The Low Down on Rapadura and Coconut Sugar
Hope you have had a great week. Following on from last weeks blog I wanted to talk about sugar and what to use if you do want to treat yourself to a bit of sugar in a sweet dessert or arvo tea. It is also high time I got a sweet recipe to you, it is a long time since I have done so. As my regular readers will know I tend to focus on savoury foods. But here we go this is the first blog of a few I will do on alternative sweeteners to the bad boy refined sugar.
Refined sugar is getting a really bad rap of late and so it should be, some consider it not food at all. I haven’t cooked with it in years and if using sugar in cakes use either rapadura or coconut sugar. Many people ask me what rapadura sugar is and wonder why it is better for you than refined sugar. Here is my very basic understanding of why I use rapadura or coconut sugar rather than refined sugar.
Rapadura sugar is also called jaggery in India and Panela in Australia. It derives mainly from India and Sri Lanka. You can sometimes find Panela which is made in Australia. I last saw it in Woolies but I have to admit that was about four years ago (I rarely visit big chain supermarkets).
Rapadura sugar differs from refined sugar as refined sugar is highly processed and has no nutrients in it by the time the processing has been done. Where as rapadura sugar is cane juice which is then heated at a very low temperature to form the solid sugar and in this process it retains many of its nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium. It apparently has the same calorie content as refined sugar (not that I have ever worried about calories) but I have found that I can use half the amount suggested in baking as it is very sweet.
Coconut sugar is slowly evaporated and has apparently a lower GI level which makes it healthier than refined sugar.
Having said all of this I would only eat either of these sugars in moderation, only occasionally for special occasions or when someone in my life requests a batch of vegan biscuits for his arvo teas. Also I only ever use the organic rapadura and coconut sugars.
Here I share with you a gluten free biscuit for those special occasions or that someone in your life who enjoys a bikky with his or her cuppa. This recipe was created in the April foundation module. We were making a gluten free alternative to ANZAC biscuits. Please feel free to share this blog posts with all your friends as it is a good recipe to have for anyone who is gluten free or vegan.
Gluten Free Peace Biscuits (made with rapadura sugar)
1 cup teff flour
1 cup gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ tsp salt
1 cup pecans chopped
250g macadamia butter
½ to ¾ cup rapadura sugar
¼ cup so milk (a bit more if mix is a little dry)
Mix the flours, baking powder, salt and desiccated coconut in a bowl. In a separate bowl whip the macadamia butter with the sugar and soy milk. Add this mixture to the dry mix and fold in the pecans. Form biscuit dough into a roll and leave in the fridge for up to half an hour. Cut biscuits to the same size and place on a biscuit tray and bake in a 180 C oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Note the biscuits will keep cooking once taken out of the oven so don’t over cook them. Place them on a cake rack and let cool.