Cooking a romantic dinner for two tonight? The meal just wouldn't be complete without a sweet treat, but that nagging guilt that follows dessert isn't so romantic. Lucky for you, just because a dessert tastes decadent, doesn't mean it has to be unhealthy. To save the mood and still satisfy your sweet tooth, shun sugar and try a touch of agave instead. Made from the sap of the same plant that produces tequila, naturally sweet agave nectar is an alternative to table sugar.
Replacing Sugar with Agave Nectar
Select your favorite dessert recipe. If this is your first time baking with agave, it's best to work with a recipe that you're already familiar with. Whether it be grandma's famous cookies or your own signature chocolate cake, familiarity with your recipe will help to eliminate the chance of mistakes in substitutions.
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Check the amount of sugar called for in your recipe. For every 1 cup of sugar, you will be using 2/3 cup agave. Agave is sweeter than sugar, therefore less is needed to produce the same level of sweetness. Agave is also more expensive than sugar so your wallet will thank you for the reduced measurements.
Now, it's time for some math. Because you are using a wet ingredient to replace a dry ingredient, many bakers recommend reducing other liquids in the recipe by a total of 1/4 to 1/3 cup. That means, if your recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, you now only need to add 1/4 cup. Alternatively, you could also add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry ingredients to restore the balance without subtracting any liquids. This will produce more batter, but since when is having more of something sweet a bad thing?
- After your first agave initiation, don't be afraid to experiment with substitution guidelines in future batches. If your sweet tooth isn't so sweet, try adding a little less agave. If you're feeling adventurous, skip the reduction of liquids/addition of dry goods to create a moister texture. You never know, changing things up may result in your new signature dessert...just be prepared to eat or throw out the batter if it all falls flat.
- Oftentimes, agave can cause baked goods to brown quicker than usual. To prevent this, reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees and add a few minutes onto your baking time until the desired color is reached.
Michelle Shea Walker is a certified holistic health coach, wellness writer and vegan/gluten-free blogger. Her health coaching business, Health Happiness & Hula Hoops, has been featured on Fitness Magazine’s website and boasts some of Chicago’s hottest burlesque starlets as clients. Based on her life-styling motto that “Health is beauty,” she specializes in helping young women increase their energy, decrease their stress and discover a healthy glow.