For Cinco de Mayo, I thought it might be nice to celebrate the sweet side of Mexico with agave nectar and remind you all that the agave plant produces more than just tequila.
The nectar of the agave plant is sweeter than sugar with a lower glycemic index rating as well. It has a caloric load similar to cane sugar – about 20 calories per teaspoon; but since it is sweeter you use less, about 40 percent less. It is great for baking (although you do have to balance out your recipe portions a bit since agave is liquid).
My favorite brand of agave nectar is Nekutli ($5 per 8 ounce bottle), meaning "sacred juice of the agave" in Nahuatl, a language of the Aztecs. I love that Nekutli is organic and that it comes in two versions, light and amber, making the nectar versatile for baking and cooking. The light version is pure sweetness and perfect for adding to tea or salad dressing. The amber is more like honey and can be used as a substitute for brown sugar. Check out this recipe for linzer cookies to see how to bake with this wonderful nectar.
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