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The term “vegan” was coined in 1944 by a small group of vegetarians who broke away from the Leicester Vegetarian Society in England to form the Vegan Society. They chose not to consume dairy, eggs, or any other products of animal origin, in addition to refraining from eating meat.
The term “vegan” was chosen by combining the first and last letters of “vegetarian.” If you or someone you know is vegan, this will mean that you or they will not consume anything that is derived from animal products.
Some people choose to go vegan because of the health effects. A plant based diet can reduce many health risks. Some also choose to go vegan to avoid the side effects linked to the antibiotics and hormones used in modern animal agriculture or because they don’t believe in the way that some animals are treated.
When you think of brownies you normally don’t think of the word healthy. Normally you would think of a decadent dessert loaded with a lot of sugar.
Brownies that are vegan may contain sugar, but can also be made without sugar. There are great sugar substitutes that can be used in making brownies.
Since sugar is made from the sugar cane plant and does not come from an animal, it is considered to be vegan. Most brownie recipes only call for granulated white sugar, although some suggest combining a bit of white sugar and brown sugar.
Brown sugar adds moisture to the mix, so using too much brown sugar in a brownie recipe can prevent a crust from forming on the brownies during baking.
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What Substitutes Can You Use For Sugar In Brownies?
Stevia can be used as a sugar substitute in vegan brownies. Stevia is a natural sugar extracted from the leaves of a South American shrub scientifically known as Stevia rebaudiana.
Stevia is a plant extract with very few calories. It’s also much sweeter than sugar, so you need less of it to provide the same amount of sweetness.
Since Stevia extract is very low in calories, it’s considered a healthy sugar alternative. Though it is non-chemical, Stevia extract has a noticeable aftertaste even after it’s been refined, so some people don’t enjoy using it as a sweetener.
Stevia comes in various forms, including powder and liquid, so you may need to experiment to find out which ones work best in your brownie recipe. Stevia extract is also relatively stable in heat, so it is used quite frequently in baking things like brownies.
Xylitol is another substitute for sugar. Xylitol is a low calorie sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to that of sugar. The healthiest xylitol is made from birch bark.
Some people may experience sensitivity to xylitol. So if you are making brownies for a crowd it might be good to second guess this choice.
Monk fruit is also often used for a sweetener in baked goods. Monk fruit may be a healthy sugar substitute to try if you’re looking to restrict calories. You don’t need to use much, since monk fruit extract is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s also a zero sugar, zero calorie sweetener, with no harmful side effects, according to the FDA.
However, commercially available monk fruit extracts have all been processed to some extent and may contain other sugars or sweeteners, so make sure to check the label. Some find that monk fruit sweeteners have an aftertaste.
If you’re sensitive to that type of flavoring, be aware of this when incorporating it into baking your brownies.
Dates are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, so using date paste as a sweetener in your brownie recipe can add more nutritional value to your diet than simply using regular sugar. Date paste can be sweeter than sugar, so you’ll have to reduce both the amount you add and the amount of liquid when baking.
Agave nectar provides more nutrients than regular sugar but fewer than honey. It’s very flavorful, so you may not need to use as much of it in your brownie recipe. However, it’s high in calories and contains a lot of fructose (even more than high fructose corn syrup).
Agave nectar may not be a good choice for people with diabetes. Agave is sweeter than sugar, has a long shelf life, and can be used in place of other sweeteners in nearly any cooking situation.
Its taste is similar to honey, and it lacks the bitter aftertaste of some sugar substitutes. But because it is a liquid, you might have to make some other changes to your brownie recipe.
Coconut sugar is an unrefined sweetener, so it retains all its vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t lead to fluctuations in blood sugar. However, coconut sugar has the same amount of calories as granulated white sugar, and it is high in carbohydrates and fructose.
Coconut sugar can be used as a 1:1 replacement for white or brown sugar, so it’s easy to use in the kitchen.
However, it can be very coarse. You may want to grind it in a blender or food processor for a few moments before using it for baking brownies.
Maple syrup is high in antioxidants and rich in minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese. You can use maple syrup when baking brownies, just be sure to reduce the amount of liquids in the recipe.
Honey is sweeter than sugar, so if you use it to make brownies you may have to reduce the amount you add. Since there’s water in honey, you’ll also want to reduce the liquid you use when substituting honey in baked goods.
Applesauce can also be used as a sweetener. Again, since this is a liquid sweetener you will need to reduce the amount of other liquids in the brownie recipe.
Adding applesauce to a brownie recipe can be a great way to incorporate fruit into a dessert when there might be someone in your family who may have an aversion to the texture of fruit but you want them to eat it (looking at you kids).
When substituting alternative sweeteners in your brownie recipe, always make sure to find a recipe that is specific to your alternative sweetener. Using something other than granulated white sugar in a brownie recipe will change the consistency of the brownies.
You will want to make sure you add just the right amount of the substitute sweetener and tweak the other ingredients so you will still have a wonderful dessert to serve to your family and friends.