Reduced sugar baking
Keeping it sweet with less sugar
We are firm believers that baking is a science, and to get the best results, you should follow the recipe. But science wouldn’t be science without a little experimentation, right? One of the most common recipe changes we see is reducing the amount of sugar or swapping out sugar for an alternative sweetener, and the best part is, you often can’t even taste the difference!
Although we have had much success experimenting with sugar in baking, you do need to be mindful when changing a recipe. Sugar does more than sweeten your treats¾it helps keep your baking moist and tender, it contributes to proper spreading, browning and aeration, and it keeps your baking fresh for longer. For some sweet treats like meringue, sugar is crucial to the structure of the dessert, and should not be altered.
When you want to switch up a recipe, there are a few guidelines to follow that can set you up for success.
We suggest reducing the sugar by one-third (using ⅔ of a cup for every one cup of sugar), or if you’re feeling really brave, you can try halving the sugar. If you’re using yeast in your baking, it’s best to leave the sugar alone as it helps activate the yeast.
If sweetener swapping is more your thing, we like using liquid honey, agave, or the Canadian classic maple syrup in place of sugar. Try using ¾ of a cup of honey, agave or maple syrup for every one cup of sugar and reduce the amount of liquids by ⅓ of a cup. You may want to lower your oven temperature by 25°F as these liquids caramelize faster than sugar, and you may burn your treats if you don’t keep a watchful eye.
If you would rather use a dry sweetener, try using coconut sugar or stevia. Coconut sugar is an easy swap of 1 to 1, but things get a bit complicated with stevia. Stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar; so try using a ½ tsp for every cup of sugar.
Now’s the time to give it a try! Through our years of experimenting, we find chunky cookies, fruit crumbles or loaf cakes are the best candidates for reducing sugar or sweetener swaps, and it’s best to follow the recipe for things like delicate cakes, meringues or candy.
Best of luck, fellow sugar swapping scientists.