I am often asked questions about using sugar alternatives in baking, or how to eliminate the sugar from a recipe. I think that it is much easier to start out with a recipe that is closer to what you want, rather than try to take a “regular” recipe and convert it using various substitutions (often with less-than-perfect results) and maintain the original texture and flavor of a baked good. Fortunately, there are lots of good places to start out and Baking with Agave Nectar is one of them. It is a cookbook dedicated to using this all natural sweetener that is known for having a very low glycemic index in various baked goods that you would normally find sugar in.
It’s rarely a simple 1:1 substitution when going from a solid, granulated sweetener to a liquid because sweeteners of different types act differently in recipes. The best thing about a book like this is that all the experimentation has been done for you and you can make the recipes with confidence, without wondering if that substitution ratio you found on Google was the “right” one for this particular recipe. The recipes in this book are designed to work with the extra liquid of agave sweetener right off the bat, and have their baking times, other ingredients and the overall sweetness of the baked good already adjusted. As you might expect from a book with one healthy aspect to it, many of the recipes also call for other healthy elements. For instance, some suggest that you use low fat soy milk, vegetable oil instead of butter or try using either alternative flours or whole wheat flours in the recipes.
The recipes are easy to follow and very user-friendly, with plenty of photos that showcase the recipes. There are short descriptions to go along with each of the recipes, and it is always noted at the top of the page if a recipe is vegan or gluten free – and many of them are. It covers a wide range of baked goods and desserts, from muffins and cakes to pies and ice creams. There is even a section for frostings using agave. There is enough versatility that, even if you don’t completely switch to baking with agave, you can definitely find some recipes to add to your repertoire if you’re looking to experiment with it.