Every time I make something, the first thing my husband asks is “Is there sugar in that?” He really does not get on well with sugar, and actually of late, neither do I. The thing is about baked treats is, well, they have to be sweet. So some of the other options are:
Artificial sweetenersOoops, no.Not for me.
- Maple Syrup This is a refined sugar in that it has been boiled down to concentrate the sugars; very delicious but pretty pricey, as we know.
- Agave nectar Marketed as super-healthy alternative sweetener which I will never believe is much better than high fructose corn syrup. Ask the health gurus how it is processed, and it takes a good half page and lots of unintelligible jargon to explain it.Priced inbetween maple and honey.
- Dates My favourites. Nature’s toffee. Grows on a tree as a recognisable food, which always wins points for me, though not a very punchy sweetness by themselves in baked goods.
- Honey My other favourite. I plan to keep bees quite soon. Unheated, it is also very rich in Good Stuff.
- There are a lot of other alternative syrups, like brown rice syrup; I haven’t really delved into these; they tend to be pricey, they are hard to find, and are just processed sugars anyway, but I am sure there are lots of interesting things out there for those that want to investigate.
- Other natural sweeteners like very ripe bananas; only great for a banana recipe, obviously. Again- the best sweeteners for your body are packaged as fruit.
So all in all, I lean mainly towards dates and honey, the latter especially as we plan on getting a hive next spring. With bees in, I mean. The trouble is, when you cook with honey, it burns really quickly.
So sometimes when I want to do the dutiful baking wife thing for my husband, and he is on his straight and narrow sugar free path, I actually don’t bake stuff, I either make fridge desserts (see my “Raw desserts” section) or…dehydrated cookies. I know that makes me kind of wierd, but it works.If I make a cookie dough and dehydrate it for a short while, it gives it the crisp crunchy texture, they come out warm, and they are not burnt.
I am also assured that drying out at lower temperatures preserves more of the goodness that would otherwise be destroyed at, say, 180 C. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, though I would imagine that it is probably true. When I harvest honey from our bees, I certainly won’t want to be baking all the goodness out of it at 180 C.
So in case anyone is interested, here is how I did it.
- 1 cup nuts, processed into nut butter (I used cashews and brazils, 50/50)
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 1/4t salt
- 1 1/2 organic rolled oats
- Vanilla to taste (optional)
That’s all. Just make the nut butter, then food process all of the above until you have a dough. Roll out between two sheets of greaseproof paper, cut into shapes, and pop into your food dehydrator until it is the desired texture.
Raisins and cinnamon
Orange zest and a dash of orange oil extract
Dark choc. chips
Cranberries and chopped pecans
Thank you for reading!