ISO homemade ketchup
I made a half-batch of the CHOW Ketchup recipe (http://www.chow.com/recipes/28552-ket... - it's not what I'd hoped. The finished product tastes more like spaghetti sauce than ketchup. I want to make something that tastes as close as possible to Heinz, but with Splenda subbed for most of the sugar. The sweetness was not the problem. The recipe calls for simmering 2 hours (during which time the bottom scorched) and after the fact, it occurred to me that cooking the vinegar and spices for that long dulled their piquancy. Looking at other recipes, I found a huge range of times and ingredients. I am now thinking that the short-cooked ones using tomato paste may get me where I want to go. There are also no-cook recipes using tomato paste and ground seasonings. Most include onion, onion juice, or onion powder and I THINK onion is needed, but am skeptical of the ones using some form of garlic (as does the CHOW recipe I followed). I do not detect it in Heinz. Opinions or recommendations? TIA
I would consider adding Worcestershire sauce and/or fish sauce to the Chow recipe.
Also, I recall a Cook's Illustrated test where Splenda didn't perform well in baking as a sub for sugar. Because Splenda's sweetening agent (sucralose) is so much sweeter than sugar, it needs to be bulked out with other stuff, mostly maltodextrin (with a corn-starchy quality), and it had consequences in slacker texture and also diminished browning/caramelization.
If plain old sucralose is available, perhaps you could try that? (Use very little!) I don't see how the bulking aspect of Splenda, important for bakers, would matter for a sauce or condiment.
About brightness of flavor, sometimes it pays to add a dose of acid toward the end, even if an acid was already introduced early on.
re: Bada Bing
I did consider Worcestershire but no recipes I've seen include it. I almost always sub Splenda packets for at least half the sugar, even when baking, as long as crispness and caramelization are not big elements in the recipe. I used white vinegar in the ketchup, but did add a big splash of cheap balsamic at the end, after tasting it. It's still closer to red sauce than to Heinz. I'll still use it, just not as ketchup.
I find that splenda and vinegar are not friends. Don't know why but anytime they've been together as ingredients it's just been nasty.
I reduce my ketchup recipe (and other long cooking large batch sauces for canning) in the oven. No babysitting the pot on the stove top, just an occasional stir needed, a little more stirring toward the end.
The linked CH recipe almost seems like a barbecue sauce to me. So much onion!
Here's a link to a ketchup recipe from The White House Cook Book. I notice it calls for only 1 Tbsp (heaping...) of sugar for a gallon of cooked-down tomatoes and a teacupful of vinegar, which is added right at the end along with the sugar.
Looks to be a pretty basic tomato ketchup recipe. Maybe you could branch out from there.