After my sugar free Halloween making green punch and orange colored cookies with Splenda, I decide to get out of the house and see what’s out there. Because the holidays are upon us, I’ve been getting emails asking about dessert gifts sans the sugar and I want to be able to give good recommendations. I hit some bakers’ bazaars and food stores still enchanted with all the sugar-full sweets I see but my eyes have also opened to the sugar free possibilities.
Imagining life as a diabetic or if I were forced to shun sugar for some reason – a truly terrifying thought – I scan what’s before me at these bazaars. I’m fascinated by the scintillating wrappers, the emerging shades of reds and greens and silvers, the shiny slick of frosting on the cakes’ edges. My eyes are sharp, scanning for anything that indicates, “sugar free.” There doesn’t seem to be much on offer at first, but I think it’s a matter of just looking harder. So look I do, driving around the city and asking bakers what sweet alternatives they’ve got. And when I find something sugar free, I feel a frisson of thrill, paying for and clutching it like a Christmas gift.
Here are the first of my finds.
Sugar Free Valrhona Dark Chocolate Cupcake
Jing Osias has a cupcake business that she calls BabyCakes – “… because for me that’s what they are, baby cakes,” she says of her business name. I’ll be featuring her cupcakes in a separate, sugary feature but for now, I’m liking her Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Cupcake made with Splenda. It’s dark and mysterious, as anything made with Valrhona chocolate is. The cake itself is dense, akin to sinking my teeth into a fudgy brownie and being rewarded with equally sumptuous waves of smoke and deep chocolate. The frosting isn’t just playful in appearance, it’s also lighter than the cake itself and moist. Jing says that she makes these cupcakes because she doesn’t want anyone to feel deprived of their sweet endings [just] because their diets won’t allow them sugar. Agreed: everyone deserves to eat dessert.
BabyCakes by Jing Osias
0917 534 5464
On Facebook: babycakesbyjing
Blue Kitchen is a treasure chest of unexpected food finds, one of those stores that I wish we have more of in Manila. I chance upon a container of their Splenda Oatmeal Crisps (P235), they’re thin and lacey and similar to these cookies that I featured last year. Blue Kitchen’s version is shot through with oats, its nubby texture responsible for this cookie’s gradations in flavor. A current of cinnamon carries this cookie along nicely and it’s buttery enough to just hold it all together. This cookie is also flour free – thus, super crumbly – making it acceptable for those on gluten free diets.
The Blue Kitchen
Food For The Gods (eat frozen, optional)
Two foods in fashion for the holidays are fruitcake and food for the gods. I’ve shared a recipe for the latter but this is my first encounter with Sugar Free Food for the Gods. Also made with Splenda, it’s made by a home business called Flor’s Gold. They have an interesting dessert called Flor’s Blitz, a multi-layered cake which has seemingly blitzed the brain of the attendant at the time I visit, because she’s unable to tell me what’s in it, although I see sponge cake, custard, and meringue.
But Flor’s forte – bless her, whoever she may be – is food for the gods. Apparently a legacy recipe, it comes in original, chocolate chip, half and half (I assume a mix of the previous two variants), and sugar free. “Best eaten frozen!” Crows their website, and yes, it’s called Frozen Food For the Gods. I have my own little blitz on the brain moment and leave the bars on my counter overnight but they’re none the worse for tasting. Chewy and another crumbly sweet, there are large dates that pock the crumb, bites of black, moist and sticky alternating with walnuts, roasted and crunchy.
Note: Sweet Alternatives For The Holidays Part 2 will be posted on Tuesday, November 27.