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Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and SweetenerSugar is not the only option when it comes to sweeteners for baking. Other sweeteners, natural sweeteners, have spread from the shelves of specialty stores to more mainstream ones, where they are more accessible than ever before. Agave syrup, for instance, is just one of many.  The only drawback to having all these items available is that it can be difficult to figure out how to use them. Sugar will always be one of the mainstays of baking. Not only do most recipes call for it, but you can’t simply substitute any old natural sweetener in a sugar-based recipe and get similar results. Every sweetener has its own unique properties and requires special attention. Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener is a cookbook that gives these sweeteners plenty of attention.

The cookbook starts off with a discussion of sugars and why they’re so important to baking, to give the book a jumping off place for a discussion of other sugars/sweeteners and the characteristics that they can impart to a baked good. There are some recipes that use everyday sugars, and from there the recipes go on to include “specialty” sugars like demerara and muscovado, as well as other sweeteners. Some recipes call for a mix of sweeteners, while others only use sugar alternatives. Recipe categories include breakfasts, cakes, pies, custards, candies and frozen desserts, and there are even a few savory/main dish selections included to show the sweeteners’ versatility.

The cookbook is written by Mani Niall, the author of Sweet and Natural Baking and founder of Mani’s Bakery in LA, which specializes in using all natural sweeteners (and other healthy, all natural ingredients) in its cakes, cookies and other baked goods. There is something of a healthy slant to the cookbook, but it seems to be less overt than in the previous book. The recipes are easy to follow and most sound tempting, so it’s easy to see how a cookbook like this one could end up being something of a driving force in motivating home bakers to move out of a rut and experiment with something new in the kitchen.

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  • Mallory
    September 29, 2008

    Cool idea to have a cookbook focused on the different sweetners. Our recipe today was focused on finding a moist honey cake because it’s hard to find one that isn’t dry. Thanks for posting about this neat book! I’ll definitely be checking it out.
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  • happy mom
    September 30, 2008

    I’m a chemist by profession. And I’m aware that sugars can come in various forms. The real sugars are the ones we call as table sugar, the fruit sugar, and the likes. But artificial sweeteners are also another form of sugar which is known to have lots of health hazards with them.

    But during our visit to a manufacturing plant, it was a surprise how some admin there – Nutritionists by profession – told us that artificial sweeteners are as safe as the natural sugars. They also added something about saturated and unsaturated fat.

    What is you say on this?

  • Mrs. L
    September 30, 2008

    I have a ton of different sugars sitting in my cupboard and no idea how to use them. Off to buy this book, thanks!

  • kim
    September 30, 2008

    I can really use a book like this. Finally, just what I have been looking for.

  • detox diet
    September 30, 2008

    I love the idea of using agave syrup as a sweetner – much better for you than refined an processed sugar, and tastes great. Works well to sweeten porridge (oatmeal) too.

    Love the site btw :o)

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