You may have seen coconut sugar in health food stores and baking recipes everywhere nowadays. The sugar alternative is making waves for more reasons than one, and we've got the scoop on what it is and the best ways to use it.
What is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is produced from the fresh sap in the flower buds of the coconut palm. The sap is heated to evaporate the water, then the remaining syrup is reduced to a coarse caramel-colored sugar. Coconut sugar shouldn't be confused with palm sugar, which comes from the sugar date palm.
What are the benefits of coconut sugar?
Additioanlly, coconut sugar is more environmentally friendly than cane sugar. The yield from a coconut palm plantation is at least 50 percent more than that of sugarcane, with much less drain on the soil nutrients.
But we also love it for its rich toffee flavor, which is so much more interesting than cane sugar or brown sugar. Used one for one in place of brown sugar, the result will be a little less sweet, too, which is a plus.
Where can I get coconut sugar?
Health food stores are the place to go for coconut sugar, although many supermarkets also stock it.
How should I use coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is a baker's best friend, and you can add it as a little something special to biscuits, cakes, and more.
Coconut Sugar Recipes to Try
Spiced Coconut Sugar Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
- Beat 7 oz. coconut sugar and 5 oz. softened butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (one to two minutes), then beat in 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste.
- Stir in 6 oz. plain flour, 2 Tbsp. cornflour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. each of ground cinnamon and finely grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, and a generous pinch of salt until a soft dough forms.
- Roll the cookie dough into 12 even-sized balls and place on prepared trays, leaving about three inches between each for cookies to spread.
- Press the dough to flatten slightly, then scatter each cookie with a little extra sugar and sea salt.
- Bake until browned around the edges (10 to 12 minutes). Cool on trays and store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Makes 12 cookies.
Coconut Sugar Caramel Sauce
- Stir 3 oz. coconut sugar, 2 1/2 Tbsp. honey, and 2 oz. diced butter or softened coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.
- Bring mixture to a boil and cook, stirring once or twice until thickened (about one to two minutes).
- Add 5 oz. cream and gently stir to combine, then cook until sauce thinly coats the back of a spoon (three to four minutes). Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste and a good pinch of salt. Serve warm over ice cream.
Makes about eight ounces.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Gourmet Traveller.