Low Carb/Sugar Free Caramel Musings

In Pursuit of Creating an Exquisite Sugar Free Caramel

In an effort to reduce the amount of sugar we eat (ok, ok, I eat), I have been working on creating a sugar-free, chemical-free, naturally sweetened caramel that’s low in carbs and high in natural flavors. I love caramel, but as you know it gets its name from caramelizing the sugar and without sugar, no caramel flavor or color.

I know there are sugar-free caramels, but the majority are sweetened with Malitol (Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that is 75–90% as sweet as sugar and nearly identical properties, except for browning. It is used to replace table sugar because it is half as caloric, does not promote tooth decay, and has a somewhat lesser effect on blood glucose) and are artificially flavored. Most sugar-free ice creams and confections are sweetened with Malitol, since it reacts a lot like sugar with less calories. I think it has a weird aftertaste and add to that fact it has a laxative effect, and I think I’ll pass. There are a lot of nice sugar alternatives on the market, besides Malitol, that I’ve used successfully over the years. I now create my own natural sweetener blend that works well.

Most caramel recipes also call for corn syrup, glucose syrup, honey or similar liquid sweeteners. I’ve never found a corn and low/sugar free corn syrup product until now. This product has a viscosity (color, thickness, pourability) just like corn syrup but without any real flavor and most importantly, no aftertaste. Combine my natural sweetener blend with the new “faux” corn syrup sweetener, fresh cream, and of course, the fabulous Hope Butter, and we have the makings of some good caramel.

Batch 3 of the sugar free caramel...almost there!

My first try at the caramel had a nasty aftertaste. When I say nasty, I mean nasty – worse than diet candies of the 80’s.  I think I blended too much stevia into the “sugar” mix - yuck. Also, it cooked fast and didn’t have any caramel color. I tried creating the caramel just like I do my Award-Winning Sea Salt Caramel. It was a no go.  My second attempt went much better. I was much closer but still not a lot of caramel color but less of an aftertaste.  For my 3rd attempt, I changed up the recipe and sweetener blends, leaving out the stevia. It is great tasting, has a nice light caramel color from browning the butter, has a nice smooth texture, but it too soft. I should have cooked it a few degrees longer.  I’m one step closer to the finished product.

There is nothing better than biting into a soft, smooth creamy caramel – especially when it’s covered in chocolate and it's healthy. I’m shy of saying I have the perfect sugar-free/low carb caramel, but I’m really close. Stay tuned for more updates and when it’ll be ready. Then watch Facebook, Twitter and email for public taste testing events!

Hint, hint…can you say sugar-free salted nut roll….hmmm, yes please!