13 February 2010
chocolate chip brownies with stevia
I recently had the opportunity to review Stevia In The Raw, from the makers of Sugar In The Raw, to use for baking and general sweetness. Stevia is a natural no-calorie sweetener and has been receiving more props as of late. Since it's three times as sweet as sugar, you don't need to use as much.
The main concern most people have with stevia is the licorice aftertaste that can linger for a really long time. When I first tasted Stevia In The Raw, there was a subtle, present licorice taste, but it did not leave any after taste at all. I then tried some stevia powder that has been here for a while and the flavor was much more pronounced, hitting you with a rather nasty powerful aftertaste a few minutes later. That right there is reason to switch to Stevia In The Raw.
For my first baking experiment with stevia, I chose their chocolate chip brownies. On the recipe itself, I didn't use whole wheat flour, and I changed how the ingredients were added, mixing the butter-cocoa mixture and the buttermilk mixture in with the eggs first before finally folding in the flour and chocolate chips. Also, I could tell that these would come out more on the cakey side than dense and fudgy, which it did, so if you're looking for a fudgy brownie you might try not adding the baking powder. The chocolate flavor wasn't intense, but it was pleasant.
And how did these taste? You couldn't tell at all that there was stevia, and there was no aftertaste. This recipe and many of the recipes for baked treats on their website include both stevia powder and sugar, most likely to keep the taste in check and so that the baked item comes out closer to the original version (these are my thoughts). You'll also find tips for using stevia extract as a substitution on their website.
To conclude, I'm really excited about this product. I don't generally go for any sugar substitute because I feel it gives you an unhealthy perception toward sweetness, and will make it more difficult to gauge sweetness in foods made with actual sugar/honey if you stop using it, but I would go for stevia over an artificial sweetener if I went in that direction at all, and I suggest everyone do that, too.
Up next, I'll be trying their Himalayan Chai Tea and the Stevia Honey Aioli for some chicken.