Something magical.

Sometimes when you hold a packet of  sugar free sweets, you find the packaging is absolutely perfect.   If you then try the sweets and they meet all your expectations, it really does bring a smile to your face,

We recently have taken on Uncle Joe's sugar free extra strong mints.  They are great sweets with a good strong taste leaving a fantastic cool sensation in the mouth.

The packing is perfect, a small tin with a flip lid  which is ridged so it will not accidentally open.  The attention to detail is good with an Uncle Joe's logo on the inside of the tin lid. The size of the packet is perfect for pocket or hand bag.

 It's a pleasure when a UK manufacturer brings a high quality item and packaging together to make a fantastic product.



May 20, 2016 by Peter Simons

Home made sugar free Mints

Looking at Google I found a recipe for home made sugar free mints.  They were made with Xylitol which is easily found in the supermarkets.


 The recipe appeared very simple:  double the amount of xylitol to water and heat to the "hard crack" stage before adding peppermint oil before pouring spoonfuls to cool. .

However, when we tried it, all that  happened was the Xylitol mixture just got hotter and hotter till it started to discolour.  Even when it reached the point at which my thermometer couldn't go any higher (200C !) it hadn't reached a soft ball stage let alone a a soft crack.  It didn't actually caramelize or taste burnt.)

During cooling the mixture eventually solidified and crystallised to form a a sweet with the texture of Kendal Mint Cake rather than that of a boiled sweet and did actually taste quite nice.


Xylitol is extremely poisonous for cats and dogs so please do not feed to them.

The Xylitol syrup will be very hot so please watch the pan all the time while it is heating and be very careful when handling it.

Second try

After this first attempt I did some more googling and found another, more helpful,  item about working with xylitol written in a more scientific manner.

This just suggested adding no water but heating the Xylitol by itself till it was molten at about 106C and then pouring in a block to solidify and crystallise.  This again left something more akin to Kendal Mint Cake.

The results can be seen in the photo below

the picture below is the crystal (someone suggested it looks likes cod fillet)


it is amazing what a bit of photo dressing can do!

Sugar free mints




The coolness of Xylitol and the peppermint oil made for a great tasting sweets but the texture was not what I was expecting. 




April 01, 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

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

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

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 that are good for your teeth

It's hard to believe that there are sugar free sweets that are good for your teeth and a natural product.  This remarkable sweetener is called Xylitol. 

We already sell Xylitol chewing Gum.

Xylitol has been shown to reduce tooth decay. This is because bacteria in the mouth cannot utilise Xylitol as an energy source. When bacteria use something like sugar for energy they produce an acid that attacks the enamel of our teeth weakening them. It’s great that there is a sugar substitute that is both natural and has been shown to improve our dental health.  This is definitely a win-win situation for sugar free and carb free sweets.


October 08, 2014 by Peter Simons