Sugar-free baking is my specialty. You use stevia and honey. While there is also a substitute for brown sugar, brown sugar is okay to include but you need to reduce the amount you use instead. You can make sugar free baklava while making the honey syrup. Sugar substitute stevia actually has some sugar in it but it is less caloric than real sugar. The thing about artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, or Xylitol is that some of it can kill you. Artificial sweeteners are not necessarily the healthiest option. Stevia comes from a plant, and it has no calories.
This amazing substitute works in most recipes very well. I’ve made cocoa crepes with one cup of milk in it, watering it down with a bit. I use Truvia, which doesn’t contain whole stevia leaf, but I do not use Stevia in the Raw. Stevia can also be grown in your home. As a no-calorie sweetener, using it in baked goods means that you do not have to worry about calorie watching with this sweetener. Stevia may help those with diabetes navigate sweets. I work on sugar-free baking all the time.
You see, the FDA recognizes stevia as safe, but brands with “dextrose or maltodextrin should be treated with caution” only because these ingredients are both glucose and a starch. I can have stevia-laced sugar free baked goods. With my baked goods, I can hardly taste stevia in it because my goods do not mess with my blood sugar. Somehow, some stevia products can cause digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhea. Pregnant women shouldn’t use erythritol, much less whole-leaf stevia that is grown at home, is not safe to use during pregnancy. Stevia is not only for baked goods but also for coffee, tea, homemade lemonade, on hot or cold cereal, in a smoothie, or on yogurt.
I use sugar-free anything every chance I get. You can get away with using less stevia than usual only because it is naturally sweet even while refined. Sugar-free cherry streusel comes out great with stevia. The only sugar in it was the cherries. I have made a pound cake with stevia, and pound cake requires many eggs. You can totally cook stevia-based sweeteners into baking applications or other cooking. You can also get stevia brown sugar, which I have limited experience with.
Either way, if you have diabetes, you do have to limit your sugar intake. Sugar-free homemade baking is your answer. You can make sugar-free chocolate chip cookies. Quick and Delicious Diabetic Desserts by Mary Jane Finsand, is a huge resource for my baking ideas. Many recipes utilize sugar-free versions of chocolate pudding. Sometimes sugar is allowed in the diabetic diet because chocolate itself is not that bad. I plan on using stevia to substitute granulated sugar replacement or for fructose substitution. Stevia really does work half-the-time and it is the safest natural sugar substitute there is. Sucralose may or may not have effects on people. It can raise blood sugars in people not used to artificial sweetener such as diabetics. Sugar may be bad for you, but it is better in small quantities. Stevia, by far, is the best option for sweeteners we have ever seen. Stevia comes from a plant, and it is harvested to be refined, or the leaf used in cooking. Stevia is one of the better choices you can make for your cooking.
Finsand, Mary Jane. Quick & Delicious Diabetic Desserts
Sterling Publishing CO., Inc. New York. 1989.