A few weeks ago, I posted my reasons to use honey as a natural sweetener. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about coconut sugar, and soon we’ll follow it up with maple syrup.
Coconut sugar gives crispiness to your baked goods, unlike honey or maple syrup which make your baked goods soft. This makes it ideal for cookies in particular. Coconut sugar is also ideal for when you need a sweetener that’s not liquid like honey or maple syrup. Each of these sweeteners have their own distinct flavors, and I like to use them accordingly. Coconut sugar has a rich caramel flavor with hints of molasses. I love it in my Peanut Butter Cookies, and soon there will be a recipe for No-Bake Cookies!
Here are a few reasons to use coconut sugar:
1. It has a high mineral content and contains a good amount of potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, as well as several of the B vitamins.
2. It has a low Glycemic Index of 35 and is considered safe for diabetics. Whenever I’m cooking for someone with sugar problems, I try to use whatever they’re used to, but it’s good to know that coconut sugar should work for most people.
3. It can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio for regular cane sugar, and I’ve found the results to be similar. Coconut sugar doesn’t melt as fast as white cane sugar, so with cookies they hold a more compact shape. In addition, the flavor of baked goods made with coconut sugar is deeper with caramel overtones (which doesn’t bother me a bit!)
There are a couple of things to consider when you’re buying coconut sugar:
1. Coconut sugar is made by tapping coconut trees for sap. When a tree it tapped, it can no longer produce coconuts for all the coconut products we know and love. So, like coffee or chocolate, coconut sugar is something that should be sustainably grown and harvested.
2. Look for ‘Sustainably Harvested and Grown’ on the package.
3. It comes in several different shades, from blonde to dark. I prefer the lighter flavor of blonde coconut sugar in my baking.
My main reason to use natural sweeteners is the same whether it’s honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar: it’s about giving, not taking away. I want my desserts to be adding nutrition to my body and not taking it away. So, by changing to natural sweeteners, I can still enjoy my desserts without the problems I’ve experienced with using processed sugars.
What’s your favorite way to use coconut sugar?