I am having a slight sugar issue. Everywhere I turn there are sugary treats, candy, and chocolate, and it's slowly making me crazy! Cookies and pastries and snacks I don't have much trouble ignoring, but chocolate, that is my weak spot. I have the hardest time turning down chocolate. And I always find myself justifying it in some way. I've had enough though! I need to cut it out NOW. It's making me feel tired, sluggish, and gross. I really need to amp up my protein and fat intake and cut out the crap. Well, crap to me anyways. That leads me to my next point. The blogosphere is swimming with posts about sugar substitutes, sugar swaps, unrefined this and refined that, maple syrup vs. honey vs. molasses vs. sorghum, you name it. And people get into crazy heated arguments. Stevia is a natural zero calorie sweetener! No it's POISON! Splenda gives you cancer and is made of Chlorine! Agave will shut down your pancreas! Ahhhhhhhhh! It's really insane. I personally used to bake with splenda and quite liked the taste, but have since moved on to stevia, which I'll admit, can taste bitter and have a strange aftertaste. I haven't tried erythritol, not because I have some moral opposition to it, but because it really only works in wet applications and that just seems like a pain to me. And then the other natural sweeteners, no matter their glycemic load whether its coconut sugar or date syrup, agave or honey, I just won't do. It's still sugar, and I'm still not interested. I felt like making something completely free of any added sugar or sugar substitutes today. The result was a somewhat cakey cookie and very very subtly sweet, barely a hint of sweet at all actually, and if I hadn't been having so much chocolate lately I probably would have appreciated it much more.
I don't eat bananas anymore but I still hoard them for baking. A nice brown banana is like gold to me. If for no other reason than I love to make banana bread as hostess gifts. So today, while contemplating how much stevia I'd need for these PB cookies, I decided, what the hell, lets try it with just a banana.
No Sugar, Grain-Free Flour-Free Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
1 cup all natural PB preferably unsalted, or try Sunbutter if PB is a problem
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 overripe banana, mashed
Combine mashed banana with egg and vanilla, then stir in PB, cinnamon, and baking soda. Drop by the teaspoon-full onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20min or until browned. Usually these recipes call for 1 cup of sugar instead of a banana, which in turn yields a much drier, more crumbly cookie. I would have definitely preferred a crunchy crumbly cookie but using a cup of stevia in the raw would have been disgusting and there really is nothing like real white sugar for getting that chewy but still crumbly texture. If you want a very subtly sweet cookie and like PB and banana together this will be a really nice treat to have around. Best of all, it's got folate, potassium, protein, and good fats. I could give one to S with breakfast and not feel guilty about it. Is it the best cookie ever? No. Will it satisfy your after-dinner snack-tooth? Yes. And maybe it will help me pass up a piece of sugar-laden chocolate too.
How do you feel about sugar substitutes? Do you use them? I've read that using erythritol and stevia together is a good combo. Have you baked with agave? Coconut crystals, or nectar? I'd love to hear what you guys use, what you like, what you don't like. It seems that different brands of stevia can taste totally different too. I've heard NuNaturals is good, and then there are those that like Truvia, and others still who say it's the devil. People get really nutty about sugar.