Sauces, being one of the three basic elements of a plated dessert, have become an essential part of any kitchen. From a humble ice cream treat topped with salted caramel sauce to the professional four-star chef’s towering chocolate creation covered in raspberry sauce, dessert sauces have exploded in popularity with the rise of cooking shows, foodie culture, and Youtube chefs.
Below, we’ll discuss how sugary sauces came to be, and look at some tips for choosing a quality sauce. We’ll also discuss how you can take any of the typically high-calorie, high-sugar sauces and replace them with a Skinny Mixes dessert sauce to make a guilt-free addition to your favorite dessert.
The First Sweet Sauce
Looking back over several millennia of human history, one sauce came before any other. It’s not some sort of sugared fruit juice, nor is it some ancient, long-forgotten recipe from Roman times–in fact, it's not really a sauce at all.
Good old-fashioned honey, straight from the beehive, is believed to be the first sweet sauce that mankind enjoyed on food. Evidence has long suggested that we first discovered honey and began using it regularly in food around 10,000 years ago, and we’ve been obsessed with it ever since.
Sugarcane Makes a Splash
Around 6,000 years ago, sugarcane was selectively bred for its sweetness around Papua New Guinea. By the 6th century AD, it had hit mainland Asia and made it all the way to Persia (modern-day Iran).
Sugar made its way along the spice roads and began appearing in Europe around the Middle Ages. The fact that sugarcane required a tropical environment to grow meant that it sometimes traveled hundreds or thousands of miles, making it extremely expensive.
When the Spanish made it to the new world in the 1500s and 1600s, sugarcane cultivation exploded and became a relatively cheap and plentiful commodity. Fertile grounds for sugar plantations weren’t the only thing the Spanish discovered in the new world.
Later, in the late 1800s, the first soda fountains began to appear in America, and a massive flavored syrup industry followed soon after.
The Arrival of Chocolate
The Spanish discovered the native Mayan population had a drink made from a fruit known to the Mayans as “kakaw” (cacao). This drink was typically reserved for royalty, with cacao beans even utilized as a currency in some parts of Central and South America. The Spanish added sugar to the cacao to reduce its bitterness and essentially invented what could be described as a watery hot chocolate.
In 1847, a British man named Joseph Fry invented what we would recognize as the first modern chocolate bar. He realized that adding cacao butter to cacao powder and sugar resulted in a solid paste that could be allowed to solidify.
Tips for Choosing Quality Sauces
When searching for a high-quality dessert sauce, it’s good practice to look for items that use natural ingredients. If the ingredients section reads like a high school chemistry textbook, it's probably a good idea to put it back on the shelf.
Thankfully, most syrups are so sweet and have such a low water content that they are almost immortal in terms of shelf life, so few preservatives are necessary for a high-quality syrup. This can be true with gluten-free, sugar-free syrups from reliable brands like Skinny Mixes!
Zero-Calorie, Zero-Guilt Syrups From Skinny Mixes
Dessert sauces are delicious and amazing, but they’re not amazing for one's diet—a single tablespoon of most syrups typically has between fifty and seventy calories. That may not sound like much, but it's easy to drizzle several tablespoons of syrup onto your ice cream without even thinking about it.
Thankfully, Skinny Mixes has a range of delicious dessert sauces with zero sugar and zero calories–this makes them the perfect addition to sweeten up any of your favorite desserts, no matter your dietary restrictions. With flavors like Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate Espresso, and even holiday flavors like Pumpkin Pie Spice and Peppermint Mocha, we’re sure to have just the thing to make your dessert memorable–and guilt-free!