We all know that, for our health, it’s advisable to limit our sugar consumption to avoid diseases. However, cutting ourselves off from refined sugar and to bake sugar free is not that easy for everyone. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we have to forget cakes, pies and biscuits!
There are now many alternatives to white sugar. I must say that once refined, sugar loses many of its vitamins and minerals. Also, refined sugar has a high glycemic index, which causes an insulin peak during the digestion process.
Here are 5 tips to help you keep baking sugar free.
1. Use cane and beet sugar substitutes
Different plants can be used as substitute for beet and cane sugar. This is the case of agave, a succulent plant native from Central America. Its syrup has a low glycemic index and is powerfully sweet, so only a few drops are needed. It can be heated or used cold. Use agave syrup to prepare a tarte tatin and accompany an iced tea! You can easily order agave syrup via online stores . — here’s a selection of agave nectar brands on Amazon.
2. What are xylitol and stevia?
xylitol has a long history from Scandinavian countries. There it is considered a natural alternative to aspartame. Extract of birch bark, this product has many advantages: high sweetness, low calorie, low glycemic index … The only downside is that its glycemic index increases when cooking. It is therefore recommended to reduce the proportions if you plan to cook a cake or a pie. Note: there are now xylitol based chocolates, dedicated to people with diabetes.
Stevia also has serious advantages. It sweetens up to 200-300 times more than traditional sugar, is calorie-free, heat resistant and provides a taste of licorice. It is perfectly appropriate for use in light pastries. Moreover, more and more supermarkets devote one part of their “sweet corner” to stevia. It is sold under the form of powder, liquid or even cubes for coffee. Also, remember that you can use stevia leaves to make infusions.
3. Yes fresh fruit!
Strawberries, cherries, apricots, apples or citrus fruits are also natural sweeteners and have a low glycemic index. To flavor your cake, add fresh, frozen or dried fruit in your preparations. In addition, some fruits bring freshness, acidity and lightness to pastries. This is the case of raspberries. Do not miss out on them! As for canned fruit, leave them in the supermarket; they are way too sweet and full of added sugar.
4. Rediscover the virtues of honey
Honey has been used since ancient times for its many benefits. (For people with diabetes, it is better to use honey in small quantities.) Honey is included in many diets, particularly because of its high content of vitamins and minerals. Honey can originate from pine, acacia, lavender, chestnut … There are a multitude of flavors, ideal for varying tastes. To accompany a chocolate cake with creativity, make a honey chocolate. Melt it in a pan and when the mixture boils and browns, mix with cream, and let it rest. And enjoy!
5. Spice up your recipes
Most of the time, sugar is used to flavor… Just like spices. Use them to flavor your dishes. Cinnamon pairs well with apple and banana. Sprinkle a bit of spice on your cakes. Other ideas: let infuse star anise or vanilla in a fruit salad or rice pudding and add some raisins. Make a crème brulee with cardamom. Or grate one in your Tonka bean pastries. With its totally addictive taste, all your friends will ask you for more sugar free desserts!
(This article was originally posted on January 29, 2013)