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Cooking and Baking with Erythritol

As mentioned on previous threads, I dislike using Splenda because of its taste and other factors. I've been using erythritol, a polyol sugar substitute derived from corn, in many savoury and sweet recipes. Depending on the application, I often substitute erythritol one-to-one for sugar, or I may add up to 25% more (erythritol is said to be 70% less sweet than sugar).

Until now, I've been using erythritol in place of sugar in sweet-and-sour savoury dishes and in fruit pies and cakes. On another thread, I was told that I would have disastrous results if I used erythritol when baking with chocolate and/or coffee.

I just made a batch of my chocolate espresso brownie cookies and they came out great. Granted, they do contain some sugar (in the semi-sweet chocolate chips; I used the real thing, along with 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate), but the majority of the sweetness comes from the erythritol which I substituted for all of the sugar (plus 25%) called for in the recipe. Now that I've seen these results, my next batch will use unsweetened chocolate and erythritol exclusively.

My brownie cookies do exhibit a slight bit of the cooling effect that sometimes occurs with erythritol. To me, this is much more tolerable than the taste and after-taste of Splenda.

I'm curious about other people's use of erythritol. How do you use it?

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  1. Is that another name for stevia?

    1 Reply
    1. i dont know what this stuff is. is this the scientific name or a brand name or what? and this is NOT stevia, correct?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ben61820

        it is an artificial sweetener that is NOT stevia

      2. seems ive found a decent source for this stuff anyway: http://about.pricegrabber.com/search_...

        1. No, it's not stevia. Erythritol is the chemical name, and Cargill, its major manufacturer, uses the trade name "Eridex." Here's some info from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythritol

          Its closest "relative" is xylitol.

          I discovered it a few months ago at the Low Carb Grocery in Toronto, and have gotten a couple of natural food stores that I frequent to carry it, as well. One of the major North American distributors is NOW Foods ( http://www.nowfoods.com/?action=itemd... )

          1 Reply
          1. re: FlavoursGal

            Xylitol in small amounts is highly toxic to dogs. One veterinary case report was a Retriever that died after eating four xylitol-sweetened sugar-free muffins. So if you have pets, to be on the safe side I'd make very sure they can't get to erythritol-sweetened foods either.

          2. do you have any recipes using it? love to know one or two, thanks.

            1. UPDATE re the chocolate espresso brownie cookies I made earlier today:

              Cooled down completely (I had tasted them when still slightly warm, and they were delicious), I detect a lingering, slightly saccharine-like flavour that is not very appealing. My husband does not object to any odd flavours, but feels they taste "hollow" (flat, perhaps?). My 15-year-old finds the texture to be strange, but likes the flavour. The off-putting flavour I notice did not manifest itself when I made other baked goods using erythritol, but they were all fruit-based.

              scott123, I'm sorry I doubted you, and I apologize. You were right - baked goods made with chocolate and/or coffee (in this case, both were used) and erythritol do produce an odd product.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FlavoursGal

                I have a batch of dense, fudgy brownies in the oven right now - at least, I'm trying to make them dense and fudgy! - using a 1:1 substitution of erythritol for sugar. The batter tastes downright vegetal, which is very weird. First I taste the chocolate, then the "cooling" (sort of almost mint-ish) flavor characteristic of erythritol, then... grass?!??

                I pulled them out after a while and added more chocolate, melted butter, flour, and another egg, because I thought maybe the high proportion of sugar I was using to make them super-fudgy was causing problems. It did taste better; we'll see how they come out once fully baked.

                I will say, though, that what I've been doing to fulfill my desire for chocolate without eating regular sugar is melting baking chocolate, erythritol, and milk together to make an extremely dense pudding. And THAT hasn't tasted like grass at all. It was a little tricky figuring out how to heat it slowly enough (sans double boiler) to keep it from seizing up on me, without heating it so slowly that it wouldn't come together... but now that I've got it, I just have a tasty chocolate snack. I suppose that where I would taste the flavor of sugar, I now taste the flavor of erythritol, but it's not off-putting or overly strong or VEGETAL for god's sake. So I'm not sure what's going on in that brownie pan right now.

                I cannot stand the licoricey flavor of stevia and xylitol, so I'm glad that I found a way to mix this stuff with chocolate... most of the time anyway!

              2. I am thinking of making cookies without chocolate using erythritol (brand name Zero). Anyone know if there would still be a flavour problem or am I better off only using it in savory or fruit dishes?

                1. My wife makes chocolate using Erythritol. She has no problems at all conching the chocolate and the end chocolate product tastes exactly like chocolate sweetened with cane sugar.
                  We are however having problems using Erythritol as the sweetener in the fillings as it will not dissolve and does not behave as does cane sugar when used in jams or candies.

                  Erythritol is not Stevia, Stevia is a plant. Erythritol can not taste like saccharine because it is made using sodium saccharine. It is produced as a by-product of glucose, that is why a cooling affect is experienced on the tongue and if you experience that sensation in your cooking you have used too much.

                  Erythritol will not necessarily combine with other ingredients in cooking BUT common sense, research, experimentation and not listening to all the BS from all the 'know alls' about the product will eventually produce for you excellent results.

                  Scott123 is not correct for the above reasons.

                  1. not an exact answer to your question, but

                    if you use a little bit of stevia along with your erythritol, it will taste better than using either one of them alone.

                    every morning i make an iced blended mocha using valrhonna cocoa powder, and sweeten with a combination of : erythritol, stevia, splenda, xylitol, and some real sugar.