A few weeks back, the makers of two new (to me at least) sweeteners asked me to sample their products. I am always in for that when I can see that it is something that benefits our low carb lifestyle and contributes to making my family as healthy as possible. The sweetener combinations are really nothing too new to most of us. Many low carbers love to use erythritol based blends. I love the synergy of combining it with stevia to get what I think is the perfect sweetness. I also have tried some with Monkfruit, and while I also like it, I cannot tell a huge difference in the flavor profile. But then, judging sweetness seems to be a very personal thing. Our tastebuds seem to be as different as our personalities. I hate to ever tell someone which type is best or how much sweetener to use in a recipe. It always want to put a disclaimer--"Your mileage may vary." You may see me cop out from time to time and write "sweeten to taste."
I tend to need more sweetening power than some folk . Could be that I was a teen in the saccharin era. I remember when diet Dr. Pepper came in the blue can. I had to force myself to like it. Then, once I did, seems I couldn't stop diet sodas. I probably burned out my sweet sensors a bit like my husband ruined his hearing with seventies rock music. But if you still want my opinion, here goes.
I like erythritol and stevia blends best for most every application. Drinks, baking, and desserts. I sometimes can taste a cooling effect but it doesn't bother me too much. The brand I am using for this recipe did not disappoint at all. It is from Natvia USA, a company which already has a great reputation in Australia. Maybe some of you readers are leaps ahead of me here. The flavor was clean and crisp. The packaging was wonderful--my inner artist loves the look! It comes in a canister for baking or small tubes for our on the go lifestyle. The tubes have the sweetening power of 1 tsp sugar. I am used to packets being stronger, so that bothered me at first.( It was shocking to realize how sweet I like my coffee) I do really appreciate, however, that this is a spoon to spoon, cup to cup equivalent. That makes recipes so much easier! The only drawback I can see, is the price. I understand that we have to pay more for quality products. Health comes at a cost, sadly. This company has gone the mile to assure that the products used are non GMO, and that means a lot these days. It uses the best sources of stevia as well. "Unlike some other stevia based sweeteners Natvia only use the purest part of the Stevia plant, Reb A, to ensure no bitter aftertaste." --Nativia Facebook information page
To make the wonderful Blueberry Chia Jam that is the delicious secret hiding in the center of these muffins, I used the Norbu Sweetener with Monkfruit. Just what is a monkfruit? The answer: an Asian melon, with an extract 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. Combined with erythritol, Norbu created a blend that is just a little sweeter than table sugar. Maybe it was just my tastes, but I seemed to need more than the conversions indicated. My canister said 1/2 tsp Norbu equals 1 tsp sugar, and the website indicated a 2/3 measurement of the Monkfruit blend to regular sugar. In this case, I really think you need to taste as you go. Some think the Monkfruit adds a natural, brown sugar quality of sweetness. I don't know that I discern that, but it is a little more natural and less white looking that the stevia blend. Not sure if that matters. I liked the taste in the jam.
Now to the jam. I hate paying for pricey sugarfree preserves. They are easy to make on the stovetop. This jam is wonderful stirred into Greek yogurt or to top a Minute Muffin. Even better, add them inside a muffin batter like I did in this recipe. It adds moisture, flavor and no frosting necessary!
Blueberry Chia Jam
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp Norbu sweetener (opt. plus 1 tsp)
In a small saucepan, heat berries and lemon juice, stirring often. When berries begin to soften, use the side of a spoon to break many of them. Add vanilla, chia seeds and Norbu. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Let cool. Add additional sweetener if desired.
24 servings at 11 calories 1 net g carb
Country Comfort Muffins with Blueberry Chia Jam
1/4 cup Natvia (divided use)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp vanilla
3 tbsp Blueberry Chia Jam
1 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Measure 1/4 cup Natvia sweetener. Remove 1 tbsp and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, remaining sweetener, salt, and baking powder. Melt coconut oil and add to the bowl. Break two eggs into the bowl and stir well. Add cream and vanilla, stirring until smooth. (If the batter becomes too stiff with cold ingredients added, place the batter into the microwave for 20 seconds to rewarm the coconut oil)
Place a heaping tablespoon of batter into 6 muffin cups which have been paper lined or oiled. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the batter to the edges of the cup. Place a generous 1/2 tsp jam in the center of each muffin. Divide the remaining batter over the top of the jam in each muffin cup. Gently smooth the tops to seal the jam inside the batter. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Melt butter in a small dish. Brush the top of each muffin with butter, then immediately sprinkle with the remaining Natvia sweetener to create a crunchy sweet crust.
Makes 6 muffins, each: 167 calories 2 g net carbs 15 g fat
I think you will like these muffins. They are delicious and good for you as they can be! One of these days, maybe everyone will have these healthy alternatives to sugar available locally and inexpensively. Until then, let's get on the bandwagon to let everyone know we don't have to settle for life with blood sugar spikes and extra calories for good taste, and we don't need to consume artificial ingredients to have the sweet taste we crave.
If you would like to learn more about Norbu, take a look at norbusweetener.com or visit the FB page.
For more on Natvia, go to natvia.com and the FB page
To order the products, visit their Amazon store. tinyurl.com/AmazonNatvia
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A Table for Two here.