There seems to be a lot of talk about sugar alternatives. I have a difficult time replacing the cane sugar that is used everyday in our house with a chemical. Recently, I had the opportunity to try Stevia Extract In The Raw.
Stevia is a shrub that is native to South America. Stevia Extract in the Raw is made from the plants leafy foilage. These leaves produce the extract which is 300-400 percent sweeter than sugar and it’s 100 percent natural. In spite of the recent buzz around Stevia, it is not new. In fact, it’s been used as a sweetner for over 400 years!
Math is not one of my better subjects. I’ve tried products in the past where you have to calculate the exchange. Stevia Extract in the Raw is easy to use as it measure cup for cup with sugar. I like that.
When the package arrived, my family gathered around. We first passed around the bag of Stevia Extract in the Raw. It was light in comparison to the same amount of sugar. When we opened the bag there was a puff of dust and Li’l Man cheered it smelled good. We poured a little out and did a taste test. It was old-school: lick your finger, roll it in the Stevia Extract in the Raw and put said finger in mouth.
The texture of Stevia Extract in the Raw is much finer than sugar. It doesn’t have that course granulated feel. On the tongue the taste was incredibly similar to sugar, though alone it did have a slight after-taste.
Our first comparison experiment was the kiddos making their Kool-aide. We used 3/4 cup of the Stevia Extract in the Raw. The Divine Miss M noticed right away that it dissolved better than sugar. When it was made, the kiddos couldn’t tell the difference, however, Hubby complained it had an after-taste. We did a blind taste test and he could tell which glass was made with sugar and which was made using the Stevia.
One of my favorite past-times is baking. I really enjoy baking bread, cake, cookies and anything else I dream up. I replaced the sugar in my sticky bun recipe (1/2 cup). I didn’t notice much of a difference in the texture of the dough. I did find it difficult to roll my bread ropes in the Stevia mixed with cinnamon. It was too fine for it to build up on the dough. As a result the sticky buns weren’t nearly as…well…sticky…as we like ’em.
We then tried our homemade pudding recipe (1.5 cups). The substitution seemed to work well on this recipe. The texture and flavor was very similar if not the same. I did notice that the recipe seemed to make less than it does with sugar. The packaging says to use pans 25% smaller than I normally would and this was an example of why.
The Stevia Extract in the Raw website offers a collection of recipes. While I have not tried any of them, they may be the place to start. While Stevia Extract in the Raw is cup for cup of sugar, it is suggested that liquids be increased for more moisture by adding an extra egg or replacing butter with oil. I’m more prone to just not use the Stevia where sugar is the creator of texture and gooey–like the sticky buns.
I was delighted to discover that Stevia Extract in the Raw is made by the same folks who make Sugar in the Raw. I use Sugar in the Raw often, mostly for decorative baking and I love, love, love it in Ice Tea, though I have to melt it over the stove to get it to dissolve.
As someone who struggles with weight, I tend to watch my calories and Stevia in the Raw is a great zero calorie option for the sweetness I crave. While the finger taste test left a hint of after-taste, I found it to be less unpleasant than the after-taste of a diet soda.
If food storage is important, Stevia Extract in the Raw has a shelf life of four years. It is compact, taking up less space than sugar. It also comes in a resealable bag, making storage once opened a greater convenience than the paper packaging of sugar. It is also gluten free, which makes it great for gluten-free cooking and for those with Celiac disease.
My kitchen uses a lot of sugar and a 9.7 oz bag disappeared quickly. It is not as economical as sugar, but my waist line didn’t expand as much and Li’l Man seemed to have a greater tolerance for the Stevia than he does for cane sugar.
Stevia Extract in the Raw is available in grocery stores nationwide or via their website.
*I received Stevia Extract in the Raw in order to facilitate and honest review. No other compensation was received. The opinions, where expressed, are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others experiences may vary.