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Thursday, 31 January 2013


As a family we do not use large quantities of refined sugar. The only time I ever use it is in my baking and that is usually for a treat rather than the norm. Over the years I have tried several artificial sweeteners in my baking but have never been converted and always revert back to the normal household brands of sugar. While I was out shopping last week I came across a new product by Tate & Lyle called Light at Heart. This is a combination of Brown Sugar and a Stevia Blend and has 50% less calories. I shook the container and could tell that the sugar was granulated (I hate the powdery substance of artificial sweeteners) so in the trolley it went.

Since buying the product I have done a bit of research into Stevia and I think it would be fair to say that there is a divided camp when it comes to the safety of consuming Stevia products. The plant has been used for centuries in South America as a natural sweetener, it has almost zero calories and studies have shown that it significantly inhibits the development of dental plaque. On the flip side it has negligible nutritive benefits (but then neither does refined sugar) and there is this small camp who maintains that more research needs to be done before allowing Stevia to be used in food products. For me the positives outweighed the negatives and I know we will not be consuming large quantities so I was keen to try it out.

I decided to try it out on something simple first so went for these easy pancakes and a blueberry sauce. Now what I didn't notice on the packaging was something it said on the back *as it's twice as sweet, only use half as much* My blueberry sauce was very, very sweet so I would definitely have been able to use half the quantity. By the time I made the pancakes I was a bit wiser and only used half my usual quantity of sugar and this time the taste was perfect. More to the point - there was no artificial taste normally associated with low calorie sugars/sweeteners.

The next step now is to try baking one of my tried and tested cakes to see how it compares. I will let you know how I get on.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 - 4
  • Juice and zest from 1 large orange
  • 70 g sugar or 35g Light at Heart sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • 2 tsps cornflour mixed with a small quantity of water to form a paste
  • 350 g fresh blueberries
  • 115 g self rising flour
  • 30 g butter
  • 50 g sugar or 25 g Light at Heart sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 80 ml milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Add the orange juice, zest, 70g (35g) sugar and water to a pan and heat until simmering.
  2. Stir in the cornflour paste and continue to stir until mixture thickens slightly.
  3. Add the blueberries and stir gently to combine.
  4. Leave to simmer for approximately 5 minutes.  The blueberries should still be whole.
  5. Remove from  heat and leave to one side.
        To make the pancakes
  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.        
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Add the egg and stir lightly to mix.
  5. Add enough milk at this stage to make a thick pouring batter.
  6. Lightly grease a heavy bottomed frying pan with butter.
  7. Using a tablespoon, pour a spoonful of the mixture into your heated pan.
  8. When the surface of the pancake begins to bubble turn it over to cook on the second side.          
  9. Serve with natural yoghurt (or a dollop of cream) and blueberry sauce.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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At 31 January 2013 at 08:55 , Blogger Lauren Roffey said...

Thanks for sharing this Angela - I did see the Tate & Lyle Light at Heart in the supermarket last week and wondered what it would be like. The pancakes with blueberry sauce looks and sounds great so I will be interested to see how you find it gets on in a cake.

At 31 January 2013 at 09:56 , Blogger Angela Darroch said...

I was pleased with the result today so hopefully the cake bake goes well too.

At 31 January 2013 at 12:55 , Blogger The Happy Whisk said...

First, excellent photo. Really well done. Second, I use Stevia in a few things and am playing with it as well. Sometimes I do a combo of turbinado or demerara sugar with the Stevia. It's not too bad, really.

And I also love organic raw sugar - the real stuff, Rapadura sells. There is no caster sugar in my kitchen. I dislike it and just don't bother with it. That might change if I take baking classes but for now, it's not welcome.

But yeah, how about that extra sweetness. Yikes, they aren't kidding.

Happy Experimenting.

At 31 January 2013 at 22:24 , Blogger Mich PieceofCake said...

Your pancakes are so enticing! I love that photo of all the blueberries dripping down... juice and all

At 1 February 2013 at 04:37 , Blogger Angela Darroch said...

I had to google turbinado because I had never heard of it but it sounds similar to what I used in this post. I am definitely going to try and use less refined sugar in my baking.

At 1 February 2013 at 04:39 , Blogger Angela Darroch said...

Thanks Mich - I'm still finding it difficult to take photos as it is winter here. Can't wait for Spring.

At 1 February 2013 at 10:36 , Blogger Angie's Recipes said...

o my...these pancakes are killing me....I have just told myself that I should cut down the intake of carbs...and now these pancakes...too delicious to miss in life!

At 1 February 2013 at 14:42 , Anonymous Suzanne Perazzini said...

As always, your dish looks gorgeous. I have been using a bit of stevia but it is quite expensive here. I am in the pro-camp for now. Who cares if it has no nutritional value as long as it adds sweetness without all the negatives and health issues of refined sugar, agave sugar, corn syrup etc. Good on you for using it and trying to get away from table sugar.

At 3 February 2013 at 14:36 , Blogger Angela Darroch said...

Yes, I think I would struggle to cut down on my carbs. What about all that lovely bread you keep making?

At 3 February 2013 at 14:39 , Blogger Angela Darroch said...

Tks Suzanne. There doesn't seem to be many reasons not to use Stevia so I think it could become a regular item in my trolley.


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