Peanut Buter Cookie Bites (a diabetic recipe)

     Although I am not a proponent of artificial sweeteners, I needed to prepare a sugar-free cookie for someone with diabetes. Of course there are pros and cons of products such as Splenda® and, I found several interesting articles online; “Are sugar substitutes bad for you?” seems to address both sides of the issue. 
     Although I am drawn to sweet treats and desserts, my overall motto is “moderation is the key,” and I try to limit sweets to special occasions or to those situations where that I can share the treats with others.
     I found the recipe that follows on the Splenda® site and then made a few adjustments (they are underlined). The original recipe also incorporated honey – I removed it and, found the cookies to be sweet enough without the addition; but. I did increase the butter by one tablelspoon.
     Although the Splenda® site offers recipes, there are times when someone may want to adapt a favorite recipe to use an artificial sweeteners. For tips, click on Cooking and Baking with Splenda®. On a further note, several years ago when a family member was diagnosed with diabetes, I found a reference saying that Splenda® can be substituted “cup for cup” for sugar. This time, around, however, I could not find that addressed on their site, so I contacting McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, makers of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Granulated  – the company’s Email response is included at the end of the recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bites      Makes two dozen
5 tablespoons margarine or butter softened  
1 cup natural creamy-style peanut butter
Mix 1 Tbsp. flax seed meal with 3 Tbsp. water,
whisk together & let set for several minutes.
This is equivalent to one the 1/4 cup egg s
ubstitute called for in the recipe.
¼ cup egg substitute or, use 1 tablespoon flax seed meal and 3 tablespoons water 
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1.     Preheat oven to 350°.
2.     Beat margarine (or butter) and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, approximately 1 minute.
3.     Add egg substitute, honey and vanilla. Beat on high speed for approximately 1½ minutes.
4.     Add Splenda® Granulated Sweetener and beat on medium speed until well blended, approximately 30 seconds.
5.     Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small mixing bowl. Slowly add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, beating on low speed until well-blended, about 1½ minutes. Mixture may be crumbly.

6.     Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls (I used a tablespoon-capacity dipper) and drop onto a lightly oiled or parchment lined sheet pan, 2” apart. Flatten each ball with a fork, pressing a crisscross pattern into each cookie. Bake 12 minutes or until light brown around the edges.

7.     Cool on wire rack.

Response from McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, makers of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Granulated:  
     SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Granulated delivers the same sweetness as sugar on a volume basis. It can be used cup-for-cup and spoon-for-spoon in place of sugar in most recipes where sugar is used as a sweetener. This would include recipes such as muffins, quick breads, puddings, pie fillings and beverages. SPLENDA® Granulated works best in recipes where the main role is to provide a sweet taste. For example, SPLENDA ® Granulated  works well in custards, fruit or custard pie filling, cheesecake, cobblers, sweet sauces, marinades, glazes, salad dressings, shakes and sorbets. It also works well in quick breads, muffins, cookies and pies.  
     For candy, fudge and some other recipes, sugar not only sweetens, but also contributes to the structure and volume of the finished product. In recipes where the amount of sugar is quite high and sugar plays many other roles in the product's structure and texture, such as meringues, caramel, pecan pie and angel food or pound cakes, complete substitution of SPLENDA® Granulated for all sweeteners may not yield optimal results. In these types of recipes, use SPLENDA® Sugar Blend. SPLENDA® Sugar Blend is a mix of SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener and pure sugar. It acts more like pure sugar - it rises, spreads, browns, and helps retain moisture in baked goods.
     Our kitchen has developed dozens of delicious recipes available at or by calling 1-800-7-SPLENDA (specialists available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m - 8:00 p.m. EST). Our recipes are all developed for optimal results and require no modification. 

Additional cooking and baking information:
1.     Volume/Height  Sugar contributes volume to many recipes. When baking cakes, switching from 9" round pans to 8" rounds pans with 2" sides will help achieve a high cake. You may also try adding 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every 1 cup of SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener.
2.     Creaming —When creaming butter or margarine with SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, your mixture will appear less smooth than with sugar and may separate upon the addition of eggs. This is normal.
3.     Texture — Sugar can play an important role in texture.  Cookies often rely on brown sugar for their chewy, crunchy texture. Therefore, replace only the white granulated sugar in your cookie recipes.  In jams, jellies, puddings and custards, sugar lends a thickening quality. With SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, these recipes may be slightly thinner or soft set.
4.     Flavor — You may wish to enhance the flavor in cookies, puddings and custards by adding an additional ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract per cup of SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener.
5.     Moistness — Sugar helps to keep baked-goods moist. In muffins and quick breads, the addition of one-two tablespoons of honey and molasses will help retain some moistness and provide flavor.
6.     Yeast Activation — SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener will not activate yeast.  Maintain at least two teaspoons of sugar in recipes calling for yeast and replace the remaining sugar with SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener.
7.     Spread — Cookies often rely on sugar to spread. Should you substitute all the sugar for SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener in your cookie recipe, you may need to flatten your cookies before baking.
8.     Browning — Baked goods made with little or no sugar do not brown like recipes made with sugar.  To help achieve a more golden brown color when baking with SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, lightly spray the batter or dough with cooking spray just before placing in the oven.
9.     Bake Time — Recipes made with SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener may bake more quickly than those made with sugar. Check your baked goods for doneness a bit earlier than the original recipe states.  
a.     Cakes:  check 7-10 minutes before stated bake time
b.     Cookies, Brownies and Quick Breads: check 3-5 minutes before stated bake time. 
10.  Storage — Baked goods made with SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener will stay fresh for 24 hours, when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you wish to keep your baked goods longer, wrap well and freeze. Consult a sugarless canning cookbook for instructions on sugarless canning.

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