By Brierley Wright, April 10, 2009 - 4:36am
I love sugar. Not a lot of sugar, just a little. But the small scoop in my coffee every morning or the crunchy caramelized layer atop crème brulee is essential. My future sister-in-law, Amy, however, is my polar opposite: she sweetens her coffee with maple syrup and makes desserts using agave nectar. I had never bothered to try agave, but a few months ago I noticed that Amy wasn’t the only one trading white sugar for agave nectar. Agave nectar is popping up in the ingredient lists for chocolate, granola, energy bars and soda! (In 2008, 29 new products with agave hit supermarket shelves.) With agave nectar gaining popularity, I wanted to know: is it healthier than sugar or other sweeteners?
Until there’s more science on agave nectar, I’m not weaning myself off of sugar in my coffee. But I am open to other natural sweeteners in my dessert: like agave in this Vanilla Bean Flan with Agave Syrup & Caramelized Walnuts, honey in this Flourless Honey-Almond Cake or maple syrup in this Maple Walnut Cake.
What natural sweeteners do you like to use? Tell us what you think below.