Modifying a recipe so that it contains a low-calorie sweetener instead of sugar is something almost everyone has tried at least once. And almost everyone has also experienced a changed recipe because they didn't realize how the sweetener would affect the rest of the ingredients or the cooking process. If you're ready to give low calorie sweetener cooking another go, you can; much more information is available now about what to expect when you substitute sweeteners.
Sugar has several roles in a recipe, but sweetening is the most obvious. With low-calorie sweeteners, you're dealing with much different levels of sweetness, and in one case, the addition of bitterness. So you can't really use low-calorie sweeteners in a one-to-one substitution unless that sweetener is a combination of the low-calorie stuff and sugar. In fact, you should leave a good chunk of the sugar in the recipe and replace only part.
Low-calorie sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, so if you add too much of the substitute, you end up making the resulting dish much too sweet. But if you add the proper amount of the sweetener, you could also be missing some bulk in the recipe. Expect the final dish, if it's a baked good, to be somewhat flatter and not as tender as the all-sugar original. Some companies have released baking mixtures that include fillers to make up for that lack of bulk.
If you're using stevia, you have the additional issue of added bitterness if you add too much. Stevia is a great substitute, but you'll have to do some experimenting because the difference for most people is around a drop (for the liquid form) or a half a packet (for the powdered form). Take some plain yogurt and mix in one drop or one half packet and see how that tastes to you; add a single drop or another half packet if you want something sweeter. Once you reach the point where the taste starts to turn bitter, you know that you shouldn't add that much to your recipes as a sugar substitute.
Sugar also helps brown baked recipes. It caramelizes and gives cakes that "done" look. You're not going to get that with substitute sweeteners, so you need to use a mix if you want it. However, the browning isn't necessary for taste. Witness car-baked dashboard cookies, which, even when made with pure sugar, cook thoroughly without browning at all. That means that if you find a sweetener that seems to do fine taste-wise, you can go ahead and use that if you don't mind not having the cosmetic effect of the browning.
Order of Addition
Sometimes a low-calorie sweetener loses its sweetness as it gets hotter. The more you expose it to heat, the less sweetness you'll have. Aspartame is a very good example of this. You should restrict the use of aspartame to non-baked goods and add it at the last possible minute on other recipes.
As time goes on, baking and cooking with low-calorie sweeteners will only get better as people figure out more ways to compensate for any effects. It's always nice to hear you can continue to enjoy your favorite recipes even when cutting out sugar.Share
8 May 2017
I absolutely adore sweet, tasty berries. I especially like strawberries and blueberries. Do you desperately desire to eat more fresh foods this spring and summer? Consider stocking up on colorful berries when you visit your local supermarket or farmer’s market. Berries are packed with health benefiting antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. In addition to eating them by the handful, you can incorporate them into many of your favorite snacks or entrees. For instance, top a cup of plain, Greek yogurt with berries. Put them in fruit, green, or chicken salads. Use berries to make smoothies. On this blog, I hope you will discover ingenious tips to help you eat healthier during the warm weather months. Enjoy!