Looking for Your Sugar-Free Shelf Stable dessserts
June 19, 2015 4:09 AM   Subscribe

Pretty much what it says on the tin. What is a good sugar free (or as low sugar as possible) dessert I can make that travels well amd doesn't require refrigeration?

I've been going on regular weekend climbing trips for the last couple of months. I've met some great people. This next week is going to be one guy's last time. Baking is kind of my thing and I'd like to make a tasty treat for the group. Normally, I'd whip up whatever, but a lot of the group is trying to limit their sugar intake. This is so out of my baking purview especially with the added complications that extended refrigeration isn't possible at the campsite and I'm currently living in Asia so many of the specialty ingredients that I've seen in low sugar gluten free recipes(flax, agave nectar, etc) are not readily available . So please, hivemind, give me your best recipes.
posted by FakePalindrome to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
First thing that comes to mind is agar agar cake. Your can make it pretty and celebratory and use as little sugar as you like or any kind of artificial sugar. I also like the version where you mix agar agar and coconut milk ("cho cho").
posted by zennie at 4:21 AM on June 19, 2015

posted by corvine at 4:24 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some kind of granola bar?
posted by nkknkk at 4:40 AM on June 19, 2015

Best answer: Dark chocolate melted with dried fruit and cut into bars.
posted by metasarah at 5:06 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Macaroons, you can add as little sugar as you like, plus dip in dark chocolate.
posted by waving at 6:22 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Baked goods -- especially things like cookies and brownies -- are a real challenge for low carbohydrate eaters. And while gluten free eating has many foods in common, it's definitely not the same thing.

If artificial sweeteners are okay with your group and you can get sucralose, aka Splenda, that opens up some possibilities like this brownie recipe. Using almond meal instead of wheat or rice flour will also help, but they are not always swappable. A number of these recipes call for things you might not have access to, but could offer some ideas. If you want to test things for sugar free-ness, you can usually Google an ingredient and "carbohydrates." Most low carb eaters I know try to keep intake under 15g per serving.
posted by gnomeloaf at 6:45 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I make oatmeal cookies that have whole wheat flour but all the sugar is replaced with Splenda and sugar free maple syrup. Here's the recipe.
posted by artychoke at 6:51 AM on June 19, 2015

Really really dark chocolate, like 85%, has a dessert-y feel with surprisingly little sugar. Either bring as is, or melt some and use it to coat things like nuts.
posted by the_blizz at 7:20 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hmm. I'm a low carb, whole30ish climber type who hangs out with a lot of that ilk.. I think that substituting stuff and coming up with Splenda cookies is going to get a lot of polite demurrals from that crowd because to me some of these suggestions sound gross and I would rave over it politely but secretly not eat any. (And things like agave and maple syrup are sugar...). Think about what you've seen your friends eat for treats on that trip and let it guide you.

I think the bits of dark chocolate are spot on, fruits and nuts to flesh it out. Maybe a coconut that the guest of honor gets to smash with a hammer and roast some pineapple over a camp stove? Make it festive with some sparklers and a big jar and colorful pieces of paper where people can write down well wishes and memories for the guy leaving.
posted by cakebatter at 7:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Most of the time, as a Type 1 diabetic, I just take insulin and eat regular-sugar cookies because sugar substitutions can be gross, but one cookie I've found that works really well with Splenda or its equivalent are "Forgotten cookies" - meringues with chocolate chips and nuts that you leave on low heat overnight and "forget" about. They are light, airy, low-carb/calorie and delicious. Googling the name should get you all sorts of recipes, including one from the Splenda company, but as I'm usually the recipient of these cookies rather than the baker, I'm not going to suggest a particular recipe without having tried.

(And yes, using agave/maple syrup/etc definitely doesn't create low-carb goodies, because they are sugar.)
posted by ilana at 9:16 AM on June 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I would generally give Splenda and artificial sweeteners like that a pass. I love aspartame in my Diet Coke, but not so much in my desserts.

I would aim for something that's more on the healthy-ish side of sweet, and then people can moderate their portions according to their diet needs. For example, I used to make these breakfast cookies with a few substitutions, and they were pretty tasty but also relatively healthy. Personally, I went a little sweeter and substituted a 1/4 cup sugar for the banana, but you can definitely stick with the banana. I also increased the oats from 1 cup to 1.5 cups and added an extra tablespoon or so of flaxseed to try to counterbalance the extra chocolate chips and make it a bit more filling as a breakfast cookie. I think I might have added an extra egg yolk or something, as well. And sometimes I substituted almond butter for peanut butter and other times I just left it out completely. I didn't notice much of a difference either way. It's a pretty forgiving recipe, so you can make a couple of test batches to see how it turns out.

I'm guessing the flax seed and whole wheat pastry flour will be the toughest to get your hands on. I've also made them with regular whole wheat flour and with plain white flour and with a half and half mix. If you can get whole wheat flour, they'll be more dessert-like if you do half and half. All whole wheat made them a bit tough, iirc. (It's been awhile since I made them.) Flax seed is more for added health, so should be fine to leave out. Also, cinnamon, peanut butter, and vanilla are nice but okay to leave out.

Oh, and these are definitely shelf stable. I used to make a batch and then keep them in tupperware on the kitchen counter for days.

You might also look into more savory treats to bypass the sugar angle all together, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head. The dark chocolate with fruit and nuts is good too, although if you're going to be somewhere where it gets hot the chocolate may not hold up very well.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:59 AM on June 19, 2015

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