Monk Fruit Sweetener Experiments
For the last week I have experimented with monk fruit sugar. Of course the package I ordered happened to be little sachets of sugar I opened individually to use in half a cup or cup quantities.
I have mixed feelings and will of course elaborate but my short answer is: it depends what you are using it for, coffee? Cookies? Cake? It seems to have a reaction with liquids better than with higher fat contents.
"A 2014 study suggested that erythritol [the common filler for monk fruit sweetness] is harmful to fruit flies. As such, agricultural companies may be able to use it as an effective pesticide that is safe for human consumption."
I have to start with this dissapointing observation: because of Monk Fruits has a super sweet property (100- 250 times sweeter than cane sugar), and the need to add erythritol to create the same sweetness as cane sugar while maintaining 1:1 ratio to cane sugar for use, you are basically eating and cooking with erythritol not monk sugar. So dissapointing to me BUT I am more motivated to try this experiment again using pure monk fruit!
Monk fruit sweetner has a cooling sweet sensation in your mouth. I would describe cane sugar as a warm sweet sensation in my mouth. I wouldn’t consider the cooling sensation a plus for monk fruit, personally it makes me feel like I’m having fake sugar. Better than aspartame though.
It doesn’t seem to dissolve in higher fat content ingredients like butter leaving the granules texturally visible and paletable. In liquids it dissolves super easily and thoroughly allowing the tastes to be more like cane sugar.
I tested it in coffee and tea, dissolves well and tastes super.
WHIPPED CREAM TEST:
The whipped cream made with the monk fruit remained more granular in the however tasted a bit sweeter than the cane sugar whipped cream. I DID use granulated sugar in the other test (even though I usually use powdered sugar). The 3/4 people who tested it for me said it was sweeter but they did notice the granular texture. - not deemed a bad thing, just noticeable.
SUGAR COOKIE TEST:
I also made sugar cookies. (I used my sugar cookie recipe) The cookies were just OK.
Texturally my dough was dry and cracked, the monk sugar didn’t whip with the butter like regular sugar does. If I were to do it again I would add a bit of milk to my cookie batter with the monk fruit assuming it would decrease the brittle dough and dissolve the monk sugar. I feel the sugar soaks up liquids? And I hypothesize it is because of the naturally occurring sweeter additive (erythritol) that allows for the monk fruit to be at the same sweetness level as cane sugar for a 1:1 conversion convenience for use. Other sweetness have this chemical reaction with water, I was unable to find research to back this thought but did find my observation to be true for other sweetners (like with Sorbitol).
It bakes similar, the color was white and you see speckles of the monk sugar in it.
Fresh out of the oven: you didn’t taste the sweetness at all in the cookies.
After a couple hours: it was about the same sweetness but not the same texture (a bit more brittle and crumbly) than the cane sugar.
After a week: the speckles are VERY visible, and the flavor of the cookie is much sweeter and very cooling in your mouth.
I had a total of 13 people test my cookies. The heart cookies were Monk fruit and the stars regular sugar cookies. Of the 13, 8 said they prefer the star, 3 couldn’t tell a difference, and 2 said the hearts were better. Perhaps stick to cane sugar for your cookies? Or at least your sugar cookies for sure.
Monk fruit sugar (top) Granulated sugar (bottom)
I also made banana bread (my recipe) again same recipe just different sugars.
While preparing the batter the Monk Fruit sweeter was thicker than the granulated cane sugar (normal) batter.
Once baked the cane sugar had more spring to it when I pushed on it. More resistance with the monk sugar banana bread. (bottom cake is Monk Fruit sweetener one).
I don’t like that there are additives (erythritol), to begin with, but understand it is a naturally occurring sugars they add that doesn’t alter your blood sugar and is basically just poorly absorbed by the body so you don’t get the glucose spike from it that you would with regular cane sugar. The additive is important because monk fruit is naturally VERY much sweeter than regular sugar. Erythritol allows you to use it as a sugar substitute with a 1:1 ratio.
I asked my dad to test himself it with his glucometer throughout the week with the star and heart cookies I gave him and he said he still gets a mini spike but definitely not as big as when he eats the cane sugar cookies.
I have read a ton about it during the last week and still am not convinced. I would love to know your thoughts and experiences!
I would love to find a PURE form of monk fruit and find a way to add it to my baking without the erythritol and see how this all
would turn out!