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How Sweet It is: Baking with Agave

This holiday season when you are baking for friends, family and Santa, you may find yourself exploring the many sugar options. We have plenty to choose from—white table sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses—and of course, artificial sweeteners. From a nutritional standpoint, sugar is a carbohydrate offering four calories per gram, or about 15 calories in a teaspoon.

Recipes Using Agave Nectar

For many people with diabetes, artificial and natural sweeteners are perfect solutions to cut out calories, reduce carbohydrates and still enjoy those holiday desserts. Post-02-Quote-Ernestine-Ulmer Have you tried agave as a sweetener? In our Light Devonshire Cream Sauce recipe we chose Agave nectar because this natural sugar ranks low on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how high food raises blood sugar.

If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake and glycemic load, agave is a good option. The GI for agave is 13 as compared to 65 for white table sugar or honey at 58. Agave also has some trace amounts of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, K and B6.

Agave is a real sugar, so it does have fructose and glucose that can impact blood sugar levels. Agave is a bridge between real and artificial sweeteners that can still provide the qualities of refined sugars and add that element as a browning agent or maintain that necessary moisture for a superb dessert.

Here are some tips if you choose to bake with agave. When you are using it as a substitute in recipes for granulated or brown sugar, replace one cup of granulated sugar with 2/3 cup of agave. Then reduce the other liquids in the recipe 1/4 or 1/3 cup. If you were previously using honey in a recipe or maple syrup, it would be a direct substitute – replace one cup of honey or maple syrup with one cup of agave syrup. Agave syrup may cause baked items to brown more quickly, so reduce oven temperatures by 25°F and increase baking time slightly.

Agave is becoming more popular in baking and we found that for certain recipes it can add just the right flavor and keep blood sugar at a lower level. For more ideas or recipes with agave, check out what our friends from Eating Well have found.

If you are still seeking information about whether you should be looking at alternative sugar substitute this holiday season, check out this article from Today’s Dietitian. I hope that this gives you some ideas on how to sweeten up your holiday, but keep in line with your nutritional goals.

Safe Baking with Pasteurized Eggs

Of course, when you bake, remember to choose pasteurized eggs to keep your family and guests safe. Happy Baking from your friends at Safest Choice™!