My Sweeteners of Choice
Updated: Aug 19
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I have done a ton of taste-testing to find my favorite organic sweeteners! I went through an agave stage, and thank goodness that's over. I never did the fake sugar thing (phew). But, here are some of my favorite brands of sweeteners that I've tried in several recipes over the past year or so. I'm always looking for the best quality of everything, so here are the details on all the sugar-y things.
About two years ago was the peak of my honey kick. I love finding local honey, and I like to confirm that the beekeepers don't spray chemicals, and are hopefully in an area where the neighbors don't spray, either. It's a challenge to have truly organic honey, as we can't really control where the bees go.
Rain Forest Mountain and Andes Raw Honey: Healthy Traditions brand is the gold standard for pantry items in our household. They are a Christian-based company, they test for glyphosate, and really care about the products they share. Although I like them both, if I had to pick, Andes is my favorite of the two with a nice caramel flavor. The Rain Forest Honey tastes more intense, and is very floral (good in its own way).
2. Maple Syrup
Last year (2022) was the start of my maple syrup craze. I've been enjoying it in my iced coffee for a year and a half now!
Zoe Farms Maple Syrup: This is actually from a local Amish farm, not maple syrup they make there at the farm (which I'd like to try someday, too!!!)...and I have taste tested it to the max. It passes my taste test on everything from pancakes, coffee, baking, lemonade, salad dressings, and more! I don't know how to describe it except that it's the best I've ever tasted!
Healthy Traditions Maple Syrup: This is tested for glyphosate which puts it at the top of the charts for me. It is really delicious and tastes really good in all the things I mentioned above. It works in my coffee, but Zoe Farms syrup has a little extra strength of flavor that comes through just a little bit more in my drinks. This translates to: I have to use more of the Healthy Traditions maple syrup in my coffee compared to Zoe's.
3. Pantry Sugars
Panela: I've tried this in several different recipes as a replacement for sugar. It is not nearly as sweet, but I got it from Healthy Traditions, so once again, it is tested and free of glyphosate. It is deep, almost nutty, and slightly sweet. I've used it in pancakes, biscuits, cookies, etc... My favorite way to use panela is in stewed fruit. From their website it states their Panela is: "Whole Evaporated Cane Juice with Minimal Processing, NO Molasses Removed, Grown on a Single Farm in Colombia Using Traditional Methods, Grown Without Chemical Fertilizers or Pesticides." They also share that it can go by other names, depending on the place. For example: Rapadura (Brazil), Jaggery (India), or Moscavado (Phillipines). However, I've only had jaggery in a block form, but thinking this is what the panela is before it gets ground into a fine powder!
Powdered sugar: Let's start with the Wholesome brand of this one (same for the next two). It's organic and sourced from sustainable farms. All those things are important to me. It's the best one I've tried so far, but it does include tapioca starch as an ingredient--which as you may know, I prefer to stay away from cassava-based things due to the mostly unavoidable glyphosate content, but it is organic (which is a nice surprise to find). A lot of other brands use cornstarch, and I haven't found any other one that's organic! I use powdered sugar most often in icing - like on these apple fritters! But, I also made some buttermints, what a fun experiment!
Dark Brown Sugar: Wholesome also carries a Light Brown Sugar, but dark is definitely my preference. It does tend to get hard, like conventional brown sugar. I got one of those clay discs to put in the container, and it works well, but I do need to soak it about once a week if I don't want to end up with rock hard brown sugar. This sugar is tasty and has a deep molasses flavor (which I prefer). It's the best tasting brown sugar I've used in my chocolate chip cookies!
Sucanant: This is Wholesome's whole cane sugar (aka panela). From their website it states that it's: "made by crushing freshly cut sugarcane, extracting its juice, and heating the juice in a large vat. The heating process turns the juice into a rich dark syrup, which is subsequently cooled by continuous hand-paddling and stirring. Our Whole Cane Sugar consists of the flavorful dried granules left behind after the liquid is dehydrated. -- Wholesome's Organic Fair Trade Sucanat Panela Whole Cane Sugar contains trace amounts of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Chromium. No chemicals, bone char, or animal byproducts are used during processing. Basically nothing is added or taken out, resulting in one of the best brown and white sugar substitutes on the market."
Did you catch that? No chemicals, bone char, or animal byproducts. That leads me to believe some companies use these items to make their sugar (or used to)...yikes!
Do you have a favorite sweetener or favorite brand? Share with me in the comments and as always, #GetSatiated.