Print Topic - Archive

BTD Forums  /  Cook Right 4 Your Type  /  That sugar "crunch"
Posted by: Squirrel, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:57am
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!
Posted by: Xuxuzinha, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:24am; Reply: 1
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.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:59am; Reply: 2
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.
Posted by: Squirrel, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 12:30pm; Reply: 3
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.
Posted by: amyflood, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:08pm; Reply: 4
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.
Posted by: cat2, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:14pm; Reply: 5
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).
Posted by: cat2, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:15pm; Reply: 6
Crossposted amyflood  :)
Posted by: Squirrel, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:17pm; Reply: 7
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!
Posted by: cat2, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:22pm; Reply: 8
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.
Posted by: BluesSinger, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:02pm; Reply: 9
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!
Posted by: Debra+, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:04pm; Reply: 10
You can buy Agave in powder form...if that helps any.  ;-)  

Debra :-)
Posted by: Squirrel, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 2:27pm; Reply: 11
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 LOL

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

Please, what brand do you use?
Posted by: Seraffa, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 4:23pm; Reply: 12
Order crystalized agave, from a source that sells things like turbinado sugar crystals (aka "sugar in the raw")
Posted by: Averno, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 5:36pm; Reply: 13

Never tried it on agave, but a butane (or similar) torch comes in handy in the kitchen. Fast, too.
Posted by: Squirrel, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:20pm; Reply: 14
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.  ;D
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:33pm; Reply: 15
Maybe try agave powder?
Posted by: Victoria, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:03pm; Reply: 16
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.
Posted by: san j, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 11:43pm; Reply: 17
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.  :)
Posted by: Peppermint Twist, Thursday, September 19, 2013, 2:35pm; Reply: 18
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!   :D
Posted by: cajun, Thursday, September 19, 2013, 4:32pm; Reply: 19
Victoria,
I buy maple sugar from my hfs also. It is a super for me and delicious! ;)
Posted by: BluesSinger, Thursday, September 19, 2013, 5:21pm; Reply: 20
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.  ;D


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!!!   >:(
Posted by: san j, Thursday, September 19, 2013, 8:17pm; Reply: 21
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!   :D

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

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.



Posted by: SquarePeg, Friday, September 20, 2013, 12:21am; Reply: 22
This is off-the-wall and untested....

What about adding finely ground eggshell?
Posted by: Peppermint Twist, Friday, September 20, 2013, 2:36pm; Reply: 23
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.  :o

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*.

Posted by: san j, Friday, September 20, 2013, 7:59pm; Reply: 24
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. :)
Posted by: Chloe, Friday, September 20, 2013, 8:18pm; Reply: 25
This is the agave powder I buy.  Another name for it is inulin.   Doesn't appear to have any additives.

http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/sweeteners/natural-sugar-replacements/agave-powder.html

It's fine when I make muffins....but it was a bit weird when I made peanut butter cookies using a recipe
that called for sugar and I subbed all inulin/agave powder.

My recipe was 1 egg, 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 cup of sugar.  It works awesomely well with sugar...but
when I used the agave powder, the result was an oily cookie that baked way too quickly.  I had to lower the
temperate the next time I used it....from 350 to 325 and the cookies baked rather quickly.  I seemed to need
something else as a binder that was a solid powder.  I was thinking of trying a soy powder or even some
carob.
Posted by: Debra+, Monday, September 23, 2013, 1:55pm; Reply: 26
Squirrel...I don't know the name of the powdered agave nectar...my girlfriend bought some and I don't remember it.    Will have to check it out next time I see her.   The powdered stuff above sounds good though.  Did you make the dish?   Did it turn out?  

Debra ;-)  
Posted by: cajun, Monday, September 23, 2013, 7:33pm; Reply: 27
I often substitute pure maple sugar or date sugar to sprinkle over baked goods. ;)
Posted by: Peppermint Twist, Monday, September 23, 2013, 7:35pm; Reply: 28
Quoted from san j
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. :)

I didn't leave out a step.  I was thinking of mixing the almond flour and a small amount of agave first and then sprinkling that over the crumble before baking.  You don't want to toast it first because almond flour burns easily, so if you then sprinkled it over the crumble and baked it with the crumble, it could burn.  And yes, it can be sprinkled, as it is going to be mostly the almond flour with just enough agave to hold it together.
Posted by: Peppermint Twist, Monday, September 23, 2013, 7:43pm; Reply: 29
Quoted from cajun
I often substitute pure maple sugar or date sugar to sprinkle over baked goods. ;)

Ooooh, those are two good ideas.   :)
Posted by: SquarePeg, Friday, September 27, 2013, 1:18am; Reply: 30
Quoted from SquarePeg
This is off-the-wall and untested....

What about adding finely ground eggshell?


Does no one want to respond even to say "yuck"?
Posted by: Averno, Friday, September 27, 2013, 2:56am; Reply: 31
Quoted from SquarePeg


Does no one want to respond even to say "yuck"?


Ouch.
Posted by: Squirrel, Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 10:23pm; Reply: 32
Quoted from cajun
I often substitute pure maple sugar or date sugar to sprinkle over baked goods. ;)


Lucky you! The only sweeteners that O-nonnies have are agave, molasses and vegetable glycerine.

I just popped back and was surprised to see all the other replies - thank you so much for the suggestions. Not quite sure what the vicar would have made of the egg-shell one...  ;)
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, November 28, 2013, 12:45am; Reply: 33
Quoted from SquarePeg


Does no one want to respond even to say "yuck"?


Yuck.


Seriously, I think egg shell would be too chalky, even if it's ground fine enough. Or it wouldn't be fine enough and it would just have a weird texture. In any case, it wouldn't really replicate the crunch of sugar.
Print page generated: Monday, November 24, 2014, 2:55am