Tips For Cooking With Stevia

tThe first thing to remember is that stevia is sweet, but not exactly like sugar.  Comparing stevia to sugar is like comparing molasses to honey or maple syrup to corn syrup.  All are sweet but each one has a unique taste, and, when properly used, can produce wonderful results in many types of recipes.

The next step to using this herb successfully is understanding how its sweetness differs from refined sugars.  Add a few drops of the a non-alcohol stevia extract to a glass of water.  Taste it.  Its sweetness will differ from the refined sugars and chemicals sweeteners.  Add one drop of clear liquid extract at a time and taste after each one until the mixture becomes bittersweet. It is this bitter-sweetness that can

Sometimes make stevia difficult to work with – you will soon get the hang of using just a small amount.

Some people love the taste of stevia while others take a while to adjust to the mild licorice taste.  One way to make the transition is to add little natural sugar like honey, pure maple syrup, or even white grape juice concentrate until your taste buds adjust to the natural sweetness of stevia.  In just a short while, you should be able to use stevia alone.

Cooking with stevia can have some limitations.  Stevia does not brown or caramelize like sugar.  Stevia does not add volume and texture, as do conventional sweeteners.  Therefore, baked goods, especially cakes, may not rise as well, and achieving that soft chewy cookie texture will take a little practice.  Don’t despair – in this book, you will find many secrets and great recipes for successful cooking with stevia.

Helpful Hints

Cookies:

Always preheat the oven to the recommended temperature. Crisp, shortbread types of cookies give the best results. For softer, chewy cookies, add some canned pumpkin, uncooked oatmeal or even peanut butter. Never over-bake soft cookies – keep an eye on them in the oven. Another way to achieve a softer cookie texture is with bar or pan cookies like brownies. Their texture and thickness will help satisfy your chewy cookie cravings.

Cakes:

Always preheat the oven to the recommended temperature. One secret to moist and light cakes is separating the egg whites and whipping them to supper-stiff peaks before folding in the other ingredients, similar to making an angel food cake. After removing the cooked cake from the oven, immediately invert the pan onto a cooling rack. This prevents the cake from falling.

Beverages:

This is the easiest place to use stevia. A few drops of clear liquid extract or a pre-measured packet can replace the sugar in traditionally sugar-laden drinks like iced or hot teas, coffee, lemonade, and pre-mixed drink powders.

Flavorings and Extracts:

Flavorings and extracts such as maple, lemon, and vanilla are great ways to mask the natural licorice flavor of stevia, while adding depth and interest to your dish.

Dairy:

Stevia extracts work great with milk, cream, cream cheese, sour cream and other dairy products. That is why we use dairy products in so many of our recipes. If you are dairy or lactose-intolerant, try replacing the milk with Almond Milk (see Index), soy milk, or rice milk (both soy milk and rice milk are available at health stores). Vegetable milks work well, but store-bought vegetable milks often have added sugar, so read the labels carefully.