Stevia is a South American herb with a sweetness that’s 300 times greater than sugar. Since Boris is from South America, it was no surprise to me that stevia comes from his homeland—being the sweet guy that he is and all! He’s waaay more than 300 times sugar’s sweetness! Anyway, I’ve been intrigued by stevia for some time now because I’ve read that it’s actually good for you. As hard as it is to believe, stevia actually helps stabilize blood sugar levels. This is amazing considering the terrible things sugar does to our blood sugar balance. So I tried a few products (mostly protein powders and drink powders) that were sweetened with stevia and didn’t like the taste. The best way I could describe it was like electric licorice. But, since I don’t give up easily, I thought I’d get my own stevia and see if I could make it work for me.
I bought a bottle of pure stevia extract called SweetLeaf Stevia Extract made by Wisdom Brands, about .9 oz for about $10. After realizing how little you use in recipes, I figure it will last me a couple of years.
There was another brand that looked like it had way more in the bottle (about 4 oz.) and cost about the same, but after looking closer at the ingredients (Boris’ suggestion), I realized that they had used a filler to pump it up. I thought that if I want to investigate this stuff, I need it to be pure.
After a couple of quick experiments, I came to realize that the trick to using it is not to try for an end product that is super sweet. Just use enough to bring out a sweet taste that balances with the other flavors. The usual substitution with sugar is 1 cup of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of stevia, but I would recommend that you use maybe 1/3 or ½ of a teaspoon of stevia per cup of sugar instead. That means that if you’re putting it in your tea or coffee, you would just put the slightest dusting on a spoon.I made a small batch of oatmeal cookies and some coconut tofu pudding and they were great! I tried another thing that was really crazy that I won’t tell you all the details about, but it involved frozen celery and a blender and it was horrible (although Boris claims he liked it)! So here are the two good recipes I’ve made so far:
Sugar Free Oatmeal Cookies 10 cookies
¼ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup barley flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts
1 ½ Tablespoons flax seeds, ground
¼ teaspoon stevia extract
Optional: ½ cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons canola oil
½ cup vanilla almond, soy, or rice milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam or other spray oil.
Mix all ingredients except oil and milk. Stir in oil and milk. Spoon onto oiled
cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until lightly browned around edges.
Coconut Tofu Pudding Serves 4
12.3 oz. box Mori-Nu Silken Tofu, Firm
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond, soy, or rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon stevia extract
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Use more or less
almond, soy, or rice milk to get it to the thickness you want. Adjust stevia amount to your
taste. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. It will thicken a little more in the
refrigerator and the flavors will blend and mellow.
This is great spooned over bananas or other fruit.