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adventures with agave nectar

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I recently tried making ice cream with agave nectar instead of sugar, and came up with some interesting results. I followed a basic Mark Bitmann custard-style vanilla recipe, and subbed the agave for sugar 1:1. If I had to do over again, I might increase the agave perhaps 25%.

The results were interesting--the sweetness isn't as assertive; it hits you after the creaminess. I liked it all and all, but I'm not sure everyone would. I find that agave definitely leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue.

What was interesting was what I think the sweetener did to the consistency of the ice cream. usually ice cream will freeze rock hard in my freezer, but this batch stayed at a wonderful consistency--reason enough to recommend agave in ice cream making.

Wondering if anyone else has interesting experiences or uses for agave nectar. Not opposed to sugar per se; I'm more of an experimenter.

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  1. I believe honey and other liquid sugars have a similar effect on texture.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      It's a side effect of the higher concentration of sugars in inverted sugar syrups (honey's properties, like its acidity, are very similar, so it has the same effect).

    2. I made margaritas for my sister visiting from San Diego, using agave syrup, and she said they tasted just like in Cabo/Baja, which I took as the highest praise. I'm definitely going to use it in my mojitos this summer too, and any other drinks that call for simple syrup.

      1. I wish I could respond to the texture question, but I can say that in barbecue sauces and the like, agave provides a milder, creamier sweetness than honey. I'm a big fan of it and I wish it were more readily available out here in the stix.

        1. My daughter enjoy adding the frozen agave nectar into smoothies instead of ice.