Substituting liquid ingredients like honey, maple syrup or agave nectar for granulated sugar in a recipe can be uber confusing, I know. But I’m going to do my best to explain just how to do it (because it is possible)!
So, for every 1 cup of granulated sugar called for in a recipe, you will need to use 2/3 cup of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar to replace it.
But that’s not all.
You will also need to reduce the total amount of the dominant liquid ingredient called for in the recipe by about 2 tablespoons for every 1/2 cup of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar you use.
For example, if you are replacing 1 cup of granulated sugar in a quick bread recipe with 2/3 cup maple syrup and the recipe calls for 1 cup of milk and 3/4 cup sour cream, you will need to remove 1 tablespoon of milk from the recipe (because milk is the dominant liquid ingredient). If it calls for 2 cups of granulated sugar, you will use 1 1/3 cups of maple syrup and therefore need to remove 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) milk from the recipe (because you are now using at least 1 cup of maple syrup).
If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup granulated sugar, you will use 1/3 cup of maple syrup and therefore not need to remove any liquid (because you have not reached the 1/2 cup minimum of maple syrup).
In case that is still really confusing, here is a more visual example of a recipe converted to accommodate maple syrup:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar 2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
You may also want to reduce the baking temperature by 25°F when using liquid sweeteners, as they contain a higher sugar content and therefore cause the baked goods to brown faster.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep in mind that this is not a foolproof equation and that you do run the risk of baked goods not turning out as well as they would with the original ingredients. But that’s the fun of experimenting, right? Ahem.
Now go forth and substitute sugar like a boss.