Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sugar Free Sunday--Cream Cheese Brownies

Welcome to this week's edition of Sugar-Free Sunday! Thanks once again to Chaya of Chaya's Comfy Food for her recipe for Nutty Wild Rice.

This week's recipe is for the brownies I intended to make last week--before I discovered I was out of cocoa! What I did was take my basic, easy, made-from-scratch brownie recipe, substitute granulated Splenda for the sugar, and add a little cream cheese flair. (If you're not interested in sugar-free, leave off the additional powdered milk and baking powder, and substitute the same amount of sugar for the Splenda.

Brownie Base Ingredients:
  • 2 c granulated Splenda
  • 1 c self-rising flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 t vanilla
  • adjusted to add: 1 c powdered milk*
  • adjusted to add: 1 t baking powder*

Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c Splenda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together Splenda, flour, and cocoa until well blended. Add melted butter or margarine, give it just a stir or two to cool the butter, then add the eggs and vanilla. Spread in a lightly greased or cooking-sprayed 9 x 13 pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Splenda, egg, and vanilla. Spread over the brownie batter. At this point, you are supposed to kind of swirl the two together a bit on top. (I had a hard time swirling because my brownie layer was so thin--more on that below.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.

I had a little problem with this--I've made this brownie recipe at least a hundred times with sugar, and they've never turned out this thin. When I made a sugar-free cheesecake last week, I blamed the flour, thinking it was past it's "rise", but I think it may be the Splenda. One thing I've noticed about granulated Splenda, it dissolves in liquid much more quickly than sugar, which is a good thing when you're adding it to a liquid--like when I made the ice box pickles. But once I added the butter and eggs and vanilla to this and started stirring, the batter seemed to "shrink" as the Splenda dissolved. Even though the package states to substitute measure for measure for granulated sugar, Splenda just doesn't leave the same bulk in a batter as sugar.

*Leave it to me to jump ahead without reading directions. I read the front of the Splenda bag where it states "Measures Cup for Cup Like Sugar", but I failed to read the cooking and baking tips on the back of the package until my mother called me and told me look at it. Under "Volume/height", it states that for every cup of Splenda used, add 1/2 c of powdered milk and 1/2 t of baking powder. Makes sense for the bulk, and of course it just isn't going to have the exact same properties as sugar. It also recommends that for "Confections", which I assume to mean candy and the like, to only substitute Splenda for 25% of the sugar. Also makes sense. Keeping that in mind, I've added powdered milk to my grocery list for this week, and I'll be making this again as soon as I get some! Thanks, Mom!

This recipe turned out--okay. Not bad, but not great, either. It wasn't very sweet, it was thin and so cooked up just a tad dry--if I do make this again, I'll either put it in a 9 x 9 pan, or I won't bake it quite so long. I thought about using just a little more Splenda--maybe an additional 1/4-1/2 cup, but I'm afraid that it may add to the "artificial" taste. Splenda is absolutely great in small quantities, and when used in liquid, but I have to admit there is just a bit of different taste in something with such a large quantity, like these brownies.
I'll be making these again next week, but with addition of the powdered milk and baking powder mentioned above.

So how about you? Any experience baking with Splenda or other sugar substitutes?

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

This recipe is linked to:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesday Tastes at Crazy Daisy
Delicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party


  1. I have done a lot of cooking & baking with Splenda and I've found it does A LOT better in recipes without chocolate/cocoa. Also, don't try to use Splenda in an ice cream freezes it up :( Still working on a good way to make SF ice cream at home.

    Glad I've found your have some great looking recipes!

  2. You have to be careful baking with Splenda. They've even come out with a Baking Splenda blend and brown sugar Splenda blend because they know it doesn't always bake up right. These are a blend of regular sugars and Splenda to provide a lower sugar mix that bakes well. You might try that for this recipe. I don't know where it works well and where it doesn't. I made an apple pudding cake with just Splenda and made the caramel sauce with Splenda and it was ok, but really too much artificial taste.

  3. YUM!!!!!! How can you go wrong adding cream cheese to brownies! Thanks.