Too Cool for you, Sweetie? Combine Your Keto Sweeteners!
I’m a sugar-free keto mama who loves to bake ketogenic cookies, cakes, and pies. Sugar substitutes are a staple in my pantry. Topping the list of favorites is erythritol, a sugar alcohol naturally derived from some fruits and plants. It’s the sugar substitute I gravitate to for several reasons:
It is a 1:1 ratio with sugar for recipes, so no need to recalculate measurements (math is not my BFF)
Unless you consume a LOT, it does not cause gastric distress/”disaster pants” or tooth decay (maintain a bright smile without shitting your pants)
It has 0 glycemic index so will not spike blood sugar
It’s 0 net grams of carbs
The brand I use most is Swerve, and I love that it comes in both granular and confectioners textures.
One small issue that I’ve noticed when I bake exclusively with erythritol is a “cooling” effect. The best way I can describe it is like an open-mouthed deep breath of dry, arctic air. While I’ve kind of gotten used to it, non-ketogenic eaters and/or “super tasters” will pick it up pretty easily and it can dampen the delicious eating experience. The best way to eliminate that cooling effect is by combining ketogenic sweeteners.
Stevia is the most natural sweetener. It comes from a plant and has no impact on blood sugar. Stevia is a sweetener that can leave a bit of an aftertaste, but adding a few drops (1-3) of liquid stevia, or just a teaspoon of powdered stevia with erythritol neutralizes any aftertaste from the two sweeteners. This is my favorite combination as I always have both Swerve and liquid stevia on hand! If the recipe calls for one cup of sugar, I will use just slightly under one cup of Swerve and mix in a couple of drops of liquid stevia.
BTW I have tried the stevia/erythritol blends and just don’t really enjoy them. Maybe I’ve been using them wrong, but I’ve found that I get the worst of both worlds: a cool, metallic aftertaste in my foods. Barf.
Another natural sweetener combo is erythritol and inulin powder. Inulin is a prebiotic (hooray for gut health!) and insoluable fiber, providing about three grams of fiber per teaspoon. Fiber is great for digestion, but consuming too much can leave you gassy. Fortunately, one teaspoon is really all the inulin needed to sweeten up a baked keto treat when it is combined with erythritol. When a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, I will use about ¾ cup of Swerve and one teaspoon of inulin. Now Foods makes an inulin powder that you can order on Amazon Prime and start using right away!
One more sweetener that I use in my ketogenic cooking is xylitol. This is another natural sugar alcohol, but I make sure that I buy xylitol derived from birch, otherwise it can be a bit more chemically processed. I do not, however, use xylitol in baking as I have found it does not dissolve well, leaving sugary “crystals” to bite into. Xylitol is my sweetener of choice in ALL homemade ice cream recipes; when churned it helps to thicken the texture of an ice cream, and it freezes perfectly.
Ready to bake an amazing keto treat for the holidays? This is my all-time favorite keto chocolate chip cookie. If you leave these out for Santa, I can almost guarantee that you will get some nice presents under the tree!
Keto Kids’ Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 ½ cups almond meal
½ cup Kerrygold butter, at room temperature
2 large cage-free eggs, at room temperature
½ cup Swerve
2 drops liquid stevia
5 cranks freshly-ground Himalayan sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s alcohol-free vanilla extract
½ cup Lily’s sugar free dark chocolate chips
Coconut oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer (or a large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream the softened butter, Swerve and liquid stevia together.
Add one egg at a time, then add in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well-combined.
Slowly add the dry mixture to the butter/sweetener/egg mixture until it is a cohesive cookie dough.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spray a cookie sheet with the coconut oil cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper or silpat.
Use a tablespoon to scoop the cookie dough onto the sheet, flattening them slightly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Turn your oven light on to watch them and make sure they don’t burn!
Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 20 cookies. Macros per cookie: 1.6g net carbs, 13.3g fat, 4.3g protein, 150 calories. This recipe is saved in MyFitnessPal as Keto Kids’ Chocolate Chip Cookies.
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