Peanut butter cups

I just stumbled on a recipe from Sarah Wilson’s book I Quit Sugar on chocolate butter cups (great book by the way, for anyone else on a sugar-free journey :)). That made me think, that this would be another good use for the fudgy chocolate I made the other day!!! Homemade healthy peanut butter cups – yum!

Main (blog)

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

Makes around 12 cups.

For the chocolate – follow the recipe for Fudgy Chocolate on one of my other posts.

The only other ingredient is peanut butter. Either you can buy some (make sure you check the labels – lots of them have added Palm Oil and sugar in it – I buy one called 100% Nuts which is exactly as it says on the label, only nuts). Or even better, make your own (I do this when I have time, it’s cheaper as well).

Variations to this recipe:

There is no end to the flavors and substitutes that you can make. As someone else commented on my fudgy chocolate recipe (thanks Anne) – you can swap the vanilla essence with mint essence! You can also substitute the peanut butter with any other nut butter you can think of – or, how about adding in homemade Nutella, white chocolate, mashed banana, or anything else your creativity might inspire – do share if you think of something new!

Directions:

Make the chocolate mix and tip it into something which is easy to pour from (I used my measuring cup). As soon as you have stopped stirring the chocolate it will start separating. This is actually what I really like about this recipe. The ‘liquid’ part will harden into crunchy chocolate whilst the ‘thick oozy’ part will shape into chewy fudgy chocolate. Use this to have some fun. Pour the two different densities into separate containers. I poured in a little liquid in all the cups first. Now pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes.

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Take it back out the freezer (don’t leave it for any longer or the rest of your chocolate mix will get to dense to pour). Now spoon a little peanut butter in the middle of each cup. I choose to add a little peanut oil to my peanut butter to make it runny as you bite into the final product (but this also means that you will get a flat line of it as in the top picture). If you want more peanut butter in your cup and for it not to touch the sides, all you have to do is not add any oil. Then it will be dense enough to dollop and form a ball, rather than spread out.

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Now pour on a layer of the thick chocolate and wait for it to spread out evenly. Then pour on a finishing layer of the liquid.

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Then, pop the tray in the freezer and let it set for 30-60 minutes. Your peanut butter cups are now ready to use and will have a crunchy layer on bottom and top with soft peanut butter and chewy chocolate in the middle. You can keep them in the freezer for storing OR in the fridge if you are eating them within a week (regardless, they taste best when they are at fridge or living room temperature depending on your taste – they take about 15-30 minutes to ‘defrost’ when they come straight out of the freezer). Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes like this you can always follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

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Fudgy chocolate

This recipe was a little bit of luck. I had run out of dextrose to make chocolate chips for another recipe (mint chocolate chip ice cream – will post later this week), so I used glucose syrup instead. Rather than hard and crunchy, this chocolate turned out decadent, chewy and fudgy! This chocolate can be used for anything – add as chips in ice cream, cupcakes or cookies or just eat as a treat.

Main (blog)

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

100 grams cocoa butter

3 tbsp glucose syrup

2 1/2 tbsp cacao (or cocoa)

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Directions:

Measure out your cocoa butter.

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Then chop it up and melt over a water bath. Then add the glucose syrup whilst stirring and keep stirring until it has dissolved as much as possible (it will separate a little bit and the syrup will stay at the bottom. You may find that it doesn’t dissolve completely, that’s okay, it will still turn out fine).

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Take off the heat, add in the rest of the ingredients and stir some more.

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Then pour into a container (lined with a baking sheet) or make into chips or other decorative  shapes (just keep in mind that if you go too thin the end shape will bend at room temperature due to it’s fudginess). It will naturally separate into layers of liquid and dense chocolate (as seen by the different brown colors in the photos below. I love the different texture in bars etc. However, if you want more fudgy, chewiness rather than crunch, add more syrup and chocolate or reduce the cocoa butter.

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Then freeze until it has set (10 min – 30 min) and chop up and use for whatever purpose you desire! Or, you can keep it in the freezer for whenever you have a craving for it – after 10 seconds out of the freezer it has softened a little bit and you can munch away (depending on the thickness you may have to be patient a little longer if it’s completely frozen – the thicker you go, the longer it takes to ‘defrost’). Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes like this you can always follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

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Using dextrose (glucose) in cooking and baking

Glucose powder loose (blog)

What is dextrose? Is it the same as glucose? What is it used for in baking? How is it different from regular sugar? How do I substitute dextrose for sugar in a recipe? Is glucose syrup the same as corn syrup? Where do I buy glucose / dextrose? This is your ultimate post on glucose / dextrose, read on to find out the answers to your questions 🙂

What is dextrose (glucose)?

Dextrose is a form of glucose. Dextrose = D-glucose, hence, the terms dextrose and glucose are used interchangeably. It’s also sometimes called corn sugar, grape sugar, crystaline glucose, wheat sugar, rice sugar or rice syrup.

The full name is dextrose monohydrate and it is a simple sugar generated from the hydrolysis of starch, most commonly corn. The corn starch is treated with naturally occurring enzymes (they same as in our mouths) or acid. There is no way around the fact that this is a processed product, but at least it simulates natural occurrences (when we eat starch, it’s hydrolyzed by enzymes and broken down further by stomach acids to for example dextrose).

Wait, hang on – I thought this was a sugar-free blog? 

I’m glad you asked. There are so many people, blogs, sites and books out there now with a “sugar-free” label. Despite that label, you may often find the following sugars in the recipes: Agave nectar, honey, brown rice syrup, glucose syrup, dextrose powder. Read about agave nectar here (to be honest, I fail to see this product as being healthy for anyone) and read about honey here (depends if you are overweight, diabetic or neither, but generally avoid it).

When it comes to brown rice syrup (also known as rice malt syrup or rice syrup), glucose syrup (also know as liquid glucose) and dextrose powder, these are all broken down to 100% glucose in our bodies. Glucose can processed by every cell in our body and is the brains main source of energy. So, not all sugar is ‘evil’, we do need some (our brains main source of energy is glucose). You just need to withdraw from your fructose addiction first before starting to swap to glucose. And even then, everything in moderation! Glucose does raise your blood sugar (blood sugar = glucose). The good part is that you will stop craving sugary things and your body will actually be able to tell you when you are hungry for real and how much you should eat. Your body has a well functioning appetite control. Unfortunately it gets over-ridden by our fructose addiction. Check out this great video from Dr. Robert Lustig which explains all the differences:

So, the main bulk of my family’s diet consist of healthy, unprocessed, home-made foods and I only sweeten with fruit such as banana and unsweetened apple sauce. However, when I would like a special treat or have friends coming over, and want to make cakes or muffins, or for physical activity, I do use dextrose (glucose). I am also currently finding out more about and experimenting with the natural (non-blood-sugar-raising) Stevia, Erythritol and Zylitol.

USING DEXTROSE/GLUCOSE IN BAKING:

Generally glucose for baking and cooking uses comes in two forms: Powder and syrup. The powder looks a lot like icing (powdered) sugar but is not quite a fine and it is only 50-75% as sweet as regular sugar. By regular sugar, I mean caster sugar (or brown sugar or raw sugar) = sucrose. These are all made up of glucose and fructose (usually in a 1:1 ratio).

Glucose (powder):

So far (I will keep updating this post when I learn new things), I have found the following (as per David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison): You can substitute sugar straight over for glucose but you need to increase the wet ingredients or decrease the dry ingredients as glucose absorbs more liquids that regular sugar. Furthermore, it seems that if you cook with glucose and it’s not covered (e.g. as in my granola) you need to reduce the temperature to around 160C (320F) as it will otherwise get a burned taste, however, if the glucose is mixed into for example cake mix, I have had no problems or burnt taste from keeping the temperature at 175C (350F). In pretty much ever other regard when it comes to baking, it acts exactly like regular sugar.

Glucose powder 2 pic (blog)

Glucose syrup / liquid glucose:

From my experiments I have so far found that you can swap this for honey in any recipe where the honey is used to make the end product sweeter (obviously honey has a distinct flavour which you don’t get from the syrup). Liquid glucose tastes sweet, but not as much as honey, however, it certainly is as thick and sticky!!!!

In contrast to glucose powder which absorbs moisture (and therefore needing extra liquids added to a recipe), glucose syrup keeps the baking moist and soft (and keeps it from going hard) as long as you don’t use too much, then it goes sticky. It is also often used in icing and ice cream to keep it from going too hard and give it that smooth texture.

NOTE: Glucose syrup is commonly derived from corn or wheat but can also be made from potatoes, rice and cassava. If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy you can safely eat glucose syrup (see more here).

Glucose syrup runny 2 pic (blog)

What’s the deal with corn syrup? Is it the same as glucose syrup / liquid glucose?

Yes and no. Well that was helpful right? The thing is, it depends on who defines it, the retailer and the country. In the US, glucose syrup is often called corn syrup because, in the States, it’s most frequently produced from corn. Makes sense, right? So, glucose syrup can be corn syrup but corn syrup isn’t necessarily glucose syrup. The difference is that corn syrup often has fructose added and the water content is slightly higher. So, if a recipe calls for corn syrup and you can’t get a hold of it, because it’s too expensive where you live or because you are avoiding fructose like me, just use glucose syrup instead and add a little extra water to the recipe (like a teaspoon or two).

In conclusion:

I find it easiest to remember that glucose swaps for regular sugar and glucose syrup swaps for honey. However, keep in mind that glucose is less sweet. I have tried quite a few recipes doing this straight swap and ‘sugarholics’ liked them all the same. Myself, now that is a different matter. I actually don’t feel much like sweet things (wow, it feels nice to be able to say this), so when I fancy an occasional treat, I will make a recipe with only 1/4 of the sugar that you would put in a traditional recipe. I now find the amount I used to crave sickly sweet.

Most of the recipes I have on my blog are a happy medium – sweet enough to bring along to visit friends (who will like it) and not too sweet for myself 🙂 So, if you are a fellow ex-sugarholic, you may be happy with the recipes as they are or possible cut down on the glucose (don’t forget to leave out a bit of liquids if using the powder version). In the opposite end, you could be a massive sugar fan and want to add in more (and then needing to add some liquid ingredients if using the powder version).

Where can I buy dextrose / glucose?

Where you can buy dextrose depends on which country you live in, but in most places you may find it at super markets, speciality stores and home brew shops (it’s used in beer and cider brewing too).

New Zealand: The powder in the top main photo I got from my local bulk shop in Auckland (Bulk Food Savings, by far the cheapest I have found at NZ $3.50 per kilo – it’s at 217 Dominion Rd but you access it from Walters Road where the Wendy’s car park is). You can also find it in home-brew shops and sections, but mainly I have seen it in the local supermarkets in smaller containers (Examples above: King Glucose – NZ$8.73 per kilo and Queen Glucose syrup – NZ$4.80 per 500 gram tub at New World). **prices updated March 20th 2015**

USA: If you have a home brew shop near you, this is probably always the cheapest option to buy dextrose powder, if not, this is the best deal I’ve found if you just want to get it shipped to your house via Amazon: Dextrose Corn Sugar 21 oz (600 gm)* (US$5.84 including shipping – US$2.4 per pound) or if you want a larger amount and cheaper by the pound: Corn Sugar 4lb* (US$14.61 including shipping – US$3.7 per pound). If you need glucose syrup (liquid glucose) please be aware that this is a minefield if you care about fructose content – on the description it sometimes says glucose and then it arrives and it’s really corn syrup (with fructose in)). I would suggest this one: Caullet Glucose Syrup – 2.2 lb* (prices updated March 20th 2015)

UK: Coming soon!

Australia: Coming soon!

Need some recipes using dextrose / glucose?

I can recommend trying the recipes in the book Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie – I have been using some of his tips and tried a few recipes. The only thing is that, for me, the recipes take some adaptation to be gluten and dairy free too (but hey-ho, I’m practically an expert in that now).

You can of course check out my recipes too (and to see more posts like this, follow my blog by email, see top right, or like it on Facebook or Twitter). Here are some recipes (using glucose) from my blog (click on the pictures to see the recipes/blog post):

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*Please note that these are affiliate links. I only recommend products that I think is a good deal (because, why would anyone want to pay more than you have to if it’s the same product and quality, I have a family to feed too and always trying to save money) and are the soundest choices I have found (no dubious, unhealthy product for me thanks!). If you do decide to buy via these links you will support this page and help me keep going and bringing new great articles and recipes to you 🙂 

 

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