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Oh, sugar sugar!


Sugar is often required in cooking to balance flavours, or to make sweets, cakes and desserts. Here we look at some alternatives/substitutions that can be used, should sugar be required in a recipe. There are some recipes, where white sugar is an integral ingredient, and cannot be substituted, like some baking and cake/biscuit decorating. However, an alternative type of sugar can be used in most cooking. Then there are the different forms of cane sugar – so many packets!

To make simple packet sugars:
Caster sugar — put sugar in a blender and lightly pulse.
Icing sugar — blend sugar for longer than caster sugar.
Icing sugar mixture — add 1 tablespoon of cornflour to 1cup sugar and blend until fine.
Light brown sugar — add 2 teaspoons molasses to 1 cup sugar, mix well.
Dark brown sugar — add 1 tablespoon molasses to 1 cup sugar, mix well.

Other types of sugar and sugar substitutes are as follows:
Raw sugar — made from sugar cane with impurities/molasses not washed off completely. Can be used in place of white sugar in most cases, but not in baking as the impurities/molasses on the sugar crystals react with the leavening agents.
Demerara sugar – like raw sugar, with larger crystals and slightly sticky, made from sugar cane.
Turbinado sugar — very much like demerara sugar, but a bit finer and not as sticky made from sugar cane.
Coconut sugar —a dark sugar made from the nectar of coconut blossoms.
Rapadura — unrefined cane sugar.
Jaggery — unrefined cane sugar, usually sold in lump form and often has date or palm sap added and still containing molasses.
Stevia — extracted from the leaves of the Stevia plant.
Monk fruit — extracted from luo han guo or Buddha fruit.
Xylitol — is a sugar alcohol – made by combining the traits of sugar molecules with alcohol molecules making a substance that stimulates sweet receptors on your tongue.

Any sweet fruit can be used in place of sugar in deserts, however the most used are: apple sauce, dates and bananas.

Liquid sugar alternatives:
Golden syrup — caramelised cane or beet sugar
Honey — from bees
Maple syrup — from the maple tree
Agave syrup — from the sap of the agave plant

There are more sugar substitutes, however, this is a basic overview of how to make some of the different sugar types and what can be used instead of white sugar.