08 July, 2011
Sugar Alternatives for Baking Brownies
There are a number of reasons you might want to replace sugar in your brownie recipe. Perhaps you are looking for a more-natural alternative, cooking for a diabetic or trying to make your sweets lower in calories. There are several options available that bypass sugar on your route to brownie bliss.
If you are baking for a diabetic or someone who is watching her caloric intake, artificial sweeteners don't contain sugar and have few to no calories. Some artificial sweeteners are better than others for baking. Wilton's Angie Thayer suggests stevia, acesulfame potassium or sucralose because they are the least sensitive to the high heat and prolonged baking time necessary to make brownies.
If you are attempting to make a less-processed, more-natural brownie; alternative natural sweeteners may be the answer. Honey, maple syrup, molasses or corn syrup are less-refined options than white sugar. Since these sweeteners are liquids, it is recommended that other liquids in the recipe be reduced by between 2 and 5 tbsp. to keep the finished product from developing a runny consistency.
From a nutrition viewpoint, all sugars are essentially the same. Brown sugar, refined white sugar and raw sugar contain a similar amount of calories, relatively few nutrients and have the same effect on blood sugar. Raw sugar is simply steam cleaned instead of chemically cleaned like the traditional version. Brown sugar's only difference from white table sugar is that it has a bit of molasses added to the recipe, according to Anahad O'Connor of "The New York Times."
Removing the refined sugar won't make your brownies a healthful option. Desserts should be considered an occasional indulgence, not an everyday habit. Base your diet around vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins to reach the peak of health. You and your family will enjoy your brownies all the more if you only get to savor them occasionally.
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