Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Sugar-Free Dessert

I have been testing out recipe after recipe to find the perfect sugar-free dessert ever since I found out my dad is diabetic, about 2 years ago. I have tried normal recipes with Splenda replacing the sugar, but Splenda changes the texture too much. I have tried recipes from Splenda's website, but they always have some sort of sugar (fruit, etc.), which is ridiculous for a sugar-free substitute's website.

I have grown frustrated with sugar-free recipes....until I came across this Perfect Pantry recipe for sugar free chocolate cupcakes!

I finally got a chance to bake them this morning, Dad's birthday is Monday, so it was the perfect occasion! Now, this recipe was not the ultimate sugar-free recipe, but it's close, very very close! They even got the stamp of approval from my boyfriend, who loves chocolate cupcakes.

Update 10/3/11: These definitely got the approval from my dad, and the rest of the crew! No one even knew that they were sugar-free, which was very surprising to me, because I still think there is room for improvement. Til then, I am going to have to crown this one the Ultimate Sugar-Free Cupcake

Here they are, but I am in no way proud of how they look....I was tired and messed up the frosting a bit.

I was really surprised that they tasted decent, like dark chocolate cupcakes. And the texture was very nice. I used DiabetiSweet instead of Splenda. It has smaller granules, and seemed to not change the texture much.

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup Diabetisweet
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk (Use Silk Soymilk, the version with no sugar added. To me it tastes just like milk, and in a cupcake, you can't tell)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (true pure vanilla extract is sugar-free, you have to get the high-end stuff, no imitation crap)

For the frosting:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli Bars)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 Tbsp Diabetisweet
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp chocolate extract (order it here, or you can substitute brewed coffee)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a small measuring cup, combine cocoa and boiling water. Whisk and blend until smooth, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle beater, combine flour, DiabetiSweet, baking soda and salt. Add butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, cocoa mixture and vanilla. Add 1/3 of this wet mixture to the mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until every thing is combined, then increase to medium speed and beat for an additional 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl, and add another 1/3 of the wet mixture to the mixer bowl. Repeat, until all of the wet mixture has been added and the batter is smooth.

Scoop batter into cupcake tins (It will keep the round shape because it was a pretty stiff batter, but they puffed up nicely when cooked)

Bake 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan onto a wire rack, and let them cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting:

(I just moved into a new house and have no microwave yet; I attribute my difficulties with the frosting with trouble melting the chocolate!)

In a glass measuring cup, heat the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments until it's almost completely melted, then stir until it is smooth, and pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer to cool for a just couple of minutes. If you cool too long, it won't blend very well and chunks of chocolate will clog your piping bag.

Using the whisk beater on your mixer, slowly whisk the cream into the cooled chocolate. Beat on medium speed and add the butter, Diabetisweet, vanilla and chocolate extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes.

Overall, I was very happy with my results. Thanks The Perfect Pantry!!

For next time: I will get a microwave, and try again! i think it could use a bit more DiabetiSweet, and I need to make sure to use completely softened butter. I made it way too quickly because of lack of time today.  

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