Sweet doesn't always mean sugar--or even honey. Try adding maple syrup instead.
Maple syrup is considered a healthier option than white sugar and certain other sweeteners in recipes, and it possesses a unique flavor that some people (including yours truly) simply prefer to the flavor of other sweeteners. Here's an easy guide full of substitution tips.
How much maple syrup should you use in place of white sugar? It depends on whether that recipe is for baking or general cooking.
In baking, replace 1 cup of white sugar with 3/4 cup of maple syrup and reduce by 3 tablespoons the other liquid content in the recipe for every cup of maple syrup used. Because maple syrup is brown and granulated sugar is white, this replacement will darken your baked goods and cause them to brown quicker.
To substitute maple syrup for sugar in other types of cooking, use three quarters of maple syrup as the sugar called for.
Keep in mind that maple syrup is not as sweet as white sugar and therefore this substitution formula will likely yield a less sweet result than the original recipe.
You can even replace maple syrup for maple sugar. Use twice the maple syrup than the amount of maple sugar called for in the recipe and reduce the other liquid in the recipe by half the amount of maple sugar the recipe calls for. Whew, that's a lot of math. Use this example for a guide: If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of maple sugar, you would use 1 cup of maple syrup and reduce the overall liquid content of the recipe by 1/4 cup.
Honey & Molasses
To substitute maple syrup for honey in a recipe, use 3/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/2 cup sugar for every 1 cup of honey. You can replace molasses with maple syrup in a one-to-one ratio.
In each case, both the taste and texture will be affected by the substitution. Maple syrup is thinner than both honey and molasses. Therefore, it may produce a thinner and perhaps runnier result. Using either slightly less maple syrup or slightly more solid ingredients can help compensate for this discrepancy. As far as flavor is concerned, the differences for the most part will be predictable, as you are probably already familiar with the differences in taste between honey, molasses and maple syrup.
Just keep in mind when making any of these substitutions that imitation maple syrup (also known as pancake syrup, table syrup or "maple-flavored" syrup) is not the same thing as pure maple syrup (otherwise known as "real" maple syrup). These substitutions listed above are all based on using pure maple syrup and will not necessarily work out the same otherwise.
Recipes with Maple Syrup