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sugar-free baking??

Yesterday, neighbor threw a last HURRAH BBQ. He's having a knee replacement in a little over a month, and figures probably won't be doing this again in 2014. He has this HUMONGOUS, custom-made grill/cooker/smoker that rolled into his backyard last summer. When he has it fired up, people are drooling all over the development!

OK, back to my topic. He's gonna be laid-up for a while... wife anticipates serious whining!?! He's diabetic and I wanna make him some treats for his recuperation. I'm not a huge baker... mostly holiday cookies or an occasional pound cake.

Looking for tips on making sugar-free "sweets". I'm not familiar with the sugar substitutes... looking for recommendations. Can a recipe just have sugar left out and artificial sweetener in its place? Any GREAT sites to go to for recipes?

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  1. In addition to answers you might get here, this is addressed frequently on the special diets board.

    1. I agree you may want to post this to the Special Diets board here on Chow.

      But to answer some of your questions:

      1) You should ask him what sugar substitute he uses. Because some of them can cause SEVERE stomach upset and/or diarrhea in people who are sensitive to them or not used to them. I have a friend who was trying to cut sugar and she literally crapped her pants on the way home from a party where someone served her a sugar-free cheesecake made with one of the fake sugars. She was ill for hours from just one slice (this happened twice with the same sugar substitute, which is how she figured it out. Not food poisoning, though it resembled it symptomatically). So please ask him which he uses at home for his coffee or whatever.

      2) You do not substitute for sugar at a 1:1 ratio. i.e. if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, do not put in 1 cup of Splenda. You can read the side of the fake sugar box for substitution amounts.

      3) I would specifically look for recipes which are already low in sugar, or are formed for sugar-free baking. You cannot take your standard baking recipe and sub in, say, 2 tablespoons of Splenda for 2 cups of sugar and have the results come out the same. It will affect everything poorly--taste, texture, etc.

      4) Sugar free baking is pretty gross. I have only one recipe I think is pretty decent, and it's for a low sugar/low carb cheesecake which uses no artificial sweeteners. If you'd like a link to it, I'll pass it on. The crust is made with almond flour, so there is no white flour in it either. The cheese part is cream cheese and heavy-cream based, and does not need to be baked. It is always a hit, even with non-dieters. It does contain some sugar but I've been told by diabetics that it is A-ok for them, though I guess that depends on the severity of your friend's illness.

      Good luck.

      11 Replies
      1. re: nothingswrong

        I make that cheesecake too. It needs very little sugar.

          1. re: paprkutr

            Here you go: http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/26/d...

            I came up with this recipe after a few fails. It is always well received by diabetics, low-carbers, gluten-free eaters, paleo, etc and "normal" eaters alike. Glad to have a recipe that appeases many different crowds. Wish I'd gotten better photos, and a slice of the cheesecake once cut. With the ganache layer in the center, it was quite attractive but very easy to make.

            RECIPE:

            No-Bake Low Carb Cheesecake with no Artificial Sweeteners

            For the Crust:

            •1 3/4 cups fine almond flour
            •2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, optional
            •1/8 teaspoon salt
            •1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
            •1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

            For the Cheesecake:
            •2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, you can probably substitute low-fat
            •2 cups heavy whipping cream
            •1/4 cup sugar
            •2 teaspoons vanilla

            For the Chocolate Ganache (optional):
            •2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
            •1 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
            •3 tablespoons heavy cream
            •1/2 teaspoon vanilla
            •pinch of salt

            1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 10″ springform pan with baking spray.

            2. Make crust: In a small bowl, stir together almond flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pour in melted butter and mix thoroughly; the crust should resemble damp sand. Press evenly across bottom of pan with your fingers, making sure to press firmly all the way to the sides of the pan.

            3. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Let cool on a cooling rack.

            4. Meanwhile, prepare your ganache (if using). Place chopped chocolates in a small heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream to a boil in the microwave or on the stovetop, then immediately remove from heat and add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Pour over chocolate and let sit 30 seconds, then stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Let cool slightly.

            5. Pour ganache evenly over baked crust and spread all the way to the edges with a spatula. Place pan in refrigerator while you prepare the cheesecake.

            6. Make the cheesecake: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

            7. In a separate bowl, add the whipping cream and 1/4 cup sugar. Beat on high until you have whipped cream–make sure to beat it stiff. Pour whipped cream over cream cheese, and fold in gently but thoroughly with a spatula.

            8. Pour cheesecake filling over crust, spreading evenly with spatula. Place cake in refrigerator and chill until set. Unmold just before serving.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              I'm diabetic. I would not eat that. I make cheesecake with alternative sweeteners, almond flour crust or no crust.

              And I bake with much darker chocolate, adding a non sugar sweetener to taste.

              1. re: nothingswrong

                I make this with 1T of sugar in the filling,and no crust or just a sprinkling of almond flour. If I make the ganache I use very bitter chocolate and use it as the base for the cake instead of crust, or I mix some chopped almond sir coconut into the crust.
                Alternatively I use a layer of blackberries or blueberries in the center of the cake.
                It is delicious and devoid of artificial sweeteners which I do not use.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  That sounds good. I just made the recipe according to the specific needs of the diabetic and low carber who requested it (joint bday party). It stayed under their sugar/carb numbers that they set forth.

                  I was told by both of them that they couldn't tell at all that it was lower in sugar. The guests didn't know either, and it was requested again for another friend's party with no diet restrictions.

                  They did say it could stand to even have less sugar and they didn't think it would suffer. I will try it your way next time. The one thing they specifically wanted was an actual crust, but I will try reducing the sugar a few tbspns and see how that goes. Thanks!

              2. re: paprkutr

                Nutritional breakdown:

                Per Serving (1/16th of the cheesecake)
                •281 calories per slice
                •9.4 grams of carbohydrates
                •1.3 grams of fiber
                •4.4 grams of sugar
                •6.4 grams of protein

                With chocolate ganache:
                •12.6 grams of carbs per slice

              3. re: nothingswrong

                Sugar free baking isn't gross, once you know how and limit yourself to dishes that fit sf needs well. And it's never sugar free, just No Sugar Added.

                Flourless chocolate cakes, all sorts of cheesecakes, souffles, cookies and brownies can be made with dairy, nut flowers, cobblers can be made with rhubarb. sweeteners and a nut flour/chopped nut crust. Truffles, anything using ganache works great, too.

                Home made ice cream using vodka to prevent crystals and dryness, or a little polydexrose works great, too. So do custards, crustless pumpkin pie.

                1. re: mcf

                  I'm glad you've found things that work for you and meet your taste expectations.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    I have been at this for almost two decades, and controlling my glucose with diet, so I kind of had to.

                    I would guess no one asking the question wants to hear that their cooking/diet is "gross."

                    Maybe that's just me.

              4. Splenda seems to be the most tolerated sugar substitute, and pretty much is 1:1, although needs some mods to the overall recipe if you want cookies to brown well - do look at the package for hints.

                This banana muffin recipe is good made as "muffin tops" if you have one of those pans - also good as mini-muffins. It's one I converted from a regular recipe to use Splenda, for my Mom who has diabetes.

                ½ C. butter, softened
                1 C. Splenda
                3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
                2 eggs
                ½ C. water
                2 T. buttermilk powder
                1 ½ tsp. baking soda
                2 C. flour
                ½ C. chopped nuts (optional) – walnuts or pecans

                Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use vegetable spray (PAM) to grease mini – muffin pans, muffin-top pans or full size muffin pans.

                Mix butter, Splenda, bananas, eggs and water. Stir in flour, buttermilk powder and baking soda until mixed. Add chopped nuts (optional).

                Bake at 350 degress until done. 20 minutes for mini-muffins or muffin-tops. 25 minutes for full-size muffins

                4 Replies
                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  Splenda had 24 grams of carbs per cup as measured and has a super high glycemic bulking agent accounting for those carbs. Much better to use sweetzfree drops, they're liquid sucralose and zero carb.

                  Some of us get a very disgusting aftertaste and mouth feel from Splenda, and can only use it cut 50/50 with xylitol or other sweetener. Most effective is a combination of sweeteners, and never bulk Splenda alone because it dries stuff out so much.

                  1. re: mcf

                    YMMV - we liked the banana bread, it had no negative effects on blood sugar, was not dry, and 24 grams (for an entire recipe's worth) is less than 2 carb-units with modern diet measures.

                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                      At one hour post meal, it had no spike with 30 grams of carbs? That would be really shocking in a diabetic at one hour post meal, when most folks peak. 2 units of carbs by the old fashioned method is 30 grams. No argument with what you choose to use, just with the notion that Splenda is the "most tolerated" sugar sub.

                      In liquid form, sucralose is, in bulk form, not so much by many, for a variety of reasons, I wanted to share.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Thx mcf. The muffins were enjoyed over a week-long span, so those 24 grams of carb (yes, less than 2 carb units/30 grams) from 1 C. Splenda in the entire recipe were not all consumed at one meal.

                2. This Spiced Nuts recipe also works very well with Splenda.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9146...

                  1. This post about low carb holiday gifts had some great ideas if you're open minded beyond baked goods.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/923735

                    1. What ever you decide to make, tell him he has to walk over to your place to get the goodies. His new knee will be appreciative long term.

                      An internet Physical therapist:)

                      1. If you just toss splenda into a recipe instead of sugar, most baked goods come out repulsive! I tried... your best bet is to check out a low-carb website like alldayIdreamaboutfood http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/ and use recipe/s that somebody else has already worked all the kinks out of. Sugar isn't the only carb in baked goods, it's just one of them - baked goods made with flour are nearly as high in carbohydrates when you take the sugar out... it takes a lot more tinkering to make them low-carb as well.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Kajikit

                          Flour desserts with no added sugar still turn into a crapload of sugar when eaten. There is no metabolic difference to speak of between eating sugar or flour. Every gram of carb is sugar, as Kajikit says.

                          1. re: mcf

                            So true - still need to abide by "eat everything in moderation" guidelines.

                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                              Even the foot dragging ADA has approved of carb restriction for diabetics since 2007.

                              Moderation is not a measurable clinical nor an objective term.

                              1. re: mcf

                                While daily / meal carbs need to be within each person's tolerances, as established with their clinician, my point is that ANYTHING can be enjoyed, in modest quantities, by a person with diabetes. It may be one bite, one piece, or a thin slice. The concept of "forbidden foods" for those with diabetes is old-fashioned. The comment about "crapload of sugar" is neither a measurable or objective definition.

                                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                  I guess the OP could offer half of a regular cookie, but asked for "sugar free" for a diabetic. Every carb gram is "sugar" to the body.

                                  No one needs to ask which regular, non diabetic friendly food s/he should serve a sliver of to a diabetic friend.

                        2. why not make savory foods instead?