Baking Low-Carb (continued)
Sugar and Sugar Substitutes
First, remember that not only white and brown sugar, but honey, molasses, fruit concentrates, and concentrated fruit juices are all simple sugars and will raise your blood sugar similarly.
Perhaps the easiest way to reduce the effect of baked goods on blood glucose levels is to use less sugar without ruining your recipe. In most recipes, one-fourth of the sugar can usually be omitted with no ill effects. Full-flavored sugars like honey and molasses lend themselves easily to being "curbed."
A second option is to replace all or a portion of the sugar in a recipe with a sugar substitute made specifically for cooking and baking. Before you make the substitution however, it is important you know what baking functions the sugar is contributing. For example, natural sugars can carmelize, melt, and provide "crackle" in addition to thickening and helping baked goods rise and brown. Sugar substitutes only sweeten.
To counter the loss of real sugar's baking properties, sugar substitute baking "blends," such as Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking, contain 50 percent real sugar. They make it easy to slash sugar with predictable results but are not carb- or calorie- free.
A last option is to use a no-calorie sweetener, such as Splenda granulated or Truvia Spoonable (made from stevia). They do not contain any sugar, so there are no calories nor do they affect blood sugar. Here are a few kitchen chemistry tips when going this route.
- In recipes where sugar thickens, as in a sauce or fruit pie, add an extra touch of cornstarch. (Ounce for ounce, cornstarch and sugar have about the same amount of carbs, but you should be able to thicken with just a teaspoonful or less).
- For shaping drop cookies, where the sugar helps them "melt" into shape, flatten them with a spatula or glass before baking.
- In cakes, where sugar helps them rise, simply add an extra 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and use a slightly smaller pan to compensate for less batter.
- To aid in browning, texture, and flavor, just a few tablespoons of a natural sugar (such as brown sugar or molasses) can do the trick too, without affecting the overall carb count much.
- Last, cookies, cakes, and muffins cook faster without sugar (three to five minutes faster for cookies, five to seven minutes for muffins, and seven to ten minutes for cakes). So set your timer accordingly.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...