Sugar free sweets sweetened with stevia

Sweetened with stevia what does it mean?

Stevia is much sweeter than sugar.  The Stevia used in confectionery is between 200-300 times sweeter than sugar  

This means that much less stevia is required to achieve the desired sweetness than when using sugar.  In a lot of confectionery, sugar does more than just add sweetness, it is also responsible for the bulk and texture of sweets.  

As a result of this,  stevia is usually used in combination with other sweeteners such  as isomalt.  

As an example, let's look at the Cherry and Pomegranate sweets from Zero Candies. These contain stevia but are also 90% isomalt so I have chosen not to flag them up as being stevia based.

Recently I have been trying the Sweet Switch bon bons that have a big sticker on the packet saying made with stevia but the first ingredients listed are Isomalt and maltitol.

 Stevia Chocolate

The main ingredients in chocolate are usually the cocoa solids.  The added sweeteners do not make up as a large percentage of the product as they do in sweets.  There is chocolate on sale that contains no (or very little) added sweeteners. I have tried some of this and found the taste was  intense, almost bitter although the texture was the same as a more conventional chocolate bar.   I don't have a particularly sweet tooth but  I found it needed some sweetness to make it enjoyable.   In the end I used this chocolate to make some truffles.   To sweeten chocolate with stevia  makes sense but even here it is normally used in combination with other sweeteners. 

 Stevia  - a final thought.

In many ways Stevia is less than ideal as a sugar replacement in many sweets as  it is just too sweet and has to be combined with other sweeteners to produce the taste and texture of the sweets we love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 19, 2016 by Peter Simons

Sugar free celebrities - can you trust them?

Looking at a copy of the Mail on Sunday there was an article about how some of the advice given out by cerebrate to reduce sugar could not always be trusted .  This is something I have blogged about before.

 Some of the claims were fairly unbelievable like the use of glucose in stead of sugar

Sugar free examples that are not

Example is 'The No sugar Recipe Book'  uses Dextrose instead of glucose.  Dextrose is just a form of glucose. (Glucose is one of the 2 sugars that make up sugar the other being fructose.)  Dextrose has the same problems of regulating blood sugar levels as sugar. The author claimed that it's fructose that is bad not glucose. Certainly some studies do not support this at all http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-review-fructose-vs-glucose

Another  book called  'I quit sugar for life'  has a sugar free Nutella recipe.  Instead of using a sweetener such as Xylitol or stevia it recommended that you use  rice malt syrup instead of sugar.  Rice malt syrup is basically glucose extracted from brown rice and has very few benefits over normal refined sugars. The general opinion is that it is not better than glucose.  For more information go to   http://authoritynutrition.com/brown-rice-syrup-good-or-bad

Sweetened with fruit juice not equal to sugar free

One of the common ways to reduce sugar in recipes is to sweeten with fruit juice instead of sugar. Most of the sweetness of fruit juice come from fructose which is also a component of table sugar. 

A recipe that is sweetened with fruit juice is no better for you than one which uses table  sugar.

So what about the sweeteners in my sugar free sweets?

The sweeteners used in sugar free sweets are,  in a lot of cases, treated by like dietary fibre so are not absorbed by the body during the digestive process . Though each individual sweetener has a slightly different. effect. 

If you want to learn more we covered many of the more common sweeteners in earlier blog posts

 Who should I listen to?

If you have a sweet tooth and want some sugar free or no added sugar cakes and chocolate you are better off using xylitol or stevia in your cooking.  Even these sweeteners should be used  in moderation. .

There are many people out there giving dietary advice but they often have no more expertise than you and could mislead you.  Be careful, think about the advice and what qualification and experience they have for giving out that advice.  It is all too easy to be seduced by a glossy cook book or a magazine article written about a model or TV celebrity. 

 Do you need to be careful about what I say because I am not a qualified dietician?  Maybe, but I try to give  the basic information about the sugarfree sweets without making any specific claims about possible health benefits.   I know from the queries I get from customers that many people have concerns about their health and I suggest that they seek help from real experts and professionals. 

 

 

February 12, 2016 by Peter Simons

Homemade stevia Truffles (no added sugar)

After Christmas we had some 100% chocolate or cocao left over.  This is essentially unsweetened extract from the cocoa bean, it has a very strong tasting and is a bit bitter.

As we also have some stevia powder I thought we would have a go at making some home made truffles. The recipe is very simple 250g 100% chocolate and 250g Double cream.  Heat the cream in a saucepan to a simmer and dissolve about 4 teaspoonfuls of stevia powder in it.  The chocolate needed to be melted gently.  We used the microwave to help with this but could have done it in a bowl above hot water.  

The cream was mixed gradually into the chocolate stirring all the time to make a smooth mixture. We tasted it to see if it was sweet enough and decided a little more stevia would be good. To  make them more interesting we added rum to some of the mixture and Peppermint Oil to the rest.

The mixture was cooled in the fridge for about an hour before being shaped and rolled in cocoa powder.

The results were very good; the truffles had a wonderful intense flavour. .

 Stevia No added sugar Truffles

February 06, 2016 by Joe Seo

Sugar free baking not sugar free sweets

January is a quiet time in the sugar free sweet world so I thought I would have a look at trying some sugar free baking.  I needed a bit of help as I am not an expert baker!  You certainly will never see me on the Great British Bake Off!

The first sweetener I decided to use was Total Sweet xylitol.  The attraction of this is that it comes from a natural source and it can be used as a one for one substitute for sugar.  This makes it easier to select a recipe.  Cake recipes that use stevia will need more changes as they only require a third the amount and other ingredients need to make up the bulk).

I tried a simple sponge recipe

2 Eggs
100g Sugar
100g butter
100g Self Raising Flour

Plus some baking powder.(about 1/2 teaspoonful)

Set the oven to heat at 180C  

To make the cake more interesting I put some apricots (sweetened with Xylitol of course)  in the bottom of the greased tin  The tin was about 20 cm across. 

My expert baking advisor told me to start by beating the sugar and butter together to make a creamy mixture which is apparently the traditional way to do it.  I found it quite hard work and my baking expert also tried and said it was a bit  harder than normal sugar (so not only is it lower calorie but you get a good workout making the cake)

The next step was to add the flour and egg a third at a time mixing gently each time and this went very smoothly.  Then I smoothed the mixture on top of the apricots and put it in the oven 

The cake was then baked for.about 35 minutes. at 180c. It was done when it had gone a nice golden brown and looked as though it was shrinking away from the side of the itn.  I let it cool for a bit then turned it out by putting a plate on top of the tin and quickly turning it upside down so the the cake ended up on the plate. 

 It turned out well as you can see from the picture and tasted just great .

Cooking with Xylitol was very easy. The main disadvantage is cost, it was £2.70 for 225g which makes it very expensive when compared to sugar which is only £0.59 a kg. So if you want a homemade cake but don't want sugar it works really well.

If time permits I will be looking at baking with stevia soon.

 

 

January 14, 2016 by Peter Simons

Sugar free Sweets from Greece

We have added a new range of sugar free sweets that come from Greece.

The taste has a distinctly original twist with hints of Mediterranean flavours.  They are quite sweet compared with some of the English sweets but the unusual flavours mean that they do not have a cloying sweetness. 

They are packed n neat little pocket sized packs which are designed  so that they "click" shut and won't open accidentally in your packet or bag.  I used to think that this was just a gimmick until the other evening I was enjoying a show in my local theatre and I realized that the person sitting next to me was struggling to suppress one of those ticklish coughs.  As other members of the audience started to look disapprovingly at him, I remembered the little pack of sweets on my bag, got it out and offered it to him - "try one of these" I whispered.  Result, a cough free theatre-goer and everyone could relax and enjoy the show!   But the rustling noise of opening a conventional bag of sweets would probably have attracted as many disapproving looks as a bout of coughing.  Silence is golden!

 


    
September 23, 2015 by Peter Simons

No added sugar Stevia chocolate is Gourmet

Traditionally diabetic chocolate has not had a good reputation.

 The range of chocolate sweetened with stevia  we stock really does mean that if you want to avoid added sugar you can have a first rate product which no one could recognize as no added sugar.

The Cavalier range of chocolate is a good place to start.  We do the three basics Milk, Milk and hazelnut and the Plain (Dark)  plus the exotic raspberry and mango.  We have 2 filled bar collections: the classic that includes Praline, Caramel and Mocha. and a Fruity bar collection.  Personally I like the small bars as they seem to give a more interesting chocolate experience.

 The Perlege range of chocolate raised the bar as far as quality goes.  The 57 % cocoa solids milk chocolate really could be from a London chocolate boutique.  They have a range of filled bars that brings a smile to my face whenever I have one.  .  The range includes a praline and rice crisp bar for the extra texture and everyone's favourite Dark orange ganache.

 New to us is the Belvas range we currently have added two of their products to our stock.  A connoisseur's chocolate paradise, the chocolate is dark, rich and  velvety. We have the fantastic, exquisite and simple chocolate coated hazelnuts and also the dark chocolate hearts with a ganache filling.  All would make an excellent present.

 

September 17, 2015 by Peter Simons

Cavalier stevia chocolate

I am really pleased to be adding cavalier stevia chocolate  to our range. It's a brand I have wanted to supply since I started sweets without.  Part of the reason it has taken so long is that the makers have changed their distributors.

Cavalier stevia chocolate has a very comprehensive range of filled bars  the first that I am stocking are classic varieties such as Mocha, Praline and Caramel.  Over time I hope to increase the range I stock to include fruit flavoured filled bars.  Like most filled bars these are no added sugar rather than sugar free.

Cavalier is one of the most popular Stevia chocolate brands   Not only does it have a delicious taste and texture but it is also one of the few 'no added sugar' brands which is not sweetened with maltitol which some people find causes bloating.  Not everyone has this problem but if you have avoided sugar free chocolate  because of past experiences, the Cavalier range could tempt you back. 

The chocolate is a high quality Belgian chocolate with the plain chocolate containing 85% cocoa solids.   I am also very impressed with the fact that the cocoa and vanilla they use is produced to Fairtrade standards so you can be sure that it does not exploit the cocoa farmers.

The range we stock can be found here 

May 14, 2015 by Peter Simons

Sugar free or No Sugar added in Diabetic Chocolate

In the world of Sugar free sweets and chocolate you sometimes see products, particularly chocolate labelled as No added sugar.  What does this mean compared to products such diabetic chocolate described as 'no sugar' or 'sugar free'

Sugar comes in many forms, not only the familiar  bags we buy in the supermarket, but also it occurs naturally in things like fruit and honey. For Chocolate or sweets to be described as 'no sugar' or 'sugar free' the ingredients must contain no sugar from any source, natural or manufactured.  This means that that they will normally be sweetened  with a  sweetener such as Stevia or Isomalt.

A product such as the high quality plain dark chocolate  that we sell for diabetic and  low carb diets can be labelled sugar free.  However the same chocolate cannot be described as 'sugar free' if it has a fruity theme and actually has fruit such oranges or berries in it.   The natural sugars in fruit mean that this chocolate must be marketed as 'no added sugar'.  

For anyone who wants to follow a low carb or sugar free diet these products with no added sugar can be a real help because the overall sugar content is reduced.  

 

May 08, 2015 by Peter Simons

Belgian Chocolate or chocolate from Belgium ?

Much of the sugar free chocolate and Stevia Chocolate we sale comes from Belgium which isn't surprising as, according to Wikipedia, chocolate is one of the things that Belgium is most famous for.  If you are interested the other famous food items are beer, waffles and chips!  The chocolate industry is an important part of the Belgian economy and has been well established since the 18th century.   Because of its importance only chocolate that meets certain strict standards is entitled to be labelled "Belgian Chocolate". 

Is this important?  Well, when we first tasted Perlege sugar free Belgian chocolate we were really impressed  and found it difficult to believe that, unlike most of the chocolate available, it really had no added sugar.   Without reading the label, it would be difficult to recognize it as anything other than a  great high quality chocolate, perhaps from one of the smarter chocolate shops.   The delicious and intense flavour of Perlege chocolate somehow manages to meet one's need for a sweet treat without the occasionally cloying aftertaste of some more conventional brands and made us realise that Belgan Chocolate is different.  Not only that but there are suggestions that quality chocolate with high cocoa solid contents is actually good for us  - unlike the beer, waffles and chips!

As most of the high quality sugar free and diabetic chocolate comes from Belgium, the flavours reflect the favourite continental tastes.  So here at Sweetswithout we are still looking for really good sugar free and diabetic chocolate with some of the traditionally popular English flavours like peppermint and salted caramel. 

April 17, 2015 by Peter Simons

Christmas gift guide

The sugar free sweets sold by us at sweetswithout make ideal stocking fillers.

At Christmas most of us over indulge but the good news is that sugar free sweets have a lot fewer calories than sweets made with sugar (in most cases  they have 25% less calories).  That means that you can get your sweet fix without the guilt.

The other advantage is that sugar free sweets in general are better for your teeth as most of the sweeteners do not cause tooth decay.

Sugar free stocking fillers for children

de Bron Jelly bears





These bear shaped chews will appeal to children of any age (even adults).   They have been fortified with vitamin C and have all the other advantages of sugar free sweets.
Rio Burgundy sweets




Who could resist sugar free chocolate eclairs with delicious toffee outside a fantastic chocolate centre?  Any child will be thrilled to find these treats in their Christmas stocking. 
 

Carb free candy presents

RIO BURGUNDY GRAPE MINTS



These  sophisticate grape flavoured sweets with a delicious hint of a  peppermint aftertaste are packaged in a beautiful tin which is ideal for your pocket or handbag.
STOCKLEY'S SUGAR-FREE MINT HUMBUGS




Sugar free humbugs make an ideal present for the person who just can’t get into the Christmas spirit!   Of course, there is the added bonus that these sugar free sweets taste fantastic.

 

 

 

 

Balance Stevia Chocolate collection
If you love chocolate (and who doesn't) but you would still like to limit your sugar intake, Balance Chocolate sweetened with stevia is just the ticket.  We stock three favourite varieties; milk, milk with hazelnuts plus a sophisticated dark chocolate.  The use of stevia really seems to enhance the chocolate taste.  
 
Stevia featured in the news this week when Prince Charles went to the Heritage Garden at Raymond Blanc’s Hotel and Restaurant in Oxfordshire.  He was amazed at the plant’s sweetness and Chef Blanc has developed recipes using stevia.  So why don’t you try some of this delicious chocolate?    
 
  

Christmas delivery

 

Thursday 18th December is the last guaranteed second class delivery date, so please order by the 17th to ensure delivery before Christmas.
 
November 27, 2014 by Peter Simons