It’s been six months since I gave up sugar, and I’ve been well and truly smug about how easy it’s been. Sorry about that, people that I work with. It has come back to bite me in the bum however. Because its Christmas, see. The time of chocolate and thank you baking. The time of gingerbread and family traditions. Crackers – after this first week of December, I wanted to fold like a two legged table, but after getting a bit of inspiration from Sarah Wilson‘s Sugar-free Christmas ebook, I realised I CAN do this; it’s not going to be that hard, plus the benefits of not having the kind of ahem tummy troubles that can haunt me around Christmas eating, plus still being able to fit into my current clothes, really would make the effort that much more worthwhile. Sugar-free Christmas? Challenge accepted!
First up is this Cinnamon Spiced Butter. The beauty of this is it’s a piece of piss very easy to tune to one’s own personal taste.
Half a stick of butter (Australian stick that is) which equals 125grams
Rice malt syrup
I used about 2.5 tablespoons of the rice malt syrup and 2 heaped teaspoons of cinnamon because I like it a lot. Feel free to taste and adjust accordingly, because you can – it’s that accommodating.
Cube the butter, put it in your food processor or Thermomix if you are lucky enough to have one, put in the other heap of ingredients and blitz…or Thermo it for 20 seconds on speed 5. Taste test…and then when you’ve got it right put it into a pretty jar. Yes it might look like peanut butter, but this is good on pancakes or French Toast instead of syrup, or on toast with peanut butter or banana, or even by itself for some sugar-free cinnamon toast.
And for my next trick: Sugar Free Meringues
…but don’t pay too much attention to how they look – I got distracted by something shiny and beat the crap out of them. That’s how I do kitchen stuff.
4 egg whites
A pinch of cream of tartar
5 sachets of Stevia
A wee capful of almond essence
In the interests of full disclosure, I have to start by saying I don’t like stevia. The rest of the family have embraced it in my baking, but I can taste it in a way that I don’t like, despite trying to mask it with essences, cocoa and alcohol. I prefer to use rice malt syrup for all of my sweet replacement but in some recipes, like this one, it would not work. Of course I could have made these with no sugar/sugar replacement at all…but then I would be lynched. Also…I don’t like meringue. I know, heathen right? Or am I just such a wonderful self sacrificing martyr to make such delicacies in my very precious time for those that I love? I think you know which one.
With a clean electric mixer (or if you want an impromptu gym sesh, then a clean bowl and whisk) beat egg whites until frothy. Then add cream of tartar and whisk hard on highest setting until there are moist peaks, add in your stevia and essence of choice, and whisk for another minute max (this is where I failed). Dollop dessert spoonfuls on baking paper lined trays and bake in low oven for 90 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
To be honest you can’t really go wrong, my fail just changes the look of them and considering I am going to do an Eton Mess with these using berries and cream, it doesn’t really matter what they look like. And that’s where the beauty of meringues come into their own…you can make meringues, Eton mess, pavlova…great Christmas delights all. Blech.
My personal plan is to make Janelle Bloom’s upside down Berry Pavlova with the recipe from this book.
So…so far so good, and here’s a little extra treat…making your own chocolate…because I may be sugar-free but I’m working on buying shares of Well, Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolate….did you know they have a Milk Chocolate out now too? It’s Australian made, and I can’t taste the stevia in that at all!
Do you have tips for a sweet sugar-free Christmas? Any hints on how I can learn to like Stevia more? You have no idea how much I’d like to hear them!