Searching for sweetness: Chapter 2

control scooped

After putting Splenda Granular and Clabber Girl Sugar Replacer through their paces with sugar cookies, it was time to move on to muffins.

I used our Simplest Muffins recipe, with the addition of some diced apricots and cranberries for an accent.

Somehow, it didn’t seem fair to ask people to taste muffins with no “stuff” in them.
If you took a moment to go check out the recipe, you’ll have seen that the amount of sugar in it accounts for roughly 12.5% of the batters weight. The muffins call for 1 cup of liquid, too. Those two bits of information go a long way toward explaining what happened when I tested the recipe with both sugar replacers.
The recipe is a simple mix and go one, and it didn’t take any time to get the various versions assembled and scooped into muffin pans. The volume of all three versions was pretty much the same, and there wasn’t anything unusual looking about them on their way into the oven, as you can see.

CGscooped

Clabber girl, scooped and on the way to the oven.

splendascooped

Here’s the Splenda batch. And here’s what the control recipe looked like:

control scooped

All the muffins baked and browned as you’d like them to. Here they are, ready for their closeup:

3muffins.jpg

Ok, everybody looks fine, how do they taste?

thoughtful taste

Pretty darned good, actually. Especially right out of the oven. No dramatic aftertaste on either of the artificially sweetened versions. I covered them up carefully and put them out for tasting the next day. This, for better or worse, became a “teaching moment”. The muffins didn’t hold well overnight. Remember what we said about sugar being hygroscopic, holding on to water? As the sugar-replaced muffins sat overnight they got tough and a little bit dry on the outside. Our tasters comments? Same under both categories:
“this is good”
“no aftertaste on either”
“both are a tad dry”

The moral of this chapter? When you have a recipe that doesn’t depend on sugar for structure and includes a fair amount of moisture, both of these sugar replacers do pretty well. I’d recommend adapting the recipe further, by adding another 2 ounces of liquid, perhaps in the form of unsweetened applesauce, to help them stay moist past their first 2 hours out of the oven.

Our next and last installment will see what happens when sugar replacers meet up with chocolate, in batches of brownies. Stay tuned.

Susan Reid
About

Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently enjoying her fourth career after stints in advertising, running restaurants, and teaching at the New England Culinary Institute. She joined King Arthur in 2002 to ...