Sugar-free shortbread

Zero shortbread

Zero shortbread

One person who received a cookie tin this past Christmas is diabetic and needed cookies that could be dipped into coffee and was completely sugar-free if at all possible. I dislike Splenda, so when I saw Wholesome Sweeteners’ Organic Zero sugar substitute at a visit to Planet Organic, I thought it would be a perfect substitute. Zero is actually erythritol – a natural sugar alcohol that is marketed as a zero calorie product (actually 0.2 calories per gram).

Erythritol can cause a minty flavour when mixed with water or chocolate. It is also not as sweet tasting as sugar, so if you’re using it and looking for the same sweetness you have to add more erythritol.

It was hard to find a recipe that used only just erythritol; most mixed it in with Splenda or other sugar substitutes. I was happy to find a shortbread recipe on the actual Wholesome Sweetener web site.

I ended up having to toss the whole thing.

I followed the recipe to the letter, except that I used whole wheat all-purpose flour instead of white. In both taste and texture, the baked cookies tasted nothing like shortbread. Instead, it was more like bread or more moist oatcakes. They weren’t sweet at all. In fact, they were pretty bland. These weren’t going to work at all.

Organic Zero Crunchy Shortbread
Adapted from Wholesome Sweeteners
Makes approximately 24 cookies.

8 oz butter or margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup Organic Zero
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted (used whole wheat)
Pinch of salt
Extra Organic Zero

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

Beat together the butter and Zero until combined. (The Zero may stay in crystalline form for a while, but don’t worry, it melts.)

Add the sifted flour and salt and work together to form a crumbly dough, then knead lightly for a few moments to bring it all together. (Be careful not to overwork the dough.)

Dust a rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 3/8 inch.

Using a small cookie cutter, cut 24 cookies, rerolling the trimmings as you go. Place the cookies on the baking sheets with enough room for them to spread just a bit.

Sprinkle the cookies with extra Zero and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Cool the cookies for a few minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

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