There are currently many versions of substitute sweetener on the market than can be used instead of sugar to cut down on calories. Many of these alternative sweeteners work wonderfully in beverages, side dishes and cool temperature desserts, such as sorbet or frozen yogurt. But many people have learned the hard way that most baking recipes do not turn out as expected when using an alternate sweetener.
Taste and Texture
When trying to determine which sweetener is best for baking, it's important to consider that regular sugar often provides the best results in terms of consistency, moisture and browning. Though honey or molasses may taste the same as sugar in a baking recipe, the finished product may not have the same look or texture as the same recipe made with sugar. Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose or saccharin, may also taste the same as or similar to sugar, but will not brown in the oven.
Other sweeteners, like aspartame, are not designed to be baked at all, and should not be tried in recipes that are prepared in an oven, because the chemicals they are made of cannot withstand the higher temperatures in the oven.
Experiment for Optimal Results
Above all, it's important to remember that taste and texture in baked goods is entirely a matter of personal opinion. In order to determine which sweetener is best for baking, some experimentation is required. It is possible to achieve a good balance of the baking properties of real sugar, along with the reduced calories of substitute sweeteners.
If you decide to incorporate other forms of natural sweetener, such as honey or molasses, start by using half regular sugar and half alternate sweetener. If using artificial forms of sweetener, check the packaging to determine if the manufacturer recommends the product for use in baking. Begin by substituting the alternate sweetener at a small ratio, such as 1/4 artificial sweetener and 3/4 sugar. Depending on the results, continue to tweak the recipe by either increasing or decreasing the ratio of substitute sweetener to sugar.
Also, check your store for alternate sweetener products that are designed specifically for baking. These products, such as Splenda Sugar Blend, can often be substituted in recipes cup for cup instead of sugar.