If you’re beginning to hear the hype about Erythritol, you might be asking what the fuss is about!
We love learning about new natural sweeteners! In the past few years of experimenting with sugar-free baking, erythritol hasn’t always been our most go-to sweetener. That’s mainly because it is very similar to another sweetener we use frequently – xylitol! Since trying erythritol in recipes like in our Natural Sugar Cookie Bars, we are now ready and excited to share more about this sugar-free sweetener.
Erythritol is sugar alcohol similar to xylitol. Xylitol was one of the first natural sweeteners we learned about many years ago, so xylitol was (naturally) the sweetener we used the most. You can read up on xylitol in this post here. After learning more about erythritol, the two sweeteners are extremely similar.
The biggest difference between erythritol and xylitol (and especially white refined sugar) is that erythritol has a lot less calories! It has only about 6% of the calorie content of sugar!! Yet the sweetener still tastes sweet and is a pretty white color.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is digested in our bodies almost untouched. Because of this, it doesn’t leave our bodies with the nasty side-effects like sugar does. It can, however, upset the stomach and cause bloating or gas if eaten in excess. New consumers of this sweetener should introduce it slowly. Any signs of these side-effects lessen when introduced gradually and isn’t a problem when enjoyed in small quantities. In an effort to avoid any risks to digestive disturbance, we like to combine this sweetener with other natural sweeteners like honey or coconut sugar. This not only lessens the risk for upset stomach but also creates a fantastic flavor.
A great benefit of erythritol is that, just like xylitol, erythritol is great for dental health! It is tooth-friendly by not feeding the bacteria in the mouth and not promoting tooth decay like sugar does.
Erythritol is a great sugar alternative and is awesome in sugar-free baking, but it does not have the same properties as sugar so it reacts differently in baked products.
Erythritol might seem like the most perfect natural sugar substitute, (since it even looks like sugar!) but there is one slight setback. It is soluble sugar that actually melts in high heat and does not caramelize. Without caramelization, baked goods can’t become chewy and dense. Other ingredients are needed to create the right liquid ratio for erythritol so that baked goods don’t become puddles on your cookie sheet! As we have experimented with both erythritol and xylitol, we have taken out the guesswork in our recipes! You can try our sugar-free recipes knowing that they will look and taste great!
Another important note for baking with erythritol is that baked sweets with erythritol are best the day of making them. Similar to xylitol, there is a “cool” sweetness flavor effect that takes place after a day or two of baking the treat. This change is heightened if this sweetener is the only sugar in the recipe. Desserts with these sweeteners also do not stay moist for very long. Recipes that are no-bake or raw or that have other sweeteners added to them do not have these same results, so erythritol is awesome for these kinds of recipes.
We want to share a few recipes that we have tried and loved with erythritol. We have tried substituting xylitol with erythritol in past recipes and the results were great. We have found erythritol is a great sugar to have on hand! It’s perfect when combined with other sweeteners and can create tons of great tasting healthy treats!
Erythritol gives us so many delicious options! And all made refined sugar-free!
Where to buy Erythritol
Look for this sweetener at you local health food stores or at Whole Foods. We mainly buy online and we love the convenience of getting erythritol on amazon!
A word of caution: please make sure the erythritol you buy is a pure product. Some companies like to add other fillers to the ingredients and products can quickly become unhealthy or unnatural. If it contains anything like aspartame or Splenda, we avoid them!
We hope you are excited to experiment with erythritol!! Later this week, we’ll be sharing the recipe for the famous SWIG cookies! What in the world is a SWIG sugar cookie??? Check out the blog this week to find out! :)