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Old 05-21-2007, 12:18 PM   #1  
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Default Brown rice syrup: a healthier sugar alternative

I picked up a jar of brown rice syrup in hopes of finding another good alternative to sugar in baked goods and deserts. I try to avoid chemical/artificial sweeteners. I first read about it in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Whole Foods But Were Afraid to Ask” by Christina Pirello (I got the book from the library and liked it so much I ordered a copy, which arrived today). From my research, I found that the syrup is roughly 50% soluble complex carbohydrates, 45% maltose, and 3% glucose. The glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream immediately, the maltose takes up to one and a half hours to be digested, and the complex carbohydrates take from two to three hours, providing a steady supply of energy. So while not a “free” sweetener for diabetics or the insulin resistant, it is much better than plain ol’ sugar or other high glycemic sweeteners. I am always experimenting with alternatives to sugar in the hopes that I will be able to eliminate it completely. I think this product will become a regular in my pantry, it lends a lovely butterschotchy flavor. Yum! I sweetened my steel cut oats with it instead of my usual maple syrup, it was not as sweet but still very good and satisfying. I also modified my quickbread recipe this weekend to try it out, and it was a success.

Banana nut bread (or muffins)

2 T whole flax seeds (or 4 T pre-ground)
6 T water
4 T softened margarine (I use Earth Balance, it’s non-hydrogenated and vegan)
¼ c applesauce (I use unsweetened)
2 T soy milk
2/3 c brown rice syrup
2 T maple syrup
1 T molasses
1 t vanilla
1 c mashed banana
1 ¾ c flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
2 t baking powder
¾ t baking soda
¼ t salt
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger to taste
¼ c walnuts
¼ c dried fruit (I usually use cranberries or raisins)

Pumpkin bread variation: Use 1 c pumpkin (I use canned, I’m sure any cooked winter squash would work) in place of mashed bananas, increase soy milk to ½ cup.

If using whole flax seeds, finely grind in coffee grinder (I have one I use just for spices and seeds) or spice grinder or food processor and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the water. Mix on high speed until mixture becomes thick and glutinous

Add margarine, applesauce, soy milk, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla, beat until smooth, then add banana (or pumpkin) and beat 1 – 2 min more on high speed.

Combine dry ingredients and mix gradually into batter. Stir in your walnuts and dried fruit.

Bake at 350 degrees, 55 – 60 min if you make one larger loaf, about 40 – 45 if you make 2 shallower loaves and about 30 - 35 min for muffins.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:22 PM   #2  
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Where did you find it? I haven't been able to locate brown rice syrup (even at our health food store.) I have a chocolate mousse recipe that calls for honey, but honey makes me break out. I want to try it with brown rice syrup. Here's the recipe if you are interested:

Chocolate Mousse (very low-cal)

1 box lite Mori-Nu Extra-firm silken tofu
1/4c cocoa
1/4c honey/or brown rice syrup
1/2t vanilla (optional)

Blend until smooth. Enjoy. It makes 4 servings at approx 100 calories each. Yum!
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:49 PM   #3  
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I bought mine at Woodman’s (hey, they've got their own Wikipedia entry's_Food_Market). It’s a small Wisconsin and northern Illinois chain. Not sure where you are in Cali, but if you have a Whole Foods in your area that might be a good place to check.

The brand I bought is Lundberg Sweet Dreams, the company is based in Richvale, CA. If you can’t find it in stores there are plenty of online vendors that carry it.

That recipe looks so yummy, and I have all those ingredients on hand at home. Perhaps I’ll have some chocolaty desert tonight.
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