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Low sugar or sugar-free homemade ice cream/sorbet or gelato recipes needed please?

Just discovered I will be receiving a new ice cream maker (Cusinart) for Mother's Day. Looking for low sugar or sugar free recipes for ice cream, sorbet or gelato. Believe this model makes 1.5 - 2 quarts of product. Thanks!

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  1. Are you looking for artificially sweetened recipes or ones without sweetener at all, thus maybe more savory? There are savory ice creams in David Lebovitz' Perfect Scoop, but I cannot remember whether they were absolutely sugar free, sorry. Might be worth a look. I made a frozen yogurt recipe of his without sugar--the one based on greek style yogurt. It was delicious, but without sugar, it does freeze hard as a rock, so is best eaten the day it's made. He also had a recipe in the LA Times for a tart fro yo made with very little sugar and lots of lemon juice, looked really tasty, but haven't made that one yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: amyzan

      Looking for sweet, low carb, diabetic - friendly recipes. Wondering how to use Splenda or stevia in place of sugar in sweet recipes. Thanks Amy!

    2. Anybody?

      Can you just replace the sugar with Splenda? I'm thinking the sugar would keep crystals small, so would there be something to add in order to keep it from getting too hard after ripening and keep it smooth?

      3 Replies
      1. re: butland

        I have made ice cream with Splenda once. We were having a family with a diabetic child over for dinner, so I made it with Splenda so that everyone could have dessert. It tasted fine, but changed the texture. As I recall (it's been a few years) the texture was rather crumbly. In my case, the family was very appreciative that I had made it that way, but I haven't chosen to do it again for myself. I also don't recall, but think it was a fresh base rather than a custard base. A custard base might help give it more creaminess. Do you need it to be sugar free? If I were trying again, I might try a mix of sugar and splenda to see if that gave a better texture. As for myself, I eat ice cream infrequently enough that I don't make any effort to cut down on sugar or fat in it.

        1. re: butland

          I made a wonderful Peach Ice Cream using Splenda for Baking. While not totally sugar free, it cuts the sugar in half. I also used less than called for because the Fresh Peaches that I found were very sweet themselves. Another alternative might be Agave Nectar since it touts a low glycemic index (30 to 35) and significant calorie savings and the health advantages from the inulin-infused agave nectar are unmatched by any sugar or sugar replacement. I haven't tried to alter my recipe for Agave nectar yet since I just found some this weekend. However If I manage a good one this week I will post it. My husband is also diabetic.

          1. re: OkieAnnie

            Agave nectar is a really bad idea for a diabetic or low carber, though. Elevates triglycerides, since it's fructose, which may cause worsening insulin resistance. I don't use Splenda because of the maltodextrin; the sucralose drops are zero carb/calorie.

        2. There is a company making sugar free ice cream with maltitol syrup. It's called Clemmy's. http://www.clemmysicecream.com/find-c... I can't buy it in this part of the country, and probably wouldn't want to as I don't seem to tolerate maltitol well. I'm thinking that if one was to try making artificially sweetened ice cream at home, some kind of thickener would be required in addition to the sugar alcohol or artificial sweetener. Most commercial products have various ingredients to alter the "mouth feel" in the absence of sugar and/or corn syrup.

          1. From my knowledge of ice creams and sorbets (admittedly limited) sugar is a necessary part of what makes them come together. I know, for example, that cooks (mostly of the molecular sort) looking to make a savory sorbet found they had to use maltodextrin, a type of sugar that is not very sweet, because they found that while they did not want sweetness, their ice creams would not form properly if they omitted sugar entirely. I don't know how maltodextrin scores on the glycemic index, but I doubt it is very diabetic-friendly. As far as I know, splenda and other sugar substitutes would not behave enough like sugar to make an ice cream or sorbet work.

            You could make a granita or popsicles with sugar substitute, but you wouldn't need an ice cream maker for that.

            It is possible that amyzan is onto something and the right thickeners could produce a similar effect to ice cream or sorbet without any sugar. But I don't know any way offhand.

            1. I like to make this banana "ice cream" - it's basically pureed frozen banana, but if you do it when the fruit is dead ripe, it really does have a creamy texture. There's the sugar of the fruit in it, obviously, but no added sugar. Here's a "recipe":

              1 Reply
              1. re: junquegrrl

                Bananas are quite high in carbs. :( You're just being mean to the diabetics with your delicious banana ice cream stories! ;)

              2. I also recently got a Cuisinart ice cream maker and needed a sugar free recipe. Processed sugar makes me really sick. I used Alton Brown's chocolate ice cream recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...) and substituted the sugar with a low glycemic product called Whey Low Granular Sugar Replacement (http://www.wheylow.com/). It wasn't low fat, but it was sugar free! It was the creamiest homemade ice cream I have ever had. I have used both maltitol and splenda in other recipes. However I think because the crystallization is important to the airiness of the recipe, they are just too fine. I know of some people that have found Whey Low at Whole Foods of PCC markets, but I usually just order some and keep it on hand. It's the only thing I've found that replaces sugar in both texture and flavor.

                8 Replies
                1. re: ceashel

                  I have a Cuisinart, and make sugar-free, fat-free frozen yogurt. The basic recipe is:

                  6 cups good quality plain fat-free yogurt, strained overnight (reserve whey)
                  1 lb fresh or frozen fruit
                  3/4 c Splenda
                  2t Marie Callender's Quick Mix thickener
                  1T vanilla extract

                  Puree fruit in blender till smooth, add Splenda and thickener. Blend in strained yogurt. Add back in enough whey (if needed) to yield 5 cups yogurt mixture. Freeze with ice cream maker according to mfgr instructions. Makes 6 ~180g servings.

                  E.g. Strawberry is 125 calories for a 180g (6.4oz) serving.

                  This makes a very creamy and lucsious frozen yogurt (imo). It does freeze very solid, but gentle, attentive defrosting in the fridge does bring it back to the same consistency -- it isn't full of ice crystals or anything.

                  Two things: 1) I'm going to try to transition to stevia with the recipe but haven't yet. 2) The Marie Callender's product is impossible to find anymore, so I'm going to try Instant Clearjel instead. The MC product is just maltodextrin, guar gum, and xanthan gum.

                  1. re: darnselfly

                    What is Marie Callender's thickener (meaning what are the ingredients listed on the back)? A quick scan of google didn't list what the actual thickening agent is.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      On their whipped cream, I will bet it is gelatin or clear jel. If you stabilize whipped cream with gelatin, U could leave on the driveway overnight, it would still be there.

                      In their fruit pies, probably clear jel or instant clear jel

                    2. re: darnselfly

                      darnselfly, I found this on the freezer stability of various thickeners. http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenStarch... It's noted in particular that Instant ClearJel is NOT freezer stable, and tends to break down after a frozen product is thawed. So, your ice cream might not have a good texture as it's eaten. Don't know this from personal experience, however. So, please report back if you are successful making a frozen dessert with a commerically availabale product. We're interested!

                      BTW, it looks like that site recs arrowroot or tapioca for thickening sauces that will be frozen. I don't know how they'd taste in ice cream or fro yo, but have used both with fruit pies and suaces to good effect.

                      1. re: amyzan

                        Man, I've been MIA for a while (sorry!), and not sure if anyone cares about this anymore, but... :)

                        The Marie Callender's product is: Maltodextrin, guar gum, and xanthan gum. I'm still using it, but running low. The ClearJel did indeed suck. :D

                        I also switched away from straining my own yogurt and just using 2C of Fage 2% and 1C Fage 0%. So yummy, and much less hassle. Expensive tho.

                        And to avoid the defrost issue, I now divide the batch into 6 individual tupperwares upon making it. If I take one out at 6PM and put it in the fridge, it's just about right by 9:30 snack time.

                      2. re: darnselfly

                        Marie Calender's Quick Mix thickener is now sold as Marie Calender's Thickener (all purpose) and can be ordered at http://mccornbread.com/products/home....

                      3. re: ceashel

                        Before reading this post I had never heard of WheyLow. They make an excellent product and its Type D granulated WheyLow is even more suitable for diabetics. But now, two years after your original post, VivaLac makes a WheyLow for Ice Cream which is specifically blended to make smooth, wonderful tasting, no sugar added ice cream! Thank you 'ceashel' for sharing!

                        1. re: CJNinSeattle

                          Sugar does two things: sweetens and prevents formation of ice crystals. I have also had good success making ice cream with wheylow. They make a wheylow for ice cream specifically--I think it dissolves faster. had to order it on the web to get it (google wheylow). My family can't tell the difference, and the ice creams are mostly scoopable.

                      4. You had better go with a sugar substitute like Splenda and Yes, I think splenda would work fine.

                        Human taste buds can't taste sweet as well when the food is cold which is why Ice Cream is so sweet. Cutting down on the proportion of sugar would quickly make for a drap ice cream. Of course you could still go for a granita.

                        1. you can try here: http://lowcarbluxury.com/lowcarb-dess...

                          and also, the archives of alt.support.diet.low-carb on usenet, old archives. There used to be a lot of very creative cooks there.

                          1. I would avoid using splenda all together, you can get really good sweetness from using fresh in season fruit and consider adding small amounts of agave, or applesauce made with a little stevia (make sure it's pure as truvia and purevia are not)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: tickmouse

                              The problem here is that both fructose and agave aren't suitable for use by diabetics. Stevia could work, though.

                              1. re: mcf

                                My experience is that stevie adds sweetness but does not do the work of "stabilization," i.e. preventing the formation of ice crystals. I use jeni's ice cream recipes, and have not found a successful substitute for cornstarch in her ice cream recipes.

                                1. re: rogerconnertn

                                  a bit of vodka is recommended by many to avoid crystalization.
                                  not enough to get you buzzed, just a tad.

                                  I've never needed corn starch in ice cream recipes. I haven't used stevia, not a favorite of mine. Tagatose might work, but I haven't tried it yet.

                            2. What I want to know is, when you make the simple syrup for sorbets is it for sweetness only or does it's viscosity have an effect? I want to use stevia to make my simple syrup but do I need to make any other considerations? I always use 1-2 TBL of vodka or tequila to "fluff" the sorbet. Should I omit that if the viscosity is effected?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ftworthchow66

                                Sugar isn't just for sweetness in sorbets and other frozen desserts. The syrup lends a viscosity. Stevia and other artificial sweeteners won't hav this effect unless a thickener of some sort is added as well. Alcohol won't alter the viscosity as much as it affects the freezing point, allowing crystals to form more slowly. So, the short answer is that in addition to stevia, you'll need a thickener for your simple syrup to actually become syrupy. Otherwise, it's just sweet liquid, as fluid as water. Earlier in this thread, I linked a page on thickeners with info on which are appropriate for freezing.

                                1. re: amyzan

                                  Good to know. I missed that link but it does sound like the two you mentioned would work. I did find another sorbet recipe that does not call for a simple syrup base. The fruit, fruit juice, zest, vodka and sugar are ran through the food processor, refrigerated then placed in the ice cream maker. I'm going to make it as RX'd the first time so I have a reference then substitute with stevia next round.

                              2. I've been experimenting with sugar free lately and had some good luck.

                                You should try a combination of inulin/oligofructose and stevia. Inulin is a slightly sweet fiber that seems to give the ice cream the bulk and viscosity that you lose without sugar, and stevia provides the extra sweetness. Both are available at health food stores or online.

                                Make sure to use a high quality stevia(won't be bitter) and don't overdo it.

                                It comes out of the ice cream maker great, the only issue I'm working on is trying to prevent it from freezing solid in the freezer. I'm going to try adding alcohol and possibly xanthan gum to the mix to see if this helps.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: rls

                                  I had success! I used 1 pound strawberries, 1/4 cup Lemon Juice, 1/4 cup Swerve sweetener, 2 tbls vodka. Ran through my food processor, refrigerated overnight, put in my ice maker when I woke up for 20 minutes. Perfect! I put in the freezer all day and we had it for dessert this evening. I'm going to try stevia next but I already had the Swerve on hand. I love Swerve for baking. Never heard of inulin but that sounds interesting.

                                  1. re: ftworthchow66

                                    LOL, sounds interesting is right; it can produce more gas than Exxon/Mobil.

                                  2. re: rls

                                    thanks for your informative post- how much inulin are you adding to how much liquid? I want to play around with this, but have no idea where to start.

                                    I am looking to make an organic icemilk with low sugar & healthy fat- so I don't want to use a bunch of additives esp corn based one.

                                    1. re: pamelay

                                      We just found an unused ice cream maker when cleaning out MILs garage, so I made killer tasting chocolate ice cream last night using a combination of 12 drops liquid sucralose and 1/4 cup xylitol granular. The base was half and half, two eggy yolks creamed with the sweeteners. Only problem is the iciness, so I'm going to try again with a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum added, after doing some research today. Others use the fiber stuff polydextrose. Both said to make it creamy even with non sugar sweeteners, and slimy if you use too much.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I added 1/4 C of polydextrose powder to a half batch of pistachio ice cream today, sweetened with liquid sucralose and xylitol; texture is GREAT.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          What's the brand name of the polydextrose powder, and did you find it retail?

                                          1. re: amyzan

                                            I've never seen it in stores, but here's what I bought, from the place I do a lot of shopping for low carb items:


                                  3. Nu naturals is advertising a mix of Stevia (Stevia Baking Blend) and erythritol for making ice cream at sweeteners https://nunaturals.com/article/352 . Have you checked it out?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Miss M.

                                      I wouldn't use erythritol in anything creamy; gets gritty and has a really intense cooling effect.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        What are xylitol and inulin? In what proportions do you use them? Do they produce any side effects? (gassy, etc) Do you know how they compares to Stevia Baking Blend?

                                        Also, do you have any advice on improving the texture for a Stevia-sweetened gelato? The flavor is good, but the texture is disastrous. Do you have any ideas in how to perfect it? This is recipe I am using:

                                        1 1/2 c almond milk
                                        3/8 tsp NuNaturals Pure Stevia Extract
                                        6 tbsp egg beaters (in replacement of 2 egg yolks)
                                        1 tsp whey protein
                                        sprinkle of salt
                                        around 1/4 tsp stabilizer (consisting of guar gum, locust bean gum and xantham gum in a ratio of 7:7:4)
                                        drops of natural vanilla extract


                                    2. whipped cottage cheese is great. I use the Western pressed CC, it's less than 1% fat.

                                      Are you avoiding sucrose/fructose? You can get pure dextrose at wine making shops - (make sure it is zero fructose though). Just replace the sugar with the dextrose.

                                      Remember that wheat, rice, potatoes are processed in your digestion and show up in the blood as dextrose. If potatoes are OK on your diet, dextrose should be too.

                                      If you're avoiding dextrose too, On my low carb days I whip the CC with both sucralose and the liquid sugar twin from Loblaws plus whatever flavour I want. usually vanilla. O high carb days I use dextrose.

                                      It freezes hard within a couple of hours, and gets much harder after a day. I prefer freezing it spread thin on thin metal platters and eat it crunchy or let it melt in my mouth.

                                      I would use erythritol but that stuff is still way too expensive - 5 to 10 times the cost of dextrose.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: odysseus

                                        Erythritol gets gritty or crystalizes and has a strong cooling effect in creamy stuff. Better to save it for sweetening fruit cobblers or crumb baking.

                                        1. I sometimes cheat. Fat-Free jello pudding (artificially sweetened) any flavour. Make according to directions. Once thick, whip/process the heck out of it to incorporate a bit of air.
                                          Dump in pre-chilled machine and run for 30-40 Minutes. Serve immediately.
                                          Result: Creamy textured frozen pudding. It gets rock hard in the freezer so if not serving 4-6 people, put the rest in ice cube tray to freeze... then to serve you pull out a few cubes and drop them in your food processor.