Not interested in all the blather? Go straight to the printable recipe.
There are a growing number of low carb sweeteners on the market today. You can find Stevia, Erythritol, Splenda, Xylitol, Truvia and more (see our list of common retail sweeteners in the sugars/sweeteners tab in our Net Carb Food List).
Part of the issue with sugar replacements is that they all carry with them their own peculiarities. There isn’t one that is just exactly like sugar in all aspects. But when we come to understand how table sugar is so high in carbohydrates that everyone is wise to reduce their sugar consumption whether they are low carb or not, it then behooves us to see what’s out there in the Alternate Sweetener Universe.
For now we’re going to bypass the discussion about artificial and natural sweeteners and what is better or worse for you. That’s a subject for another day. So the first part of this discussion about sweeteners has to go right to talking about tastebuds. Our tastebuds are all unique in combination, and some people are supertasters, meaning that they are more sensitive to certain flavors, such as bitterness, than other people.
This can be a problem for people who would want to use Stevia, because there can be a detectable bitter aftertaste to using it, even heavily diluted. Some people have said the same thing about Sucralose, which is the low carb sweetener in Splenda.
Xylitol, while it has a flavor and browning level and relative sweetness level similar to table sugar, has some digestive challenges when used in more than small amounts. Plus, it brings with it calories that un-blended Stevia and Sucralose don’t. Supertasters have been known to mention that it seems to have a wintergreen aftertaste.
Erythritol is quickly becoming the sweetener darling in the low carb community. It only sweetens about 60% as well as sugar does, but it has no laxataive effect or bitterness and is zero effect on blood sugar. It does, however, have this cooling effect, almost like a peppermint does in the mouth. A blend of Erythritol and Stevia on the market called Swerve is the new superhero in the Sweetener Universe, and it has taken the low carb community by storm.
Sucralose (Splenda) is the aging superhero in the sweetener universe, but it has inconsistent problems when baking. Sometimes it loses it’s sweetness, and sometimes it turns bitter. Alot depends on how much is used, and what temperature it’s cooked at, and whether the liquid or solid versions are used; the solid version is blended with maltodextrin (corn sugar), and so you also have additional calories and carbs to deal with from the maltodextrin.
Ideally, the best sweetener for low carb goodies is a blend. Why? Because we can highlight the positives and reduce some of the negatives, and come up with something that’s fairly darn sure to please most people, including supertasters.
So what’s a low carb home baker to do? Well, have a blind taste test, of course!
Now my study was extremely informal and only consisted of two test subjects: myself and my husband – who happens to be a supertaster. So with that working on my side, I created two sweetener blends for him to taste: Sweetener A and Sweetener B.
Sweetener A is a blend of Erythritol, Xylitol, and Stevia. Sweetener B is a blend of Erythritol and Stevia. All he had to do was lick his finger and stick it in the container.
He did so. Tasting, moving it around in his mouth, looking at the ceiling, thinking and thinking and thinking. Ultimately, he said they were both reasonably tasty, without any noticeable metallic bitterness from the Stevia (yay), but he had a slight preference for Sweetener B, because he said the other one gave him a little bit of a spearminty aftertaste. Fair enough.
So, armed with that information, I’ve been using Sweetener B for most things, but also including some Sucralose or Xylitol, depending on what it is I’m making.
Printable PDF of the recipe is here.
SWEETENER A & SWEETENER B
Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 CUP (16 tbsp/226.8g) Serving size: varies
Storage: airtight container in pantry
SWEETENER A INGREDIENTS:
- ½ cup (8 tbsp/113.4g) Erythritol, granulated
- ½ cup (8 tbsp/113.4g) Xylitol, granulated
- 1 tsp (10ml) Sweetleaf Stevia powder
SWEETENER B INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup (16 tbsp/226.8g) Erythritol, granulated
- 1 tsp (10ml) Sweetleaf Stevia Powder
Nutritional information per cup:
Sweetener A: Calories, 240; protein, 0; carbs, 0;* fat, 0; fiber,0; net carbs: 0.*.
Sweetener B: Calories, 0; protein, 0; carbs, 0* fat, 0, fiber, 0; net carbs: 0,*
*Some people say that you should count half the carbs from sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol. I don’t count them, myself.
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