Simple syrup is a common ingredient used to sweeten drinks like coffee, tea, and cocktails. It’s made by combining sugar and water and heating them together until the sugar dissolves. Some people prefer to use artificial sweeteners like Splenda rather than regular sugar to cut down on calories and carbs. But will Splenda work well as a replacement for sugar in simple syrup? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is an aqueous solution made by dissolving granulated sugar in hot water. It’s comprised of equal parts sugar and water that is heated until the sugar fully dissolves and the solution thickens slightly. The typical ratio used is 1:1, meaning 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water.
Simple syrup has a smooth, viscous texture and provides a sweet flavor. It mixes easily into cold beverages like iced tea or coffee without causing the drink to crystallize. The dissolved sugar incorporates seamlessly, so you don’t end up with undissolved granules of sugar at the bottom of the glass.
Simple syrup is shelf-stable when properly stored and lasts for up to a month refrigerated. It’s commonly used in cocktails, coffees, lemonades, desserts, and other foods and drinks where you want to add sweetness that blends in smoothly.
How is Simple Syrup Made?
Making simple syrup is an easy process that only requires two ingredients – sugar and water.
Here is the basic recipe and instructions for making standard 1:1 simple syrup:
– 1 cup white granulated sugar
– 1 cup water
1. Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan. Stir to combine.
2. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar fully dissolves.
3. Once dissolved, bring the mixture just to a boil. Then, remove from heat.
4. Let the simple syrup cool for about 15 minutes.
5. Transfer the cooled simple syrup to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. Properly stored, simple syrup will keep for up to 1 month.
– Use a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water for rich simple syrup, which has more sweetness and viscosity.
– For infused simple syrup, add ingredients like vanilla beans, rosemary, cinnamon, etc and let steep as the syrup cools.
– Make a large batch and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Simple syrup is now ready to sweeten beverages, desserts, and other recipes as needed. The liquid texture makes it easy to pour and incorporate smoothly.
What is Splenda?
Splenda is a popular artificial sweetener that is used as a no-calorie sugar substitute. Its main ingredient is sucralose, which is derived from sugar but processed to remove calories while maintaining a sweet flavor.
A few key facts about Splenda:
– Splenda contains zero sugar, calories, or carbs. Original Splenda packets contain less than 1 gram of carbohydrates and less than 5 calories per packet.
– It’s much sweeter than sugar, so you only need a small amount. Splenda is about 600 times sweeter than white sugar.
– It comes in both granulated and packet form. The packets are designed to substitute for two teaspoons of sugar.
– Splenda works well in hot and cold foods and beverages. It does not lose sweetness or break down under heat.
– The FDA has approved Splenda as safe for consumption. Studies show it does not raise blood sugar levels the way sugar does.
– Splenda has a distinct aftertaste that some people dislike. Many describe it as mildly bitter or metallic.
So in summary, Splenda provides the sweet taste of sugar without any calories, carbs, or elevation of blood sugar. Its high sweetness intensity means you can use smaller amounts. However, some find its aftertaste unpleasant.
Does Splenda Work in Simple Syrup?
You can make simple syrup using Splenda instead of regular sugar. However, there are some important things to keep in mind:
– Use superfine Splenda or grind regular Splenda into a powder. Otherwise it may not dissolve thoroughly.
– Use only a small amount. Since Splenda is sweeter, start with 1/8 cup Splenda for every 1 cup of water. Adjust to taste.
– Know that the texture will be thinner. Splenda does not have the same viscosity as dissolved sugar.
– Flavor may be different. Splenda has a distinct aftertaste that comes through more strongly without added flavors.
– It works best when chilled. The aftertaste is less apparent in colder drinks.
– Add citrus juice or other flavorings to mask aftertaste. Lemon, lime, vanilla, and mint go well with Splenda syrup.
– Store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks. It does not have the same preserving properties as sugar syrup.
Here is a recipe for making Splenda simple syrup:
Splenda Simple Syrup Recipe
– 1 cup water
– 1/8 cup superfine Splenda
1. Heat water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat.
2. Add superfine Splenda and stir vigorously until dissolved.
3. Allow to cool completely then transfer to an airtight container.
4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. Keeps up to 2 weeks refrigerated.
5. Add to beverages, cocktails, desserts as desired. Start with small amounts – a little goes a long way!
So in summary, yes Splenda can work for simple syrup with some modifications to the recipe. But it does not replicate the exact taste or texture of sugar syrup. The best results come from using superfine style Splenda, reducing the amount of sweetener, and chilling before use. Adding complementary flavors can help mask the aftertaste. Overall, Splenda simple syrup works best in very cold applications where sweetness is desired without extra calories or carbohydrates.
Simple Syrup with Splenda vs. Sugar
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the differences between making and using simple syrup with real sugar versus Splenda:
|Regular Sugar Simple Syrup
|Splenda Simple Syrup
|Sugar + water
|Splenda + water
|1 cup sugar per 1 cup water
|1/8 cup Splenda per 1 cup water
|1 month refrigerated
|2 weeks refrigerated
|218 calories, 58g carbs per cup
|Less than 1 calorie, 0g carbs
|Cocktails, coffee, tea, desserts
|Cold cocktails, drinks only
As you can see, while Splenda syrup is a lower calorie option, it does not mimic the properties of simple syrup made with real sugar. Sugar syrup has a smooth texture, long shelf life, neutral taste, and works well hot or cold. Splenda syrup is thinner, doesn’t preserve as long, and has a distinct aftertaste that limits its applications.
Should You Use Splenda for Simple Syrup?
Whether you should use Splenda rather than sugar to make simple syrup depends on your priorities:
Reasons to Use Splenda Syrup:
– You want to significantly reduce the calories and carbohydrates. Splenda syrup is nearly zero in both.
– You need to avoid sugar for health reasons. Splenda syrup won’t spike blood sugar.
– You prefer the taste of artificial sweetener over real sugar.
Reasons to Avoid Splenda Syrup:
– You want authentic taste and texture. Sugar syrup provides a smooth, neutral sweetness.
– You will use it for hot beverages or cooking. Splenda doesn’t work as well heated.
– You dislike the aftertaste of Splenda. Many find it unpleasant and artificial tasting.
– You need to preserve it longer term. Sugar syrup has a longer shelf life.
Overall, Splenda syrup can be an acceptable lower calorie substitute but doesn’t perfectly replicate real simple syrup. It may work in some applications like sweetening chilled cocktails or lemonades, but not for general cooking purposes. Taking into account your needs for taste, texture, and calorie control will determine if it’s a suitable option for you.
How to Improve Splenda Simple Syrup
If you want to work with Splenda syrup, there are some tips to improve its flavor and texture:
– Use superfine Splenda or grind to a powder first. This dissolves better than granulated.
– Start with half the amount of Splenda called for in a recipe, adding more to taste. It is far sweeter than sugar.
– Mix in a small amount of real sugar, like 1 to 2 tablespoons per cup of Splenda syrup. This can help round out the flavor.
– Infuse with citrus zest or extracts like vanilla, almond, or mint. These strong flavors help mask the aftertaste.
– Add a teaspoon of vodka or other neutral liquor – this enhances flavor.
– Refrigerate overnight before using to allow flavors to develop.
– Shake or stir vigorously right before use to redistribute dissolved sweetener.
– Use in chilled applications like cocktails or shakes rather than hot drinks.
With some trial and error, you may find an adjusted Splenda syrup recipe that suits your tastebuds and desired calorie profile. But overall, sugar syrup remains the best choice for the most versatile simple syrup.
Substituting Sugar with Splenda in Other Recipes
In addition to simple syrup, Splenda can work as a sugar substitute in some other recipes with a few adjustments:
– Use half the amount of Splenda as the sugar called for (so if 1 cup sugar, use 1/2 cup Splenda)
– May need to add a little extra liquid or moisture
– Reduce oven temperature by about 25 degrees F
– Expect drier, crisper texture
– Powdered Splenda works best
– Use about 1/4 amount of powdered Splenda for the powdered sugar
– Add cream cheese or shortening to improve texture
Jams and Jellies:
– Use Splenda with pectin specifically formulated for sugar substitutes
– Add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid per cup of Splenda
– Reduce cooking time slightly
– Pay close attention to cooking stages as timing will vary
– Add extra corn syrup or cream for pliability
Be prepared to adjust and experiment when using Splenda instead of regular sugar in recipes. The sweetness level, texture, cooking times, and moisture levels will vary. Start with smaller amounts of Splenda and make adjustments as needed.
Splenda can work as a lower calorie, lower carb replacement for sugar in simple syrup recipes. However, there are some limitations in both taste and functionality. The thinner texture, pronounced aftertaste, and lack of heat stability mean Splenda syrup does not perfectly mimic or stand-in for classic simple syrup in all applications. It may work best chilled in cocktails or other cold drinks where you want to avoid sugar and calories. But for versatility, sugar syrup is still the better choice. With some recipe adjustments like using superfine Splenda, adding flavorings, and combining with a small amount of real sugar, Splenda syrup can be optimized although not an exact substitute. Taking into account your dietary needs and preferences will determine if experimenting with Splenda for your syrups is worth pursuing.