As some of you may know from reading my biography I am a registered dietitian. Sounds kind of counterintuitiveâ€¦a registered dietitian at a cake decorating company? Well, now my nutrition skills can be put to good use by talking to you about better baking ideas.
Approximately 23.6 million or 7.8% of the United States population are living with diabetes. Years ago people with diabetes were told they should eliminate sweets from their diet. With new research we have discovered that it is about managing the amount of total carbohydrates one eats, meaning even diabetics can enjoy a sweet treat!
Items with a large amount of total carbohydrates (e.g., cakes, pies, cookies and other baked goods) can be incorporated into your overall diet plan by cutting back on other carb-containing foods at the same meal. For example, if you’d like to have cookies with your lunch, substitute them for another carb-containing food. Just remember, the portion size of the cookies will most likely be smaller than the item they are replacing.
If baking is a passion for you, which it probably is because you are reading a Wilton blog, then I have some suggestions for decreasing the amount of total carbohydrates (in this case sugar) in baked goods. However, sugar provides sweetness, tenderness, bulk and color in baking making it a challenge to substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar.
With most recipes, you can reduce the sugar by at least one-third without changing the taste and texture. Try a test batch before making the entire recipe. Artificial sweeteners are a common alternative for sugar in baking and provide almost no calories. Not all artificial sweeteners can be used for baking and prolonged cooking. The following sugar substitutes can be used in baking:
- Stevia: This is the most recent addition to the non-nutritive sweeteners category. It is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. When using non-nutritive sweeteners that contain stevia as its main ingredient, follow the baking conversions for that brand as they differ from one another. Guidelines can range from using 1/4 to almost 1/2 of the stevia product for the total amount of sugar used in the recipe. One brand suggests replacing only half of the total amount of sugar with the stevia containing product when baking.
- Acesulfame Potassium: Because it is heat stable it can be used in baking and cooking. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar and often used with sugar in baking to achieve the desired texture. Substitute 6 packets (1 gram) for each 1/4 cup of sugar.
- Sucralose: This is a one-to-one sugar substitute meaning it is measured out just like sugar, one cup for one cup, 1 tablespoon for 1 tablespoon, etc. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Sucralose can be used in recipes that require prolonged heating without losing any of its sweetness. However, baked goods made with this sweetener may bake quicker than those made with sugar. Check cakes 7-10 minutes and cookies, brownies and quick breads 4-5 minutes before the recipes expected bake time.
Saccharin and Aspartame, two other artificial sweeteners, are not recommended for baking because they are heat sensitive. Other ingredients besides sugar substitutes can be used in place of some of the sugar called for in recipes. These include honey, fruit juice concentrates and refined fructose. As a reminder, these substitutions are just guidelines and it is best to test recipes beforehand.
What results have you had with using sugar alternatives when baking? Iâ€™d love to hear your stories (even if they were a flopâ€¦it could brighten someoneâ€™s day to know they arenâ€™t alone)!