It’s probably a bit dramatic to say I pray everyday for my low carb desserts to taste like real desserts with real sugar, but that’s the general gist of how I feel. I’m filled with hope every time I smell those sweet aromas drifting out of my oven, and yet every time, I find that hope replaced with disappointment when I taste the dessert. I should really have realized long ago that artificial sugar will never taste like real sugar. Just try Coke Zero – no matter how much Coke advertises to the contrary, I can still taste that it’s just not real Coke! It’s as if mother nature made sure we would be punished for our gluttony. Is there any trace of hope then? Are low carb dieters doomed to consume only the first two courses of any prix fixe menu?
“artificial sugar will never taste like real sugar”
Well, not every dessert was an utter disaster. I think we have to live with the fact that it’s never going to be quite as good, but it can be close! I’ve been trying out pure liquid sucralose, which I bought from a very legit and US-based seller on Ebay, and I think it works ok in some desserts. So, the trick I’ve found is to make sure there’s something with a strong taste in your dessert that will cover up the fake sugar taste of the artificial sweetener. For example, I recently made a low-carb cheese cake. This turned out surprisingly well (especially considering I hardly ever bake and had never made cheesecake prior to that occasion!). The cheesecake recipe called for some lemon and vanilla, which covered up the sucralose taste quite well. I could still detect that it wasn’t real sugar – but if you don’t try to think too much, you could be mistaken… Cinnamon is another good masking agent. I made some sweet cinnamon crackers with liquid sucralose and flaxseed meal, which also turned out well.
“make sure there’s something with a strong taste in your dessert that will cover up the fake sugar taste of the artificial sweetener”
So what were the disasters? Chocolate. Chocolate and artificial sweeteners simply do not mix well together. Dark chocolate is naturally bitter, and you want the sweetener to balance out that bitterness, but all you end up tasting is a bitter taste with a sickly sweet twinge that makes you crumple your face in disgust. I even tried to make bacon truffles in the hope that the salty bacon taste would cover up some of that bitterness and drown out the fake sugar taste. I was wrong – even the coconut milk i tried adding to the concoction to mellow out the taste couldn’t save it. It was a treat fit only for the trash. I guess chocolate companies must have carried out those same cooking experiments, made the same crumpled faces, and thrown out the same batches of delicious looking but disgusting tasting chocolate. They then turned to alcohol sugars and made decent tasting chocolates, which aren’t good for you! What to do? I don’t have an amazing solution for this one, but I will keep wasting bars of perfectly good chocolate in my search! Here are a few options if you’re a chocolate-craving low carb dieter: 1) get used to eating really dark 85% chocolate, 2) treat yourself to a little bit of 75% or even 70% once in a while, or 3) try mixing a bit of alcohol, e.g. whiskey, and a tiny bit of sucralose into the melted chocolate to make alcoholic truffles (alcohol is the only thing I’ve found so far to cover up the sucralose taste sufficiently, but you have to really like the taste of alcohol!).
Next step: trying to see if adding a small amount of honey with liquid sucralose will create better tasting desserts.