There always seems to be controversy surrounding sugar and the vegan lifestyle. For a variety of reasons, some choose to eat it, while others avoid it at many costs. I will try to explain several different kinds of sugar so you can make up your own choice. Whatever you choose to eat, I don't recommend substituting wet sugars (like maple syprup) for dry granulated type sugars in any recipe.
White Cane Sugar
I try to stay away from white cane sugar as much as possible. In the USA white cane sugar, along with other refined products like clear alcohol and white vinegar, is processed through filters made of bone char.
White Beet Sugar
If I could buy this down here in LA, I would use it all the time. Nutritionally, it is the same as white cane sugar (and it tastes the same), but it is processed without refining through animal char. Generally, the only way to tell cane sugar from beet is to contact the manufacturer.
Powdered White Sugar
- I buy this kind of sugar when I make frostings. I have not found any other sugar that has the same consistency as this product. However, I have recently found a recipe for converting Sucanat® into a powdered sugar and I will share that below for anyone that wants to give it a go.
- This is my favorite sugar to bake and cook with. It is exactly like white sugar but has not been filtered white. I like it because it is not too expensive and I can use it 1:1 in recipes that call for white sugar. It is often available in bulk at health food stores, co-ops and fancy supermarkets. Also, it has a medium caramel color and is not as dark as some other alternatives; baked goods traditionally light remain that way, i.e. vanilla cake does not come out brown.
- This sugar usually costs about as much as Florida Crystals® in bulk. Beware of buying it in bags, it costs a ton more. Turbinado sugar is filtered through wood charcoal instead of bone char and has a pleasant light caramel color. This sugar can also be used 1:1 in recipes that call for regular sugar.
- Some folks out there love this product. Personally, I don't think it is any healthier than other sugars. It is also one of the most expensive sugars out there. It can usually be found in canisters in health food stores. It is evaporated, granulated cane juice and is very dark in color with a strong flavor.
(Burke, George. ©1997. Simply Heavenly! The Monastery Vegetarian Cookbook, page 340.)
1/2 cup Sucanat
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine and process into a powder at high speed in a blender.
Date Sugar, Powdered Maple Syrup
- These sugars are expensive and hard to find. I have no experience cooking with them and therefore do not recommend them.