I was blessed (or sentenced, depending upon how look at it) to be born into a large family, the last of 5 siblings.
The age gap between me and my older siblings was too big for them to be my playmates.
In fact, I think I was more an object for their entertainment …they harassed and tortured me for their own evil pleasure.
All of them but my brother Michael.
He was never mean to me. He never stung me with rubber bands, beat up my teddy bear, or forced me to look at skeleton pictures. He never scared me with a vampire face, or tricked me by wrapping rocks to look like candy just to see me cry from disappointment. He never talked on the phone late at night when I was trying to sleep, pulled me off the desk chair to do “college work”, or ate all the fresh cherries at the beach so that I got none. (You’ll hear that story soon.)
Nope, not Mike. (You others know who you are and what you have done. I wonder how you sleep at night.)
Michael doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him utter a cross word. He taught me to play chess, did word jumble puzzles with me, and took me on vacation to the Grand Canyon.
Heck, he took my very first cake decorating classes with me! How cool is that?
He is the most gentle, kind and selfless person I know, and has always looked out for me.
Case in point, he’s good to me still to this day.
Whenever my PC gets all bogged down with junk and viruses, and starts running badly, I can always take it in to him for a full clean-out and tune-up.
Just like he did this week.
So how do I thank him for his help? By doing the only thing I know how to do: BAKE!
But, Mike can’t have sugar, so I make him sugar free cakes. Gives me a chance to try out some new recipes.
Over the years I have collected a nice little stash of sugar-free recipes.
Not all are created equal: some are really bad.
It takes a lot of trial and error to be successful with sugar free baking but here’s a few tips that will help:
- Not all sweeteners work like regular sugar, so spend some time learning about them and how they perform in baked goods.
- Some natural sweeteners don’t work well on their own to create a chewy texture in baked goods. They need another sweetener to help them out. Coconut sugar and honey help create this well. Just check the dietary restrictions of the recipient to be sure they can consume these.
- Many natural sweeteners take less time to bake. Rule of thumb is 5- 10 minutes less, but be sure to check the progress while baking.
- Baked goods using a granulated sugar substitute don’t rise as much as regular recipes. Try adding ½ cup of nonfat dry milk powder and half a teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of sweetener.
- Some sweeteners don’t like heat. Aspartame, for instance, loses its sweetness during baking, so aspartame based sweeteners should be reserved for recipes where you can add it at the end of the cooking process, like pudding or icing.
- Sugar substitutes don’t activate yeast. Retain at least two teaspoons of sugar in the recipe, or replace with another natural sweetener like molasses or honey.
Now go forth and bake sugar free goodies with confidence!
And be kind to your little sisters 🙂
PS. I’ve got a bunch of yummy sugar free cake, filling and icing recipes in the online school.