Back to the Blog with Pumpkin Pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes sprinkled with erythritol.

Pumpkin Pancakes sprinkled with erythritol.

I know, I know. It’s been two months since my last post. Have I been on an around-the-world trip? Discovered I could eat gluten again? Gotten so thin that I never had to diet again?

Yeah, r-i-g-h-t.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I lost my sense of smell again due to chronic sinusitis. It is now back, thanks to medication, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Oh, and by the way, not tasting anything but sweet and salt for two months did not mean I stopped eating. Sigh.

So I’m back with a delicious, filling, low-carb breakfast. I’m a morning person, and I wake up hungry. These pancakes, loaded with protein and sprinkled with erythritol, turn my growling-tiger tummy into a purring pussycat for 4-5 hours and make my taste buds very happy.

Enjoy! Continue reading

Back to the Blog!

It’s been awhile and my apologies, but life (in its inimitable way) intervened and disrupted my blogging. Part of this disruption was a flu that flattened me and left me unable to smell anything for about three weeks. The only things I could taste were sweet and sour. Not helpful for a food blogger. However, I kept on trudgin’ and here’s what I learned.

Continue reading

Strawberry-in-Season Cobbler (Egg-Free)

It’s strawberry season! I can’t pass a farm foodstand without stopping and buying the luscious-looking and equally luscious-tasting strawberries.

Having bought several quarts during the past weeks I’ve been looking for ways to use the strawberries that are a bit more elegant than munching on fistfuls. Hence I turned to my Cinnamon Blueberry Cobbler recipe and rejigged it for strawberries. Mmm…good!

Again, I’ve used erythritol as a sweetener because it has no aftertaste and the cobbler has a delicate flavour. Also, without eggs and using only two tablespoons of yogurt, this cobbler remains my lowest-calorie baked dessert.

Printer-friendly recipe

Taste tip: It is important to cool the cobbler down completely before eating it. When it is hot, the cake is a little gummy. However, after it cooled, it was fine. Why? Who knows?

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup white rice flour
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ cup erythritol + 2 tbsp. erithyritol
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. plain goat yogurt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups stawberries, washed and sliced
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients: rice flour, quinoa flour, tapioca starch, ½ cup erythritol, 1 tsp. cinnamon, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together water, yogurt, and vanilla.
  3. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients.
  4. Spray 8″ x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray.
  5. Pour cake batter into pan.
  6. In a small bowl, add strawberries and 2 tbsp. erythritol, and mix gently until fruit is coated.
  7. Cover cake batter with strawberries.
  8. Bake in 350° F oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean and edges are pulling back from the sides of the pan.
  9. Do not eat until cool! Cut into 8 servings and enjoy!

For Weight Watchers: Each serving is 2 points on the Points plan and 2.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.

Erythritol as a Sweetener

As I’ve mentioned in some earlier posts, I’ve started to use erythritol as a sweetener in those recipes where the aftertaste of an artificial sugar such as Splenda would affect the flavour.  I use it sparingly because erythritol is more expensive than sugar and Splenda.

We have access to two brands of pure erythritol in Canada: Now Foods and Organic Zero.  (Erythritol is also found in the sweetener brand, Truvia; however, it is mixed with stevia which I do not discuss here.)

So…what is erythritol?  Here is what I’ve found out through research.*

GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol from a family of sweetening agents also known as “polyols” that includes xylitol, mannitol, lactitol, and sorbitol.  These polyols occur naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. Apparently, the only reason these sugars are called “sugar alcohols” is because the molecular structure resembles that of regular alcohol.
  2. Erythritol can be found in mushrooms, fruits such as pears, melons and grapes, and fermentation-derived foods such as wine, soy sauce, and cheese.
  3. Erythritol, when developed as a sweetener, is not considered artificial because it is made through the fermentation of the sugars found naturally in corn.
  4. Erythritol has the bulk, look, and texture of refined white sugar, but it is only 60–70% as sweet.
  5. Erythritol has been approved for use as a food additive in Canada, the United States, and throughout much of the world.

BENEFITS OF ERYTHRITOL

Virtually non-caloric: Erythritol has a caloric value of 0.2 kilocalories per gram (95% less than sugar and other carbohydrates).  Under labelling regulations in Canada and the United States, it is able to be listed as having 0 calories.

Non-glycemic: Erythritol does not raise blood sugar (plasma glucose or insulin levels); this makes it suitable for people who are diabetic or prediabetic.

More digestable than the other sugar alcohols: More than 90% of erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine so minimal amounts reach the large intestine.  It is in this part of the digestive tract where other sugar alcohols cause diarrhea, bloating, gas, and rumbling.

Does not cause tooth decay: Erythritol, like other polyols, is resistant to metabolism by oral bacteria which break down sugars and starches to produce acids which may lead to tooth enamel loss and cavity formation.

PROBLEMS OF ERYTHRITOL

Difficulties when used in baking: Sugar melts at 366° F; erythritol, at 250° F. This means that you will not be able to use erythritol for most baked products, such as cakes, cookies, and pies, that cook at high temperatures. I learned this the hard way while trying to make GF angel food cake with erythritol. At 350° F, a temperature that sugar would handle with ease, the erythritol boiled, bubbled over, and burnt my pan and stove.

Individual tolerance varies: Although erythritol is more digestable than the other sugar alcohols, every person has a different level of sensitivity.  Some sources suggest that it shouldn’t be used by people with irritable bowel syndrome. Since I have this condition but handle erythritol well, I suggest trying a small amount to see whether you will tolerate it.

Excessive consumption: The digestability of erythritol may be affected by the amount consumed at any one time.  If it is eaten in a quantity beyond one’s individual tolerance, it can cause diarrhea.

Long-term safety:  Erythritol has not been sold to the public as a sweetener until recently, and its use has a sweetener has not be studied in any intensive way.  It is going to take years to discover the long-term effects of erythritol, if there are any.

*Sources: