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Old 01-01-2007, 03:02 PM   #1
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Question Baking with Liquid Sweeteners

Hi!
I may not be much of a cook, but I have always loved baking, and after a long break from it, I am thinking of getting into it again, but with one small problem. Due to some recently discovered health issues, my use of sweeteners has been pretty much restricted to two items: Honey and Maple Syrup. (I could use maple sugar, I guess, but I haven't been able to find it in quantities to make that feasible.) And instead of just searching for recipes that use them, I am interested in learning to modify the recipes I have already. SO my questions are thus:

When I substitute honey and maple for other kinds of sugars, what kind of effect can I expect it to have on the finished product? (I'm thinking texture and consistency-wise.) What can I do to modify that effect if it's undesireable? What should I be looking out for?

I'm hoping to do baking of all kinds-- cookies, quickbreads, muffins, all that good stuff.

(Also, if anyone can recommend a good cookbook on the hows and whys of baking, that would be great. Something to help explain what ingredients do what in the recipe, so I have more to go on than guesses when I'm messing about with recipes )

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Old 01-02-2007, 06:40 AM   #2
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Auroravioletta, if it's not too personal, may I ask why you're limited to honey and maple syrup?

Honey and maple syrup, being naturally derived, vary in their nutritional breakdown, but, for the most part, they have the same components as regular sugar.

Although some people equate natural sugars as being healthier than regular sugar, this has been proven to be incorrect. As far as your body is concerned, it reacts the exact same way to refined sugar as it does to unrefined sugar.

Unrefined sugars provide some trace nutrients, but these nutrients do nothing towards tempering the damaging effects of the sugar.

If you can, indeed, consume honey and maple syrup, then you should be able to use regular sugar as well. From a perspective of physiological impact, they are all the same. Sugar is sugar.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:12 AM   #3
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Actually, they're not. At least not for me! (Danged if I know why. I just know it works.) I have food intolerances/allergies. I can't have anything derived from sugar cane, and I also react to sugars from sugar beet and corn syrup. And every other sugar I have tried other than honey and maple. And agave nectar. I can have that, too.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:47 AM   #4
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I read somewhere that honey is sweeter than sugar, so you may need to reduce the amount of sweetner in the recipe if you use honey.
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Old 01-02-2007, 10:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auroravioletta
Actually, they're not. At least not for me! (Danged if I know why. I just know it works.) I have food intolerances/allergies. I can't have anything derived from sugar cane, and I also react to sugars from sugar beet and corn syrup. And every other sugar I have tried other than honey and maple. And agave nectar. I can have that, too.
Auroravioletta, are you allergic to corn and beets? Also, just curious, have you tested yourself in a double blind fashion? Dissolving all the sweeteners into a solution and pinching your nose should prevent you from recognizing them.

Anyway... curiousity aside... here's I how approach liquid sweeteners. Because all liquid sweeteners can vary in their water content, I approach each brand individually. I do this by reverse engineering the sugar/water quantities from the nutritional label. The serving size (both in volume and weight) along with the number of sugar grams tells you what you need to know. Here's the specs for an imaginary brand of maple syrup:

Serving size 1 T. (20 g)
Sugars 13 g

Since I'll be working in cups and not Tablespoons, I convert it to cups:

1 C. (320 g)
Sugars (208 g)

320 g - 208 g = 112 g. water (1/2 C.)

So, a cup of this maple syrup contains 208 g. sugar (about 1 C. equivalent) and 1/2 C. water. Don't be tempted to use these numbers. The maple syrup you use will not be the same concentration. If the recipe I was converting listed 1 C. sugar, I'd sub 1 cup maple syrup and subtract 1/2 C. liquid to compensate.

This is far from exact, and because honey has a greater percentage of fructose than maple syrup, it won't fit into this equation quite as well, but it will be better than guessing.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips! That is a really good idea!
:)
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