Splenda Brownies

Here’s a mistake you only make once in your kitchen – making brownies with Splenda.

I wish I had looked online to see what other people’s experiences were with Splenda brownies before I made some the other day. Unfortunately, I believed what it said on the package – that Splenda could be used as a cup for cup substitute in baking and that it’s “great for cooking and baking.”

Actually, the Splenda people have left themselves some wiggle room by using the modifier “most” on the packaging where it says, “can be used to replace sugar in most of your favorite recipes.” I wish they would add the fact and disclaimer that brownie recipes are one of the exceptions.

My first clue that something was wrong came about when I mixed all the ingredients. Normal brownie mix is very thick, but actually liquid enough to be poured from the mixing bowl to the baking pan. The Splenda concoction had the consistency of frosting and had to be scooped from the mixing bowl into the baking pan.

Once it baked in the oven, it barely rose and didn’t spread out like normal batter. Instead of a pan of thick, moist, even brownies, I had a pan of thin (about the thickness of a cookie), uneven, and dry mess of baked brownie mix. While the baked result smelled really good, that was its only redeeming quality.

The taste and texture were terrible. Perhaps then Splenda brownies are the ultimate diet brownies – you never get any calories because they are too awful to eat!

What I am most aggravated about (besides the fact that I didn’t get to eat any brownies, of course) is the money that was wasted. The bad brownie disaster that resulted had to be thrown away so that means not only did the sugar substitute go to waste, but also a whole stick of butter as well as the other ingredients and my time – all gone because the manufacturer can’t bother to list the limitations of the product and give the consumers realistic expectations.

It turns out that Splenda also now manufacturers some new part regular sugar, part Splenda mix (called Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking) for situations in which the product at full concentrations doesn’t work right.

Apparently, the trick is that regular, original Splenda works fine even for baking only in recipes in which the sugar is being used just to sweeten the taste, but it doesn’t work if the sugar in the particular recipe also functions – such as improving texture and volume or caramelizatin, moisture retention, and food preservation.

That’s nice, but doesn’t help me. It didn’t say that anywhere on the packaging I have. I didn’t find all that out until after I went online to research.

Is it really up to the consumer to research something like this before cooking? I simply wanted to make a dessert, not become a food scientist with a specialty in baking.

My time was wasted and my money and food were literally thrown away. Thanks, Splenda. Actually, thanks for nothing, Splenda.

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Update: It’s good to know that this blog entry still helps many people avoid the same problems I had when attempting to bake brownies with sugar substitute Splenda. When you share some experience on your blog, you never know when it will help other people who run into the same issues.

Don’t give up on making your own brownies at home from scratch. It’s still better to bake your own with fresh ingredients.

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