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Old 12-02-2008, 04:15 PM   #1
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Problems Working with Erythritol

I love Erythritol and don't care much for Splenda, but it this stuff keeps challenging me!

My favorite sweetener blend is the ery plus Torani syrups. This seems to work well for some things ( like muffins) but lately I have been getting a very grainy, "sugary" result.

What causes this?!

Is it poor quality erythritol? I have been powering it in the magic bullet, but it's still grainy and worse yet, almost seem to recrystallize in my baked goods!

Today I made Miracle Brownies with 1 cup powdered erythritol and they are very, very sugary/grainy textured.

Any help or tips on working with this stuff is HIGHLY appreciated!!!!
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:23 PM   #2
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kitchenwitch.............now you know the problem with Erythritol

I am going to try a combination of Stevia and Sucralose in my next
recipe, without the Erythritol, and see how it turns out.

By the way, which brownie recipe did you make?
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:39 PM   #3
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It really depends on the recipe! Whatever it is has to have enough moisture to keep the erythritol dissolved. Erythritol doesn't usually work in cookies or brownies without some kind of interfering substance (gums, oat flour). In cakes, muffins, custards, pies it works very well. That's too bad you got a bad recipe!
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jacksmixedtape View Post
It really depends on the recipe! Whatever it is has to have enough moisture to keep the erythritol dissolved.
Actually, it's less dependent on the amount of water in a recipe than it is on the ratio of erythritol to the other ingredients as a whole (and the types of other ingredients used). Muffins work well because they don't have as much sugar content as cookies and brownies. Same thing (to a lesser extent) with cakes and custards. With pies, it really depends on which one. Erythritol wouldn't work for a very sweet pecan pie (used as a 1 for 1 sub for the sugar and/or the corn syrup) but it might be okay for the lesser sweetener requirements of pumpkin.

The problem with brownies isn't that they are dry but that they contain bitter chocolate and/or cocoa which needs to be compensated for with a lot of sugar. When you start swapping out that much sugar with e, it's always going to be a problem regardless of the amount of moisture in the recipe. An erythritol chocolate pudding, for instance, is an iffy endeavor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenwitch2 View Post
I love Erythritol and don't care much for Splenda, but it this stuff keeps challenging me!

My favorite sweetener blend is the ery plus Torani syrups.
Kitchenwitch2, Torani syrups are sweetened with splenda (and ace k). Are you sure you don't care for splenda? Erythritol, splenda, and ace k is one of the best tasting sweetening mixes out there (imo), but the water in the syrup may not be suitable for every recipe. I highly recommend taking the torani out of the equation and using erythritol, splenda and a tiny bit of Sweet One brand ace k. You won't get much sugary texture from this mix, but the taste will be phenomenal.

Last edited by scott123; 12-03-2008 at 05:28 AM..
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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So, I made the black bean brownies and used 1 cup erythritol for the splenda (and obviously, it was an issue) - could I maybe do a 1/2 erythritol and 1/2 toriani syrup mix and potentially get better results?

Hope you don't mind me jumping in
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bobo36us View Post
kitchenwitch.............now you know the problem with Erythritol

I am going to try a combination of Stevia and Sucralose in my next
recipe, without the Erythritol, and see how it turns out.

By the way, which brownie recipe did you make?
Here it is-I halved it and used Calorie Countdown for the cream and water:

THANKS so much for your input!!!! :-)

Ingredients:

* 1/4 lb butter (1 stick)
* 2 cups erythritol (powdered, not granulated)
* 1 Tbsp vanilla
* 4 eggs (room temp is best)
* 1/2 cup cocoa
* 1 tsp salt
* 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
* 2 cups flax seed meal
* 1 Tbsp baking powder
* 1/3 cup cream
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 cup artificial sweetener
* 1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9X13 pan.

1) Cream the butter until fluffy.

2) Add the erythritol to the butter and cream them together until fully combined (aim for a fluffy texture).

3) Add the vanilla and beat the eggs into the mixture, one at a time.

4) Add salt and cocoa, beat well.

5) Add chocolate, beat until fluffy.

6) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine.

7) Pour into a pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until top springs back. (You can also test if they're ready by sticking a toothpick in the brownies. If it comes out clean, or almost-so, they're done.)

8) Cool, then cut into 32 squares. If you cheat and eat one warm, know that the texture will be different once completely cool. That's when they become like real brownies. (They are even better the next day.)

Nutritional Analysis: Each of 32 brownies has 1 gram effective carbohydrate, plus 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and 107 calories.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
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I guess I should say I don't like using gothic amounts of Splenda :-)

Your sweetener blend sounds very good! My only grouse is how much I hate having to order things to be shipped. Davinci/Torani is so convenient and easy to pick up anywhere at all. The recipes I work with best are ones that have with ingredients readily available locally.

With that said, I am much more spoiled than most. I live in Orange County, CA and I have many many many incredibly stocked natural foods stores handily within driving distance. I doubt I can find AceK locally though.

If I am reluctant to continually order decent ingredients, I guess I will have to learn to live with grit :-(
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by kitchenwitch2 View Post
I guess I should say I don't like using gothic amounts of Splenda :-)

Your sweetener blend sounds very good! My only grouse is how much I hate having to order things to be shipped. Davinci/Torani is so convenient and easy to pick up anywhere at all. The recipes I work with best are ones that have with ingredients readily available locally.

With that said, I am much more spoiled than most. I live in Orange County, CA and I have many many many incredibly stocked natural foods stores handily within driving distance. I doubt I can find AceK locally though.

If I am reluctant to continually order decent ingredients, I guess I will have to learn to live with grit :-(
I understand, kitchewitch2, but if you have to order by mail, netrition is a pleasure to deal with, and they have all this stuff, including the Ace-K.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:28 AM   #9
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Actually, it's less dependent on the amount of water in a recipe than it is on the ratio of erythritol to the other ingredients as a whole (and the types of other ingredients used). Muffins work well because they don't have as much sugar content as cookies and brownies. Same thing (to a lesser extent) with cakes and custards. With pies, it really depends on which one. Erythritol wouldn't work for a very sweet pecan pie (used as a 1 for 1 sub for the sugar and/or the corn syrup) but it might be okay for the lesser sweetener requirements of pumpkin.

The problem with brownies isn't that they are dry but that they contain bitter chocolate and/or cocoa which needs to be compensated for with a lot of sugar. When you start swapping out that much sugar with e, it's always going to be a problem regardless of the amount of moisture in the recipe. An erythritol chocolate pudding, for instance, is an iffy endeavor.



Kitchenwitch2, Torani syrups are sweetened with splenda (and ace k). Are you sure you don't care for splenda? Erythritol, splenda, and ace k is one of the best tasting sweetening mixes out there (imo), but the water in the syrup may not be suitable for every recipe. I highly recommend taking the torani out of the equation and using erythritol, splenda and a tiny bit of Sweet One brand ace k. You won't get much sugary texture from this mix, but the taste will be phenomenal.
I am just speaking from experience with recipes, through trial and error (many wasted batches of cookies, LOL). As long as it has enough moisture, it will usually be fine with erythritol and stevia. Brownies contain too much fat and not enough water and can turn "cool" easily.

Erythritol/Xylitol pecan pie is very good! The egg custard has enough moisture to keep the E dissolved. Same with chocolate pudding. Sometimes you have to powder the E first, though.

Last edited by jacksmixedtape; 12-03-2008 at 08:32 AM..
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:20 AM   #10
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I am just speaking from experience with recipes, through trial and error (many wasted batches of cookies, LOL). As long as it has enough moisture, it will usually be fine with erythritol and stevia. Brownies contain too much fat and not enough water and can turn "cool" easily.

Erythritol/Xylitol pecan pie is very good! The egg custard has enough moisture to keep the E dissolved. Same with chocolate pudding. Sometimes you have to powder the E first, though.
Well, I've had a little trial and error myself , but it's my research into chemistry that's given me the most clues as to how erythritol will react in baked goods. Water is not a barrier to crystallization. In fact, water is the pathway by which e molecules find other e molecules and form crystals. It's easy to make the jump in logic that the more water you have, the weaker the solution, the farther the molecules are from each other, and, as you remove water from the equation, the closer the molecules get, the easier it is for them to bond, but... it's just not that simple. It really boils down (no pun intended ) to the quantity of e present, the other dissolved solids, and how these solids act to get in way of e molecules attempting to bond.

Caramel syrup, for instance, has plenty of moisture, but it's physically impossible to make a erythritol based syrup that will not crystallize at room temp. It just can't be done. Moisture is not a guarantee. Muffins, for instance, are usually drier than brownies. If moisture was the secret to preventing the e cooling effect, brownies should produce better results.

I would expect a erythritol/xylitol pie to be excellent, because... the presence of xylitol reduces the amount of erythritol used- the less erythritol, the less likelihood for crystallization.

Fat, btw, doesn't favor crystallization. There are a lot of factors that dictate how fat inhibits crystallization including level of saturation, level of emulsification/presence of emulsifying ingredients, but, like all compounds- anything that can potentially get in the way of e molecules attempting to bond is a good thing.

I can't profess to an even intermediate understanding of erythritol crystallization in baked goods because of the almost infinite number of interactions amongst potential ingredients, but I can say with a high degree of certainty that the only real guarantee that crystallization will not occur is to use ingredients that inhibit it and to use less- a lot less. For me, that usually translates into no more than about 1/4 C. for an entire recipe (in the presence of strong inhibitors such as polyd). Without inhibitors, I'd be scaling it back to even less- probably just a couple tablespoons.

I should mention, though, that I'm a major crystallization phobe. I despise just about any cooling effect that occurs, even the slightest, and am crestfallen by the lost of perceived sweetness that occurs at the same time. Give me sweetness (without cooling) or give me death

Last edited by scott123; 12-04-2008 at 01:24 AM..
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:01 AM   #11
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Crystallization and cooling effect=two different things, right?

Some things I have made are fine for the cooling thing ( like these brownies) but do have the signature gritty crystals. Some have had a stronger cooling effect, but no crystals.

I only started to notice the heavier crystal texture AFTER I started powdering the E. Maybe because I started using more than 1/2 cup at a time?

At any rate I need to play around with the sweetener blend I am using. Hopefully something as close to natural as possible ( stevia?).
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:50 AM   #12
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Kitchenwitch2, in the context of different baked goods, it may seem like crystallization and cooling aren't related, but, in actuality, they are inextricably tied together. Without crystallization, there is no cooling. Conversely, any time you get the cooling taste, crystallization has occurred. Crystallization can occur in different forms, mind you. Granular crystals are an extreme case, but it can also form in less noticeable hairlike crystals- like the frost on windows. Any time you have crystals, though, you have cooling.

Powdering E shouldn't contribute to heavier crystals. If granules are occurring it's because you're using too much of it.

It looks like your trying to move away from splenda/ace k and towards stevia. I'm not much of stevia fan, but I'm sure there are those here who can help. Before you completely make the move, though, I still highly recommend getting your hands on some ace k. I did a quick search and, although I couldn't find it in Orange County, Vons in Inglewood has it (probably a bit of a trek). As CreekWatcher mentioned, though, Netrition carries it. Even if you just purchase the $2 ace k and pay $5 shipping, it's well worth the $7, imo.

Once you've hammered out a respectable non natural blend, you'll have a good benchmark to strive for using stevia.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:41 AM   #13
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Can someone explain to me exactly what "cooling effect" is? Does it make your mouth feel cold? I have used erythritol and I am clueless to what you guys mean by "cooling effect". Thanks for any enlightenment.

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Old 12-04-2008, 10:08 AM   #14
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Fat, btw, doesn't favor crystallization. There are a lot of factors that dictate how fat inhibits crystallization including level of saturation
So what would you guess the ratio is???

How much E can we add to 4 oz cream cheese, and still avoid the "grit"?

What about 1/2 stick butter?

Thanks
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:46 AM   #15
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So what would you guess the ratio is???

How much E can we add to 4 oz cream cheese, and still avoid the "grit"?

What about 1/2 stick butter?

Thanks
Adding to cream cheese and then doing what with it? If we're talking no bake cheesecake, then any erythritol you add will be gritty and cooling because the cheese won't dissolve very much of it. Everything that I've spoken about above relates to re-crystallization/keeping dissolved erythritol in a dissolved state. Whatever you make, you have to get the E dissolved first. A baked cheesecake should hit high enough temps to dissolve all the e, but I don't take chances- I make a syrup first (with my usual high polyd ratio) and then add that to the eggs.

If memory serves me correctly, I believe Kevin swears he can dissolve E by whisking it into eggs, but I can't seem to achieve this. At room temp, E is about half as soluble as sugar- getting sugar to completely melt in cold eggs is no easy task.

I make a syrup for just about everything. It gives me complete peace of mind when working with E. If the E can't crystallize in the syrup (at room temp), then by the time the other ingredients are added, it can't crystallize at all, even when refrigerated.

I'm probably being a little overly paranoid about E in cheesecake. I hear stories about people that just add the E to the batter and get good results. Not much E, though. I would say, for every cup of sugar in a recipe, I wouldn't go above 1/2 C. of powdered E. Crystallization inhibitors such as polyd or not sugar are a good insurance policy.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:31 AM   #16
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I make a syrup for just about everything. It gives me complete peace of mind when working with E. If the E can't crystallize in the syrup (at room temp), then by the time the other ingredients are added, it can't crystallize at all, even when refrigerated.
Thanks, good idea. Will help eliminate the "wondering" when it comes out of the oven.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:54 AM   #17
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Bobo, just add powdered E into the cream cheese frosting until it's sweet enough. If you use a sweetener combo (like stevia and erythritol, or Splenda and erythritol) you will reach the desired sweetness level looong before you get any cooling effect. Never happens with my cream cheese frosting.

Honestly, working with E isn't that complicated once you get a feel for it. No one has ever had a problem with any cake/cheesecake/frosting in which I used erythritol. Anyone can do this!

I'm not refuting your info, Scott. You are very knowledgeable, and those with the means and the time to take advantage of your advice likely appreciate it very much! Just saying what gets results for me. As long as people rave, that's good enough!
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:35 PM   #18
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Keeping this thread...a good one.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:37 PM   #19
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Can someone explain to me exactly what "cooling effect" is? Does it make your mouth feel cold? I have used erythritol and I am clueless to what you guys mean by "cooling effect". Thanks for any enlightenment.

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Think of the way your mouth feels when you suck on a menthol cough drop - that's pretty much what a lot of erythritol will do for you!
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:33 AM   #20
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Scott thank you for checking on the local supply for Acek for me. Inglewood is quite a drive, and not a very scenic one either.

I will order the AceK at Netrition and give it a whirl.

I am a vegetarian and organic food type person (before the diet), so that is why the chemical sweeteners go against my grain. But as you say, it is wise to have a jumping off point for various the sweetener blends. What do you think of Sweetzfree?

Thanks again for all your help!!!!!
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:27 AM   #21
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Kitchenwitch2, I was a vegan for about 6 years before making the move to lc. Artificial sweeteners 'go against my grain' as well. I've done copious amounts of research on ace k, and, to be honest, it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. The reality, though, is the only alternative sweeteners with a proven track record when it comes to safety are the sugar alcohols and those either have digestive issues (maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and, to an extent xylitol) or are difficult to work with (erythritol). Other than those, everything else is suspect in my book, including stevia. When it comes to potential health issues, I trust very few sweeteners.

Sucralose (Splenda/Sweetzfree) seems safe for the time being, but who's to say what 10 or 20 years will bring? Nothing else comes as close to the taste of sugar, so I do begrudgingly use it, but I go to great lengths in order to use as little as possible. This is one of the reasons why I combine sweeteners.

With the synergistic boost that you get from combining, you're able to use far less sweetener overall. When I add an almost microscopic amount of ace k to a recipe, it allows me to use considerably less splenda. I save money and I lessen the quantity of questionably safe ingredients. The less splenda I use, the happier I am.

Conversely speaking, the more erythritol I can squeeze into a recipe without the dreaded cooling effect, the less splenda I need, the happier I am as well. This is one of the reasons why the ex vegan in me loves polyd/inulin so much. Polyd/inulin, as I've mentioned elsewhere, are as crunchy as granola. Not to mention:

More polyd = increase sugary texture (gooeyness/chewiness) = more non cooling erythritol = less artificial sweeteners.

Polyd does present digestive issues, but, to be honest, I'm far more willing to pay the price of some potential excess gas/laxation than the, imo, far greater potential price of long term excessive sucralose use.

In other words, if you want to minimize your intake of artificial sweeteners and get the best results from erythritol while maintaining your connection to Mother Earth, get some polyd or some inulin*

*While inulin is a little less processed, I contend that the two are the almost identical. If you're a stickler for processing, though, spend the extra money on the inulin.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:11 PM   #22
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Scott, thanks again for all the detailed information-it has been and will continue to be very helpful.

Today I made peanut butter fudge again, and this time I *dissolved* a half cup of powered E in a half cup of SF Torani hazelnut, then added stevia to make up the difference of the second cup of sweetener.

The result is a creamy, non gritty beautifully textured and very tasty fudge. So I think I will try the dissolve/syrup route as much as possible from now on!

For today, I kicked grit's butt and I am HAPPY!
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:08 PM   #23
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First, Scott123, nice to have you back with us. All of your knowledge and work with polyd is wonderful.

Second, Kitchenwitch, care to share that peanut butter fudge recipe with us?

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Old 12-13-2008, 04:36 PM   #24
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Hi Sherlyn
The recipe for the fudge is just the basic one everyone has-butter, peanut butter, cream cheese, whey powder and sweetener. I cut back the whey powder and added cocoa powder instead.

My sweetener blend was E, Torani hazelnut and Stevia. Everything turned out wicked good.

Next round I am going to melt some Lindt 85 and swirl through.
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