Monday, August 24, 2009

Sugar-Free Lemon Bread

My Venture into Figure-Friendly Desserts

I've been getting a lot of requests to post recipes for sugar-free desserts. I have several in my repertoire and plan to post more in the future. Figure-friendly desserts do not have to be bland and uninteresting. My batootie is big enough already so I'm thankful I don't have a sweet tooth. Every once in a while, however, I get hungry for something sweet. When I do, I particularly enjoy desserts prepared with fruits such as crisps and pies. I think that sweet-tart desserts are especially yummy. That's why I like this one.

This recipe is a variation of Ina Garten's Lemon Cakes. If you can afford the extra calories, try her original recipe sometime. The cakes pack a strong lemon flavor but I wanted to make them lighter. The flavor boost from ingredients like lemons is important when making sugar-free or reduced-sugar desserts. It also helps to mask some of the aftertaste that some sugar-free sweeteners can have.

Sugar substitutes are a great way to reduce you sugar consumption – but they are not perfect. Sugar does more than just sweeten foods. It also helps them to brown properly and can dramatically affect the texture of baked goods. Sugar substitutes, therefore, should not be truly called substitutes for sugar. They merely mimic sugar's sweetness but not its other qualities. However, for the big cost-savings in empty calories, I'm willing to put up with blonder baked goods with less-than-optimal textures. If prepared with regular sugar, this one loaf of lemon bread would have added more than 1500 empty calories to the loaf!

Don’t prepare this dessert and compare it to the original recipe. It's hard to find a sugar-free dessert recipe that stands up to a similar dessert prepared with sugar. It's not fair, after all, to make a hamburger with white turkey meat and then say it’s better when prepared with prime beef. Don’t call this diet food. Call it a tasty lemon bread – that happens to be sugar-free. Enjoy – and happy desserting!

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Sugar-Free Lemon Bread
(Printable Version)

4 TBSP butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 TBSP Splenda
Zest from 3 to 4 lemons (depending on their size)
1/2 tsp table salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 TBSP buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Lemon Syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Splenda (or to taste)

Lemon Glaze
1 cup Splenda (or to taste)
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter, Splenda, lemon zest, and salt until light and fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the eggs and mix, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until just combined (don't over mix).

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, pour in the batter, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 35 minutes or so). Leave the bread in the pan for 10 minutes to cool. While the bread is resting, combine the lemon syrup ingredients. After the bread has rested for 10 minutes, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a sheet pan. While the bread is still warm, slowly spoon the lemon syrup all over the bread – allowing it to soak into the bread as you add it. Allow the bread to cool completely.

When the bread has cooled, whisk the lemon glaze ingredients together and drizzle it all over the top of the bread.

1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna have to make this for my mother in law when she comes to visit...she loves lemon and has to watch her sugar intake.

    Your blog is great, Vince......oh what recipes!!!!


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