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Brownie recipe using whole wheat flour and splenda?

  • l

Tried to do a simple substitution with Martha Stewart's double-chocolate recipe and it was terrible. Way too dry. Not sure how to adjust it. Goal would be something along the lines of a chewy Betty Crocker box mix texture. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. I can't say anything for the whole wheat flour, but I've substituted Splenda for sugar (equal measure) in other baked goods (like a pumpkin roll w/cream cheese icing) and had no change in texture, just the slight difference in taste (but not enough that my DH wouldn't eat it).

    I would imagine -- though I'm not an expert baker -- that it was the flour substitution that did you in. If you're worried about sugar, try something flourless perhaps?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Covert Ops

      I agree it was likely the whole wheat flour, not the splenda, that dried it out. Just not sure if I should add more eggs, butter or a bit of oil to the mixture to bring back a chewy & moist texture. I was just searching around and found old posts that credit the shiney/crackled top to use of granulated sugar and even one gave credit to the addition of brown sugar. Maybe I should try the new Splenda brown sugar blend?

    2. Have you tried white whole wheat? It's a different type of grain than the traditional red wheat we're used to seeing but it's a lighter texture and closer to all purpose flour. You could also do half and half.

      1. actually it was both the change to ww flour AND the splenda sub for the sugar. however, i would posit that the use of splenda in place of the sugar would change the finished product much MORE drastically than your sub of whole wheat flour.
        if you want to try and make a certain recipe a bit healthier you are better off subbing the ww flour for the ap flour than messing with the sugar. many homebakers do not realize that while sugar tastes sweet and yummy and all, to the professional baker it is probably as much a tool as an ingredient. in that it contributes to textures, shelflife, etc. as much as it does simply to flavor. texture is the big thing here. just think of the process of creaming butter with sugar for instance. you could not achieve that with splenda. period. unfortunate tho it may be. your given recipe may not call for creaming, but you see the point i hope.
        subbing ww flour for AP tho is a different story. altho, the change WILL inevitably bring about a change in mouthfeel, flavor, etc., it will not change any chemical processes, etc. that taking out sugar will.
        one thing to watch out for tho is that using wwflour will usually require you to indeed use a bit MORE moisture in the recipe. it seems that ww flour does absorb a bit more moisture in most cases than apflour.
        too much info?

        3 Replies
        1. re: ben61820

          Absolutely not too much info - many thanks ben61820! The recipe didn't call for creaming butter/sugar, but you were supposed to beat it w/ the eggs until pale, which would never happen with the splenda.

          Chowser - I used King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat. After checking the package, it's ground from hard spring wheat. Not sure if that's white or red, but I think the 1/2 & 1/2 approach might be the way to go.

          1. re: LHT

            half and half is an idea, but again, its the sugar/splenda issue thats really the culprit here. going half and half with ap and ww flours is the chosen route for many homebakers, and its not at all a bad choice. the thing is tho, with many homebaked goods like muffins, basic cakes, etc, there are SO many ingredients that pack in so much flavor that you can 'mask' any perhaps unwanted flavors that the wholel wheat would bring so i think you are usually OK going 75/25 ww/AP or even 100% ww. dont compromise your goals with your health. go 100% whole wheat and then dabble with ingredient amounts FROM THAT POINT. you will be fine in the end, trust me. besides, remember, that whole wheat brings its own flavors to the game. its not a given negative at all. many people out there just didnt grow up eating it since AP has been made so prevalent in the US in the past 50-75 years. in bread baking for instance, whole wheat's flavors are wholly wanted and sought after. the more fullbodied and nutty characteristics are wonderful.

            1. re: LHT

              Now that ben brought it up, I do remember using splenda years ago when it first came out in brownies for my father who has diabetes. It was terrible, as you described, didn't rise and was hard. I think it does have to do with the science of sugar--on the Splenda site at the time, it said you can substitute it for sugar but not if there's more function for the sugar than just as sweetener. That might be why they came up with the new baking Splenda. White whole wheat is much lighter than the regular whole wheat. But, as ben said, it makes a heavier texture but it doesn't affect the overall chemical reaction. Boy, talk about a walk down memory lane and having something jar it. I had competely forgotten about it.

          2. In baking, sugar is considered a liquid, while Splenda is a dry ingredient, chemically. (Baking is chemistry after all.) From what I've read, it's best to use Splenda for only half of the sugar in baked goods, for best texture results. When you beat the sugar with eggs, the sugar liquefies, but Splenda won't do that. So, you may want to stick with only sugar for this recipe. You may be able to reduce the amount of sugar by 1/4 without too much change. If you're baking for someone who can't have sugar, though, you may need a different recipe using the creaming method and will thus get a cakier product. I like the egg based fudgy interior, crunchy topped brownie recipes myself, but many people like cakey brownies.

            In addition, whole wheat flour isn't really appropriate for chemically leavened baked goods, which I assume includes your brownies. I would recommend saving the whole wheat flour for yeasted breads, and buying some whole wheat PASTRY flour, or at least a white whole wheat variety for cookies, pie crust, muffins, tea breads, etc. They're both much milder in flavor, and have less bran than a whole wheat flour from hard wheat. You can go 100% whole wheat if you have the right variety flour, and the result will be different, but still good, just not fabulous. Try going 50/50 with AP flour and whole wheat pastry flour for a great compromise of texture and nutrition.

            The new King Arthur Whole Grain baking cookbook is a good reference and educational tool. I've been altering recipes for years, but have still found new info in this book. I'd never used barley flour, for instance, but found it's great in cookies. I'd recommend this book.

            1. Wow, really great information - many thanks to both of you. I didn't realize there was a new splenda for baking, so I'll be on the lookout for that, as well as WW pastry flour. I didn't realize the variety that exists in ww flours, either. Again, many thanks for the advice and suggestions.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LHT

                Splenda for Baking is half real sugar, half Splenda.

                If you are doing it for real health reasons like Diabetes, cutting back on the amount of sugar might not do the trick.

                There are many other products available that are used in professional baking like sugar alcohols etc. One product I have used in home made desserts is "Not Sugar" available from Netrition.com. It is not a sugar substitute, but a fiber that replicates the mouth feel of sugar. They also have a Mousse Mix, and others that are really interesting.

                You can substitute Splenda for sugar in many items, but classic recipes with flou and sugar never work.

                You might try and find recipes specifically designed to be made without sugar.

              2. yes, id agree totally that in chemically leavened baked goods, whole wheat PASTRY flour is the way to go. i long held off from using wwpastry flour for some reason. i was soooo used to 'normal' ww flour in my breadmaking that i mistakenly just thought it'd be wellsuited for cookies, etc. like youd think, the textures were too rough and the taste, while being nice enough for me, wasnt good for most people. the switch to wwpastry flour tho changed everything. it is really a LOT lighter and 'airy-er' than you might think. impressive stuff. of course, i think that there IS def less bran present in that wwpastry flour. but then, i mean, we're talking cookies, etc., here, right? lets not lose sight of what we're doing, right?

                2 Replies
                1. re: ben61820

                  any online sources for WW pastry flour you could recommend? My local markets have a large selection, but couldn't find it there.

                  1. re: LHT

                    King Arthur Flour has it online.

                2. I think you can order it online from Bob's Red MIll

                  1. Thanks very much for the sources. I actually tried to do this again last night and used some of the suggestions above. Use 1/2 ww 1/2 ap flour and instead of straight splenda, I used the splenda brown sugar blend. These were so much better than the 1st try. I think next time I'll actually go with 2/3 ww 1/3 ap flour without any significant change and stick with the splenda brown sugar blend.

                    Thanks again for the help!

                    1. hi: if you look at the splenda website - it states that you should use splenda as a dry ingredient and not mix with your fats like you would other sugars as it does not cream nor melt - in the same way that sugar does.. I find that splenda works best in batter breads - definitely not cookies or brownies...I did make a german chocolate cake which has less that two cups of flour and eggs are separated and yolks go with the fats and you fold in the stiffly beaten whites...while it raised great in the oven - it did fall - we believe splenda is the culprit on this one as i make this cake quite often without a problem until splenda - well it became somewhat like a brownie in consistency however the splenda just doesnt cut it - the flavors are flat - not sure how you would get past that - this recipe also uses a cup of dutch cocoa...so it didnt lack in chocolate just rather flat tasting...