Ahh the great big sugar debate. It’s been a part of our diet for hundreds of years and remains a staple of our everyday lives but has come under so much scrutiny that it’s become the F word of the food industry. From being linked to obesity and diabetes and blamed for a dental decay epidemic, it’s no wonder that many of us are switching to artificial sweeteners or fructose (fruit sugar) alternatives, which are largely promoted on the grounds that they are natural and have a relatively low GI value compared to sucrose.
I personally choose to use a mixture of more natural sweeteners in place of refined sugar in my recipes – mainly coconut sugar or stevia, maple syrup or date nectar. So when I was recently contacted by Total Sweet, I was curious to find out how this brand of xylitol would fare in baking as well as other sweet dishes. Widely known as an ingredient in chewing gum, xylitol looks and tastes just like sugar and so can be used in baking, in your tea, on your porridge etc. without having to adjust the amount like you would with some other sugar alternatives (especially stevia).
Total Sweet is the world’s first ‘total sugar alternative’ and ticks all the boxes:
- A solution for dieters that allows them to enjoy sweet food whilst encouraging weight loss
- A natural alternative to sugar
- A solution suitable for those with diabetes
- An alternative that actively promotes healthy teeth
- An option offering health benefits not health scares
- Can be used exactly like sugar in baking or otherwise
- It has no taste difference to ordinary sugar
- A product that is good for the environment as well as your body
I’ve enjoyed using it in many of my #IndulgingInnocently creations so far in that is doesn’t have the artificial, strong aftertaste that stevia can sometimes have, and that I know it’s more natural than going for aspartame which hasn’t got the best reputation, let’s be honest! Something I made recently with Total Sweet was a delicious dairy-free cardamom-spiced rice pudding paired with stewed plums, perfectly sweetened and ideal for a light, flavoursome dessert. Feel free to mix up the fruit – pear and cinnamon, berries and cinnamon – whatever you fancy!
For the rice pudding –
- 100g pudding rice
- 400ml coconut milk + 400ml water
- 4 tablespoons Total Sweet Xylitol
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
For the stewed plums –
- 350g plums, stoned and cut into sliced
- 2 tablespoons Total Sweet Xylitol
- Coconut chips, to serve (I used Coco Fina)
- Place the pudding rice, coconut milk and water in a large pan and stir well. Bring to the boil then simmer for 25-30 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Meanwhile place the plum slices in a pan with 1-2 tablespoons water and the coconut sugar/stevia. Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until softened and the water has turned into a syrup.
- Stir the coconut sugar/stevia and cardamom into the rice pudding once cooked – now either serve hot or cold with some stewed plums and coconut chips on top.