8.11.2010

sugar-free almond cornmeal blueberry shortcakes

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A few days ago I read a terrific post over at the Witchy Kitchen. Stella was writing about the affects sugar has on our bodies and how it's found in so many foods that we may not even think about. Sugar can become quite an addiction. It can cause mood swings, it reduces the collagen and elastin levels in our skin, it can affect our insulin levels which can lead to overeating... I began thinking about my family's diet and about our sugar consumption. Stella's post inspired me to make some changes.

One small change I made was cutting out our juice at breakfast time and replacing it with water and maybe a slice of lemon. I also decided to experiment with some natural sweeteners. The first one I'm trying is Xylitol. I picked up a bag at Bob's Red Mill. It's quite a bit more expensive than sugar but you really don't need to use as much either so maybe it all evens out. Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from fruit and vegetable fibers. It is metabolized more slowly and does not cause glucose level to rise rapidly the way regular sugar does so it is also safe for diabetics. I found some excellent information on Xylitol Here .

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It's an interesting product. It has a similar flavor and texture to granulated sugar but if you place it on your tongue it feels cold.

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I used it in my shortbread recipe and didn't notice any difference in taste at all.

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I liked that I could use less of it and still get the flavor and touch of sweetness needed in my recipe.

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I did cheat a little by using 1 tbsp of my Vanilla Sugar in my whipped cream. I could just as easily used the Xylitol and some ground vanilla bean instead.

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I think I'll try Stevia next. I've only tasted Stevia in a soda drink and I hated the after taste. I'll have to see how it is in baked goods.

Sugar-Free Almond Cornmeal Blueberry Shortcakes
by theUngourmet

Makes about 6

6 tbsp of unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 almond meal
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Xylitol
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla sugar or 1 tbsp Xylitol and ground vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin cups.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and milk. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cornmeal, baking powder, Xylitol and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until combined. Evenly fill muffin cups and top with a few slivered almonds. Bake for 16-20 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in cups. Remove from cups and cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine the whipping cream, vanilla sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Cut shortcakes in half. Add a scoop of whipped cream and a handful of blueberries over bottom 1/2 of the shortcake. Place top of shortcake over whipped cream and berries. Serve.

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Everyone in my family loved this!

Have you ever used alternative sweeteners? What is your opinion? Do you like them? Do you have a favorite?



P.S. I'm submitting my recipe for this month's BSI. The ingredient for this month is flour and is being hosted by Veronica at Recipe Rhapsody.


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34 comments:

♥peachkins♥ said...

wow!I'd love a piece right now...

Joanne said...

I love how you're challenging yourself to use natural sugar substitutes! I'm glad these didn't end up tasting like bubblegum (totally loved your tweet about that, btw). These look really tasty.

I use stevia in my coffee...not sure how it will turn out in baked goods but it's worth a try!

Cailin from Stir Crazy Blog said...

I've never used sugar substitutes but would love to hear what others have to say about them. I've also tried to cut out as much sugar as possible from my diet (but my sweet tooth is not happy!). I can tell you, honestly, that I feel much better since I have. Glad to hear these shortcakes turned out great... they look wonderful!

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

This is such a great post. Not only do these muffins look great, but I am happy to read that they are sugar free. I have sugar intolerance and I took it out of my life over a year ago. I have never felt better. I use stevia to sweeten everything. I have a video on my site that talks about some brands I like the most. There are many & you need to find the one that works for you. Some are awful, others amazing. Please be in touch if you want to discuss further :)

Pam said...

It looks like a great dessert! I've used sugar substitutes for many years but have not heard of this one. Thanks for the info!

Stella said...

Hey Kim, I think my cheeks are literally red right now, and I can't stop smiling. It's so nice to know that my post had a positive effect on someone. Thanks. I was actually a bit nervous to write it, as I know people can get angry about diet matters and such...

Oh, and I've been completely refined sugar/flour free for only about 5 days now. I've already noticed a difference in mood and sleep. I've also just been careful with all of my whole grain starches, and the weird thing is I've eaten more deliciously than ever! Fruit is my best friend too...

p.s. The cornmeal cakes look stellar-bookmarked for when Xylitol is on sale at my health food store;)

TKW said...

Looks beautiful! I'm interested to hear what happens with the Stevia. I don't like it, either.

Jennifurla said...

I wouold love to reduce my families sugar intake too, thanks for the review

Evan @swEEts said...

Kudos to you for using a sugar substitute! These little shortcakes looks delicious and I think I may have to give them a try sometime soon!

Cathy said...

I don't have any experience with artificial sweeteners but I'm really impressed by how delicious your shortcakes look. I'm all for using healthier alternatives in my cooking.

Thanks for the info, Kim.

Emily said...

I think a lot of us take for granted how much sugar is in their diet without really thinking about it. I like to think that I cook healthy for Matthew and myself, but I realize too that sugars may sneak in there without my even realizing it! Thanks for helping open our eyes! I wonder if they sell that stuff at Whole Foods, I will have to check...

And your shortcakes look fantastic!

5 Star Foodie said...

These shortcakes look terrific, wonderful that they are sugar free!

Samantha @ The Savvy Soybean said...

Oh wow. My mouth just watered.. this looks amazing!! I usually use agave nectar in my baking. Very low glycemic index and deliciously sweet!

teresa said...

xylitol is awesome! i kind of love that cold feeling. great goals for your family, we really need to cut out sugar from our diet too.

scrambledhenfruit said...

I've never tried baking with sugar substitutes. I'll be interested to see what your experiments yield. We have been trying to cut down on our refined sugar intake just by eating fewer sweets. Your blueberry shortcakes look very tempting! Thanks!

Randi Troxell said...

oh goodness.. those shortcakes look awesome!!!

Angie's Recipes said...

Lovely! They look not only delicious, but also healthy! Beautiful clicks!

biz319 said...

Being diabetic, I rely on artificial sweeteners, and so far, agave nectar seems to be my favorite - next to that is powdered Splenda in a bag.

While I don't notice a difference, my husband does, so if I am making something he'll eat too, I do half regular sugar, half artificial.

Veronica at Recipe Rhapsody is hosing the BSI recipe contest this week - flour is the secret ingredient, you should enter this recipe!

Kim said...

This is definitely a great reminder to watch our sugar intake, which is something that slips under the radar at my house.

The cornmeal blueberry shortcakes look delicious and the Xylitol sounds like a great substitute. I'll keep my eye out for it.

Faith said...

My favorite alternative sweetener (sweetener in general, actually) is honey. This sounds pretty delicious too though. Your shortcakes are gorgeous, Kim!

Abby said...

I love desserts, but luckily I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I don't really like desserts that are too sweet. And me loopy is not really a pleasant sight...

My grandparents have diabetes and they're so used to eating foods with so much sugar and sweetness that it's hard for them to cut it out. =(

Mimi said...

I'm always looking for ways to cut down on refined sugars. Do you know if xylitol is readily available or do I need an online source?
Mimi

Gloria said...

These shortcakes look amazing!!!!

Maddy said...

Could this be anymore enticing!!? I guess the fact that it's sugar free seals the deal for me! It's probably very WW friendly :)

Veronica said...

Thank you for your fabulous submission to the BSI contest! The shortcakes look amazing! Although I'm diabetic, I do not use very many artificial sweeteners. I tend to lean more toward natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup and agave nectar, which are just as caloric as sugar but are not as processed. I like Xylitol too, and it is good for your teeth (which is why so many chewing gums have it as a sweetener now), but my go-to sweetener has always been Splenda. I just worry about the artificial-ness of fake sugars so I try to stay away as much as possible.

Heavenly Housewife said...

I think I might be sugar addicted.
THose shortcakes do look amazing, even without the sugar. Hand one over daaaaaahling.
*kisses* HH

Julie said...

Thank you for the info on xylitol...I'll have to sneak some in and see if anyone notices. I made a pear tart using stevia several months ago and I thought it turned out really nice.

clearlytangled said...

i first heard of xylitol several years ago when i was living in finland. however, i've never seen it used as a sugar substitute (in a big bag!), but only as a sweetener in gum. apparently xylitol helps prevents cavities.
i have never used sugar substitutes, mainly because the ones i've heard about have generally been artificial and i'm suspicious of them. i may consider xylitol though- if i can find it!

foodalution.com said...

Hi Kim - Thanks for the AMAZING shortbread recipe... I have been looking for something like this for a cake. love love love it.. and thanks for pointing me to Stellas recent article - love it! foodie love! megan

Reeni said...

I have been trying to cut down on my sugar consumption too. I tried a few kinds of Stevia and didn't like the taste. And I'm really wary of artificial sweeteners. Love the sound of these shortcakes - they look like the perfect summer dessert!

Magic of Spice said...

Wow, that looks amazing! I have a stevia plant in my garden, but need to find some uses from the plant itself...I use a lot of agave :)

Jamie said...

I've never been wary of sugar. I tend to worry more about the fats in my food. I also feel more comfortable eating sugar than a sugar substitute. But it is great that you are rethinking the whole thing and trying a new way of eating. But these cornmeal muffins look fabulous and I'll bet they are mighty tasty!

lequan@luvtoeat said...

Hi Kim,

Found you through Stella's blog. Those are some amazing looking shortcakes you've got there - drool! Thank you for the info on Xylitol as well. Never heard of this stuff before.

tasteofbeirut said...

only 1/4 cup of this thing and your cupcakes taste delicious! I remember my dentist telling me the only sugar she would allow is xylitol.
Thanks for the tip!

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