While some artificial sweeteners lose their sweetness when exposed to prolonged heat, sucralose, sold as Splenda, is formulated to stand up to baking. For desserts such as cookies. you may find find that a slightly metallic aftertaste, as well as other disappointments, occur when making cookies with Splenda -- at least if you fail to make some adjustments. But following the manufacturer's tips for altering the original recipes can turn your sugar-free cookie batch into a sweet treat after all.
For truly sugar-free cookies, make sure you purchase Splenda "Granulated Sweetener" instead of the company's "Sugar Blend" product, which contains white sugar. As a general rule, Splenda granulated sweetener has about the same level of sweetness as sugar, according to the company. That means that for every 1 cup of white sugar in a cookie recipe, you can substitute 1 cup of Splenda.
The Mixing Stage
According to Splenda's "Cooking and Baking Tips" online guide, a wet ingredient mix containing Splenda, butter and eggs may look more granular and less well-combined than in white sugar recipes. The guide notes this is to be expected, and that it's safe to proceed with the rest of the recipe. The guide also recommends adding 1 additional teaspoon of vanilla for every 1 cup of the sweetener to offset a potential metallic aftertaste. The texture of a Splenda cookie will likely be similar to that of one made with white sugar. Avoid cookie recipes that call for part or all brown sugar. Brown sugar promotes crispness, which Splenda can't replicate.
For cookies in which a golden brown color is part of their charm, Splenda may fall short without a little extra help. Unlike white sugar, the artificial sweetener doesn't caramelize when exposed to heat. Instead, bring out your sugar-free cookies' golden side by spraying their tops with unflavored cooking spray, once they go on the baking sheet. In addition, if you're working from a traditional recipe, it's helpful to set the timer for about 3 minutes before the baking time called for in that recipe. Splenda tends to result in faster baking times for sweet treats.
You'll be able to keep your cookies sugar-free even when making treats like sugar, molasses or fudge cookies that benefit from a drizzle of glaze or a smear of frosting. To make a topping for baked and cooled cookies, blend together 6 parts Splenda with 1 part cornstarch. Add water until the glaze reaches your preferred thickness. Before icing the cookies, add small amounts of flavored extracts and, for sugar cookies, food coloring.
Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.
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