Why Smart Bakers Ditch the Sugar and Reach for the Honey
National Honey Board
We tend to rely on processed white sugars when baking, stiffening our egg whites for meringue, and sweetening our pie fillings, but you can easily substitute honey for sugar in most baking recipes. The subtle floral notes and vibrant acidity of honey add a dynamic depth of flavor to classic baked goods, such as this Hummingbird Cake or this Pumpkin Bread.
Honey comes with its own list of benefits, including a mix of glucose and fructose, which allows it to be absorbed slower than sugar. Slower absorption means less of a shock to the system, although it should be noted that honey is still high in calories and sugar.
The beautiful flavors of honey are derived from the nectar of flowers. You can alter the subtle flavors in your pastry recipes by choosing different honeys. A general rule is that the darker the honey, the more intense the flavor. To avoid the mess of trying to measure honey, first wet your measuring cups and spoons with water, so that the carefully measured honey easily slides into the bowl and doesn’t stick to your utensils.
Additionally, honey produces a moister final product; if you are struggling with a dry cake recipe, try swapping out the sugar for some honey. For the conversion from sugar to honey, follow these simple rules and try trading sweeteners in the recipes that follow.
1. Lower the oven temperature. Honey browns faster than sugar, so watch your products carefully in the oven and lower the suggested temperature by about 25 degrees F.
2. Reduce the amount of sweetener. For less than a cup of the sugar, the conversion from sugar to honey in a recipe is 1:1. However, honey tastes sweeter than white sugar because it contains higher amounts of fructose than glucose, so for a recipe calling for more than a cup of sugar, replace each cup of sugar with 2/3 to ¾ cup of honey.
3. Add baking soda. Honey is more acidic than sugar, so add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to recipes for every cup of honey to keep your final product from tasting too acidic.
4. Reduce the amount of liquid. Honey is an inverse sugar, so it contains some water. You may need to reduce the liquids in the recipe by ¼ cup if using more than a cup of honey in the recipe.
Baklava Honey Biscuits
These Greek-inspired biscuits can be used as dessert or for a sweet campfire breakfast. Take refrigerated biscuits to a whole new level.
Bayou Chewy Honey Bars
National Honey Board
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.