Much like the search for El Dorado, the hunt for the perfect sweetener has occupied the minds of the public for some time. Stevia is natural and low calorie, but usually has a weird aftertaste. Agave nectar held our interest, all golden and vegan and delicious in coffee, but it can be difficult to bake with. Enter coconut sugar: the natural sugar substitute of your dreams (hopefully not the dreams that involve going to class in your underwear). But what makes it so fan-flipping-tastic?

1. Coconut sugar is lower in fructose than cane sugar.

While can sugar is around 50 percent fructose, coconut sugar is only around 3 to 9 percent fructose. This is important to know because, while your body can easily use glucose (another component of sugar), to use fructose, it has to be converted in the liver, which can be taxing- especially if you treat your liver like many college students...

2. Coconut sugar has minerals such as magnesium and iron, as well as prebiotic fiber.

I should clarify: trace minerals. Like, hella trace.  A teaspoon of coconut sugar has about 2 percent of your recommended daily value of potassium. But it's still something, right?  

3. Coconut sugar can be used cup for cup for cane sugar in most recipes.

Although it may darken the color, it still tastes aaaamazing in muffins, cookies, and cupcakes- with the added benefit that your dessert is now refined sugar free!

4. Most brands of coconut sugar are naturally vegan.

Cane sugar is often bleached and filtered using charred animal bones (gross). However, coconut sugar doesn't need to go through the extensive bleaching process, so it's naturally free of animal bits. Total win.

5. Coconut sugar is way more environmentally friendly than cane sugar.

Per acre, coconut sugar palm trees can produce between 50 and 75 percent more sugar than cane sugar- plus, the coconut palm tree doesn't use much water. No wonder it was named the most sustainable sweetener by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Essentially, it's the holy grail of sugar. Use it in your coffee, your oatmeal, in baked goods, sprinkled in smoothies- the possibilities are endless.

Want some recipes? Try these peanut butter cookies or just get creative. 

Happy baking.