I love to read and I love to bake, so I have a natural (or maybe unnatural) affection for cookbooks. I have actually checked out stacks of cookbooks from the library, because I find it fun to hunt for new recipes. When I was on bedrest with my last pregnancy, I watched hours of Food Network shows. It was almost torturous waiting for weeks to try the pages of recipes I had scrawled on notebooks at my bedside. So, when I started experimenting with agave, I knew I needed to find an agave cookbook that would help me with substitutions in my best-loved recipes. It needed to have practical, familiar recipes that wouldn’t reveal the change from sugar to agave in my family’s diet. The search is finally over! I LOVE Delicious Meets Nutritious from the makers of Xagave. This cookbook is exactly what bakers need to convert their families to agave, and wean them off of refined sugar. I love it from cover to cover! The introduction provides an explanation about the origin and manufacture of agave and the health benefits, including impressive information about agave’s low glycemic index rating. Next, it includes all of the details I needed on agave’s cooking properties and conversion calculations to replace sugar. This information is very thorough and interesting. I knew that using agave was a great way to reduce refined sugar in my diet (the book includes a chart that indicates calories saved by using agave rather than sugar as well), but I didn’t know that it actually improves the taste and texture of baked goods and can even be used in canning. I will be making all my jams and jellies with agave from now on.
Once you leave the enjoyable introduction and enter the recipe section of Delicious Meets Nutritious, you’ll find a great variety of simple, practical recipes with ingredients found in nearly every pantry. I love that the authors have converted all of our guilty favorites to much-less-guilty clones, including chocolate syrup, lemon cake, cookies, homemade maple and strawberry syrups, and even how to mix Kool-Aid with agave. The recipe section is also peppered with healthful tips on substitutions for white flour and eggs. This cookbook will get a lot of use in my kitchen. If you are trying to improve the health of your family by making diet changes, I highly recommend trying agave with Delicious Meets Nutritious. It is available in next month’s Alison’s Pantry catalog for $21.99, (it’s $29.99 on www.xagave.com so this is a nice savings). Alison’s Pantry will also be selling Xagave, which is a blend of white and blue agave nectars which the manufacturer says “provides the best taste, cooking qualities, and health benefits of any agave product on the market.”