cooking sugar-free with xylitol
As many of you who follow the I Quit Sugar journey know, my preferred sweetener is rice malt syrup and stevia for a number of reasons, which you can catch up on here. But I’ve also mentioned before that xylitol is one of the very few safe sugar alcohols and works a treat for baking.
Nat is an acupuncturist, herbalist, natural fertility educator, writer, blogger and natural health expert…and mum!… and has often helped us with our I Quit Sugar programs, most recently helping to answer questions on our I Quit Sugar Facebook page program. Nat has been following I Quit Sugar from the start, and also lives sugar free. In her new book, Nat has joined forces with Andi Lew to inspire women of all ages to be healthy by eating plenty of healthy fat.
Nat says: Xylitol is another alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, and may be used safely in small amounts. Derived from the birch tree:
- it is widely used in chewing gums as it inhibits bacterial growth and reduces the incidence of cavities.
- it tastes exactly like sugar, and is especially good for diabetics and those who are hypoglycaemic.
- it’s safe: a 1986 study verified Xylitol’s safety and it received the highest and safest ADI (acceptable daily intake) rating.
- it can be purchased from health food stores and you can use it as a sweetener in drinks and baked goods.
- it has 40% less calories than sugar.
- it’s also plant-derived, which means it’s natural, unlike aspartame, which has been known to be carcinogenic and affect the digestive system.
Xylitol like anything is really safe in small doses and like with all our recipes, these were created as ‘treats.’ Xylitol in larger doses (more than 50gm per serve) may have a laxative effect, just like many fruits would – so be aware that overdoing may see you visiting the loo more than usual! There are no other reported problems associated with xylitol in healthy doses – and like all foods we encourage our readers to eat a variety of fresh whole foods.
Nat has also shared two xylitol recipes from her Eat Fat Be Thin book.
Nut and Yoghurt Tart
- 3 cups of almond meal
- 2 cups xylitol (for the base and the filling)
- 120g coconut butter
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1.5 cups of yoghurt (we prefer sheep’s milk yoghurt)
- zest and juice of one orange
Preheat oven to 180 C. Combine almond meal, xylitol, coconut butter and 1 tsp salt in a bowl then rub ingredients together with fingertips. Spoon half the mixture into a lightly greased (with coconut butter) and lined spring form tin, gently pressing to evenly cover base.
With the remaining mixture add egg, yoghurt and cinnamon to remaining crumble mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Pour over prepared base and smooth top. Bake until golden (30-35 minutes). Cool in pan on a wire rack to room temperature then serve with extra yoghurt.
Orange and Chia Seed Cake
- 2 oranges – tops removed / cut and scored with a cross about 3cm deep
- 6 organic free range eggs
- 250g xylitol
- 250g almond meal
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 tblsp soaked chia seeds
Preheat the oven to 160 C. Place the prepared oranges in boiling water and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from the water and puree the whole orange, including peel in a food processor, until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl; mix the eggs and xylitol until light and fluffy. Add the almond meal and baking powder. Mix until combined. Stir in the orange puree and soaked chia seeds. Pour the mixture into a 22cm cake tin lined with grease proof baking paper. Do not use foil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until firm, but still moist. It may need to cook for up to 50 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool there.
Note: This cake is a really wet cake and can stay fresh for a few days. It can be served warm with sheep’s milk yoghurt dolloped on the side. The almond meal provides aa gluten free treat and once again high in protein. This is a twist on the traditional orange and poppy seed cake, but the chia seeds are very high in essential fatty acids. It’s a great way of consuming chia seeds.
Nat and Andi are generously giving away 5 copies of the ebook version ($12.95) of Eat Fat Be Thin on my blog today.
Simply comment below to be in the running to win. We will randomly select five winners by 5pm Friday 25.