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Demerara Sugar Substitute – Try These 8 Demerara Sugar Alternatives!

Demerara is a type of cane sugar named after the Demerara River Valley and County in British Guiana (today Guyana, South America), where it originally came from. Demerara sugar is a type of unrefined cane sugar most often used for desserts and beverages, but it can also be used for savory dishes. Demerara sugar is often added to muffins, fruit pies, and fruits. Demerara syrup is often added to baked meat to give it an unusual caramel-like flavor.

Demerara sugar crystals are big, sticky, hard, crunchy, and golden brown in color. Demenara has a mildly sweet flavor similar to caramel and butterscotch. Since demerara sugar crystals are quite large, they are often used as a topping for muffins, cakes, pies, and other desserts to give the dish a pleasant crunch.

Demerara sugar can be easily found in European grocery stores, but it is only gaining popularity in the US. If your recipe calls for demerara sugar but you do not have it on hand, do not worry – in this article, we will show you the 6 best demerara sugar substitutes that will take your desserts to a new level!

So, the 6 best substitutes for demerara sugar are turbinado sugar, muscovado sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple sugar, molasses, and refined white sugar. Now let’s dive into each substitute to see what they taste and look like!

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is a partially refined raw sugar, from the surface of which a significant part of the molasses is removed by steam or water. Turbinado sugar is the closest demerara alternative as it shares a similar level of sweetness and texture – turbinado sugar consists of large crystals and has a golden-brown color. Demerara sugar has larger crystals meaning that turbinado will not give as much crunchiness.

Turbinado sugar works well in tea, coffee, and sweet beverages. It is also used to dress up baked fruit, sprinkle on muffins, pies, cakes, and cookies as well as on sweet potatoes or roasted carrots to give them a cool crunch. Turbinado sugar is also used to make candied nuts and grilled meat or poultry.

Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado sugar is the second-best demerara sugar alternative. It is a type of partially refined to unrefined sugar with a distinctive caramel aroma, a dark brown color, and a sweet and slightly fruity flavor. Muscovado has a somewhat wet and sticky texture similar to wet sand.

As a demerara sugar substitute, muscovado can be used in cookies, pies, cakes, candies, ice cream, tea, coffee, cereal, glazes, gingerbread, toffee, caramel, and popcorn. Muscovado sugar can even be used to make bbq sauce and marinades!

Light Brown Sugar

Crunchy, light brown in color (can you imagine?), this type of sugar is an all-round substitute for demerara sugar in all recipes. Light brown sugar has a smaller amount of molasses content than dark brown sugar and has a milder flavor that works well in recipes, whether you are cooking sweet or savory meals. Light brown sugar is easy to find in any shop and it has an almost identical taste profile.

Dark Brown Sugar

Dark brown sugar has a higher content of molasses and can also be used as demerara sugar substitute. It has a darker color and a richer taste than light brown sugar with pronounced caramel notes. Dark brown sugar can be added to tea, coffee, cocktails, ice cream, granola, cereal, baked goods and even savory dishes!

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar a.k.a coconut palm sugar is a natural sweetener derived from the sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar is often used as a healthier cane sugar alternative as it has a lower GI (54), but it also can be used as a substitute for demerara sugar. Coconut sugar is minimally refined and contains small amounts of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

Coconut sugar has a strong caramel taste, is light brown in color and has a texture similar to brown sugar. It is more coarse that white refined sugar but is less coarse than demerara sugar, meaning it will not be as crunchy. Just like other types of sugar, coconut sugar can be used in cakes, cookies, muffins, sauces, marinades, or sprinkled on cereal, granola, fruit, and meat.

Maple Sugar

Maple sugar is another demerara alternative. It is natural, minimally processed sugar made from Canadian maple trees that has a rich sweet and nutty flavor. Since maple sugar is more sweet than demerara sugar, you will need less of it – good for those watching their calorie intake!

Since maple sugar is only minimally processed, it offers more health benefits than other sweeteners – maple sugar is a great source of zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. Since it is high in calories, it should be used in moderation. But otherwise, maple sugar is a good demerara sugar alternative that can be easily found in a grocery shop.


Molasses is a complex carbohydrate obtained from processing sugar beet or can that is commonly used as a food additive, sweetener, and thickener. Molasses have a viscous thick consistency and a dark brown color. Mollases are often added to sauces, cereal, caramel, jam, ice cream, marmalade, bread, muffins, and cakes. Molasses can be used to substitute demerara sugar, brown sugar, maple syruo, honey, or dark corn syrup. In terms of taste, molasses have a deeper, warmer, sweeter taste than demerara sugar and it even has somowhat smoky notes.

Refined White Sugar

While refined white sugar is not exactly the best demerara sugar alternative, it can be used as one to add sweetness to your meals when you are out of other types of sugar. White sugar is easy to find and it is cheap so it is a universal ingredient to sweeten the meals up!


Even though demerara sugar is often used not just for desserts and sweet beverages but also for savory dishes, it is not that easy to find in the US. While there are plenty of demerara sugar substitutes, turbinado, and muscovado sugar are the best demerara alternatives as they have a similar level of sweetness and a nice crunch to them. However, even regular white sugar can be a decent demerara substitute as it will give a similar sweetness and, in fact, is not that less healthy than demerara. Bon appetit!

Pan-Seared Duck Breast With Gingered Carrots, Bok Choy, And Tamarind-Lemongrass Sauce Recipe

My mom’s youngest sister, Tia Xiomara, is married to a first generation Chinese in Venezuela  (did I mention I grew up in a melting pot!?).  From a very early age, I was lucky to hang out with his family and learn about his culture. I probably would have not tried duck while I lived there (as it is not a popular protein) but I find it delicious.  With so much flavor and richness, I like to serve it over vegetables and top it with the tangy and sweet tamarind-lemongrass sauce.  It’s DUCK time!



  • 2 magret duck breast halves
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Gingered Carrots

  • 8 French (baby) carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

Bok Choy

  • 4 baby bok choy (thoroughly washed)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Tamarind-Lemongrass Sauce

  •  1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup chicken broth, warm
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (may use 1 tbsp of rendered duck fat)
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass, minced



Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck breast in a cross hatch pattern (careful not to cut into the breast itself).  Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Season duck breasts evenly with salt and pepper on both sides. Reduce heat to medium-low; place breasts, skin-side down, on the hot skillet, and cook for 10-12 minutes (until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy and golden). Turn the breast over and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in ½ inch slices right before serving.

Gingered Carrots

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add sesame oil. Sauté baby carrots for 4-5 minutes, turning for even browning. Combine ginger and soy sauce in small bowl; add it to skillet and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Bok Choy

Boil 3-4 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Season water with salt and blanch bok choy for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Transfer to platter and drizzle with sesame oil.

Tamarind-Lemongrass Sauce

Dissolve tamarind paste and honey in chicken stock; add soy sauce, stir, and set aside.

Heat oil in small sauce pan over medium-high heat; add onion to pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add lemongrass and sauté for an additional minute. Add tamarind mixture to pan and stir with wooden spoon. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Blend all ingredients using immersion blender (food processor or regular blender, just be careful as mixture will be hot!) and run through mesh strainer.


Place half of the carrots over a bed of 4 bok choys halves. Top with pan-seared duck breast and drizzle with tamarind-lemongrass sauce. Enjoy!!


The boy choy and carrots may be served at room temperature on warmer days! Afterall, the summer is almost here.

Spiced Shrimp and Potatoes with Sweet Corn Sauce and Red Pepper-Citrus Oil

Caribbean food is not only colorful but so delicious!  The combination of flavors and textures in this dish is absolutely amazing—the sweetness of the creamy but light corn sauce, the heat of the seared shrimp, the scent of cardamom and cumin in the potatoes, the acidity and freshness of the kumquat-blood orange salad. Pair it with a spiced passion fruit cocktail and head straight to the islands!

Yield: 4 servings



  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground ancho chili
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional: brine shrimp – see below)


  • 4 large red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • ½ tbsp red jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp fresh lime juice

Corn sauce

  •  ¼ cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from ~ 3 corns on the cob)
  • 4 cardamom seeds, whole
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, room temperature

Red pepper-citrus oil (make ahead)

  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh blood orange juice
  • ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil


  • ¼ cup thinly sliced kumquat
  • 2 tbsp fresh blood orange pieces
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp fresh blood orange juice



Combine curry powder, cayenne pepper, and ancho chili in the bottom of a medium bowl; add salt and pepper to taste as well as 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix. Add shrimp to bowl and toss to coat. (For better results: cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before cooking).

Heat 2 tablespoons oil, add shrimp and sauté them for 3 minutes on each side. When done, put them in the bowl.


Place potatoes and 1 tbsp of salt in a medium pot and cover with water by couple of inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce heat and remove lid. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are tender but still firm. Drain and allow cooling off. Cut potatoes in smaller pieces (about ½” cubes) and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions for 4-5 minutes, until translucent, then add ground cumin and stir. Add potatoes and sauté for couple of minutes. Add jalapeño, and season with salt and pepper to taste; sauté for 1 more minute. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with lime juice and toss to coat. Cover and keep warm.

Corn Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan (1.5 qt); add salt and pepper to taste. Set over low heat for 10-12 minutes, until kernels are soft and cooked through; do not let it boil. Remove from heat and let it cool for at least 5 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor (or blender), mix on high, and drain using fine-mesh strainer; make sure to press with plastic or wooden spatula. Adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Red Pepper-Citrus Oil (Make ahead)

Combine all ingredients in a blender on high. Drain using fine-mesh strainer and set aside.


Combine kumquat slices, blood orange, and cilantro in a small bowl. Drizzle blood orange juice and a little olive oil. Season with salt to taste.


Serve potatoes in the middle of a deep dish and arrange shrimp on top, creating a crown. Serve sweet corn sauce around the potatoes, on the bottom of the plate, and add red pepper-garlic oil in drops on top of sauce and drizzle over shrimp. Garnish with kumquat-blood orange salad.


Skip extra calories and fat.  You don’t need cream to make a great corn sauce. Try this recipe, which uses low-fat milk instead of cream, and you’ll be surprise by how velvety and delicate it is. These are the little changes that I make to live a healthier life!

Green Gazpacho with Seafood and Chopped Cucumber Salad Recipe

To celebrate the summer solstice, which in the US starts on June 21, I prepared this fresh, summer dinner. Being a warm day, I didn’t want to spend much time in the kitchen and I came up with this recipe that can be done in about half hour and not much work. The avocado in the recipe makes this gazpacho thicker than the average but it is a low-calorie option that will make you feel fuller and satisfied. This gazpacho is easy to make (all processed at once) and it can be served as a vegetarian dish. Make sure to read my tips at the bottom of the page!

Green Gazpacho with Seafood and Chopped Cucumber Salad Ingredients

Green gazpacho

  • 2 cups English cucumber, coarsely chopped (peeled/seeded)
  • 2 Hass avocados, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp scallion greens, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

 Cucumber salad

  • 1 cup English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red jalapeño, seeded, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Drizzle olive oil


  • ½ tsp ground ancho chili
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 large shrimp, deshelled, devained, tail on
  • 2 small lobster tails (about 5-6oz each)

Special instructions

Set 4 bowls in the refrigerator to chill at least 15 minutes before serving.


Green gazpacho

Using a food processor (or a blender), combine all ingredients and process until mixture is smooth, for 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning*. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; set in the refrigerator for at least half hour.

 *You may add water by the spoon if it is too thick and to reach desired consistency

Cucumber salad

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix with wooden spoon. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Combine ancho chili and paprika with olive oil. Place shrimp in a medium bowl and drizzle spice blend; toss to coat thoroughly and set aside for a few minutes.

In the meantime, fill a small sauce pan with about 1” of water and set over medium-high heat; bring water to boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Set a bamboo steamer basket on top of pan**, arrange lobster tails, cover with basket lid, and steam lobster tails for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer tails onto a plate and let it cool down. Using a large knife, cut lobster in half lengthwise and remove the meat from the shell. Save shells for serving the cucumber salad and slice each lobster half in half-inch slices.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil, add shrimp and sauté them for 3 minutes on each side. When done, put them in the bowl.

** You may also use a regular steamer basket inside the pan and cover the sauce pan with lid


Divide soup evenly among 4 chilled bowls and top each with lobster slices and 3 shrimp. Set lobster shell half on plate hollow-side-up and spoon cucumber salad. Serve immediately.

Special recommendations:

I recommend you brine the shrimps for 30-60 minutes to get them a softer, less chewier texture and a more pronounced “sea” flavor.

You can top the green gazpacho with a variety of seafood or without any at all! For a vegetarian option, top it with cucumber salad and add green mango or pear and sliced avocados!

Local Pretzel Burger Recipe

Summer has officially been over for a little while but Los Angeles still feels warm and sunny. We’re very lucky that way. I’m very much in a grilling mood and to celebrate an amazing (and busy!) summer, I am sharing the recipe for a delicious burger with a roasted tomato sauce, blue cheese, and wild arugula. All of this comes packed in a delicious pretzel bun!

I must confess– I never liked blue cheese (or so I thought) until I tried a good-quality one, even a bit pricier than the average. I used Roquefort Société for this recipe and it tasted delicious with the roasted tomato sauce. This was a great way to drop unhealthy condiments filled with sodium and bad fats. The lemony arugula also adds a wonderful touch. I hope you give it a try!

Local Pretzel Burger


  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large beef steak tomatoes
  • 1 brown onion
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • Grape seed oil
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 lb organic, grass-fed beef
  • 3 oz of Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 4 San Diego Pretzel Company hamburger buns
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 cups organic wild arugula


  1. Pre-heat over at 425° F.
  2. Slice tomatoes and onions in wedges. Arrange on baking tray, facing down, along with garlic cloves. Drizzle with grape seed oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cooling off.  Peel off skin from tomatoes; transfer everything to a deep bowl and carefully mix all ingredients using an immersing blender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside (or refrigerate if doing ahead of time).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together paprika and cumin with 1 tbsp of grape seed oil and salt and pepper. Add ground meat to bowl and gently mix with fork or fingers until seasonings are just incorporated. Divide mix in 4 even portions, make beef patties, and set on a platter. Cover and allow resting for 20-30 minutes outside of the refrigerator.
  4. Prepare grill and set at medium-high heat. Grill burgers to desired doneness, approximately 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  5. If using frozen pretzel buns: Adjust oven heat to 400° F. Moisten buns lightly with water. Place on baking tray and bake for about 12-14 minutes or until buns are heated all the way through. Note: cooking times may vary.
  6. Toss arugula with fresh lemon juice and olive oil in a medium bowl.


Cut pretzel buns in half and toast in the grill for a couple of minutes, if desired. Assemble burgers starting with the beef patty, followed by the roasted tomato sauce, wild arugula, and blue cheese crumbles. May be served with homemade baked potato chips.

Braised BBQ Chicken Sliders with Purple Slaw Recipe

Nothing says summer like BBQ!  Using an all-natural, good quality barbecue sauce makes all the difference. I love using Grandma Izetta’s! Its mustardy taste goes great with all kinds of meats.

Summer and all, we don’t have to throw our healthy eating plan out the window just to satisfy our cravings. I love to rehab summer favorites with small changes — using whole wheat buns, skipping the processed cheeses and condiments, and avoiding fatty sides like chips or french fries. I like to serve these sliders with a delicious pineapple purple slaw. Did you know purple cabbage packs twice the amount of vitamin C compared to green cabbage? It adds a great color and texture to the sliders but also nutrition. That’s what I am talking about!

Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful summer. Buen provecho.

Yield: 12 sliders



  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 3 tbsp grape seed oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

Purple slaw

  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2  cup purple cabbage, finely shredded
  • ½ cup pineapple, diced
  • ¼ cup scallion greens, finely chopped

To serve:

  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 12 mini whole-wheat slider rolls (toasted, if desired)



Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp grape seed oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches, if necessary; transfer to a platter.

Add 1 tbsp of grape seed oil to the hot pot and sauté onions for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and bell pepper; continue to sauté for additional 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth and BBQ sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and transfer chicken and drippings back to the pot. Cover and cook until chicken is very tender, approximately 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Using thongs, transfer chicken thighs to a clean baking tray and allow cooling slightly. If necessary, return pot to a medium heat for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Using two forks, shred chicken finely; return to pot and mix with sauce thoroughly.

At this point, additional BBQ sauce may be added to chicken to reach desired consistency or flavor

Purple slaw

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper; whisk to emulsify. Add cabbage, pineapple, and scallions; toss to coat.


Assemble each slider with shredded chicken, purple slaw, and top with a cucumber slice! Use a bamboo skewer to secure it all in place.