Adventures In Sugar Free Baking


by Brandi Savitt – December 20th, 2012

Mind Blowing Macaroons

Every year, the four apartments in my Brooklyn co-op have a tradition of leaving a holiday treat of some sort at each others’ doorstep.  It’s a building of foodies and cooks – many of whom have recently sworn off table sugar and sweets (myself included).  So this year, I decided I’d attempt to master the art of making coconut macaroons with a sugar alternative.  How hard could it be?  Both the vegan and regular recipes all looked so easy.  All I would have to do is play with adding the right amount of agave (a lower glycemic choice to table sugar) to my unsweetened coconut.  Piece of cake…  Not!

A Tasty Disaster

While it was easy to make a scrumptious macaroon batter, what I discovered was, it is surprisingly difficult to make a coconut macaroon that does not instantly crumble when you pick it up.  Hence began my three day, $40 baking tear.  From substituting coconut milk for condensed, to losing almost all liquids, I finally had success!

This Fab & Fru recipe is so quick, easy – and dare I say a little healthier -  these macaroons are perfect to give as a last minute holiday gift or bring to a dinner party any time of the year.   In just 45 minutes, I whipped up these bad boys, baked them, and had my kitchen spotless!

Agave Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 350.  *Makes about 40 macaroons.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground sea salt
  • 14 oz of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2  cup of agave nectar (use a pure, low processed agave that has nothing added to it)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of flour (a gluten free flour will do the trick too)
  • 1 Large Bar of quality 70% dark chocolate (optional)

*Note:  While agave does have a lower glycemic index than white table sugar, it is primarily fructose (sugar).  If you are diabetic or have blood sugar issues, please check with your doctor before freely using agave as a alternative sweetener.

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3 Responses to “Adventures In Sugar Free Baking”

  1. Molly says:

    Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, while agave nector is between 60 and 90% fructose, which is really, really bad for your health.
    It’s as bad for you, or worse for you than sugar.

    This recipe is hardly sugar free and so if you’re diabetic, or looking for a low cal treat, anything with agave isn’t it.

  2. brandi says:

    Molly,

    You’re right. This recipe is using agave as a table sugar alternative, but we never meant to suggest that it is a diabetic friendly recipe. Before someone with blood sugar issues uses agave as an alternative sweetener, they should check with their doctor first.

    From what we’ve researched, the main difference between table sugar and agave is that agave has a much lower glycemic index. Dr. Andrew Weil explains that agave ranks relatively low on the glycemic index because of it’s high fructose content. Fructose does not readily raise blood sugar (glucose) levels because the body doesn’t metabolize it well. However, table sugar has a high glycemic index and causes blood sugar to spike instantly. High glycemic foods also tend to turn into fat faster. Another fact is that agave is sweeter than sugar so you can use almost half the amount to achieve the same sweet taste – reducing calories and general ‘sugar’ intake.

    That said, no matter what sweetener you choose, a dessert filled diet is not ideal for weight loss and optimal health. Everything is moderation is our Fab & Fru motto. I find that agave does not spike my blood sugar levels as much as sugar, but people need to experiment for themselves… Happy Holidays!

  3. louie says:

    I’m really impressed with the explanation of Agave vs Sugar. It spurred me to further research the differences and I definitely agree with the data on Agave and it’s benefits to regular sugar. I don’t know how the perception of the original recipe/article could have been perceived as diabetic safe, as it never eluded to that, but some readers might not have read that closely.
    I plan to start experimenting now myself with Agave.

Any Thoughts?

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