Coconut palm sugar has become one of my favorite refined white sugar substitutes. You might also see it referred to as “palm sugar.” Pastry chefs have been using it for ages to make desserts for those sensitive to refined white sugar but coconut palm sugar seems to just be gaining popularity with the masses.
I like to think of it as the healthier brown sugar – it’s similar in taste, though I find it to have more earthy, caramel overtones than brown sugar. The consistency is similar to Sucanant or SunCrystals. I don’t use either but they seem to be more prevalent in mainstream grocery stores.
Why is there coconut palm sugar in my pantry?
- It’s low glycemic. It has an average rating of 35 on the GI scale.
- It’s easy to bake with. When replacing refined white sugar, I start with 25% less coconut palm sugar not because it’s sweeter but because it has so much more flavor. If the original recipe calls for 1 cup of refined white sugar, I try 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar and adjust from there.
- It contains nutrients. Yep, you get a little nutrition with lip-smacking sweetness. It contains potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, and other macronutrients.
- It has less calories than honey or agave nectar. I don’t count calories but I do keep in mind what goes into my food. Coconut palm sugar has 45 calories per tablespoon, while agave nectar has 60 calories per tablespoon and honey weighs in at 64 calories per tablespoon.
- It caramelizes in the oven. I’d been missing this from liquid sweeteners, like agave nectar, honey, and maple syrup. They don’t make a cookie that’s got a crispy edge and a soft center. Coconut palm sugar does.
Honestly, I was hesitant to try coconut palm sugar after reading that it was made up primarily of sucrose combined with glucose and fructose. I found, though, that it doesn’t trigger any food cravings, migraines, or mood swings. I can take it or leave it, which makes it a fabulous refined white sugar substitute in my book.
And, it’s perfect for those of you who want to avoid agave nectar because of the high fructose content. (If you’re sugar-sensitive, always check with your doctor first!)
I’ve also found that the companies that produce coconut palm sugar are eco-minded and care about the well being of our food sources, the people that produce the crop, and our planet. For those of you that want to rant about sustainability, you might want to read this, this, this, and this first.
Bake with Coconut Palm Sugar
- Mini Chocolate Pavlovas topped with Fresh Berries
- Magic Cookie Power Bars
- Quinoa Raisin Cookies
- Chocolate Frosted Coconut Cookies from The Spunky Coconut
- Pumpkin Quinoa Pudding from ATX Gluten-Free
Where can you buy coconut palm sugar?
I can get it locally at Whole Foods. I also buy:
- it in a 6-bag package. Choose the SuperSaver option and get a great discount at free shipping.
- just one bag from iHerb.com. Use code SIR086 and get $5 off your first order
What are your thoughts on coconut palm sugar? Tried it yet? Favorite recipes?