Ques about measurement, volume, mass & gluten & sugar free

soozApril 5, 2013

Our annual women's club church bake sale is coming up in a couple of months, and there was some discussion at our meeting about the popular items. People really liked knowing if something was gluten free and sugar free, and of course, it was helpful to label when something had nuts in them.

I've been looking at some of the gluten free recipes, and sugar free recipes, AND gluten free/sugar free recipes, and had a question about using stevia (specifically) as a substitute for sugar.

If a recipe calls for, say 1/2 C packed brown sugar, well, that 1/2 C adds to the volume of the total ingredients, as well as it has more mass than the stevia needed to sweeten to that level.

How do you figure out what to use to make up any volume or mass? Would a good option be to add unsweetened applesauce and the stevia?

Any other suggestions are appreciated, as well as any T&T gluten free and/or sugar free recipes!


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I think it would be way easier and fool-proof to just use a recipe that is designed for Stevia. There are way too many variables for which to account, unless you have LOTS of time for experimentation.

Also, if an item is labeled as "sugar-free", you should tell what sweetener is used instead. I'm not aware of any sugar substitute that does not cause sensitivity problems for some people. (Personally, I avoid all the artificial ones.)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:51PM
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I agree with cooksnsews - use a recipe designed to use stevia, especially since there are so many different versions of it - liquid, powder, flavored liquid, etc.... I have a friend who has ended up in the hospital twice from unknowingly eating Splenda, and that advice to note what kind of sweetener is being used is another good point.

BTW - there is plenty of "sugar" in fruit and fruit juice, which are often sugar substitutes in "sugar-free" recipes. For folks who are avoiding "sugar" it's total carbohydrates from all sources, not just "sugar".

FYI - Baked goods sweetened with stevia tend to get dry very quickly, so don't make them too far in advance.

You may also want to check the gluten-free recipes at Elana's Pantry (link below). I make a lot of her recipes using almond flour and low-glycemic agave nectar, palm sugar or palm nectar. I use the almond pulp from making almond milk for most of my almond flour, but it's available where Bob's Red Mill products are sold, or most stores that carry gluten-free ingredients and foods. I dry the almond pulp in the dehydrator and then make it finer by whizzing it in the Bullet Blender. Otherwise I use almond flour from Honeyville Grain, but it's cheaper to make my own. I buy my almonds from Sam's Club.

This is a sugar-free and gluten-free cookie recipe my gluten-intolerant mother used to make. I still make these when I have bananas that need used up.


3 mashed bananas [if I only have 2 bananas I'll add 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce]
2 c. certified gluten-free oatmeal
1 c. chopped dates [you can use nearly any kind of dried fruit - blueberries, cranberries, chopped dried apricots...]
1/3 c. vegetable oil [I use coconut oil]
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Mix ingredients well and drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Press down slightly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, OR, until lightly browned.

This recipe is from "Cooking with Coconut Flour" by Bruce Fife, N.D. I make this when I need a gluten-free dessert in-a- hurry.


1 pkg. (8-oz.) cream cheese
1/8 t. salt
1/3 c. honey or low-glycemic agave nectar (or 1/4 t. stevia)
1/2 c. SIFTED coconut flour
Fruit only jam or preserves (optional)

Blend together cream cheese, salt, and honey. Add coconut flour and mix thoroughly. Layer batter on the bottom of a greased 11x7x2-inch OR 9x9-inch pan. Bake at 375-degrees F for 18-minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Spread fruit jam or preserves over the top and cut into bars.


Here is a link that might be useful: Elena's Pantry

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 4:02PM
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"-----1/2 C packed brown sugar, well, that 1/2 C adds to the volume of the total ingredients, ---"

Not always. Depends.

It all has to do with "Solubility " in physics(Chemistry?)

If you add sugar or salt in water, as long as the sugar and salt dissolves completely (at normal temperature), there will be no increase in volume.

However, if the addition of the sugar or salt exceeds the solubility of the water, then volume increases.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 4:39PM
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I do not bake without gluten but I have tried some sugar free recipes. I agree with others that it is much easier to use recipes that are designed for the artificial sweetener. I have, however, used erythritol for baking chocolate chip cookies and had very good results. I just used the toll house recipe and replaced the sugar with the erythritol, and if I remember correctly I added a bit more because it is only 70% as sweet as sugar. I could not find any reasonably priced sugar free chocolate chips though so I did just use regular semi-sweet. I have also made brownies with it using all ground flax meal instead of flour. Texture was good but flavor was only ok so I will have to adjust the amount of chocolate/sweetener next time I try it. Erythritol can be purchased online or I bought mine from the fruitful yield. The nice thing about it is its weight. It is as heavy as sugar. The not so nice is the price and the fact that it does not dissolve 100% with heat so some people complain that they can feel the "sugar" crystals in their dessert. I did not really notice that in my cookies. I will post a link below for the erythritol.

I have also had success making a sugar free tiramisu cake. If you like I can post the recipe. The recipe if from WIlliam Sonoma's dessert cookbook. I just replace the sugar with splenda or in your case stevia. The cake part does come out dry, and does not rise as much, but the nice thing about tiramisu is you soak it in a stevia/splenda syrup and that takes care of the dryness. For the problem with the cake not rising as much I make two cakes instead of one. It is a very good tasting dessert but probably too much work for a bake sale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Erythritol

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:02PM
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It's not sugar free, but it is guten free, from Eating Well. I like that I don't have to buy any special ingredients, you can just grind dry quinoa in your coffee grinder for the flour, as per the tip included in the recipe description (which I didn't save, but it's on the Eating Well website).

Quinoa Almond Butter Blondies

â¢1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
â¢3/4 cup smooth or crunchy natural almond butter
â¢2 large eggs
â¢3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
â¢1 teaspoon vanilla extract
â¢3/4 cup quinoa flour
â¢1 teaspoon baking powder
â¢1/4 teaspoon salt
â¢1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to 350ðF. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2.Beat butter and almond butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
3.Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 45 minutes before cutting into 24 pieces. Let cool completely before storing.


Per serving : 146 Calories; 9 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 21 mg Cholesterol; 15 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 71 mg Sodium; 100 mg Potassium

1 Carbohydrate Serving


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Thanks everyone, for the suggestions, links, input and recipes!

I've found some yummy looking recipes that call for liquid Stevia--I only use the "powdered" form (so far). I've also found some recipes where the sugar or brown sugar is added to the dry ingredients.

The research continues! Thanks again!!!


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:01PM
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sooz, I also have a big bag of stevia that Elery bought at Sam's Club and I haven't attempted to use it yet, so I'll be interested in how it all works out. Please post if you have a spectacular success (or failure), that way I can pick your brain!


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Annie, I've been using my Stevia powder to sweeten tea, homemade hot cocoa, and to also make some low-cal, sugar free desserts using unsweetened Kool-Aid, or using plain gelatin packets & adding Torani sugar free syrup, or those "Mio" flavorings to it.

I have a little container of Stevia that I got at Trader Joe's. It comes with a teeeeny tiny spoon inside the container. That Stevia is pretty powerful stuff!

Here's a pix of a Torani Kool-aide Jello dessert. It wasn't as creamy as it looks, but it satisfied a sweet tooth.

Low Carb, Sugar Free Dessert
1 envelope of Knox gelatin
1/4 C Torani sugar free cherry syrup
8 oz boiling water
1 package of unsweetened Cherry Kool Aid
2 tiny spoonfuls of Stevia (use the spoon that came in the bottle)
Black Cherry flavored Mio or similar "squirty" flavor enhancers
*see note below about making it creamier, which I did*

In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 C of the Torani cherry syrup. Let stand 1 minute.

After the minute, add the boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved, and add the packet of cherry Kool Aid and the 2 tiny spoonfuls of Stevia. Add a squirt or two of Mio or Mio-type water enhancers. Mix.

Pour into dessert dishes and chill until set. Top with whipped cream. I added chocolate sprinkles because I didn't have any mint for garnish--a big ol' blackberry would have been pretty too!

*Note: To make it creamier, whip up about 1/4 C of cream, and then fold it into the cooled gelatin mixture before it sets up.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:42PM
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Mine didn't come with a spoon, but I can deal with it, I think.

I did have to smile, Sooz. Your dessert is low carb, sugar free, low cal. So......whip some cream and add that in. (grin) My kind of thinking...

Elery doesn't do sugar well, he's hypoglycemic, so I'm thinking maybe blackberry cobbler would be a good thing to try with the Stevia but I've never baked with it. Neither of us sweetens tea or coffee but I occasionally have a cup of hot chocolate. Actually, I was thinking of making some homemade mocha with that and some cocoa powder and skim milk and strong coffee.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 1:31AM
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Glad you liked my thinking, Annie! It's sooooo low *everything* that one needs to just...balance out the universe!!! LOL

I've never baked with Stevia, but it does hold up well when added to hot tea, hot cocoa, and hot gelatin! Let me know your results when you do the blackberry cobbler!


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:10AM
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This recipe is a favorite and the sweetener substitution is 1:1, although I haven't used stevia yet. FYI, I've read if using stevia to also use another sweetener to mask the stevia aftertaste. I usually use a mix of Splenda and erythritol.

Almond Thumbprint Cookies (carb wars blog)
Makes 30 cookies

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened to room temperature
Sugar substitute equal to 1 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups almond flour or almond meal
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds (I omitted)
1/4 cup sugar free jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter with an electric mixer, then blend in the sweetener, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Whisk the almond flour together with the baking powder and salt. Stir into the butter mixture until smooth.

Refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape dough into 1-inch diameter balls (I use a #70 disher) and roll in chopped almonds. Place on a large cookie sheet. Make an impression in each ball with your thumb. Return to the refrigerator for 15 minutes (I skip this step but start with frozen dough).

Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and baked through. While still hot, fill the cavities with a teaspoon of jam (I used 1/4 tsp). Return to oven for 2 or 3 minutes to melt jam.

(NOTE: I use the ATK method of gently reindenting the cookies before filling with jam.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Almond Thumbprint Cookies

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:58AM
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What brand of stevia product are you using? That would help with finding or altering recipes for you. I have a number of stevia products and they all measure differently, and I use them differently. Some measure cup-for-cup for sugar and others would take 1/2 t.-1 t. for a recipe. I also have a the cookbook "Stevia - naturally sweet recipes for desserts, drinks and more!" by Rita DePuydt, but these recipes are NOT gluten-free (although I think there are some that could be converted to g-f all-purpose flour or almond meal).

Helpful hints baking with stevia:

*It helps if the recipe utilizes fruit, fruit juice/s, fruit sauces and purees, and dairy products (sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, etc.). The fruit sugars help with the sweetness and disguise the "aftertaste" from stevia. You can use less stevia since the sugar in fruit also adds sweetness. The dairy products help keep the baked goods from drying out and lactose (a sugar) aids in some browning.

*Refrigerate or freeze cookie dough for 4-hours or overnight before baking. The cookies will taste sweeter.

*Add 1-3 T. of another sweetener such as date sugar, malt syrup, rice syrup, agave nectar, coconut (palm) nectar, or honey. These also help with browning. Since stevia doesn't brown like sugar, baked goods look anemic. It also doesn't tenderize or moisten baked goods.

Be sure to check out Paleo recipes and Low-Carb recipes. They are generally gluten-free (using almond flour and coconut flour) and use fruit (medjool dates, apple butter, applesauce, fruit spreads, etc) or low-glycemic yacon syrup, coconut nectar, palm sugar, stevia and other low-cal. chemical sweeteners.

I've used Swerve (which is a brand name of Erythritol), but didn't care all that much for it. I thought it was used best with another low-carb sweetener like palm sugar or agave nectar. I avoid Splenda because I react to it.

The link below is a sugar-free recipe I happen to have in the cookie jar right now. It calls for 1 T. agave nectar, but I usually use 2 T. coconut nectar (I make coconut nectar by melting 1-1/2 c. coconut palm sugar in 1/2 c. water on a warm burner). You could also use sugar-free honey in this recipe (I can find it at Wal-Mart), which is another sugar-free option for you.


Here is a link that might be useful: Blueberry Coconut Pecan Breakfast Cookies

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Thanks for the link and recipes, oven bird and Grainlady!

Grainlady, I'm using Trader Joe's Organic Stevia Extract, cost is $9.99.

It comes in 1 oz containers (with that teeeeeny tiny spoon) and the ingredients are: Organic Stevia Extract (Leaf) [stevia rebaudiana] 45 mg. Distributed and sold exclusively by Trader Joe's, in Monrovia, CA. Best used by 10/2018. Yup, 2018. Serving size is one scoop (45 mg).


    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:10PM
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I just ran across this information in an article entitled "Tips for Sweetening With Stevia" linked below.

"Make up the volume difference"

"If you want to bake with stevia, you have a volume difference to manage. One cup of sugar may be replaced with as little as 1/4 t. of concentrated stevia powder, which throws off your ratio of liquids to solids, fats, and oils. This can make for some funny-looking cakes, cookies, and pies, so you'll want to make up the bulk with unsweetened fiber to keep your recipe in balance.

An easy unsweetened fiber choice you can make at home is unsweetened apple fiber. To get it, take applesauce and put it in a fine strainer, leaving the liquid to drain out overnight. The next day you'll have a bulking agent with almost no flavor to help you balance your stevia in baking."


Here is a link that might be useful: Off the Grid News

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 3:49PM
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