I can’t believe quite how quickly this year is passing – it’s already 11th June. The weather seems to think it is April with lots of heavy showers although it’s a bit warmer I guess. At least the rain is good for the garden, this weekend we’ve managed to get some of the plants I’ve grown from seed out into the soil. Hopefully they will give us some flowers and not just feed the slugs and snails.
We grow lots of plants that the bees love –Mr McGregor insists that they enjoy being tickled – and to be fair he hasn’t (yet) been stung while doing this.
So, why am I suggesting we should reduce sugar in baking? Well, a high intake of ‘free sugars’, including glucose, fructose and sucrose (i.e. table sugar) which are added to food and drinks, and sugars which are naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juice may promote a positive i.e. excess energy balance. It may also result in us eating less food containing other nutrients, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and an increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers. Although the relationships between sugar intake and weight are complex, studies show that reducing your intake of free sugars is associated with a decrease in body weight and increasing sugar intake (mostly sugar-sweetened beverages) is associated with a comparable weight increase. In children, those with the highest intake of sugar-sweetened drinks have the greatest likelihood of being overweight or obese.
Another major concern is the association between intake of free sugars and dental caries. In the UK, one third of children starting school have evidence of tooth decay and the UK spends £5.8 billion a year on dental treatments.
On the basis of this evidence, the World Health Organisation recommends a reduced intake of free sugars for all ages – including reducing the intake of free sugars to below 5% of our total energy intake. If you want to find out more about the evidence and recommendations, you can find more information here and here.
In practice, what sort of a reduction in sugar am I talking about in my cakes? For these chocolate brownies, the original recipe contained 250g sugar. Here I have reduced it to 60g and I am sure you could reduce it more if you wanted. This is what the two amounts look like…..
Note that for the chocolate cake recipe I posted on 14th May, the original recipe called for 350g sugar. Remember, there is additional sugar in the chocolate – the dark chocolate (70% cocoa) I used today still contains 28g sugar per 100g and the white chocolate chips contain 60g sugar per 100g! It certainly makes you think (although I will still eat some, of course).
Chocolate brownies (download pdf here: Chocolate brownies)
300g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 tablespoons cafetiere coffee
3 large eggs
60g caster sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
80g self raising flour
100g white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 180 / gas 5. Grease and line a 30x20cm traybake tin with baking parchment
- Break up the chocolate and cut the butter into pieces – then melt both together in a bowl over hot water. Allow to cool a little
- Mix the eggs, coffee, sugar and vanilla extract together. Add the dark chocolate and butter mix. Fold in flour and white chocolate chips
- Pour into the tin and level. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is just crusty and a skewer comes out just about clean
- Leave to cool in the tin and cut into ~24 pieces