Quite often you can replace sugar or agave syrup with honey when you’re baking or cooking. But not always. Honey is wetter than sugar, so it adds moisture to a recipe. This works well for a lot of baked goods, marinades, and sauces, but it’s not as reliable for recipes that you want to have a slight crunch or snap (which sugar provides).
Here are some quick tips on baking with honey…
- In general, I have found that you can substitute equal amounts of honey and sugar for the equivalent sweetness. So 1 cup of honey equals one cup of sugar, agave, or maple syrup.
- For those who do like accurate measurements, 1 cup of honey is equal to 340 grams, 12 ounces, or 16 tablespoons.
- Honey bakes faster than sugar, so lower the temperature slightly when baking something with honey in it. Lower it about 10-25 degrees F.
- You may need to reduce the amount of liquids if you are substituting honey for sugar. I generally avoid adding any liquid beyond the honey I’m adding, except for butter or oil.
Cookie tip: When baking cookies with honey, they may be crunchy for a day and then suddenly they seem soft. Honey is hygroscopic, which means that it can draw moisture out of the environment. To maintain the crunch, you can store the cookies sealed and placed in the refrigerator or freezer. You can also dehydrate the cookies to remove some moisture, or reheat the cookies for a few minutes in a warm oven at a low temperature (below 300 degrees F) and then cool them at room temperature.
If you want to measure exactly how much honey you are adding to a recipe, here is a neat trick.
- Add a drop or two of oil to a measuring cup.
- Spread it around the cup with your finger or a paper towel so that entire inside of the cup is covered with the oil.
- Now the honey will effortlessly glide out of the cup.
This will work for measuring maple syrup, agave, and other viscous liquids.
A little confession: most often I just estimate how much honey I’m adding to something. And it works most of the time, but occasionally I pull out this technique to make sure my measurement is accurate.
Kinds of honey
There are many different kinds of honey. Honey can come from bees that hang around blackberries, clover, or apple orchards. Most often the honey you buy is a mixture. To learn more about the state of affairs for bees, read Fruitless Fall, by Rowen Jacobsen.
What I have found in my adventures baking with honey is that lighter honey is sweeter and has less “character” than darker honey. Darker honey has a stronger flavor and will more likely affect the overall taste of a recipe.
Note Make sure you’re buying 100% honey. There are a lot of cute bear containers out there that look like honey but they’re actually “honey” syrup, or they have other things in them besides honey.
To read more interesting stuff about honey, go to Honey.com.