First, since I gave up processed sugar more than six years ago, I am constantly on the prowl for the latest and greatest natural alternatives. Recently, at Whole Foods I came across Sweet Tree's evaporated palm sugar. It has the lowest glycemic index (GI) of any natural sweetener, which is 35 (agave nectar has a GI of 42). So far I've used it to replace cane sugar in a couple of dessert recipes, including brownies and apple crisp. It has a slight caramel-like flavor, which is not over powering so it blends in well.
It's produced from the nectar of the tropical coconut palm blossoms found in south-east Asia (but it does not have a coconut flavor). You can even find palm sugar sold in round cakes in Asian food stores.
Sweet Tree's evaporated version only recently hit the market. While you can find it at Whole Foods, it should be popping up in other health stores because last month United Natural Foods began distributing it nationally.
Since we are on the topic of healthy foods, I also want to share with you a great site I just came across for health-conscience foodies--especially those who want to eat gluten-free and dairy-free. The Nourishing Gourmet is a fantastic blog, which offers both healthy recipes and inspiration to eat better. Kimberly Harris is the author, who really has a passion for preparing the kinds of foods our bodies were created to eat. I think anyone on the quest for better health will benefit from checking out her blog.