The ex­plainer

With a rich tof­fee flavour, co­conut su­gar adds an ex­tra di­men­sion of in­ter­est to bak­ing.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Contents -

Co­conut su­gar.

What is it?

Co­conut su­gar is pro­duced from the fresh sap in the flower buds of the co­conut palm. The sap is heated to evap­o­rate the wa­ter, then the re­main­ing syrup is re­duced to a coarse caramel­coloured su­gar – not to be con­fused with palm su­gar, which comes from the su­gar date palm.

Why do we care?

Claims that co­conut su­gar has a much lower GI and higher min­eral con­tent than other su­gars are un­sub­stan­ti­ated. It’s more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly than cane su­gar, how­ever – the yield from a co­conut palm plan­ta­tion is at least 50 per cent more per hectare than sug­ar­cane, with far less drain on the soil nu­tri­ents. But we love it for its rich tof­fee flavour – it’s so much more in­ter­est­ing than cane su­gar or brown su­gar. Used one for one in place of brown su­gar, the re­sult will be a lit­tle less sweet, too, which is a plus.

Where can I get it?

Health-food shops are the place to go for co­conut su­gar, al­though many su­per­mar­kets also stock it. Spiced co­conut su­gar cook­ies Makes 12

Pre­heat oven to 160C and line a cou­ple of bak­ing trays with bak­ing pa­per. Beat 200gm co­conut su­gar and 125gm soft­ened but­ter in an elec­tric mixer un­til light and fluffy (1-2 min­utes), then beat in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla bean paste. Stir in 160gm plain flour, 2 tbsp corn­flour, ½ tsp bak­ing pow­der, ½ tsp each ground cin­na­mon and finely grated nutmeg,

¼ tsp ground cloves and a gen­er­ous pinch of salt un­til a soft dough forms. Roll into 12 even-sized balls and place on pre­pared trays, leav­ing about 8cm be­tween each for cook­ies to spread. Press to flat­ten slightly, then scat­ter each cookie with a lit­tle ex­tra su­gar and a lit­tle sea salt and bake un­til browned around the edges (10-12 min­utes).

Cool on trays and store in an air­tight con­tainer for up to 3 days. Co­conut su­gar caramel sauce Makes about 250ml Stir 100gm co­conut su­gar, 2½ tbsp honey and 50gm diced but­ter or soft­ened co­conut oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat un­til but­ter melts and su­gar dis­solves. Bring to the boil and cook, stir­ring once or twice, un­til thick­ened (1-2min­utes). Add 150ml

cream, gen­tly stir to com­bine, then cook un­til sauce thinly coats the back of a spoon (3-4 min­utes). Stir in 1 tsp vanilla

bean paste and a good pinch of salt, and serve warm over ice-cream.

COOK­IES

Jar from Zakkia. All other props stylists own. Stock­ists p177. Spiced co­conut su­gar cook­ies

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