Reply, re: Erythritol QuestionHi, Cathy.
I'm new here.
I saw your question about using erythritol and thought I'd offer what I've learned from experimenting with it in the kitchen.
Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar, I suppose, but it is easy to use too much. Interesting things I've noticed about erythritol:
It is hydrophobic (it does not like, or attract, water) so foods sweetened with it tend to be drier than those sweetened with other things. You are better off substituting erythritol for only half the granuated sugar in a recipe and making up the difference with another natural sweetener such as stevia.
It has a very clean, sweet taste and makes the mouth feel cool. It is not a cool taste such as a mint would give, it is a cool feeling.
Erythritol seems to be non-water-soluble in the absence of high heat. This is probably why we cannot really metabolize it; our bodies cannot produce enough heat to keep the crystals from reforming.
Erythritol re-crystallizes quickly. Just how quickly? Well, if you put a cup of powdered erythritol in a saucepan on the heat and add a half cup of water, sort of the way you'd do if you wanted to make a simple sugar syrup, once the water gets really hot if you stir it, the erythritol crystals will dissolve. When you turn off the heat, almost immediately the erythritol will start to re-crystallize. In fact, if a minute particle of dust lands on the surface of the liquid a large, flat, six-sided crystal will probably form and float on the surface of the liquid, right before your eyes. Weird. So I found that I could make some good desserts with no sugar in them using erythritol either powdered or in a simple, rapidly-recrystallizing syrup.
Cool stuff I've done with erythritol:
Adapted an old-fashioned butter cookie recipe that came with my grandmother's Mirro cookie press to make sugar-free almond-butter cookies and sugar-free chocolate-tahini cookies that my sugar-craving husband (Test Subject #1) raves about. I don't put these through the cookie press; I use a cookie scoop and mash them down with the tines of a fork.
Adapted the cheesecake recipe off the back of the Sunshine graham cracker crumb box for sweetening with Erythritol/water and stevia, instead of sugar (provides minimal savings in calories because of all that cream cheese).
Adapted the easy fudgy brownie recipe off the back of the Hershey's unsweetened baking chocolate box for sweetening with erythritol/water and stevia. This makes something that is sort of part fudge, part brownie, so we call them "frownies" even though they make us smile...
Ideas to try: Pick a recipe for a cookie that calls for only white granulated sugar rather than a combination of white and brown. Substitute 1/2 as much erythritol as the amount of sugar called for and make up the difference in sweetness (there will be a difference) with high-quality white powdered stevia extract. I use 1/4 to 3/8 teaspoon stevia to substitute for 1/2 cup sugar. Whether it is 1/4 or 3/8 teaspoon depends on the brand. You will find that you will want to increase the amount of liquid over that called for in the recipe. You may also want to add something that will keep the cookies softer such as creamy raw almond butter or even some blond tahini (sesame butter), starting with just a couple of tablespoonsful in a recipe. As soon as I figure out where I might be able to post some recipes, maybe I'll share the ones I've developed. Have to ask Test Subject #1 first.
Have fun experimenting, and be brave!!!