Tips for Substituting Agave in Baked Goods
Using agave in place ‘regular’ sugars in recipes is relatively easy, but it helps to get a few things right!
Although Agave is easy enough to interchange in sauces, drinks or stir frying, baking takes a bit more care. Sugar in baking recipes does many ‘scientific’ things, so using agave as a substitute is not a simple 1-to-1 switch.
• To reduce or add?: There are two camps of thought when it comes to the other ingredients in a recipe when agave is substituted. Since agave syrup is itself a liquid, one can either reduce other liquids or add more starch or flour. I have found it better to reduce sugar and alter the liquid ingredients before adding additional starches. I only add starches when the amount of liquid in the recipe can’t be subtracted or added without a drastic change in taste (addition of liquors/fruit juices or the need to reduce out all of your liquid). Here’s a basic rule of thumb to go by:
- Honey: Replace with equal amounts.
- Maple Syrup: Replace with equal amounts.
- Brown Rice Syrup: Use half as much agave + (up to) 1/2 cup liquid
- Corn Syrup: Use half as much agave + (up to) 1/3 cup liquid
- White Sugar: For every 1 cup sugar called for use 2/3 cup agave, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
- Brown Sugar: For every 1 cup sugar called for, use 2/3 cup agave, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons.
The best rule of thumb is to make a new recipe before any agave substitutions – this will allow you to see the texture of the batter/dough/mixture — allowing you to add or subtract liquid/starch as needed with more of an understanding of what might happen with the end result.
• Mix with liquids or fats first: Although agave is a great substitute in baked goods, if it’s not added properly, the results can be a little off! A crust or oily layer can form on top of your sweet treats if the agave syrup is not first combined with the liquids or fats in a recipe. Also ensure you get your goods into the oven or refrigerator quickly after the dough/batter is combined to keep the suspension at its optimum.
• Reduce the oven temperature by 25°: Baking with agave syrup gives super results, but agave browns faster than traditional sugars. Remember to decrease your oven by 25°F and all should be OK.
• Parchment paper is a friend: Agave treats can be a little on the sticky side, but using parchment paper to make things easy to release is a good idea. Most of the extra sticky will go away with contact to air for a few minutes, so remove your baking goods and pull parchment away from the sides and allow to “breathe” for a few minutes before slicing or wrapping for storage.
• Cakes & cookies: Although you can replace 100% of the sugars in many baked goods, when it comes to cookies and cakes, I often tend to only substitute a partial amount for the best tasting product. Test and taste to find what works best for you and your family.
- Cakes: Replace 1/2 of the sugars with agave
- Cookies: Replace 1/3 of the sugars with agave
- Brownies: Replace: Replace 1/2 of the sugars with agave
- Bars With Fruit: Replace 2/3 of the sugars with agave (100% if it’s fresh fruit)