. Honey: Here we also got an antioxidant cocktail thanks to our dear bees. Just like coconut sugar, honey is lower on the glycemic index and therefor a healthier alternative. Raw honey has also incredible health benefits to show off, especially for our immune system and throat when we get a cold during the colder season. The beautiful thing about honey must be its variety. In the supermarkets you have more options to buy from a light color to a really dark brown color. Also you get many infused honeys with floral or fruity flavors! My tip (especially during winter season diy infused honey with lemons and oranges, recipe here).

4. Agave: I’m new to agave, or agave syrup, but so far I have been loving it. Thanks to the Aztec people and their beautiful agriculture, we can happily consume this sweetener which appears a bit like honey. The nectar comes from an agave plant from Mexico and there are two versions of syrup available: light and dark, just like honey or maple syrup. Agave is a good sweetener for people with diabetes, since it doesn’t have a high glycemic index, but you should also limit your consume, since agave contains a lot of fructose! If you happen to taste it for the first time – it’s really sweeter than honey, so maybe you should start right away with a darker agave syrup! I used a light organic one and this is super sweet on my tongue. I still like to put it in my morning tea!

5. Applesauce: I loved applesauce as a kid! Schupfnudeln + Apfelmus – a German dish (Schupfnudeln are a German version of Gnocci) was a highlight after school when my mom cooked these for us. Other than that I never ate applesauce. A friend from Alabama told me that she’s eating applesauce whenever she gets sick…Some months ago, I bought a glass of applesauce and now I’m back ~ How can we forget about this traditional dish? Once you started adding this as a sugar alternative to your recipes, you never want to go back. Check this out: if your recipe says 1 cup sugar, you can easily go with 1 cup of applesauce. If your recipe also asks for milk or oil or any liquids, make sure to use a quarter cup less, because the applesauce also brings a liquid mass with itself. You will save a lot of calories and now an extra trick or tip of mine: if you buy applesauce, make sure to buy a mixture. I love to go with applesauce mixed with mango! It has a deeper yellow color and your dessert will taste absolutely exotic.

Baking is a hard task sometimes. Following recipes and getting to know different ingredients is exciting, but it takes a time to understand all of that. I’m a lazy baker and I hate experimenting sometimes, because I know it never turns out great. But if you really want to do something for your health, or you are just interested in different flavors, make sure to take the time to sit down and explore the world of ingredients and sweeteners. It may open your eyes, or at least you learn something new. If this is too much info for you, come back next year and give this next year a shot. I wrote these things down in my book, so I can always check what’s the best solution for my baking results – I’m still testing, but I am excited to experience new flavors.

How about you? Any other sugar experiences? Molasses? Date sugar? Yes, there is unfortunately so much more.

*GIF via.