I had heard about agave nectar for some time but did not use it until recently. Out of curiosity I purchased a bottle from my local health food store and used it in the Crystallized Ginger Soy Smoothie that I made. It worked very well with the smoothie as it did not have a strong flavor and it blended in easily.
Agave nectar has a rich amber color similar to that of honey or maple syrup. The viscosity is more like that of the maple syrup. It does have calories but is 40% sweeter than sugar with a lower glycemic index. Thus, less is required to sweeten foods. It has a very mild taste and can be used as a general sweetener and in cooking and baking.
A special thanks to BetterBody Foods & Nutrition for sending me a sample of Xagave, their brand of agave nectar together with a cookbook recently. Xagave is a blend of nectars from the blue and white agave plants. Their agave nectar has a very neutral and clean taste.
Carob comes from the sweet edible pulp in the pods of the carob tree. These trees are native to the Mediterranean. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder resembling cocoa powder. Carob is often used as a substitute for chocolate although the flavor and taste are not the same. It is naturally sweet and so carob products generally use less sugar. It is also free of caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate. It has a malty taste with bitter overtones. Carob chips have a very similar appearance to that of chocolate chips. To learn more about carob, please click here.
There were many interesting recipes in the Delicious Meets Nutritious, Xagave The Complete Sugar Replacement Cookbook but this one caught my eye. I had blueberries in the fridge and most of the other ingredients in my pantry. I made a few changes to the recipe to adapt to our needs and tastes. The muffins were moist and very delicious. My boys loved it!
Healthy Berry Muffins
1 cup organic whole spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup Xagave
1 cup organic vanilla bean non-fat yogurt
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup sweetened organic dried cranberries
½ cup organic carobs
½ cup chopped walnuts
In another bowl, add all wet ingredients. Using a hand whisk, whisk till combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Fold in blueberries, cranberries, carobs, and walnuts. Spoon batter into lined muffin pan about ⅔ full. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.
Disclaimer: Although these products were sent to me for free, I did not receive any monetary compensation for this write up. What was written are my personal thoughts and view. For full disclaimer, please click here.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!