ALTERNATIVES TO SUGAR
WHAT DO WE USE INSTEAD OF SUGAR?
We don't ever use stevia or xylitol we try to stick with what is the most natural and least processed
Fruit is super versatile! Dates are naturally so sweet they often can be used alone for naturally sweetening a cake or dessert. Medjool dates are the juiciest and sweetest, but this means they often come with a bit more of a hefty price tag. We occasionally use medjool dates as well as other varieties. If you're not using medjool dates they can be transformed with a bit of soaking and can be just as soft and easy to use, typically soaking a non medjool date in boiling water for about ten minutes will mean it's soft enough to be popped into your food processor to be transformed into silky date puree. Date syrup is also very useful and is much cheaper in comparison with some other options, it has quite a rich, strong flavour and will also change the colour of whatever your making (not something you always want)
As well dates other dried fruits are great at adding natural sweetness, raisins, apricots, figs, cherries the list goes on. When using dried fruits try to find ones which are not coated in any oils and free from sulphites and added sugar, check carefully as you'd be surpired as to how frequently sugar is added to something naturally sweet. When buying apricots look out for brown ones - the orange ones you see have the colour artifically added back after the drying process.
Fresh fruit is also incredibly useful bananas and apples proving probably the most favorable in a number of ways, but equally berries and tropical fruits will all add sweetness.
2. MAPLE SYRUP
Maple syrup is made by extracting the sap from the maple tree. Native to Canada, the trees are 'tapped' the sap is then heated to allow the water to evaporate leaving a concentrated syrup. Maple syrup is one of the more expensive sweetners, but well worth the price for it's unique rich flavour. When buying be take care to look for 100% maple syrup as producers will often try to keep the price down by adding other sugars and occasionally flavours. Maple syrup is possibly our most widely used sweetner, although it can sometimes be a challenge using a liquid sweetner
3. COCONUT SUGAR
Coconut sugar is probably the most transferable between a conventional sugar and non- refined alternative that you'd use. It's made from the of sap of the flower from a coconut tree. It's extracted in a similar way to maple syrup again having to be heating to allow the water to evaporate. Once you've got the concentrated sap it is then allowed to harden before being ground into a 'sugar'. It has an almost caramel taste to you it doesn't dissolve in the same way a conventional sugar does, so you are limited as to how you can use it in some senses. It also colours whatever you are baking, the same way in which a regular brown sugar would.
We don't frequently use honey as it's difficult to find a raw honey that's ethically produced, is local and not too expensive! Raw honey can be used in the same way that maple syrup might be, it also has quite a distinctive flavour and varies vastly from honey to honey. Honey is obviously not something we use in any of our vegan products.