Spring is officially here, and for me that always means cleaning out the cupboards and thinking of new ways to lighten up my cooking and baking — with as much color and flavor as possible. This season, coconut sugar will play a big role in my kitchen. If you're not familiar with coconut sugar, it's a delightful unrefined sugar made from the sap of the cut flower buds of the coconut palm. It tastes more like brown sugar than it does coconut and is said to have a low glycemic index, which helps maintain blood sugar levels.
While it's an easy sugar substitute in most baking recipes, here are a few other ways to make it a pantry star this season.
One of the things I love about experimenting with natural sugars is the ability to amplify the flavors in your recipe. For example, because coconut sugar has a darker almost earthy flavor, it's wonderful in baking recipes using chocolate or warm spices. It's also brilliant stirred into coffee or tea, sprinkled on top of pancakes or waffles, or used to brighten up savory recipes like curries, chicken or fish. Here are a few inspired ways to use coconut sugar in your kitchen this season:
- Coconut Soup with Bok Choy - Rawmazing. This nourishing soup is bright and fresh while also being comforting and satisfying. Boasting baby bok choy, marinated mushrooms and warm spices, a little coconut sugar is used along with coconut milk to add a subtle sweetness.
- Red Velvet Cupcakes - Keepin it Kind. Whole grain flour, coconut sugar and beets combine to make these healthy vegan cupcakes.
- Flourless Brownies - Homemade Mommy. With just a handful of ingredients, these decadent chocolate brownies are the perfect easy dessert and are also a wonderful afternoon treat with tea or coffee.
- Coconut Milk Masala Chai - Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish. Making your own chai mixture at home is a favorite in our house because you can completely customize which spices you'd like to feature. Mixing it up with a little coconut milk and coconut sugar amplifies the darker flavors and makes for a soothing, satisfying break to the day.
- Rum-Kissed Coconut Granola - Bojon Gourmet. There are all kinds of ways to sweeten granola. Some people use honey while others prefer maple syrup. If you're looking to try something new, coconut sugar adds a layer of caramelly, nutty flavor that works beautifully in most granola and muesli recipes.
Are you cooking with coconut sugar at all? How do you like to use it?
(Image credits: Rawmazing; Keepin it Kind; Homemade Mommy; Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish; Bojon Gourmet)