Sweet Stand-Ins

Can new artificial-sweetener blends replace sugar in your holiday treats?

The artificial-sweetener market is savoring the taste of success. During 2004, Splenda became the No. 1 branded sweetener in the U.S., outselling all other brands of both faux and real sugar. The wrinkle: many folks have long flavored their coffee with artificial sweeteners, but sugar substitutes have proved disappointing in cooking situations, particularly in baked goods. That's because sugar does more than sweeten. It also helps batter rise, providing volume and texture; it caramelizes and thus produces that glorious oven-fresh golden-brown color; and it works as a preservative to keep baked goods fresh longer. In contrast, artificial sweeteners have been a...

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