Monday, January 11, 2016

30 days Sugar Free: Switching date sugar

I've embarked on my 30 days without sugar and want to first report on the date crystals from a date farm in Arizona.  While I wean myself off the sweet addiction, dates are going to be my sweet treat anyway, but I was excited to start finding recipes with the date sugar substitute. Eventually I hope to steer clear of grains all together, but the date sugar intrigued me, and I'm a baker by DNA, so fully grain-free is a stretch.

In a 2013 Virginia Tech biochemistry study ranking the health of the 12 most popular sweeteners by antioxidant content, date sugar ranked the healthiest.

Flourless banana bread from Chocolate Covered Katie
The first two recipes I went for were banana and zucchini breads - both gluten free, one vegan, one with eggs.

After looking at several top rank options based on ingredients, the banana bread recipe I went with was from Chocolate Covered Katie.  The foundation for this recipe is GF Oat Flour, calls for honey, not date sugar, and is entirely vegan (no eggs, no milk).

This is a great recipe, it's great tasting, has great texture (if you cook gluten free you know that breads can be gummy), and a mild banana flavor. I actually used 1/4 cup apple sauce because my 3 defrosted bananas didn't quite yield 1 3/4 cups.

The second recipe I tested was a zucchini bread recipe from A Little Insanity. I'm not cutting out eggs this month (although I plan to ease back into a vegan diet), so I wanted to try this recipe before I did. This was a great option for the date sugar, although the sugar content in general is very low. Worth note- at the top it calls for 20 min cook time (which refers to the muffins) - read thru to the end, and bake a loaf for 50.

I love this recipe! The other one I've been using for years has TWO cups of sugar in it and makes me cringe to make it. This one is slightly savory, and very light on the sugar with 1/2 cup of date crystals (ground).

I did not add chocolate chips to either, so I could appreciate the full flavor of the bread, and if you're going for sugar free, they don't need it. I added walnuts to the zucchini bread and it's a great addition. 

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