The very kind folks over at Zulka Sugar asked me recently whether I would like a sample of their morena sugar to try out. Um, yes please! I was thrilled to say yes, especially after I read up on what exactly morena sugar is.
Morena is unrefined and made from freshly-harvested sugar cane, which makes it a less-processed replacement for refined white sugar. I bake so much (seriously, I’ve gone through 15 kilos of granulated sugar in the last six months) that I’m always looking for healthier sugar alternatives. You can see and taste the different with Zulka’s sugar. The crystals are fairly large and are light brown in colour since its made in a way that tries to preserve as much of the natural properties and flavour of the sugar cane plant as possible. I dipped a finger into the sugar to taste it straight up (for your benefit, dear reader) and it has a soft, slightly caramel flavour, with none of the harsh sweetness that you get from regular granulated sugar. You use morena sugar as a 1 for 1 replacement so there’s no need to do any calculations or substitutions.
Another bonus? Zulka is Non-GMO Project verified so it’s good for the environment.
The most important question though is how does it hold up in my baking? I’ve used Zulka in three recipes so far and it’s excellent. I’m featuring two recipes today so that I can tell you how the sugar worked in two very different products.
First up, a moist, dense, fabulous banana chocolate chip bread recipe that my dear friend, Mrs. Krabapple, gave me years ago. It’s a recipe from her mom and boy, does it ever deliver. I made a few adaptations to it.
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream (you can also use yogurt or greek yogurt)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas (I like to coarsely mash the bananas so that there are still chunks of the fruit in the finished product) and add the sour cream, egg, oil and vanilla. Add the dry to the wet ingredients; stir to combine. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until distributed evenly in the batter. Pour the batter into your greased pan and sprinkle more chips over top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Adding the peanut butter chips was a stroke of genius, if I may say so myself. The slightly salty flavour of the peanut butter chips just gave the banana bread a certain je ne sais quoi.
This is one of my go-to banana bread recipes – it never lets me down. Plus, I always pack it full of chocolate so it’s kind of just a chocolate-bearing vehicle for me, which is always a good thing!
The second recipe I’m bringing you today is Sally’s Baking Addiction‘s soft and thick snickerdoodle cookies. I didn’t change a thing so click here to see the recipe. I chose this cookie for a number of reasons. First, about 5 bloggers have made them recently so seeing all of that snickerdoodly deliciousness online made me crave them something awful. Second, I wanted a recipe that didn’t drown out the flavours with flashy add-ons. A snickerdoodle really depends on the quality of the ingredients used and here, the shining stars are butter, sugar and cinnamon.
The first time I had a snickerdoodle was Christmas 2008. A coworker brought in a box of cookies made by her mom and there was a stack of snickerdoodles nestled in there, so unassuming and decidedly unglamorous compared to the cookies dipped in icing and filled with chocolate. One bite and I was in love.
The Zulka sugar tasted fantastic in these. The larger crystals gave the cookies even more of a crunch than regular sugar. The Husband was hooked on these, he ate them every day until they were all gone.
The best part of Sally’s recipe is that you don’t need to refrigerate the dough. Just whip it up, stick ’em into the oven and you’ve got thick, gorgeous snickerdoodles. Mine weren’t as puffy as hers but they tasted pretty damn good.
Unfortunately, you can’t buy Zulka Sugar in Canada right now (if I’m wrong, someone please correct me!) but it’s available in the US. The next time I cross the border, I’m stocking up!
Disclosure: I received a bag of Zulka Pure Cane Sugar to review. All opinions are my own.