Shopping for Sweeteners

Monk Fruit Monk fruit is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar, but has no calories. You’ll find it popping up in a number of sweet foods and beverages.
Agave Nectar The juice from the agave plant is processed to make agave nectar, a thick syrup ranging from light to dark amber in color. Agave nectar is 1 ½ times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia Compounds extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant are purified. This sweetener is calorie free and is 250 times sweeter than sugar.
Brown Sugar This is a combination of table sugar and molasses, and it comes in either light or dark varieties. To soften hardened brown sugar, heat in microwave for 30 seconds.
Table (White) Sugar Sugar cane and sugar beet are the main sources of this pantry staple. One teaspoon equals 16 calories, while a small sugar cube delivers about 9 calories.
Turbinado (Raw Sugar) Its light brown, coarse crystals have a slight molasses flavor. Raw sugar is made from the juice that remains after the sugar cane has been processed. Although its color and name suggest it may be a healthier alternative to table sugar, it’s not.
Pure Crystalline Fructose It’s 20% sweeter than sugar so you can use less of it. It’s found in enhanced and flavored waters, energy drinks, yogurt, nutrition bars, powdered mixes, and baked goods.
Molasses This liquid remaining after refining sugar cane or beets becomes molasses. Light molasses results from the first boiling and is lightest in color and flavor. The second boiling produces dark molasses and a third boiling produces black strap molasses, a very dark, thick and slightly bitter variety.
Corn Syrup Not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup is a concentrated solution of dextrose and other sugars made from the starch of corn. Corn syrup keeps crystals from forming so it’s ideal for candies, jams and frostings.
Superfine Sugar This is finely granulated table sugar. It dissolves almost instantly, making it ideal for whipping into meringues and stirring into cold liquids. Make your own superfine sugar by whirling table sugar in the food processor until fine.
Maple Syrup Although often imitated, pure maple syrup is made by boiling down sap tapped from maple trees. It’s highly concentrated providing 216 calories per ¼ cup.
Powdered (Confectioner’s) Sugar Granulated sugar that’s been crushed to a fine powder with a little bit of cornstarch added to help prevent clumping. It dissolves easily so is preferred for making candy and icing.
Honey With more than 300 varieties, honey’s flavor, color and aroma differ depending on the nectar of the flowers visited by the bees. Honey may harbor botulism spores, so avoid feeding it to infants less than 1 year old.
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