Naturally Sweet: 6 Natural Sweeteners for Holiday Baking
Cookies, pies, and cakes… oh my! The holiday season is notorious for being a sweet one, but don’t let those dancing sugarplums throw you off your healthy path.There are great alternatives for adding a sweet touch to your baked goods without using artificial sweeteners of cups of sugar.
Used since the times of Ancient Egypt, honey has historically been used for its medicinal, anti-bacterial properties (Manuka honey is a a personal favorite to naturally heal small wounds and burns without scarring!). However health benefits aside, honey is a great way to add a natural boost of sweet to teas, baked goods, and desserts. Since it is sweeter than sugar you just need 1/2 cup to replace 1 full cup of sugar. Raw honey contains small traces of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins and it’s been said that consuming local raw honey can help with seasonal allergies!
No, not the stuff that comes with a face on the bottle, but 100 percent organic, pure maple syrup is a great alternative to using artificial sweeteners and sugar in your desserts. Just 1/2 cup replaces a typical cup of sugar – keep in mind it will give a maple flavor.
Made from dehydrated, ground medjool dates, date sugar is a great alternative to brown sugar for baked goods. It even has fiber, vitamins, and minerals! Use 2/3 cup to replace 1 cup of sugar but know that it will clump in some recipes.
Another great substitute for brown sugar, coconut sugar contains a few minerals and vitamins along with its sweet flavor. It also only has a glycemic index of 35 which is nearly half of the 60 that table sugar touts. You would use coconut sugar in the same ratio you’d use table sugar.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup has the thick, sticky consistency of molasses (another great natural sweetener when organic molasses is used). It’s great for sweetening teas as it easily dissolves. Use 1 1/3 cup for each 1 cup of sugar.
While I’m not personally a fan since it truly is so much sweeter than sugar, Stevia is an herb that is turned into a powder or liquid sweetener. It doesn’t have a negative effect on the pancreas or blood sugar, making it a great sugar alternative but use sparingly.
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