Desserts of a Different Sort

When it comes to low carb, traditional sweets are off limits.  Store bought or homemade, they are loaded with sugar of some sort- and often topped with even more sugar.  The only way to still satisfy that sweet tooth is to make it yourself.  Otherwise, you just avoid it and no sweets whatsoever is hard when you are used to eating them.

One of the recipes in today’s column uses BochaSweet so I thought I would mention why I like this sweetener.  They have just a powdered and a granular version, but they are a great alternative.  If you know anything about me, you know I prefer natural to artificial.  It’s one of the reasons I go with Monk fruit as my go to sweetener.  BochaSweet is another great natural product.  

If you get a bag of BochaSweet, the ingredient list is very simple-Kabocha extract.  That’s it.  It’s another reason I like to use it.  But what is Kabocha?  It is a type of winter squash from Japan.  Kabocha is hard on the outside with knobby-looking skin. It is shaped like a squat pumpkin and has a dull-finished, deep-green skin with some celadon-to-white stripes and an intense yellow-orange color on the inside.  It is incredibly sweet to the taste, even more than butternut squash.  The texture is said to be similar to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined.

One of the best parts about extracted sugar from Kabocha is it is very similar to cane sugar.  It cooks, dissolves and tastes similar to cane sugar.   This makes it very nice to bake with.  Like Monk fruit it has a zero glycemic content but, since it has no added sugar alcohols like most other sweeteners, there is no aftertaste.  

I just want to touch on a couple other ingredients in a recipe below.  In the chocolate bar recipe below, I used powdered allulose.  What I noticed by trying different recipes is the powdered erythritol doesn’t want to combine well so it’s best to use a sweetener that has none to begin with.  Allulose is a rare sugar as it is only in a few foods naturally.  It is very similar to erythritol in that it is about 70% sweeter than table sugar and our bodies don’t absorb it. How it differs is that it acts (and tastes) more like table sugar and therefore dissolves easier.  I also used a powdered vanilla extract.  Liquid will cause chocolate to seize and be no good even in minimal amounts.  Most likely you will have to order it.  I couldn’t find it in any of the regular stores I go to find ingredients.  

Unfortunately, when it comes to finding sugar substitutes for desserts, it definitely can get costly.  The ingredients listed in some of these recipes you can find at Walmart.  Swerve and Truvia are both found in the baking aisle.  Monk fruit and BochaSweet however, not so much.  These will have to be ordered online or you can make a trip to Tulsa to see if you can find them at a whole food store or something similar. Reasors is a great place to get things you can’t get here.  However, regardless of where they come from, they will all be more costly than their traditional counterparts.  

Feel free to try different sweeteners to find something you like, just remember not all are created equal.  Try to avoid any and all artificial sweeteners.  Look for sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame and saccharin.  These are the most common artificial sweeteners and if one or more of these are listed in the ingredients, you may do more harm to yourself than eating real sugar.  Make your grocery list and pick up some sweetener.  Then meet me in the kitchen for traditional desserts made just a little different!

Keto Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter

¼ - ½ cup powdered sweetener - This will depend on which sweetener you use and how sweet you like your cookies.  Using monk fruit which is sweeter, you would likely only need ¼ cup.  If using Swerve, you would likely want ½ cup. 

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Add all ingredients to medium bowl.  Mix until well incorporated.  Taste a small bit to see if it is sweet enough for your liking.  Add more if needed and mix well.  Use cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop even rounds of cookie dough onto baking sheet.  Press with fork in crisscross pattern if desired.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 3-5 minutes.  Remove cookies to wire cooling rack to completely cool. 

 

Caramel Sauce

¼ cup unsalted sweet cream butter

3 Tbsps. Swerve Brown or other brown sugar replacement

3 Tbsps. BochaSweet

½ cup heavy cream

¼ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp sea salt

2 Tbsps. water

In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, Swerve and BochaSweet. Bring to boil and cook 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to burn it).  Remove from heat and add cream. Mixture will bubble vigorously.  Sprinkle in xanthan gum and whisk vigorously to combine. Add salt.  Return mixture to heat and boil 1 minute. Let cool to lukewarm and stir in water until well combined.  Store in the fridge.  Just gently reheat in microwave or in saucepan to make it pourable again.

Recipe adapted from alldayidreamaboutfood.com.

 

Keto Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tsps. pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 Tbsp. sweetener of choice, more or less to taste-I use Monk fruit which is sweeter.  If you use a different one, you may want more sweetener.

Place all ingredients into blender and mix well.  Pour into ice cream maker and prepare as directed for your machine.  If you have no machine, pour all ingredients into a mason jar.  Shake well and place in freezer.  Remove once every 30 minutes or so to shake again and scrape the sides and return to freezer.  This keeps the ingredients from separating and settling at the bottom of jar.

 

Homemade Sugar Free Chocolate

4oz or ½ cup cacao butter

½ cup cacao powder

cup powdered allulose

1 tsp vanilla powder

pinch of salt

Melt cacao butter in double boiler, or heat-proof bowl placed over small saucepan filled with 1 cup of water, over medium heat. Make sure water doesn't touch glass bowl — it should only be heated through steam.  If you have a chocolate melting pot, use it.  It makes this whole process a lot easier.  Remove from heat and set aside. Stir in cacao powder, allulose, vanilla, and salt. Taste and feel free to add more sweetener if desired.  Pour in candy molds or chocolate bar molds. Let sit to harden at room temperature or in refrigerator.  Once hardened, remove from molds and keep in an airtight container.  Store at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Note: Cocoa powder is processed and heated.  This removes the nutrients and taste from the cocoa.  Cacao is made by pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process removes cacao butter and leaves a powder with all nutrients intact.  If at all possible, use cacao powder for a better tasting product.  

Recipe adapted from thecastawaykitchen.com.