Agave nectar is derived from several different species of the agave plants, and is mainly produced in Mexico. It is interesting to note that it actually comes from the same plant as tequila. Agave nectar, however, is not fermented and therefore healthier for you.
It is a popular substitute for sugar which can be used anywhere you normally would use sugar, but you may have to experiment with some recipes until you get it right. It is almost twice as sweet as sugar; you only need about 1/2 to 2/3 of it when substituting it for sugar. This is a great way to cut your calorie intake!
Substitute Agave Nectar for Sugar in Your Drinks
It is easy to substitute agave nectar for sugar in your drinks. It dissolves quickly in both hot and cold beverages, and tastes great in all drinks such as coffee, tea, shakes and smoothies as well as alcoholic beverages. Start by adding about half as much as you would with sugar, then add more if needed.
In Your Sauces, Dressings and Desserts
Use agave nectar in your sauces such as apple sauce, cranberry sauce and even in your meat sauces. It can be used in all your salad dressings, or just drizzle it over your fruits and enjoy! Reduce your calories and still enjoy the great taste by substituting agave in all your deserts.
How to Substitute Agave Nectar for Sugar in Your Baking
Agave can be used in all your baked goods such as pies, cookies and cakes. However, when using it in your baking, you will have to experiment with it because every recipe and all ovens are different.
Start by substituting between 1/2 to 2/3 cups for every cup of sugar. Keep in mind that you are substituting a wet ingredient for a dry ingredient so you will have to reduce the other liquids by about 1/4 cup. Again, you will have to experiment by how much you reduce, as each recipe will be different. If you are substituting agave for brown sugar you will not have to reduce the liquids as much because the brown sugar contains more moisture than white sugar.
With some recipes you may not want to reduce other liquids because they may not turn out as well, so what you can do is add extra flour, or cornstarch to thicken the batter. This is the easiest way to balance the excess liquid.
When using agave nectar in your batter, grease your pans thoroughly as agave tends to stick more than sugar. You will also find that it browns quicker, and the outside may look like it is burnt even though the inside is still doughy. To keep this from happening, reduce your oven temperature by about 25 degrees and increase your baking time by about 6 percent.
Once you have the recipes and oven temperatures figured out, you may never want to use sugar in your baked goods again. Agave is a moisture retainer, which not only will give your cakes and cookies a moist and fluffy texture, but it will also help to preserve that moisture and the freshness of all your baked goods.