Sugar is sweet — and so is sugar.

Sugar is sweet, but there so many sugars to choose from. I have a love-hate-2nd chance relationship with sugar. I don’t expect ever to embrace refined white sugar again, but there are several actual sugar and non-sugar sweeteners that pass muster for my various purposes. This is important to work out for yourself, as there is so much evidence and allegation about how bad plain white sugar is for us.

Here’s the best article I’ve found describing many types of sugar beyond refined white sugar that are available — their characteristics and nutritional differences: A Handy Guide to All Kinds of Sugar from Food Republic. Finding — shame on me for taking so long — was a real bonus. We’ll save that for another post.

As I have come down off my Keto high horse, I’ve become open to building up my stable of sweetness favorites. As one of the five taste profiles we want to produce in our home recipes, sweetness is not going away ever, nor should it. We want to be prepared to add sweetness to everything from green salads to stews to strawberry shortcake. If plain white sugar is out as the lead player, what sugary understudies might replace it in various performances? Which pass the no-cool-aftertaste test? Which give the best overall satisfaction rating?

A couple of years ago, I decided that Turbinado sugar — real, but minimally refined sugar with a good bit of molasses retained — would be my go-to ingredient when a sugar substitute just wouldn’t do. I have been very happy with this choice in my quick breads, pasta sauces, and chili. They say a little sweetness bring out the best in everything else, and who am I to argue? It turns out that my favorite non-sugar sweetener, Stevia powder, seems to do just about as good a job — just saying. But we accept that granulated actual sugar does more than provide sweetness in baked goods like cookies. I have substituted Turbinado sugar for the white/brown sugar blend in some recipes and have not been disappointed. So, let the experiments continue. And the “sugar-is-poison” crowd, just chill. All things in moderation.

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