Sweet treats are what we do best here at Livia’s Kitchen! That means my cupboards are always stocked with lots of different sweeteners! A few weeks ago I posted a blog on the different gluten-free flours that make up my store cupboard essentials, so following that, these are my favourite unrefined sugars I like to use in recipes…

Maple Syrup 

This has to be my trusted favourite! There’s no hiding from the fact that I use it in a lot of recipes. Although maple syrup does have a delicious flavour, it’s not one that really stands out in a recipe. So, in that sense, it can be added to anything to create a sweetness, without being overpowering. It’s also much thinner than other syrups meaning that if the mixture is looking a bit dry, it might be worth adding some more maple (not that I need an excuse!)

Honey 

This is a very popular sweetener that most people have in their cupboards. Any honey will do the job, but I like to use raw honey as maintains a lot of its nutritional goodness. It’s gloopy and sticky, meaning it can work as a binder in some cases, as well as adding sweetness. One of my favourite recipes from the book and blog is the Honey Cake. It really shows off the flavour of honey, not only that it’s a wonderful sweetener.

Brown Rice Syrup

For vegans, brown rice syrup can be an easy switch for honey. But vegan or not, this is a great sweetener. I don’t use it that frequently, although I think I should start using it more! Its mellow taste and clearer colour creates a subtle sweetness. So, I’ll use it in recipes that have dominant flavours, like coconut or lemon.

Date Syrup

Date syrup is dark, gloopy and, to be honest, doesn’t look very appetising at all! But to create a rich sweetness then there’s no comparison. My favourite way to use date syrup is in flapjacks and porridge squares. For pure indulgence, it is amazing in the sauce for the date and nut pudding from the book.

Coconut Sugar

I adore coconut sugar, even though it’s nothing like coconut. If I had to compare it to something that I would say it’s similar to muscovado sugar, although it’s more caramely in taste and of course, is an unrefined sugar. It’s no surprise that I often use it to create a caramel flavour, like in my most favourite popcorn recipe. However, coconut sugar’s best use is in biscuits and cookies – the more you add, the crunchier they will be!

Dates

Dates are one of my favourite things to use in baking. They’re sticky, caramely and wonderfully sweet, and the medjool variety are the best kind! When dates are used, there’s no need for other sweeteners. Blended up, they make an amazing caramel which can be used in so many recipes (raw millionaire bites!!) They can also make up the base for a cheesecake, like these strawberry and vanilla jars, and in these lemon truffles too.

Banana 

You probably weren’t expecting to see this one, but I think it’s worth including. Bananas are naturally incredibly sweet so they’re perfect to use in baking. Although an additional sweetener is usually needed to complement the banana, you definitely won’t use as much as you would otherwise. The banana pancake stack and cacao and banana porridge squares are great examples of this. Of course, I couldn’t forget the banana bread from the book!