I am always on the look out for ways to decrease the sugar in my diet but also love to bake – two things which don’t always see eye to eye. If you have been following my page for a while you will know that I am a big fan of using Natvia stevia in my baking and desserts, so I was only too happy to review of some of Natvia’s products for baking and a relatively new sweetener, Norbu. I have given my thoughts on these products and have also made a (really yummy) date and walnut bun with coffee glaze – all sugar free!
Stevia is a green leafed herb from South America. The most commonly used form of stevia is steviol glycosides, an extract from the leaf of the plant and is many times sweeter than sugar. Natvia is this stevia extract mixed with erythritol (a plant extract) so it can be substituted spoon for spoon in place of sugar. Natvia can be used in everything from hot and cold drinks, desserts and is heat stable as well, so you can use it in baking.
Natvia for baking is my recommended choice for baking if you are trying to decrease your sugar intake. Simply replace the amount of sugar in your favourite recipes with the same amount of baking Natvia (sometimes I even decrease then amount needed, stevia is quite sweet!).
Pros: It doesn’t affect the texture or the taste of the finished product, unlike artificial sweeteners or liquid sweeteners. You can find tips for using Natvia for baking here.
Cons: it can be sweeter than expected, I recommend adding less to start with, then tasting as you go.
Natvia stevia icing mix is also now available. I was a bit skeptical of this icing sugar substitute at first, but it is actually surprisingly easy to cook with and although I’m not really an icing fan, this mix tastes quite acceptable.
Pros: Stevia icing sugar works best in icing like butter creams but can also be used to make simple glazes like the coffee glaze below. It is available in convenient 375g baking pack.
Cons: It can’t be used for royal icing and you can’t always use it exactly the same as icing sugar. be prepared to have some fun experimenting if you choose to create your own icing recipes.
Norbu Monk fruit sweetener
This sweetener is made from Monk fruit, a small green fruit originating from Asia. This granulated sweetener does not have a strong after taste and is not as sweet as stevia. This is my favourite sweetener to use in raw desserts but I have also been playing around with using it in baking. I find that I need to use a little more than expected but the finished product turns out well. I have used Norbu to sweeten my walnut and date loaf (below).
Pros: Not too- sweet or bitter after taste.
Cons: Only available in smaller packs and is not as sweet as other sweeteners.
Nativa and Norbu sweeteners are great sugar substitutes as they;
- Are completely natural – so preferable to artificial sweeteners
- Have way less kilojoules (calories) than sugar
- Do not contain any sugar at all -as opposed to other natural sweeteners
- Do not raise blood glucose levels – suitable for people with diabetes
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ⅓ cup rice bran oil
- ⅔ cup milk or choice
- ⅓ cup Norbu sweetener
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chopped dried dates
- Coffee glaze
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 2 tsp nuttelex or butter
- 5-6 tbsp Natvia Icing mix
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, Norbu and spices. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and milk. Mix until a dough forms then add the walnuts and dates. Mix until combined.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently into a log shape.
- Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 30-40 minutes until risen, browned and cooked through.
- Allow to cool before adding the glaze.
- to make the coffee glaze: combine water, butter/nuttelex and coffee in a heatproof cup/bowl and stir until the butter begins to melt. Beat in the Natvia icing mix until you get the desired consistency, it needs to be thin enough to drizzle over but not so thin that it won't set.
- Drizzle over the bun and enjoy