Sugar, in its myriad forms, is a critical component of most baked goods. It flavors both directly and indirectly, and it exacts its own chemistry on the other ingredients with which it’s partnering. There are many myths about various forms of sugar, including the argument that some forms of sugar are better for you than others; that, as with grains, less refining means more nutrition. But all sweeteners are equal as far as energy is concerned; they contain about 4 calories of energy per gram. Although there are arguments that some sweeteners are better for you because they contain trace minerals and vitamins, or come from organic sources, all of them, with insignificant exceptions, are essentially empty nutritionally, aside from the energy they produce.
Our bodies break down all carbohydrates, the simple kind (sugars) and the complex kind (fruits, vegetables and grains) into glucose molecules so we can metabolize them to create energy. Once broken down into glucose, your body can’t tell whether the glucose came from fruit, vegetable, bread, straight from the hive, a maple tree, or from a bowl of sugar.
Granulated white sugar is the most common sugar, the least expensive, the easiest to use and imparts the least amount of flavor (other than sweetness). This is the sugar most commonly used in baking and on the table. It’s the one we use as a benchmark for measuring the sweetness and baking characteristics of other sugars. Because it’s the least assertive sweetener flavor-wise, it allows flavors of other ingredients to dominate. Some combinations:
- Cinnamon Sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar combined with 2 tablespoons cinnamon.
- Citrus Sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar blended with 1 tablespoon lemon or orange peel or 1/4 teaspoon lemon or orange oil.
- Vanilla Sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar infused for several days with 1 or 2 chopped vanilla beans
- Superfine, ultrafine, or bar sugar
- Superfine, ultrafine, or bar sugar is the finest of the granulated sugars. It’s ideal for extra-fine-textured cakes and meringues, and it dissolves very easily, making it perfect for sweetening beverages. It’s known as castor sugar in England, for the silver castors it is kept and served in.
- Confectioners or icing sugar
- Confectioners or icing sugar is a powdered white sugar with about 3% cornstarch added to prevent clumping. Because of its added cornstarch, it can’t be substituted in most baked goods for granulated sugars, either white or brown. In this country there are three grades of confectioner’s sugar, with only the finest (10X) available in supermarkets; the other coarser grades are used by institutional bakeries. Confectioners’ sugar is used in icings, confections and whipped cream. Glazing sugar is confectioners’ sugar made without the added starch; it can be directly substituted for confectioners’ sugar.
- Because confectioner’s sugar has that bit of cornstarch, don’t bake with it unless the recipe calls for it. It isn’t an acceptable substitute for any other kind of sugar.
- Coarse and sanding sugars
- Coarse and sanding sugars are white sugars in large crystals. They’re more stable than granulated sugar at baking temperatures, and thus can be used to decorate cookies or other pastries before baking. Since they don’t melt at the same temperature as granulated sugar, they shouldn’t be used as a substitute.
- Brown sugar
- Brown sugar is granulated sugar with some molasses mixed in to darken and deepen its flavor and texture. Light brown sugar has less added molasses (and less assertive flavor) than dark brown sugar; they can be used interchangeably, depending on personal preference. Dark brown sugar can be substituted for white granulated sugar measure for measure, and will alter the flavor of course, just as you would expect, and will create a moister end product. If you’re out of brown sugar and want to substitute white sugar, add a bit of molasses to approximate the flavor, 1 tablespoon of molasses for light brown sugar and 2 tablespoons for dark.
- Rock hard brown sugar?
- If your brown sugar has gotten rock hard, place it in a plastic bag with a slice of apple. It will soften in a couple of days. For a quick fix, heat the sugar in a 250°F oven for a few minutes, or microwave on low for one to two minutes. Use it immediately before it seizes up. Better yet, store your brown sugar with a sugar bear (see Tools, p. tk) to keep it moist all the time.
- Brownulated sugar
- Brownulated sugar is granulated brown sugar and can be substituted for either white or traditional brown sugars, with the same kinds of differences as you would discern between white and brown that isn’t “brownulated.”
- Turbinado sugar
- Turbinado sugar is what most people imagine brown sugar is: granulated sugar that hasn’t yet been refined. Unrefined sugar still has molasses in it. While brown sugar has molasses added back in, turbinado never had it taken out; it’s a less-processed form of granulated sugar. Turbinado behaves the way brown sugar does, but at a higher price.
- Demerara sugar
- Demerara sugar, an English version of turbinado sugar, has larger crystals; it’s often used in tea or on hot cereals, and can be used like coarse sugar, to decorate pastries. The name denotes where this sugar originally came from, the Demerara district of British Guiana on the South American mainland.
- Sucanat is a brand name referring to a “natural,” organic sugar made from pressed and evaporated sugarcane juice. It contains some nutrients, but in such small amounts that it can't be claimed to be a source for them.
- Demerara, turbinado and Sucanat sugars can all be substituted for granulated sugar, but will have a brown-sugar like flavor.
- Raw sugar
- Raw sugar isn’t legally available in the United States because, like unpasteurized milk, it can contain bacteria and other foreign matter. “Sugar in the Raw” is a version of turbinado sugar.
- Maple sugar
- Maple sugar is maple syrup cooked down and then beaten into a crystallized form. Maple sugar has flavor overtones that result from its unique mineral content, and the fact that the maple flavor is developed as the sap boils and the sugar caramelizes. This is not a good substitute for any other sugar; it is best appreciated as a garnish.
- Malt is a powder made from barley that has been sprouted and dried. You may remember that not long ago there was interest in sprouting grains to add an inexpensive, nutritional wallop to one’s diet. Malting takes this one step further. There are two types of dry malt—diastatic, and non-diastatic.
- As barley (or any grain berry) gets closer and closer to sprouting, it develops diastatic enzymes that will break down its starch into the simple sugars, maltose and dextrin, that become the food source for an emerging seedling. This is the food it uses while it develops its own independent feeding system. We can capture those enzymes by allowing barley or other grain berries to sprout. When their activity is at its greatest, the berries are dried at a relatively low temperature (not over 170°F) that doesn’t damage the enzymes. They are then ground into a slightly sweet flour.
- If you read the ingredient statement of most bags of all-purpose flour in this country, you’ll find that a small amount of malted barley flour has been added as a natural yeast food. It has also long been used as a yeast food in Europe. When a tiny amount of malted barley flour is added to wheat flour in a dough, it breaks the wheat starch into sugars for yeast to feed on, and gives the dough a real boost.
- Non-diastatic malt is made the same way, but dried at higher temperatures that destroy the ability of the enzymes to act on the starch.
- Malt is an unsung health food that has been around for years. Diastatic malt, used in small amounts, enhances the appearance, flavor and texture of bread; non-diastatic malt, in larger amounts, adds a familiar malt flavor.
- Caveat emptor
- There’s a sugar product in the sugar section at the grocery store that looks like granulated sugar, but isn’t. It’s a combination of glucose (dextrose) and granulated sugar, and doesn’t work well in some baked goods, particularly brownies and meringues. In fact, the fine print on the back of the bag tells you not to use it in brownies or meringues, and adds that it may affect the texture of cakes, as well. So, read the label; granulated sugar will say simply “granulated sugar.”
There are several liquid sweeteners (syrups) that are made from sources that define their flavor, color and some baking characteristics. Some pure syrups include molasses (sugarcane), honey (bees), maple syrup (the sugar maple tree), and sorghum (sweet sorghum grass). There are others that are blends, in some cases with other flavors added. The base for several of these is corn syrup (or high fructose corn syrup) because it has little flavor of its own and combines well with stronger flavored syrups. Dark corn syrup is an example of this, as is King’s syrup. The most commonly used syrups are listed first.
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup is a sweetener that’s become increasingly important, as corn is a relatively inexpensive and easy crop to grow. Corn syrup, the kind available in the grocery for the home baker, is about 25% water. The remainder is glucose, high fructose corn syrup (see below), salt, and vanilla. Glucose is hygroscopic, or moisture retaining; baked goods made with corn syrup will stay moister longer.
- Honey is probably our oldest sweetener. It’s unique as a sweetener because it only needs to be removed from the hive. Once out and strained of bits of comb, it’s ready to eat. It was used extensively by the Greeks and Romans and was the primary sweetener in Europe until the 16th century, when cane sugar became more easily available.
- Honey is made by bees rather than humans. It’s perceived as sweeter than sugar and it has different browning characteristics so you need to bake with it at a lower temperature. Honey is more hygroscopic than table sugar and will help keep baked goods moist. It also has a unique flavor that’s an important part of many traditional baked goods. What would lebkuchen or baklava be without honey?
- Keeping honey liquid
- Honey will keep longest as a liquid rather than in crystallized form, because it contains so much sugar in solution that bacteria can’t survive in it. But honey likes to crystallize (you may have noticed). To make it a liquid again, heat it up a little over a low heat or in the microwave.
- Maple syrup
- Maple syrup is another sweetener that, in its natural state, is as pure a source for sugar as is honey (unlike cane syrup, which has a lot of undesirable stuff in it that needs to be removed).
Maple sugar and syrup
There are very few areas in the world where the sugar maple grows well and, fortunately for us, one of them is the northeastern United States (and Canada just to the north of us). Native Americans were making syrup long before Europeans came on the scene, but with Europeans came equipment and technology that has made the process somewhat easier.
Maple sugar and syrup were the sweeteners of choice for early Colonial cooks. Before the Revolution, sugar from the West Indies was heavily taxed so was too expensive for general use. Later on as our distaste for slavery grew, our distaste for sugar produced by slave labor grew as well. So maple sugar managed to sustain our needs for sweetening for quite some time. By the end of the 19th century, sugar from sugar beets began to be available and that, plus the fact that cane sugar had become much less expensive, meant that the maple was no longer used as a major sugar source. Maple syrup is still produced by hardy Northeasterners who can’t yet get into their fields to plant and who somehow can’t let the sugar season go by without a “go at it.”
Maple sap tastes like water with a faint echo of sweetness. The sugar season begins in early spring when nights are still below freezing but days soar to heady temperatures of 45° to 50°F, preferably with no wind and lots of sun. Then the trees are tapped to release the sap (a slow, drip, drip, drip kind of process). After the sap is collected, it is poured into an evaporator placed over a wood- or oil-fired “arch.”
To make a gallon of syrup, you need to boil down about 35 to 50 gallons of sap. Early season sap is lighter flavored than later season sap, when bacterial activity begins to work on the sucrose and break it down into a larger glucose/fructose component. Thus early season sap makes grade A (light amber) syrup, while grades B and C (dark) syrup come from the later sap. Some people prefer dark syrup for its assertiveness in baking. Others love the ethereal taste of the first-run syrup as a condiment, on pancakes, waffles, and hot cereal.
- After the juice of the sugarcane has been boiled and concentrated and all the available sucrose has precipitated out (crystallized), molasses is what’s left. Because molasses making is done in three stages, there are three resulting grades. “First” molasses is lighter in color and flavor than “second” and “third” (blackstrap) molasses. With each boiling and extraction, the remaining liquid becomes more and more caramelized (darker), the minerals and other “impurities” become more and more concentrated, and the sugar content becomes lower. Blackstrap molasses contains only about 50% sugar components with the result that its flavor is too strong to use in any but small amounts. It can be used in baking, but use it in combination with other, lighter flavored sweeteners. “First” molasses produces the most pleasing flavor. It has a signature flavor that combines well with ginger and other spices in cookies and cakes, particularly gingerbread.
- Molasses and maple syrup usually are interchangeable in a recipe, especially if there is not a lot of it used. Most other liquid sugars can be substituted for each other too, except barley malt syrup, corn syrup and rice syrup. These are much less sweet than their counterparts. Be aware that some have more liquid than others and they all behave slightly differently. Experiment with them, but not when you’ve got special guests arriving!
- Golden syrup
- Golden syrup is an English sweetener (although the Australians and New Zealanders have their versions, too). An ultra-thick, smooth syrup that tastes like a caramelized version of our corn syrup, golden syrup has much more flavor and is much more interesting. It’s often drizzled onto scones or hot cereal, or into tea.
- Dark Karo syrup
- Dark Karo syrup is made from dark corn syrup, refiner’s (cane) syrup, caramel flavor, salt, caramel color, and a preservative.
- Treacle, another English sweetener, is essentially the same as molasses, although technically more refined. It can be used in place of molasses, but its flavor is akin to blackstrap, so use it sparingly.
- Malt syrup (barley malt syrup)
- Malt syrup (barley malt syrup) is made from malted barley that is ground and then briefly treated with an acid to dissolve the enzymes, sugars and vitamins. It is then heated with water to form the mildly sweet, concentrated liquid we know as malt syrup. Although dark-colored like molasses, its flavor is much milder. To create a more “bagelly” bagel (moister and chewier, with a shinier shell), commercial bagel bakers add a small amount of malted barley syrup in place of ordinary sweetener.
- Sorghum is a classic Southern and Midwestern American sweetener extracted from an Old World grass. Its slightly molasses-y flavor complements a range of muffins, pancakes, cereals, and quick breads.
- King’s syrup
- King’s syrup is a mainstay of the Amish in Pennsylvania, an important ingredient in shoofly pie. It is a mixture of corn syrup and refiner’s (cane) syrup, the same ingredients as Dark Karo syrup but with it’s own flavor profile.
- A note on substituting liquid for dry sugars
- We don’t recommend substituting liquid sweeteners for granulated or brown sugars in recipes in which the fat is creamed with the sweetener. Liquid sweeteners can’t induce fats to contain air because they don’t have a crystalline structure. The result will be a dense, heavy product.
- One potential substitution is honey for table sugar, it can be done with some complications. It is sweeter than table sugar, so for one cup of sugar, use a generous 3/4 cup of honey and decrease the liquid in the recipe by 3 to 4 tablespoons. If the recipe contains no additional liquid, increase the flour by 3 tablespoons. Don’t use honey in recipes that need to be cooked at over 350°F because it scorches.
- If a recipe calls for honey and you’re out, you can substitute 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar or brown sugar plus 1/4 cup of water.
How sugars affect what we bake
Certain breads are definitely superior with no added sweetener, but can you imagine a cake, cookie, quick bread or pie without any sweetening? So sugar’s most important attribute is easy to understand. It’s sweet and we just like it.
But sugar’s chemistry in baking is another, more important consideration. Because it’s hygroscopic (it attracts and absorbs water), it competes with the protein (gluten) in flour for liquids in a batter. By not allowing the flour to have all the liquid, it slows down the development of the gluten, which means that your cakes, quick breads and cookies will be tender. And by slowing down the rate at which the flour can absorb the liquid in a batter, it allows a cake or quick bread to expand (rise) for a longer time. The same cake made without sugar not only will taste pretty bad, but will be tough as well as flat. This is why, when you make quick breads or biscuits that contain small amounts of sugar (or none at all), it’s really important to do minimal mixing (20 seconds) because there’s no sugar there to interfere with the development of the gluten.
When you cream granulated sugar (remember it is in crystals so it has a lot of edges and sides) with butter in making a cake, air gets trapped on its surface to make this combination light and fluffy. When the rest of the ingredients are mixed in and the resulting batter is baked, the air bubbles expand and make the cake “rise.”
In angel food cakes, sugar, along with cream of tartar, helps stiffen and stabilize the egg white (protein), which means it can, like wheat protein (gluten), trap air and carbon dioxide bubbles. This makes these cakes bake up almost “lighter than air.” Another way in which sugar makes these cakes light is that during the baking process, the sugar molecules get in the way of the egg white (protein) molecules so they have to work harder and take longer to form bonds with each other (to “cook”). Because they take longer to cook, they can continue to expand longer, making the cake lighter.
At 175°F, granulated sugar caramelizes, or, really, begins to burn slightly. It becomes golden in color and develops a flavor that most of us find very pleasing. This helps the surface of cakes and cookies brown and become a bit crisp. The bonds that caramelized sugar form on the surface keep moisture inside your baked good. The higher the sugar content, the more browning will occur.
This caramelizing on the surface of cookies creates a “cracked” surface, golden brown color and great flavor. Sugar’s at work on the inside of the cookie, too: After a cookie dough is mixed, about half the sugar is still undissolved. As the cookie bakes, the sugar finally dissolves and allows the cookie to spread. The less sugar, the less spread.
All sugars are hygroscopic. But it’s good to remember some are more hygroscopic than others; when you bake with honey, corn syrup, or another liquid sweetener, you’ll have a moister end product. Cookies made with granulated sugar will be hard and crisp when they cool. Cookies made with corn syrup or honey will brown more easily, and will become soft when they cool.
In a pie crust dough, sugar also will interfere with gluten formation, making a more tender crust. Pie crusts with a lot of sugar will have a sandy texture and not enough gluten development to be easily rolled out. There are some recipes where this is a good thing and some where it’s not. For more information, see the Pie chapter, P. tk.
Even when no sugar is added to a bread recipe, sugar is at work. When a bread dough is rising, yeast is growing by converting the wheat starch (endosperm) into sugars. It is these sugars that create that lovely, golden surface on a well-baked loaf of bread.
Each sweetener has its own signature flavor that can create or change the personality of whatever you’re baking. We don’t recommend substituting one for another, as substituting sweeteners often changes the chemical balance in a recipe enough that it won’t work right. Use your common sense; it’s OK to substitute maple syrup for corn syrup, or light brown sugar for dark brown, but don’t stray too far from the recipe’s original sweetener, or you may find yourself in trouble.
Sugar’s colorful past
The production of granulated white sugar, the most common baking sugar, is a complex and labor intensive job. Although the juice of sugarcane is almost 13% sucrose, it contains a lot of other stuff that makes it unpalatable in its natural state. This has to be removed (no easy task), and the remainder has to undergo a number of other processes to leave a crystalline structure that can be used for food consumption.
Sugarcane presumably originated in the South Pacific and then, with human migration, traveled west to Asia. It had reached the Indian sub-continent sometime before the Christian era and was used there to make a kind of raw sugar for sweetening. It continued traveling west with the Persians and then with the Arabians who conquered them. The Crusades made the connection between the Middle East and Europe during the Middle Ages. Venice was to become the conduit for Eastern sugar flowing to Europe during that period, although it didn’t reach England until early in the 14th century.
Over the next several hundred years, as Europeans developed a real taste for cane sugar, it was clear that the potential market for this sweetener was vast. So, in spite of the obstacles, the sugar industry was aggressively developed. This precipitated one of the ugliest periods in European and American history and had an enormous impact on how the western hemisphere was colonized and exploited as well as how Africa was exploited and de-colonized.
In their search for an appropriate climate to grow sugarcane and to break their dependence on Middle-Eastern sugar, Europeans found their way to the West Indies. To facilitate the production of sugar, hundreds of thousands of slaves were brought there from Africa. Thus began that infamous trade of slaves, molasses and sugar, and rum that created enormous fortunes, new and thriving ports, and a social blight that eventually led to our own Civil War.
The hideous conditions that sugar-producing slaves had to endure finally induced the European countries to outlaw the importation of West Indian sugar. As a result, this eventually allowed the development of another sugar source, the sugar beet. Sugar beets can be grown in cooler climates than sugarcane, it has become a thriving crop in the United States, Europe and Russia. The world’s sugar consumption is now divided pretty evenly between cane and beet sugars although the United States is now using a form of corn sugar, fructose, in many manufactured products such as soft drinks, etc.
Up until the early part of the 20th century, some cane sugar still arrived in Europe and North America in “loaves.” In the early years of West Indian sugar production the “loaves” were cones that were approximately a foot or more in diameter at the base and 3 feet high. A cone of sugar this size weighed about 30 pounds and lasted a very long time. As time went on, smaller and more manageable “loaves” became available in 14 pound and 8 or 9 pound sizes. To remove usable sugar from these loaves, the housewife had a special sugar cutter to cut off chunks that were kept in sugar drawers or boxes. When one wanted sugar for cooking, it was then pounded into granules.
The conical shape of the sugar helps explain molasses production. To make granulated or crystallized sugar, the cane was first crushed, then cleared of impurities and finally cooked until almost all the water had boiled off. It was then poured into clay, cone-shaped molds to crystallize and harden. There was a hole in the tip so during this crystallization period, which lasted several days, any liquid residue (molasses) ran out the hole into a collection vessel. Often this meant that there were several grades of sugar in the cone. It was clearest and whitest at the wide (top) end and grew increasingly dark and more like what we think of as brown sugar toward the tip.
Europe’s first reaction to sugar was to use it as a spice and a flavoring. This perhaps explains the Medieval taste for dishes that were both savory and sweet, the remnants of which we have today in plum puddings and mincemeat pies, which were originally composed of much meat and some fruit. One of the earliest confections that could be considered simply a “candy” were almonds coated with sugar. These evolved into marzipan, a paste made of almonds and sugar ground together which has become, over the centuries, an integral part of European confection making and baking.
Refined sugar is 99 percent sucrose, and is a simple carbohydrate. There are many additional types of sugars that have “natural” sources. You’ll recognize some of them on product labels because their chemical names also end in "-ose." Included are glucose (also called dextrose), fructose (also called levulose), lactose, and maltose. Additionally there are sugar alcohols, which are actually neither sugar nor alcohol. They are mostly found in candies and processed foods. You can identify them because most of them end in “-ol,” maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol and mennitol.
- Granulated fructose
- Granulated fructose is a sucrose look-alike and can be found often with traditional sugars in the grocery store. It has the same caloric value as regular sugar, but is perceived as “sweeter; therefore you can use about one-third less of it, and thus decrease your intake of calories. But beware, it doesn’t behave exactly like granulated sugar in baking. Because fructose is more hygroscopic than sucrose, fructose-sweetened products tend to be moister and darker than if they were made with white sugar.
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Fruit juice concentrates (apple, orange, or white grape), also can be substituted for sugar. To use them in baking, use 3/4 cup for every cup of white sugar, and decrease the amount of liquid by 3 tablespoons. Start by substituting for only half the sugar called for in a recipe.
- Fruit Sweet
- Fruit Sweet is a brand of fruit concentrate that’s marketed to be used as a sugar substitute. Its primary product is a blend of pear, unsweetened pineapple and peach syrups that contain all three fruit sugars. If you want to eliminate all the white sugar in a recipe, use 2/3 cup Fruit Sweet for each cup of sugar, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by a little less than 1/4 cup.
The following four artificial sweeteners have been approved by the FDA and can be purchased for home use. There are a number of others in the FDA pipeline, so this is not the last word on this subject.
Artificial sweeteners provide sweetness but not the other characteristics one expects from sugar, such as bulk and flavor. If you are going to use these, we recommend using them as a substitute for only some of the sugar in a recipe.
- Aspartame was discovered in 1965 and is approximately 160 to 220 times sweeter than sucrose. The FDA approved aspartame in 1981, making it the first low-calorie sweetener approved by the FDA in more than 25 years (since Saccharin, below). It is sold under trade names such as NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame sweeteners are heat-sensitive. They are not appropriate for recipes that are cooked more than 20 minutes because the chemical compounds break down and lose their sweetening power. Thus they aren’t recommended for use in sweet yeast breads, quick breads or cakes. You might want to experiment with short-bake cookies. It is best added to non-cooked items such as fillings for no-bake pies or to puddings after they have been removed from the heat and are partially cooled. It is also marketed as “Equal for Recipes” and “Equal Spoonfuls” but while the packaging states that they can be used in “practically any recipe where sugar functions primarily as a sweetener,” the label goes on to say, “In recipes where sugar also provides structure and volume [and other baking characteristics], some modifications may be required for best results.” It takes 7 1/4 teaspoons of Equal to equal a cup of table sugar.
- People with a rare condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid aspartame.
- Acesulfame potassium or “Acesulfame K” was discovered in 1967 and was brought to market in 1988. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than table sugar, and sold under the brand names Sunett and Sweet One. It’s heat stable so it can be used in baking and cooking, and it’s suggested that you use acesulfame K in combination with granulated sugar when baking. Substitute 6 (1 gram) packets for each 1/4 cup sugar.
- Saccharin, 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar, is named after the Latin word for sugar (saccharum), and has the longest history of all the sugar substitutes. It was discovered in 1879 and it was used during both world wars to compensate for sugar shortages and rationing. Saccharin is sold under the trade names of Sweet'N Low, Sucaryl, Sugar Twin, Sweet Magic, and Zero-Cal. It has a long shelf life and is stable at high temperatures so is appropriate for use in baked goods. But as is stated on the Sweet'N Low container, “Many recipes require some sugar for proper volume, texture and browning. We suggest replacing half the sugar your recipe calls for with an equivalent amount of Sweet'N Low.” Some people with sensitive palates can detect an aftertaste. Because saccharin can pass from a mother to an unborn child, pregnant women may want to check with their obstetricians about the use of saccharin.
- Sucralose is the only non-caloric sweetener actually made from sucrose (table sugar) and was approved for public use by the FDA in 1998. To create it, three atoms of chlorine are substituted for three hydroxyl groups on the sugar molecule, a change that produces a sweetener that has no effective calories. It is 600 times sweeter than the sugar from which it was created, yet still tastes like it. Unlike aspartame-based sweeteners, it does not deteriorate at high temperatures so it can be used in cooking and baking. It measures and pours like sugar. It is sold under the brand name Splenda.
- Splenda can be used whenever you use sugar in cooking and baking. However, it works best in recipes where sugar is used primarily for sweetening, like fruit fillings, custards, sauces and marinades. It also works well in quick breads, muffins, cookies, and pies. In recipes where sugar provides bulk structure to the product, such as yellow or chocolate cakes, you’ll need to make a few changes in your recipe for best results. In recipes where the amount of sugar is quite high, such as meringues, caramel, pecan pies, and angel food or pound cakes, complete substitution for the entire sweetener called for may not yield the best results.