I am told that I use too much sugar, and I am trying to use it less.
What should I use instead of the sugar to cook, preparing desserts?
The following are sugar substitutes that are not considered "artificial sweetners." The links provide interesting information that should be pondered before using any of them.
For actual unrefined cane syrup or sugar (considered healthier than sugar by those who consider less refined to equal more healthy), look to
For artificial sweeteners, you could consider:
If you're looking to lower your sugar, before going to artificial sweeteners don't discount just teaching yourself a lower sugar diet by eating smaller portions of sweets and making your own sweets with a lower sugar content.
I am a big fan of Jaggery when I want natural, unrefined sugar. The answer below is the same answer I gave for a question about how to add sweetness to sugar:
This unrefined sugar can be considered similar to brown sugar in use (I substitute equal amounts jaggery when a recipe calls for brown sugar), but not in composition - there are a lot of mineral salts left in it, because of the lack of refining and absence of chemicals that are usually used to process sugars. It's made similar to maple sugar; essentially it's boiled down to a syrup and dried.
I've used it in sweet and savory dishes, and it adds a depth of flavor that I find can't be matched with any other sugars I've used. I have a hard time describing it, because it's new to me, but it tastes very...complex, for lack of a better word. Its taste is kind of between brown sugar and molasses. It is sweeter than table sugar, but less sweet than honey. In my opinion, it can take the simplest of dish and add a significant amount of depth and interest.
If you're interested in using it you can find it at your local Indian grocer, or purchase it online, I first got it through Amazon just to try, but have since sought out local ethnic grocers because it's significantly cheaper that way.
You can also try reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe. Combine this with adding a "filler" like applesauce. The amount this can be done really depends upon the recipe. Some recipes you can replace almost all the sugar, others need to be exact!
I have make a chocolate zucchini cake and tried many different variations, from stevia to almost no sweetener. All of them have turned out edible. The taste was different, so then it is up to experimentation to find what variations you prefer.