Every day I have steamed white rice and breads but I eat high carb food in moderation and haven't had bottled sodas for many many years now. Recently, I started incorporating stevia and xylitol together with regular white or raw sugar into desserts and baked goods. The xylitol I use is made from birch bark and manufactured here in the USA. Most xylitol brands in the USA are made with corn and they are imported from China which is a no no for me. I found out recently that ALL stevia products in the USA come from semi-processed and already whitened material from CHINA! That's absolutely unacceptable and they are most likely more harmful than white cane sugar to every person who tries to avoid processed sugar cane. Any food item made in China will always be suspect regardless of the manufacturers' assurances that their processing are the best. Are they kidding me? The words best and China shouldn't be in the same sentence...EVER!! Remember the tainted toothpaste, dog food, and powdered milk that killed people and dogs around the world, and their own babies, for crying out loud!
I looked for alternative minimally processed sugar and many health websites suggest honey and pure maple syrup. I don't like them for cookies, cakes, and ice cream because they will add liquid and mess up the recipe. I have been buying honey powder which is okay but its very strong flavor doesn't appeal much to me. I looked for maple sugar granules and never knew it's very expensive at between $12.00 to 28.00 per pound. Because I'm cheap, I bought a quart of Wegmans maple syrup and made it into sugar granules. The cost of the finished sugar is about $6 per pound, about half the cost of the cheapest maple sugar available on eBay and Amazon which are made in New York or Pennsylvania. I'm surprised that with the evaporation of the water content, the 32 ounce container produced almost 2 pounds of sugar.
The process of making sugar granules is not complicated, although time consuming. I didn't take photos of the process because initially I wasn't going to blog about it but I'm happy with the result and decided to share the recipe.
Homemade Maple Sugar Granules
yield: almost 2 pounds
32 ounces pure maple syrup (Costco would be the cheapest at $12 per liter)
large stainless steel saucepan
standing mixer with metal paddle attachment
- Pour syrup into the pan; attach the candy thermometer on the side of the pan.
- Turn heat to medium and let syrup boil to 255°F. It will foam up a lot so watch carefully that it doesn't boil over. Occasionally stir with the rubber spatula.
- Pour hot syrup immediately into the standing mixer and beat on low until syrup cools down. It will become grainy, lighter in color, and start to crystallize as it cools. This will take about 20 minutes, more or less.
- Transfer into a cookie sheet with sides and let dry some more overnight on the kitchen counter.
- The next day, pulse in small batches in a small food processor (I don't recommend a blender) until fine. Do not over process or it will clump together.
- Pass the granules through the sieve and transfer the sifted granules into a Mason jar. Set aside the coarse granules. Repeat until all the sugar is sifted.
- Keep the coarse granules in a separate container or continue to pulse (I set aside 1 cup of the coarse granules.)
- Use the fine granules to sweeten coffee or tea, or use as a sugar substitute in recipes.