So, I, like most people I know have a sweet tooth and it often happens that at 3pm, when my energy levels are low, all I want is a big bar of chocolate. If you are like me, and don’t know how you will get through the day without your afternoon sugar surge, then take a look here. We have done some research and have found recipes and ideas for you to try whereby you can still keep your sweet tooth happy, but without ruining all of your hard work.
The idea is that you make sugar swaps….
Instead of adding cupfuls of sugar you can use grated vegetables, such as carrots, courgettes or beetroots in your bakes, and why not consider using fruit puree in your cakes?
Here are some examples of fruit purees that work really well:
Instead of a half-cup white sugar in a batch of raisin and oat cookies, why not swap in an equal amount of applesauce. Apples are full of natural sugars, and so their sweetness can add to the cookies and make them into a perfect afternoon snack or after-dinner treat. You can buy no sugar applesauce from most supermarkets, but it is just as easy to make your own.
So, this is something that I hadn’t come across before, but why not try it for a creative spin on things! All you need to do is blend a cup of raisins in a food processor. They add both sweetness and moisture to bakes, and in addition they are full of antioxidants and fibre and so these little dried grapes are a great addition to any bake!
- Puréed Banana
So using bananas in bakes is not an unusual thing, but why not consider using an additional extra-ripe banana in your next bake and eliminating all of the sugar. You won’t notice the difference as the fruit naturally becomes sweeter as it ripens, so there’s no need for extra sugar.
An alternative way of sweetening bakes without adding sugar is by using spices or similar things.
Spice up a morning cup of coffee with cinnamon. This spice adds subtle sweetness while boosting immunity- so why not try it!
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder can give you your chocolate hit without all of the unhealthy added ingredients. For a warm winter treat, mix some unsweetened cocoa powder in a glass of hot water or skim milk- a great hot chocolate! It’ll satisfy that sweet tooth without all the extra sugar the sweetened version includes. If you feel like it needs something else, add a splash of vanilla extract for extra flavor!
Another way of sweetening your drinks, and bakes is with the use of honey, maple syrup or agave syrup.
Honey is a natural product produced by bees. Commercial honey is less beneficial than raw honey- so try and get the raw version wherever possibly. Raw honey is rich in nutrients.
- Agave Syrup
Finally, the relatively new kid on the block is agave syrup. This syrup is the boiled down sap from the leaves of the blue agave plant. The syrup is intensely sweet, so you don’t need as much as sugar- remember this when using it in cooking. However be aware that the syrup is very high (75 to 90 percent) in fructose, which means that it doesn’t metabolize well, and therefore raises blood sugar levels- so don’t go crazy!
- Maple syrup
Maple syrup is a great sweetener as it is mainly sucrose and so low in fructose. It has a distinctive flavor which can make your bakes really interesting. Why not try it on your pancakes instead of the traditional sugar and lemon this pancake day!