Granola Swirl Coffee Cake by Carol Hinz

The Amazing Agave Nectar Natural Sweetener
written by: KathyZ

There has been a movement lately on making healthier choices. When it comes to sweeteners, sugar is being pushed aside for Agave Nectar. This is a natural sweetener of plant origin and is a tasty replacement for sugar. For thousands of years this has been a food ingredient.

The Aztec Indians thought that this plant was a gift from their gods and prized it. They harvested the Agave plant for the nectar. They flavored their drinks and their foods with the nectar form these plants.

This natural sweetener is produced from the Blue Agaves plant from southern Mexico. It thrives in the volcanic soil of this area. It has a spiky look to it so it is thought to belong to the cactus family, but it is related to the Aloe Vera plant. This plant is high in carbohydrates which convert to a type of sugar when it is processed.

The Agave plant grows from 7 to 10 years and is then harvested. The spikes are cut off and it is harvested and looks like a pineapple at this point. This plant will weigh from 50 to 150 pounds. It is processed in low heat to convert the sap into Agave nectar. The low heating process is why it is sometimes considered to be a raw product.

There is another product from the Agave plant. It is Agave Inulin. This is a type of fiber that is used in food products. It is a bit sweet and is thought to help with calcium absorption. This then helps to build strong bones. Another benefit of using this Agave Inulin is it helps to keep your bowls moving.

With the benefits of the fiber when you use the Agave Inulin, your digestive track will function better. When you digest food better that benefits the good bacteria in your intestines. This will make you feel better and help to balance your good bacteria.

When cooking with Agave Nectar natural sweetener you need to do the following:

1. Use 2/3 C. Agave Syrup in place of 1 C. of sugar.

2. Reduce liquid by 20%

3. Increase bake time by 6%

4. Lower oven temperature by 25% (and watch for burning)

with all of this said, here is an adjusted recipe that is a great addition to your breakfast feast using Agave Nectar instead of sugar:

Granola Swirl Coffee Cake by Carol Hinz

. 1 3/4 C. flour. 2 eggs
. 2/3 C. Agave Nectar . 1 (8 oz.) unflavored yogurt
. 1/2 C. margarine, softened . 1 (6 oz.) chocolate chips
. 1 teasp. vanilla . 1/8 C. water (might need a bit more)
. 1/2 teasp. salt . 2 C. granola
. 1/2 teasp. soda

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. Cream together the shortening and sugar. Stir in the vanilla, beaten eggs, and yogurt. Then sift in the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread in the pan. While melting the cholate over low heat, use a spatula to stir it and clean the walls of the pot until mixtures looks smooth Spoon chocolate over batter; sprinkle with granola. Cut through batter with spatula for marbled effect. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. It may take a bit longer. Watch for burning.

Agave Nectar natural sweetener is a great substitute for sweetening you foods and drinks. It is sweeter than sugar without the harmful side effects of sugar. Try it today and see how sweet you can be.

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