Low Carb Truffles

These low carb truffles are quick and easy to make with no chopping or cooking whatsoever required. More importantly there’s no added sugars (even natural ones). These truffles also don’t use loads of costly ingredients and those ingredients all can be bought from your local supermarket (though it might not be the cheapest place to get them).

They’re great for a case of the munchies or “that time”. I had been looking for a sugar-free truffle recipe for some time – and found it right under my nose.

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Low Carb Truffles

125g butter                                         2 tsp cocoa
¼ cup Natvia                                    1 cup almond flour
¾ cup desiccated coconut              Extra coconut
1 tsp essence of your choice (vanilla, peppermint, orange, berry, rum etc)

Cream butter and Natvia. Add everything else except the extra coconut and mix well. Roll into balls, then roll in extra coconut. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Low Carb Caramel Slice

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This recipe has been long awaited. Perfecting each layer, only to find they don’t work together, it’s certainly been a challenging project. But finally I’m happy with the result and it’s ready to be and published. Unlike most “healthy” slices of this type, mine doesn’t contain dates, maple syrup or any of the myriad of natural sugars available on the market, so therefore much lower carb than most. I hope you enjoy.

Low Carb Caramel Slice

Base:

125g butter                                                       2 tsp cocoa

¼ cup Natvia                                                  1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence                                      1 cup almond flour

¾ cup coconut                                                A little almond milk or cream

Cream butter and Natvia, add vanilla, coconut, cocoa, baking powder and flour. Mix well, using a little milk – mixture crumbly. Press into greased sponge-roll tin and bake at 180°C for 10 minutes or until just browned. Keep a close eye on the base as it burns easily. Allow to cool.

Caramel Layer:

1 cup water                                                     125g butter

1 t molasses                                                    1/3 cup Nettisweet Gold

¼ tsp stevia                                                     1 tsp glucomannan powder

1/8 t salt                                                           ½ cup cream

2 tsp gelatine

Once the base is cool start on caramel. In a small bowl pour in water, molasses, stevia and salt, stir thoroughly, sprinkle gelatine over top and stand.

Melt butter and Nettisweet in a saucepan, stirring constantly until it’s dissolved. Boil for 3 minutes on low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Microwave gelatine mixture for 20 seconds or until gelatine is dissolved. Stir and add to saucepan, sprinkle in gluccie. Bring mixture back to boil, stirring constantly. Boil gently for 3 minutes. Stir in cream. Pour over base and allow to set.

Optional nut topping:

If you want to top the slice with nuts, they can either go on before or after the chocolate, depending how you like it.

1/4 cup nuts, (hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, or walnuts etc) roasted but unsalted – easiest to briefly roast or toast your own.

Roughly chop the nuts then sprinkle over the top of caramel or on the chocolate while it is still liquid.

Chocolate topping:

¼ cup (30g) your favourite cocoa powder

2 Tbsp Natvia (ground fine in coffee grinder)

¼ cup (50g) coconut oil

¼ cup (50g) butter

6 drops flavoured stevia drops (I use hazelnut)

pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and gently melt to pouring consistency. Gently pour over the surface of the caramel.

Slice can be cut and kept in the fridge or freezer. Softens quickly at room temperature.

Sweeteners

There’s a lot of discussion about sugars and sweeteners. About the only thing that everybody seems to agree on is that refined sugar is bad and we all need to consume as little as possible of it.

Serene and Pearl discuss various sugars and sweeteners at length in pages 181-189 of their book Trim Healthy Mama . The only ones they approve for the THM plan are xylitol, erythritol (these are sugar alcohols) and stevia. Sweeteners containing monk fruit extract are also on plan but even more expensive. All sweeteners have their pros and cons and some people (with stronger wills than mine) just decide to go completely without.

Many people struggle with the bitter aftertaste of stevia and the cool (think menthol) taste of these alcohol sugars. All the different sugar alcohols affect people’s blood sugars and digestion to a greater or lesser degree. Erythritol has the least impact (virtually zero) with xylitol being a close second, though xylitol is poisonous to dogs and birds. Both are less sweet than sugar.

For these reasons I prefer to use erythritol. Combining erythritol and stevia reduces the bitterness of stevia and the coolness of erythritol and also adds bulk to baked goods. Many sweeteners are available on the market that combine these two ingredients, but it is much cheaper to mix your own if you’re prepared to go to the trouble of getting the ingredients (mostly online).

I make my own white sugar substitute using 1 teaspoon of stevia extract to 1 cup of erythitol. This is a double strength mix (use half the amount that you would sugar) which saves money and further reduces the cooling effect of the erythritol. I also make my own double strength brown sugar substitute, which I call Nettisweet Gold (because it’s less wordy that “double strength brown sugar substitute”); the recipe can be found here.

Natvia is the most readily available sweetener of this type in New Zealand. Many people don’t realise it’s not a one-to-one sweetener and that a serving (equivalent sweetness to a teaspoon of sugar) is two-thirds of a teaspoon. In my recipes I label the white sugar substitute as Natvia because of its availability and that it is similar in sweetness to mine.

Here’s a few tips to using these sweeteners:
– Give your taste buds time to adjust – they do taste different, but give it a few weeks (especially without sugar) and many people find they prefer them to sugar.
– Less is more. Stevia extract is extremely sweet – 32 times sweeter than sugar (1 pinch = 1 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon = 1 cup). Start with much less than you think you’ll need – you can always add more.
– The bitterness and strength of stevia varies with different brands. Combining it with erythritol also reduces the bitterness and makes it easier to use.
– Keep your options open and the price down by buying stevia extract powder and erythritol separately rather than pre-mixed.
– Choose your recipe and sweetener carefully. If you dislike the coolness of erythitol choose recipes that don’t have a large proportion of sugar or sweetener in them. Stevia can work fine by itself in most drinks, citrus and tea flavoured items.
– A pinch of salt can do much to balance and enhance flavours in drinks and baking.
– Dissolving the erythitol first can eliminate its cooling effect and grittiness.

Nettisweet Gold

Nettisweet Gold – Double Strength Brown Sugar Substitute

I feel a bit corny giving this recipe a special name, but it’s a whole lot less wordy than the alternative. This is an adaption of a recipe from Gwen’s Nest. I’ve written this double strength version here as I use it in a number of my recipes. I discuss the reasons for this and other stuff about sweeteners in my blog post here

1 cup erythritol
1 tsp Stevia extract
1 1/2 tsp molasses, preferably blackstrap*
4-8 drops extract ie: butterscotch, maple, or caramel

Measure erythritol into small bowl. Add molasses and flavorings, and mix with a fork until it is evenly distributed. Transfer into an airtight container. Use half the quantity in place of brown sugar or 1:1 where Nettisweet Gold is required in recipes.

*Blackstrap molasses contains more nutrients and minerals than other types.
Although molasses is a sugar, the amount per serving is so small as to be insignificant. This can be used in S, E or FP recipes in the THM eating plan.

 

Maple Syrup Substitute

I’m adding this to the brown sugar post as it’s related. I don’t know how it would work as a substitute in baking but as a topping on pancakes etc, I think it’s pretty good. I make in small amounts as it only keeps a few days in the fridge. Thickens when cold, warm to make runny.

1 Tablespoon Nettisweet Gold

1/4 cup water

1/8 tsp glucomannan

Whisk ingredients together in a microwave safe cup. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds at a time until all ingredients are dissolved and it’s slightly thickened.

Savoury Muffins – S

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Savoury Muffins – S

There doesn’t seem to be too many THM savoury muffins around. This one is adapted from a family favourite.

½ cup almond flour
½ cup ground linseed
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup grated cheese
¼ cup chopped bacon (1 rasher)
1 heaped tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 heaped Tbsp whey powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
50g butter
¼ cup water
2 eggs

Mix first ten ingredients in bowl. Melt butter, add water and eggs and whisk with a fork. Pour over dry ingredients and mix. Spoon into muffin pans and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes. Makes 6