My younger sister Holly and I enjoyed baking bars, cookies, and brownies when we were kids. It worked out great because I generally did the mixing of ingredients which meant that Holly got to clean up the mess I created. Baking wasn’t nearly as much fun when I moved off on my own, but I persevered despite my new workload of baking and cleaning. Although sweet breads and bars were my specialty, every so often I was inspired to create a pie from scratch or some form of a cake that usually involved rolling it into a log.
My baking identity took a sharp u-turn when I met my husband. Dale was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in his early thirties. This caused him to become cautious of what he eats and in what quantities – especially sweets. Knowing nothing about diabetes but wanting to support his dietary needs and desire for periodic sweets, I decided to educate myself.
I used The Diabetic’s Healthy Exchanges Cookbook by JoAnna M. Lund to lead me in the right direction. A bonus about this cookbook is that the introduction discusses the two types of diabetes and the following six myths: sugar must always be avoided; artificial sweeteners are dangerous; fat is okay; fiber is only important for treating constipation; snacks are optional; and eating on time is good, but not essential.
The first recipe I tried was for double chocolate cupcakes. My fears about low sugar sweets became a reality when I made the first batch: they were exceptionally dry and tasted like cardboard. So, in usual form, I chose to modify the recipe so that the resulting cupcakes tempted the taste buds. Below is my version of what are now moist cupcakes without even a hint of cardboard.
The true test of this recipe was taking the cupcakes to our Bible study. Without sharing the low sugar nature of the goodies, I set them on the counter and sat back to observe the response. Adults and children alike chomped away, eating them in record time. The final indication of success was when one of the women asked me to share the recipe. Fait accompli.
Oh How Sweet Life Is Recipe #1: Hidden Identity Chocolate Cupcakes
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. Splenda or its generic version
½ c. sugar
½ c. unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1 c. unsweetened orange juice
8 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. of chocolate chips
Combine all dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together all of the liquids. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir just enough to combine.
Place paper liners in muffin tins. This makes cleaning up much simpler. Fill the liners 2/3 full with the cupcake mix. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of each cupcake. Bake at 350° F for about 11 minutes or until their centers are no longer doughy. Test with a toothpick – it if comes out clean the cupcakes are finished baking. Remove them from the pan to a cooling rack. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.
Do you have a favorite low-sugar treat? What tips do you have for baking with less sugar?
You can check out the cookbook here: Diabetics Healthy Exchanges Cookbook