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Natural Sweeteners: Baking with Honey, Stevia and Other Sugar Alternatives

This holiday season, enjoy decadent treats made healthier with sweet alternatives to refined sugar.

| November/December 2011

  • This holiday season, enjoy decadent treats—such as this honey cake with caramelized oranges—made healthier with sweet alternatives to refined sugar.

The holidays are a time to celebrate, but that doesn’t have to mean abandoning our healthy eating habits. This season, impress your friends and family by serving up delicious, classic flavors without relying on refined white sugar. In the following recipes, 100 percent natural sweeteners such as honey, stevia and agave nectar bring rich flavors and a healthier profile to your homemade baked goods. Pack on the flavor, not the pounds!

Hearty Honey 

The most common of all of the natural sweeteners, versatile honey can replace sugar in almost any recipe—use about half as much honey as you would sugar. Rich in antioxidants, honey also has well-established antibacterial properties.

Sweet Stevia 

Stevia is a remarkably healthful herbal sweetener that can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, yet is completely natural and calorie-free. Stevia combines well with other sweeteners and is heat-stable, making it ideal for baking. Best of all, most experts believe stevia does not affect blood sugar levels. Stevia can be used whole or crumbled, fresh or dried. You can even grow and dry stevia yourself. You’ll find stevia extracts at natural food stores—extracts vary in sweetness, so adjust recipes according to package instructions.

Peanut Butter Cookies 

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