Friday, November 13, 2009

Sun Crystals all-natural sweetener review.

I was recently invited to try Sun Crystals, a new sweetener that you use in place of sugar. I tried the granulated blend, which has the look and feel of actual full-on sugar. It makes sense, because Sun Crystals are made from sugar cane and stevia. According to the material they sent with the product
"[Sun Crystal] starts with two plants -- sugar cane and stevia -- nourished by the sun and celebrated for their natural sweetness.

Native to the highlands of South America, stevia is a small flowering plant that has been used as a sweetener for centuries around the world. Now it is being discovered and embraced in the US.

We use only the perfect blend of stevia and pure cane sugar, unlike other natural sweeteners that blend with sugar alcohols. Sun Crystals is a delicious all natural sweetener that's delightfully low in calories"
Sun Crystals are not a non-calorie product. They have 8 calories per serving (one teaspoon), compared to 16 for sugar. The calorie difference is actually a bit larger, though, because Sun Crystals are twice as sweet as sugar, so you use half as much in baking, etc. If you normally use two teaspoons of sugar, which would be 32 calories, you would use one teaspoon of Sun Crystals, which would be 8 calories. So, you would save 24 calories.

All of this is great but what really matters is how the product works. I tested out the granulated blend in my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Instead of regular sugar, I used half the amount of Sun Crystals. The first thing that I noticed was that it made the cookie dough taste a little odd. OK, sure, eating raw cookie dough might be gross, but I have to admit that I do it. I can't help it! I just love to sneak a taste when I'm baking!

Anyway, the dough tasted a little different. It was more of an aftertaste, I guess, almost a slightly sour aftertaste. It's hard to describe.

The cookies though, were completely normal. They puffed up and browned just like cookies made with regular sugar. And they tasted just the same. I didn't notice any difference at all so I consider that a big win. Since my recipe called for a cup of sugar, I used half a cup of the Sun Crystals, which meant I reduced the calories in the cookies by a lot.

Overall, I like Sun Crystals. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners so I like that I can reduce the calories in a recipe without using anything fake.

You can buy the single-serving little packets at most grocery stores (the packets contain a non-granulated version of the sweetener, perfect for adding to coffee). The granulated crystals are available at these stores:
  • A&P
  • Bozzuto's Inc
  • Giant Carlisle
  • H.E.B.
  • Larg
  • Marsh Super Markets
  • Meijer
  • Price Chopper
  • Shur Save
  • Smart & Final
  • Spartan Stores
  • Weis Markets
You can also buy them online at the Sun Crystals web site here.

If you'd like to get your hands on some samples, fill out the form here and Sun Crystals will send you some.

Happy Friday!

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