Bake Off: How I Cut Almost 600 Calories from a Batch of Chewy Ginger Cookies

I don't use sugar day to day. But I do use sugar when I bake, rare though that is. This time, though, I used Splenda to see what would happen.
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I don't use sugar day to day. But I do use sugar when I bake, rare though that is. This time, though, I used Splenda to see what would happen.
ginger cookies

SPONSORED I don't bake much, but I've occasionally made batches of chewy ginger cookies because they're particular favourites for my dad and me. After a long baking sabbatical (i.e. couldn't be bothered to have my broken stove fixed), I've just finally made them again. And, in the hopes of maintaining or improving upon a recent nearly 20-pound weight loss, I cut just under 600 calories from the recipe with Splenda.

I've been idly curious about Splenda for a while. Some years ago, I whittled away about 50 lbs with the help of a book called 5-Factor Fitness. That was the first book of several -- the latest is 5-Factor World Diet -- by celeb trainer Harley Pasternak, who recommends Splenda as a helpful part of a healthier, fitter lifestyle. I've taken note, but don't use sugar day-to-day -- no need to try a substitute.

Until now, when 1) my stove is fixed; 2) it's holiday baking time; 3) baking requires sugar; 4) sugar helps make yummy chewy ginger cookies; and 5) yummy chewy ginger cookies will give me a chance to find out whether there's a Splenda-taste difference.

My cookies turned out quite well, considering I forgot to buy new baking soda. I emptied out an old box in the freezer so I could snag a quarter-teaspoon amount from the middle -- is that wrong? (Okay, I'll make you a new batch, Dad, promise.)

Splenda packets

The recipe calls for a half cup of white granulated sugar (387 cal), and a half cup of brown (393 cal). I used a half cup of regular Splenda (zero-ish; 1 tsp is practically zero, so close that Splenda is legally allowed to say zero on their packaging), and, as per the conversion chart on the package, a quarter cup of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (184 cal).

I'm not great at math, but that seems like a decent calorie reduction to me: 780 calories from sugar to 184. That's a 596-calorie drop overall. And the cookies taste as they should, gingery and sweet, without a chemical aftertaste.

Check out Harley Pasternak's videos for Splenda on the Splenda Canada Facebook page. There you'll also find links to many more delicious recipes I'd like someone else to whip up for me (sure, I can cook and bake some, but I'd rather someone else did it).

And here's one more from Harley, for panacotta fans (I love panacotta):

Espresso Panna Cotta
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup nonfat sour cream

1 shot espresso coffee, chilled
1 tablespoon finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar substitute

splenda_granulated_pack[1]

Whisk together the yogurt, sour cream, coffee, chopped chocolate, vanilla extract, and sugar substitute until smooth. Pour into two small containers and chill until ready to serve. (Servings: two.) Note: If you want to avoid caffeine, use decaf espresso. You could also try adding a fat-free, sugar-free coffee flavouring such as hazelnut or Irish cream -- Splenda makes those too.

Do you use Splenda? Have you tried Splenda in your baking?

Splenda Granulated Sugar, 275 g, $12.99; Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, 227 g, $4.69; both at well.ca