Many waffle and pancake recipes include granulated sugar to boost their sweetness and create a crisper texture. Honey makes an effective substitute if you don't have any sugar available or you'd like to avoid it in your cooking. This natural ingredient works a little differently than granulated sugar in cooking and baking, however. Account for this by adjusting your recipe slightly to produce crisp, delicious waffles.
Types of Honey
Different kinds of honey produce different tastes in your waffles. Most people rely on clover honey, which is relatively light and neutral. Using orange blossom or alfalfa honey could lend your waffles a slight floral overtone, while darker honeys like avocado or buckwheat produce an earthier taste. Goldenrod can even provide a slightly bitter flavor.
According to the Home Baking Association, it is possible to use a direct one-for-one substitution of honey for sugar when you make waffles. This works best in recipes that call for just one or two tablespoons of sugar, where the additional liquid from the honey is so minimal that it shouldn't affect the texture of the finished product.
Adjusting Moisture Levels
Unlike granulated sugar, honey contains around 20 percent water. In sweet waffle recipes that call for larger amounts of sugar, it's a good idea to reduce the amount of water or milk in your recipe. For each 1/4 cup of honey you use, reduce the liquid ingredients by one tablespoon. Honey is also more acidic than sugar. Add an extra dash of baking soda to your batter to counteract this property and keep your waffles from overbrowning.
Volume for volume, honey offers almost twice as much sweetness as sugar. In recipes that call for relatively little sugar, this can produce a flavorful waffle that works well without toppings. In recipes that call for higher levels of sugar, this can create a finished product that is simply too sweet. You can control the sweetness level by using only 1/3 to 1/2 as much honey as you would granulated sugar.
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