Friday, January 27, 2012

Real Food Sweeteners

We like giving Martha Stewart a run for her money in the baking department. Nothing is quite as comforting as a house that smells of freshly baked cookies or a warm pie out of the oven. We love baking at home because we know exactly what we’re putting into the recipe, and subsequently, our bodies.
When it comes to choosing ingredients to put in our homemade goodies, we generally like to stick to ingredients that are as real as possible. That is, choosing unrefined and unprocessed ingredients such as whole grain flours and unrefined sweeteners whenever we can.
These are some of our favorite sweeteners.

Honey has a satisfying flavor that adds moisture to baked goods. It contains antioxidants and micronutrients that are good for your health. More on our love of honey here.
Maple syrup is naturally made from sugar maple trees, and is useful for baking and flavoring in sauces.
Blackstrap molasses is a rich, less-processed sweetener that contains many health-promoting nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Unrefined sugar, or succanat, is made from cane juice and resembles brown sugar.  It is a healthier alternative to refined sweeteners.

If you enjoy to bake like us, allow yourself to enjoy one serving of your finished product; and then, to reduce temptation, freeze the rest. Cookies & muffins freeze well and make for a great snack or little treat when you’re craving something sweet. Take comfort in knowing you can enjoy your hard work over time and when you really want it.

And now, for a recipe.

 If you haven’t noticed by now how much we appreciate Cynthia Lair's real food focused recipes, here is her recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Muffins. This recipe calls for honey, molasses, and unrefined cane sugar – all sweeteners we fully appreciate. We love these muffins as a snack or for breakfast when we're on the go. As Cynthia says, molasses and honey and cinnamon and nutmeg and butter made into muffins entice some love bites from your family.”

Use whole grain flours whenever possible to add some whole grain goodness.

As Cynthia says, "don't marry your dry and wet ingredients until it's just the right moment." Also, try keeping your mixing to a minimum. The secret to a good muffin  texture is using as few strokes to mix as possible.

Notice the Nourish colors? That may  or may not have been intentional...

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