All about choosing the right kind of Sugar
Sugar is sweet but comes in so many options that it leaves us confused.
We have our regular sugar, brown sugar, natural brown sugar or raw sugar, Demerara sugar, muscovado, etc.
Then there are the natural and artificial sweeteners. The list makes you wonder which is the right choice.
I keep it simple, I control the intake of direct sugar be it in any form. My desserts have ripe fruits which are naturally sweet ( berries, mango, bananas, etc.). I prefer using honey, Jaggery and date syrup wherever possible. Again in just the required amount.
I recently heard a friend of mine say brown sugar is healthier than regular sugar. It is true, brown sugar has molasses in it either added later to regular sugar or retained in case of regular brown sugar. Molasses do possess some health benefits. Now sugar extracted from any source is not white, it has to go through the process of bleaching. And white, free-flowing sugar looks more appealing.
This bleaching process varies. With people becoming more aware of what goes on their plate, natural additives are being used to bleach sugar. However, sulphur compounds and carbon dioxide are used in some industries. Hence, naturally, brown sugar or raw sugar is beneficial than just brown sugar.
Plus the coarse nature of sugar does not make it healthy. Yes, there is a difference in the quantity of sugar in a teaspoon of coarse brown sugar and a teaspoon of refined white sugar. The quantity is less in the former.
In the case of brown sugars, the difference lies mostly in the size of the sugar crystals and the quantity of molasses present or added. The higher the quantity of molasses darker the color and presence of moisture.
Of all the sugars I feel palm sugar is a relatively better option.
What I have in my pantry?
- A pack of white sugar
- A pack of icing sugar
- A pack of raw brown sugar
- A bottle each of Honey and date syrup
That white sugar is for my evening cup of masala tea and for emergency (a large group of guests arrives)
For baking recipes that require brown sugar and icing sugar, I keep a pack of each handy.
For desserts that I make in smaller quantities for my family, I choose date syrup, honey and substitute regular sugar partly with them. However, wherever possible I use ripe fruits.
Healthy carrot cake
Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Carrots 180 gms
Walnut 60 gms
Flour 120 gms
Canola Oil 130 ml
Date syrup 80 ml + 15 ml
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Baking soda ½ tsp
Coconut cream 400 gms
Crushed pistachios or walnut 4 tbsp
- Grease and line a 20 cm x 20 cm square baking tin. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree Celsius.
- Grate the carrots and set them aside. Roughly chop the walnuts.
- Whisk the eggs, oil and date syrup. Sieve the flour and gradually add into the eggs mixture.
- Add the cinnamon powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly fold in the carrots and walnuts. Bake for 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test.
- leave the can of coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight. next day whip the coconut cream with 15 ml date syrup. Place it over the cake once it cools down. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios or walnuts.
- This cake doesn’t rise much but is moist and perfectly sweet for us. Add a little more date syrup if you wish.