How sweet it is, naturally, for bakers
1/21/2011, 6 a.m.
Author Laura C. Martin, in her book Green Market Baking Book: 100 Delicious Recipes for Naturally Sweet & Savory Treats, offers an array of recipes that use only organic, seasonal ingredients and natural sweeteners.
"This is how we all should bake and how our mothers should have baked," says Martin, who notes that Europeans were consuming refined sugar by the 18th century and processed foods soon after.
Refined sugar can contribute to everything from diabetes to poor eyesight, eczema and yeast infections. And, she says, it's cheap and addictive. Among the natural sweeteners her recipes rely on:
Honey. Available in a wide variety of flavors, cheap honey is sometimes mixed with other ingredients, so look for pure honey, Martin cautions.
Agave nectar. The light version of this liquid sweetener, from blue agave plants in Mexico, is good for making sauces and custards when you want other flavors to shine.
Brown rice syrup. This butterscotch-like flavored syrup is considered one of the most healthful sweeteners, and it's recommended for use in recipes for people who have blood sugar problems.
Barley malt syrup. This robust-flavored sweetener works well in muffins, cakes and sweet breads.
Maple syrup. One of the most popular and least caloric natural sweeteners, it's graded according to color and flavor. Grade A is the most superior product.