For people dealing with diabetes or other sugar-related problems, it can sometimes be difficult to watch others enjoy great meals, especially desserts. There are sugar substitutes available that allow you to enjoy these same great meals and desserts. One sugar substitute you can cook with is Splenda. However, many people find that replicating recipes using this alternative sweetener product is difficult. Here are some top tips to help you cook with Splenda:
Tip #1: Only fully replace Splenda in recipes that have low to medium amounts of sugar
When a recipe calls a large amount of sugar, such as with angel food cake or fudge, the sugar has a greater purpose than just making the food sweeter. It is also used to create the texture and structure of the food. Splenda is not the same as sugar in that regard, even though it is just as sweet. So, look for recipes that treat sugar as a sweetening agent. If your recipe calls for a lot of sugar, you can replace 25% to 50% of it with Splenda.
Tip #2: Bring out the flavor with vanilla or honey
When you are baking cookies and other treats that call for both sugar and vanilla, adding an extra teaspoon or half teaspoon can bring out the sweet flavor of the Splenda and the vanilla flavor of the extract. You should not use more than one extra teaspoon per cup of Splenda. For breads and other recipes that do not call for vanilla but are still sweet, you can use a tablespoon of honey instead.
Tip #3: Consider the yeast in your recipe
In order for yeast to work, it needs to be activated with sugar. Splenda does not provide yeast with the proper food it needs to make your bread rise. When you are replacing the sugar with Splenda, make sure that you keep a couple teaspoons as sugar, and for larger recipes, you should use more sugar than Splenda. Yeast recipes are more difficult when you use Splenda, so you may want to do some practice runs to ensure that you have the right sugar-to-Splenda ratio for the yeast to work.
Tip #4: Watch your baking times
When you use Splenda in your recipes, the baking time is going to be different from using sucrose. Until you know how your recipe reacts to the sweetener change, check your baked goods early to see if they are done. Cakes and breads are sometimes done up to 10 minutes earlier if you replace all of the sugar with Splenda. Cookies, muffins, brownies, and other baked goods might be done up to five minutes before their normal time. When you figure out the correct Splenda baking time, write it on your recipe card so that you know for next time.
Tip #5: Flatten your cookies a bit to help them spread
Splenda changes the chemical make up of your cookies, and sugar is one of the ingredients that help a cookie spread as it bakes. Splenda does not do that job as well, so before you put your cookies in the over, press them down a bit to help them flatten. When a cookie spreads, it bakes more evenly.
Tip #6: Help your baked goods rise with smaller pans
Sugar is an ingredient that helps breads, cakes, brownies, and other baked goods rise when baking. If you replace all of the sugar with Splenda, you will not achieve that same fluffy height for the most part. You can help the process by using two smaller pans instead of one larger pan and then following the recipe as normal. If you are still not getting the height you want, try adding an addition teaspoon of baking powder and a cup of nonfat dry milk powder per every two cups of Splenda in your recipe.
Tip #7: Follow the Splenda directions carefully
There are a number of different kinds of Splenda, and before you begin using it to replace sugar in your recipes, read the label to find out exactly how much Splenda to add. For some recipes such as those with regular sugar, you replace the sugar on a one to one ratio. However, other Splenda products, like the Splenda sugar blend, tell you to use only half the amount of blend that you would use with regular sugar. If you do not read the label carefully, your final product could be too sweet or it may not cook correctly.
Tip #8: Test everything first
Finally, if you are going to cook with Splenda, test your recipes before making them for a party or event. Splenda does not always react in recipes the way you would expect. By doing a test run, you can see what needs to be adjusted without having to serve less than perfect baked goods to your guests.