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Using Artificial Sweeteners in Baking

Updated on June 2, 2010

You're trying to cut back on the amount of sugar that you consume but you can't quite give up the homemade cookies. Can you use artificial sweeteners in baking at home? There are often better alternatives than artificial sweeteners for baking. However, some artificial sweeteners can be used in baking.

The reason that most people use alternatives to artificial sweeteners when baking is that although they serve the same purpose as sugar in sweetening the food, they don't have many of the same properties that are needed to make them work for baking. Those properties include the way that sugar browns on the top of pies when baking and the way that sugar helps to keep moisture in cakes and cookies. So, people who want to cut back on the sugar but still get the same great taste with their baked goods often simply reduce the amount of sugar that they use, rather than replacing it with artificial sweeteners. Alternatively, they may use a different kind of sugar (such as raw sugar) or a different natural sweetener (such as honey) in their recipes.

Despite this, it is possible to use artificial sweeteners in baking. One that is used by many people is Sucralose, the reason for this being that recipes calling for a certain amount of sugar can use the same amount of Sucralose as a substitute. With all other artificial sweeteners it is necessary to experiment with the amount, reducing the amount of artificial sweetener in different proportions to the amount of sugar called for to get the right taste for the baked goods. Most people who use Sucralose know it by the brand name Splenda; it's a product that can easily be purchased at most grocery stores.

Those who don't enjoy the taste of Splenda or who, for some other reason, want to use other artificial sweeteners in their baking may have a bit of a tougher time with it. One of the other major artificial sweeteners that people use as Aspartame (known more commonly by the brand names NutraSweet and Equal). While these artificial sweeteners work well in drinks such as diet sodas or as an addition to coffee, they don't do so well in baking. The reason for this is that heat destroys their taste, so by putting them in the oven, you render them tasteless and therefore don't sweeten the food as much. The third major artificial sweetener that you know by name is Sweet n Low (or saccharine); this can be used for baking but many people find that it has an aftertaste when use din large amounts so it is best for recipes that call for only a small bit of sugar.

Some people believe that there are certain artificial sweeteners that are healthier for you than Sucralose and Aspartame. These people often use products like Stevia, artificial sweeteners which can be found in natural foods stores and trends grocery stores. Stevia doesn't lose it's taste in baking so it can be used as an artificial sweetener for most baked goods recipes. However, you may have to experiment with the proportions to taste. Whether it's one of the major artificial sweeteners, a healthier alternative or a natural food product, you can reduce the amount of sugar that you eat and still enjoy your cakes and cookies now and then.

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    Dr Boo 

    9 years ago

    Great article! Very useful information for diabetic cooks. If I may point out, "real" sugar (sucrose) also helps provide structure in certain foods such as cakes, so when baking these types of dishes you may have to experiment to find the right mix of sugar and artificial sweeteners to lower carb count without sacrificing too much body.

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