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BTD Forums    Lifestyle    Cook Right 4 Your Type  ›  That sugar "crunch"
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That sugar "crunch"  This thread currently has 2,175 views. Print Print Thread
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Squirrel
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:57am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Does anyone know how to get that crunchy texture that sugar gives on the top of a crumble, but only using agave nectar and/or molasses?

DH (A) and I (O) are both non-secretors, and the only common sweeteners we have are agave nectar and molasses. (Oh, and vegetable glycerine but that is not easily available where we live.)

I'm making a plum crumble/cobbler for a visiting vicar tonight, and I want it to taste respectable for her as well as for us!

Thanks in advance!


Note to self: I am me, and also an O-nonnie - I'm allowed not to fit the mould.
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Xuxuzinha
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:24am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Hi Squirrel,

There's Xylitol that has a very similar texture to sugar that can be used in baking.
However it's not listed in Swami, so hopefully it'll be neutral for most of us.

Otherwise I had a great recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's cook book "It's All Good", where she uses quinoa flakes.

I don't remember the recipe exactly, but I think she mixes the flakes with Maple syrup and some spices.

Hope it helped.
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ruthiegirl
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:59am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Xylitol is most often corn-based, making it an "avoid" for all Os and A nonnies. It's sometimes made from birch, and that form may be better tolerated.

I generally make more cakes and fewer "crumbles" so I don't need to worry about getting a crispy top. One thing I've done, when cooking for company, is to use a small amount of white or brown sugar for texture, while still using agave for most of the sweetness in the recipe. Depending on how strict you and your husband need to be, that may be an option to consider.

Much of the time, when I bake with "real sugar" for guests I don't partake. Between my kids and the guests, nothing goes to waste.


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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Squirrel
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 12:30pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Xylitol and maple syrup would be good, but a) they are avoids and b) I don't have any. We have only agave nectar and molasses available to us as a sweetener.

I'm tempted to sprinkle a little "visitors'" sugar on top of the vicar's portion just for the looks, and use agave in the fruit.


Note to self: I am me, and also an O-nonnie - I'm allowed not to fit the mould.
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amyflood
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:08pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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i have used butter, agave, bown rice flour and chopped nuts. almonds would work best but walnuts can be used too. it is not perfect, but gives a sweet crumble top to desserts.
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cat2
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:14pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Sounds lovely ! a few nuts sprinkled on top can also give a nice to the topping, many crumbles in the UK add chopped or flaked almonds, or any other nuts to the crumble top.  Almonds go especially well with plums, or some add muesli, or oats (if you can eat them).
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cat2
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:15pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Crossposted amyflood  
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Squirrel
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:17pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Chopped almonds! That's a good idea. Chopped almonds rolled in some agave maybe? I wonder whether they would toast? There's food for thought...

Thanks everyone!


Note to self: I am me, and also an O-nonnie - I'm allowed not to fit the mould.
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cat2
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:22pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Sugar free jam can also be added for sweetness, or permitted granulated sweetener, or seeds.  Also cinnamon, cloves or other permitted spices won't add crunch but add lovely sweetness.
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BluesSinger
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:02pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Squirrel
Chopped almonds! That's a good idea. Chopped almonds rolled in some agave maybe? I wonder whether they would toast? There's food for thought...

Thanks everyone!


I was thinking the same thing.. toast them!
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Debra+
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:04pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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You can buy Agave in powder form...if that helps any.    

Debra


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Squirrel
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:27pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Debra+
You can buy Agave in powder form...if that helps any.    

Debra

Wait. You can? Where, where!???

I have never seen that, ever. Never heard of it. I think it would save my life - or possibly my baking

I just looked online and found some made by Biona, but it contains corn maltodextrin.

Please, what brand do you use?


Note to self: I am me, and also an O-nonnie - I'm allowed not to fit the mould.
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Seraffa
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 4:23pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Order crystalized agave, from a source that sells things like turbinado sugar crystals (aka "sugar in the raw")


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Averno
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 5:36pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Never tried it on agave, but a butane (or similar) torch comes in handy in the kitchen. Fast, too.
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Squirrel
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:20pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

ex-Gatherer, ex-SWAMI - plain old O-nonnie
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Thanks for all your suggestions! I went with agave in the fruit and sugar in the crumble, and then left most of my topping. It worked, the vicar ate all hers and was happy.

I've now spent half an hour searching for crystallised agave (no results), crystallized agave (only sites saying that it won't crystallize), powdered agave (only the corn maltodextrin version), granulated agave (only gave me agave nectar and granulated sugar) - there must be a proper name for it that I'm missing. If anyone can give me the name on the packet, I'd be really grateful.  


Note to self: I am me, and also an O-nonnie - I'm allowed not to fit the mould.
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ruthiegirl
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:33pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Maybe try agave powder?


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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Victoria
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:03pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I don't add sweeteners, but if I was going to, I'd use Maple Sugar.  My health food store carries it in bulk.  If it's compliant, you can probably order it online.



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san j
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:43pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Squirrel: Consider making a very sweet nut/seed brittle, the syrup being a compliant one.
It will caramelize/harden.
Then take the brittle and throw it in a food processor: Work it finely.
I believe you'll have what you want.  


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Peppermint Twist
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 2:35pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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edited to add:  Oh, I see that my post below is a day late and a dollar short, at least for your crumble, but maybe consider the following for next time:

Quoted from Squirrel
Chopped almonds! That's a good idea. Chopped almonds rolled in some agave maybe? I wonder whether they would toast? There's food for thought...

Thanks everyone!

Even better, get some almond flour--it is very finely ground almonds.  Mix in a little raw, 100% agave nectar (and you might want just a tiny nuance of lemon juice in there, too, but that could be just me *lol*) and you will get your "sugar crunch" when you sprinkle this over your cumble, yay!  


"If you are on one of Dr. D's diets and it isn't joyful, you aren't doing it right." - moi

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cajun
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 4:32pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Victoria,
I buy maple sugar from my hfs also. It is a super for me and delicious!


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BluesSinger
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 5:21pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Squirrel
Thanks for all your suggestions! I went with agave in the fruit and sugar in the crumble, and then left most of my topping. It worked, the vicar ate all hers and was happy.

I've now spent half an hour searching for crystallised agave (no results), crystallized agave (only sites saying that it won't crystallize), powdered agave (only the corn maltodextrin version), granulated agave (only gave me agave nectar and granulated sugar) - there must be a proper name for it that I'm missing. If anyone can give me the name on the packet, I'd be really grateful.  


I have never found crystallized agave.. i did find the powder and it had the maltodextrin in it.  I purchased it without knowing that and had to give it away.  WHY WHY WHY do they use maltrodextrin???? ARGGH!!!  
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san j
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 8:17pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Peppermint Twist

Even better, get some almond flour--it is very finely ground almonds.  Mix in a little raw, 100% agave nectar (and you might want just a tiny nuance of lemon juice in there, too, but that could be just me *lol*) and you will get your "sugar crunch" when you sprinkle this over your cumble, yay!  

Mixing nectar and lemon juice with flour, or even meal? And then "sprinkling" it?  This would be soggy, rather than crunchy.  

If nuts are used, especially if sweetened with a liquid or syrup, the whole thing would have to be hardened (roasting/baking) first, and then pulverized, to give that crystallized crunch.





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SquarePeg
Friday, September 20, 2013, 12:21am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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This is off-the-wall and untested....

What about adding finely ground eggshell?


My SWAMI diet is a blend of BTD and GTD Explorer, but I'm not totally compliant.  Also I try to choose foods that have a Low Glycemic index.  DW and DD are A+, probably also Explorer.
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Peppermint Twist
Friday, September 20, 2013, 2:36pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from san j
Mixing nectar and lemon juice with flour, or even meal? And then "sprinkling" it?  This would be soggy, rather than crunchy.  

If nuts are used, especially if sweetened with a liquid or syrup, the whole thing would have to be hardened (roasting/baking) first, and then pulverized, to give that crystallized crunch.

That's what I was suggesting.  The discussion is about topping for a baked "crumble".  The tiny bit of lemon is optional (and, the more I thought about that, the more I thought I might leave that out, as the vitamin C would cook out, plus when you heat citrus, it creates free radicals...I just threw that in there for the "brightening" effect, but upon thinking the better of it, I'd probably go with just the almond flour and agave), the main thing is the almond flour with agave, which would then crisp-up like sugar when baked  ...if we're lucky *lol*.



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Peppermint Twist  -  Friday, September 20, 2013, 2:49pm
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san j
Friday, September 20, 2013, 7:59pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Peppermint Twist
Even better, get some almond flour--it is very finely ground almonds.  Mix in a little raw, 100% agave nectar (and you might want just a tiny nuance of lemon juice in there, too, but that could be just me *lol*) and you will get your "sugar crunch" when you sprinkle this over your cumble, yay!


PT:
You'd need to bake the sugar-substitute *first*, i.e., before you can "sprinkle" it over the dessert for baking; I was pointing this out because you left out that crucial step.

In other words: A flour/ agave syrup mixture (with or without lemon juice) can't be "sprinkled" on anything.


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