people who are allergic
people who are allergic
An increasing number of comments and questions have revolved around sugar as a sweetener and how to substitute it in gluten-free baking. I thought the subject sweet enough to deserve its own post.
And since I recently started a sugar detox (I do this from time to time-- I'm on day six sugar-free, Darlings- no sweetener except a pinch of the herb stevia in my tea and smoothies), I thought it might be appropriate to refresh this post and bring it forward.
As we know it in its common, refined form here in the United States (the average American eats something close to 143 pounds of sugar per year), sugar is typically derived from the cereal grain known as sugar cane, or the cultivated plant beta vulgaris, also known as the sugar beet. Check for non-GMO status of your beet sugar. Both options are high on the glycemic index and refined to remove any nutrients or minerals that may have been residing in the cane or beet's natural state.
In the cane refining process the syrup remaining after the refining process is called molasses (it contains iron and other minerals that are refined out of white sugar). Note: sugar cane is in the grass and cereal botanical family; people who are allergic to grasses and cereals may be prone to develop a sensitivity to cane sugar.
Sugar in various guises
Brown sugar is refined cane sugar with molasses added for a golden-caramel taste and softer texture.
Raw sugar- also known as turbinado sugar- is also cane sugar, but less refined; it supposedly has more nutrients intact (but I wouldn't go so far as to consider it a health food, Darling).
Vegan sugar aka sucanat is cane sugar in a raw, unrefined state; it has a darker, stronger taste that is akin to molasses. (The refining process is what makes some sugar offensive to vegans- bone char is sometimes used in the refining method.)
Demerara and muscavado are also less refined sugar cane variations with deeper, complex taste.
Although you might expect that all cane sugar behaves the same way in gluten-free recipes, I have found differences in the way these sugars impact a recipe. So when you sub the brown sugar called for, say, with a less refined, stronger tasting vegan sugar- please know that the recipe will indeed taste different, perhaps have a smaller volume, or change in overall texture from the recipe as written.