Agave Nectar is a really great substitute to processed table sugar, my husband uses it all the time and I occasionally substitute it in recipes for white sugar. It’s a complex sugar, so you won’t crash as hard as you would if you ate something with a table sugar. The real trick to using it is figuring out the proper measurement for the substitution. Other than that, it’s super easy to use. My husband uses it daily in coffee.
Here’s the math I use:
Use about 1/3 cup of agave nectar for every one cup of sugar called for in recipes.
Reduce the liquid ingredients in recipes by about 20%.
Watch the oven. Stuff will bake faster.
If you have never heard anything about Agave Nectar, check it out. It has some good health benefits (and some bad…doesn’t everything?). It’s still sugar, but has a low glycemic index (about 27 to sucroses 92), if you’re counting calories, this has the same caloric count as sucrose. The only thing to watch out for is the brand of Agave you buy (if you decide to go that route), it’s not all made equal and some is more processed (even though it carries the ‘Organic’ tag (thanks to the USDA for making it hard to decipher what is and is not organic by labeling non-organic stuff as organic…)). Madhava Agave Nectar is a really great brand to buy, if you can find it (try Amazon, it’s really cheap over there).
I wanted to prove that sugar, refined sugar, is not necessary to use in everyday baking. I do use white sugar (grudgingly) but it will probably be one of our changes when we move. We try to make one large change every time we move, this time it was going paper free and using natural cleaners, this move is to use less processed sugar and less white flour. I turned to Ming Makes Cupcakes for the base recipe.
adapted from Cupcake #12
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cups Agave Nectar
1/2 cup canola (the non-GMO type, you can find it at WholeFoods (for sure) and probably other health food stores)
8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups shredded carrots
Mix all ingredients together and bake at 325 for 35 minutes. If (before you bake) the mix does not look moist enough add a bit more agave nectar. I think by the time all was said and done I had almost 2/3 cup, maybe a tablespoon or two less than that.
Sometimes when I post things I have baked I forget that I used Agave and not real sugar, I will do better this year at switching it out in the recipe when I replace it and I’ll post the original recipe too, since I know it’s weird substitute for some people.
I made the frosting in the actual recipe for this, only because I’ve had a really hard time in the past replacing confectioners sugar.
If you want more information on Agave Nectar, check out All About Agave or Wikipedia. Like I said, it’s still sugar so if you’re trying to stay sugar free, this isn’t an alternative, but if you don’t want to use table sugar, try it.