The most common sweetener of all, the king of sugars if you will, is granulated sugar. This sugar, which was historically available only to the upper classes, is highly processed and refined cane or beet sugar. Even though you may think of it as simply adding sweetness, sugar actually performs a myriad of duties in baking and cooking. It tenderizes, aerates and colors to name just a few. It is actually considered a liquid ingredient, since it dissolves when it comes into contact with water, milk, cream, eggs or the like. Did you know that sugar is sometimes even added to the hot oil in which French fries are cooked to give them a golden exterior?
For those new to a gluten-free diet, it can be an abrupt change to immediately switch to a sweetener like agave, especially when you’re already experimenting with alternative flours. In cases like this, I often counsel caution. Start with the basics: switch your all-purpose flour with an alternative flour of your choice but keep using granulated sugar. Then, once you’re more accustomed to the texture and taste of gluten-free products, feel free to start switching up your sweetener and introduce agave into your baking repertoire.