No doubt you have read or at least seen an article recently about some sort of sugar alternative. There are so many to choose from…. Scientists and doctors believe there are pros and cons for most of the artificial sweeteners which don’t appear in nature.
At BakingBar, we believe that one of the best alternatives to conventional sugar here in the UK is fructose. It does occur naturally and has massive benefits compared to normal table sugar. Fructose occurs naturally in small quantities in fruits, vegetables and honey, and its huge benefit is that it is low GI. It burns slowly inside our bodies, releasing energy slower over a longer period of time. In simpler terms fructose creates a slower rise in blood sugar levels as opposed to conventional sugar which quickly creates a spike in blood sugar, often known as a ‘sugar high’. This is the main reason why diabetics favour fructose.
Of course another main benefit, especially for us at BakingBar, is its striking similarity in looks and feel to conventional sugar. In fact, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference! The only difference in baking with granulated fructose sugar opposed to conventional sugar is you need less of it because of its sweetness.
There is a wealth of resources online to explain the many benefits of fructose, it’s uses and science behind it. It is important though to make a distinction between fructose that is 100% crystalline fructose made from sugar beet, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is a syrup containing equal parts of both fructose and glucose. Our readers from North America will be only too familiar with high fructose corn syrup and its bad rep.
We’ll be writing more recipes using fructose along with other sugar alternatives like agave syrup and honey in the coming months. For those of you in the UK and Ireland, you can find granulated fructose in most health food shops and large supermarkets. Sainsburys, for example stocks Fruisana, a Finnish brand.
Since it’s almost Christmas and this will be our last column post before the big celebration, we decided to bring you a snowy themed recipe of chewy coconut macaroons.
- 140g Desiccated Coconut
- 110g Granulated Fructose Sugar (we used Applefords fruit sugar pure fructose from Holland & Barret)
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Egg Whites
This recipe really couldn’t be much simpler.
- Beat the two egg whites gradually adding the fructose sugar until it forms stiff peaks and you can turn the bowl upside down without it dropping out.
- Fold in the coconut and vanilla extract. Mix just enough to combine all the coconut.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 mins at 160c.
- These won’t be bright white or crisp like meringues when they are cooked. As the coconut toasts it turns a golden brown. They will also seem quite soft when still warm but as they cool they set and form tasty chewy coconut meringues.