The occasional treat is simply too delicious for us to get rid of it completely.
After all, have you seen our BenVia Gold brownie recipe?
Have you tasted it? So no, we haven’t given up sugar completely.
The key, though, is that we use good sugars the majority of the time, and save traditional sugars for very occasional indulgences.
Which makes Halloween tough, because there are chocolates, candies, and desserts everywhere this time of year.
And none of those bags you see at the grocery store are sweetened with good sugars, you just know it.
We aren’t, however, willing to throw away our occasional taste of traditional sugar on the mass produced stuff that will fill trick or treat bags later this month.
4 Good Sugars
While there are plenty of good sugars to choose from, each with their own flavor profiles and uses, this article will focus on four…
Honey. The original good sugar, honey is sweeter than traditional sugar, so you don’t need as much of it to flavor a recipe. Since it adds liquid to any treat, it’s not the best for crunchy or crispy desserts (think a crispy cookie), but can be a delicious addition to breads and sauces. You can also try granulated honey that works much like traditional sugar.
Honey Caramel Apples
- 1 ½ c honey
- ½ c heavy cream
- 1 T butter
- 1 t pure vanilla
- 1/8 t salt
1. Combine honey and cream in a heavy saucepan.
2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 238°F. Do not let cream scorch.
3. Stir in butter, vanilla and salt.
4. Let cool.
Serve with sliced apples for dipping.
Maple Syrup. Don’t think this is the pancake syrup you grew up with. Pure maple syrup has a richer, less artificial flavor, and for good reason. You can even swap it for traditional sugar in recipes. Just use ¾ cup maple syrup for every cup of sugar called for in the recipe. As with honey, this swap works best with softer baked goods.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars – While this recipe is mostly good sugars, it does have a bit of traditional sugar.
- 10 graham cracker sheets
- 2 T butter
1. Crush graham crackers until fine, but not dust.
2. Mix with softened butter until stuck together.
3. Press into the bottom of a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 c pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
- ¼ c pure maple syrup
- 1 T sugar
- ¼ t cinnamon
- ¼ t pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ¼ t pure vanilla
- 2 t cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Stir together all ingredients until just blended. Overblending will cause cracking.
3. Pour the batter into the crust, smooth out evenly, and place on the middle rack of your oven.
4. Bake 25 minutes.
5. Turn heat off completely but do not open the oven door. Let sit in closed, turned-off oven for five minutes.
6. Remove bars from the oven. They will be underdone. Let them sit at room temperature for one hour.
7. Refrigerate for at least four hours before slicing into bars.
Coconut Sugar. In spite of its name, coconut sugar doesn’t actually come from coconuts. It’s the dried sap from the flowers of the coconut palm tree – and it’s a totally unique, but delicious, sweet flavor. Plus, it’s very low on the glycemic index, which makes it excellent for avoid spikes and crashes.
Ginger and Molasses Cookies
- ¾ c chickpea flour
- ¾ c oat flour
- ¾ t baking powder
- ½ t baking soda
- ¾ t fine sea salt
- 1 t ground ginger
- ½ t ground cinnamon
- ¼ t ground cloves
- 2 ½ coconut oil, soft
- ¾ c coconut sugar
- 2 T unsulphered blackstrap molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 t pure vanilla
- 2 T almond milk
- Large grain sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
3. In another large bowl, cream the oil and sugar with an electric mixer, then beat in the molasses.
4. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk, and beat until combined.
5. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with electric mixer on medium-low until all flour is combined and no lumps remain (batter will be thick and sticky at this point).
6. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
7. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop balls of dough out onto prepared baking sheet, spacing each cookie 2 inches apart.
8. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until they darken a bit and are fragrant.
9. Sprinkle with large grain sugar, if desired.
10. Place cookies on a rack and let them cool before eating. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.
Stevia. This extract from the stevia plant may seem new, but as a good sugar, it’s been valued in South America for hundreds of years. 200 times sweeter than traditional sugar, it comes in liquid and powdered form, so you can use it in just about any recipe.
Homemade Chocolate Bars – Because what’s Halloween without a chocolate bar?
- ½ c plus 1 T cocoa powder
- 4 T unrefined coconut oil, melted
- Stevia drops to taste (vanilla stevia is particularly tasty in this recipe, if you can find it)
- Optional extracts, cocoa nibs, or other add-ins (shredded coconut, nuts, etc.)
1. Combine coconut oil with the liquid sweetener or stevia drops. Stir.
2. Add the cocoa powder, any extras, and stir vigorously until it thickens.
3. Pour onto baking sheet lined with parchment and smooth.
4. Freeze until solid.
5. Break into pieces, and store in the freezer.
Sure, these treats take a little more time than just throwing a bag of candy into your grocery cart, but enjoying good sugars at Halloween – along with the occasional traditional sugar indulgence – is worth the extra effort!