When choosing which sweeteners to use in this book, we made it our goal to use those that were less processed and more natural than white sugar. After many rounds of testing, we narrowed down our sweetener choices to those listed below, which won tasters over with their standout flavors and versatility. Each one has different advantages, which we took into account when using them in recipes.
What It Is: Our go-to sweetener for many of the recipes in this book, Sucanat is an abbreviation for sucre de canne naturel, meaning “natural sugar cane.” This unrefined cane sugar is made by beating cane juice with paddles to form golden- brown granules. (While regular cane sugar is treated both chemically and mechanically to form regularly shaped and uniform crystals, the minimal processing involved in making Sucanat creates granules, which are irregular in size and shape.)
Why We Like It: It has a deep molasses flavor, and a small amount goes a long way in developing flavor in recipes. Buy on Amazon
What It Is: This unrefined, granular (not crystallized) sweetener is made from coconut palm flower sap that is heated and then poured into molds or beaten with paddles to form granules.
Use We Like It: While its flavor is slightly more neutral than Sucanat’s, it still offers a robust and almost nutty flavor to baked goods. Buy on Amazon
What It Is: This powder is made by pulverizing dried dates.
Why We Like It: If you like the flavor of dates, you’ll love date sugar. Because it is essentially dried fruit, it retains a lot more nutrients than other sweeteners (relatively speaking). This also means it absorbs a large amount of liquid, and it won’t melt or dissolve like other dry sugars. When baking, it is important to take these unique characteristics into account by making adjustments to the recipe, such as adding more liquid. Buy on Amazon
What It Is: This viscous liquid is made by bees from flower nectar; it is mechanically filtered and strained to remove wax and debris.
Why We Like It: Honey has an amazing range of flavors that work well in baked goods. It can also be easily incorporated into liquid mixtures where a smooth texture is essential, such as custards or curds. Buy on Amazon
What It Is: This syrup is made by boiling down sap from maple trees.
Why We Like It: This versatile liquid sweetener is surprisingly easy to incorporate into a wide range of recipes. It also makes a great stand-in for caramel. Buy on Amazon
Use It In: Granola with Almonds, Apples, and Cherries