Derived from maple syrup, maple sugar is an excellent sweetener in many dishes. It has a distinct flavor that can add a lovely flavor profile to many desserts. Few ingredients can compete with the sweetness of maple sugar when it comes to sweetening up your dishes. However, there are some ingredients that can work as great maple sugar substitutes and deliver the same flavor, texture, and sweetness to bring your favorite recipes to life!
1. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from coconut tree sap and has a low glycemic index, making it a healthier alternative to other sweeteners. It also contains more nutrients than cane sugar, such as iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. Because of its comparable sweetness and caramel-like taste, coconut sugar makes an excellent substitute for maple sugar.
The usage of coconut sugar as a substitute for maple sugar will often depend on the recipe. A 1:1 ratio would be adequate in most cases but keep in mind that coconut sugar has a stronger flavor and may impact the taste profile of some foods. For the best results, lower the amount used or mix it with another, less potent sugar.
2. Date Sugar
Date sugar is becoming a popular alternative to sugar due to its many health benefits and exquisite flavor. It’s prepared from dried dates ground into a fine powder. Date sugar has more vitamins and minerals than maple sugar, as well as trace amounts of iron and calcium. This makes it a particularly enticing choice for those seeking a healthy alternative to maple sugar.
You can use date sugar in place of maple sugar in equal parts. Its subtle sweetness goes well with oatmeal, smoothies, cereal, and baked goods. It also has a higher smoke point than other sugars, allowing it to be a good option to use in cooking.
3. Muscovado Sugar
Muscovado sugar is made from the crystallization of unrefined cane sugar, and its flavor is described as more molasses-like than regular sugar. Nutritionally speaking, muscovado sugar has slightly more nutritional value than white sugar because it still retains some of the minerals and nutrients from the original sugar cane juice.
As a substitute for maple sugar, you can use slightly more muscovado sugar than maple sugar. For example, one cup of muscovado for every three-fourths of a cup of maple sugar would work well to add enough sweetness to your recipe. Since muscovado sugar has a slightly different flavor profile than maple sugar, it may require a small adjustment when used as a substitute in recipes.
4. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is an attractive substitute for maple sugar as it is easily accessible, affordable, and provides a similar flavor profile. Brown sugar is simply granulated white sugar with molasses added in. Nutritionally, brown sugar contains more calories than maple sugar but is richer in phosphorus and selenium.
When substituting brown sugar for maple sugar, start with a 1:1 ratio. Depending on the recipe, this may also mean reducing the amounts of other ingredients due to the increased moisture from the molasses in the brown sugar. Brown sugar also has a subtle molasses flavor, which can be easily overpowered in some recipes. To counter this, you may want to consider adding an additional quarter teaspoon of maple extract for each cup of brown sugar used.
5. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is what you get maple sugar from. Maple syrup is a popular natural sweetener derived from the sap of the sugar maple, black maple, or red maple tree. Boiling the sap results in a thick, syrupy liquid with a particular flavor and color. It has no fat or cholesterol and includes trace levels of zinc and manganese.
Maple syrup is an excellent substitute for maple sugar as it will give you nearly the same flavor profile in your dishes. When substituting, it’s recommended to use slightly more maple syrup than maple sugar. One cup of maple syrup for half a cup of maple sugar is a good ratio to work with. Since maple syrup will add a liquid element, you will also need to reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in the recipe.
Sucanat is actually an acronym for “sugar cane natural,” and it is made from evaporated, ground cane sugar juice. Compared to refined sugars, sucanat contains more vitamins and minerals. It also retains some of the molasses flavor present in regular cane sugar, allowing for a bit more depth of flavor than what most substitutes for maple sugar can provide.
When using sucanat as a substitute for maple sugar, you can usually use it in equal amounts. This substitution should work fine in most recipes that call for maple sugar as an ingredient, although nuts and other heavy flavors can sometimes mask the depth that sucanat provides. You may need to experiment a bit more with this ingredient to determine the right amount to use.
Honey may be an underutilized alternative to maple sugar, but it’s a great option for those looking for an easy substitute. Made from the nectar of flowers, honey is one of the most recognizable sweeteners around. Compared to maple sugar, honey can be high in monosaccharides, whereas maple sugar is mostly composed of disaccharides. Honey also contains smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals than maple sugar.
When substituting honey for maple sugar in baking or culinary recipes, use three-quarters of a cup of honey for every cup of maple sugar. This ratio guarantees that you don’t wind up with anything that is overly sweet. Furthermore, you may need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe to account for the additional liquid from the honey.