How Can I Reduce the Sugar in Baking Recipes?

Good Questions

Q: I started baking a lot in the last few years, almost always sweet recipes. But I prefer my baked goods subtle, not headache-inducing, and I always measure sugar scantly or outright reduce by a quarter-cup or so. But I know that sugar does more than sweeten - it adds moisture and improves texture, and who doesn't want a good moist breakfast cake?

Is there a good way to offset the negative effects reducing sugar has on the texture of a baked good (quick breads and cakes, mostly)? More liquid, an egg yolk, using honey or maple syrup in smaller amounts instead of granulated sugar? I'm not worried about the nutrition of sugar, just things being too sweet!

Sent by Bailey

Editor: Bailey, you're right that sugar plays a role in giving baked goods a nice texture and keeping them moist. Reducing it can sometimes mean dry and tough baked goods.

In her book, Bakewise, Shirley O. Corriher recommends cutting out an egg white if a recipe is ending up too dry, and this seems like good advice for your situation. Depending on how the recipe, you might even think of adding another egg yolk (egg whites dry baked goods out, the yolks add moisture).

For some ideas on substituting other less-sweet kinds of sugar, take a look at this post and its comments section:

Agave to Stevia: A Handy Guide to Substituting Sugars from the Columbus Dispatch

Readers, do any of you have experience with reducing the sugar in recipes?

Related: Cookbook Review: Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

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