Sugar vs. Sweetener…again – Blueberry muffins (Part 2)

Okay, I’ll admit it. I have extra sweetener sitting in my cupboards that I feel inclined to use up. I hate throwing away ingredients! So I figured I would do another sugar vs.sweetener taste test and again, bake blueberry muffins but turn the tables. I’m going to use a recipe that was developed with sugar in mind and not sweetener (the last blueberry muffin recipe I used was the one from the back of the Splenda box and therefore, specifically designed with Splenda in mind).

The recipe I’ll be following is a blueberry-lemon muffin recipe. Same set up as last time – I’m going to follow the recipe and make one batch using sugar, another batch using Equal instead of sugar and another batch using Splenda instead of sugar.

Let’s see what these muffins look like now that they’re going up against a recipe that calls for sugar.

My theory:
I think that the muffins made with Equal will taste the least sweet and appealing. I think that Splenda will perform pretty well but might result in a dry/crumbly muffin due to the different water-binding properties that it has compared to sugar.

Taste testers:
Please sample each of the muffins and comment on the appearance, texture and flavour. Which one is your favourite?

The reveal:
Thank you for posting your comments. Here are the results in terms of which sweetener each muffin was made with:

1: Sugar (everyone liked this one the most)
2: Splenda
3: Equal

My thoughts:
The results are consistent with the previous taste tests we’ve had with comparing artificial sweeteners against sugar. Splenda performs much better than Equal in baking and is the only sweetener we would use for that purpose. Both muffins made with sweetener were drier and more scone-like in their consistency compared to the muffins that were made using sugar (due to the fact that sugar is hygroscopic and is able to hold water). However, the muffins made with sugar were still the best overall. Recipes designed for the use of artificial sweeteners often call for honey or some sort of liquid sweetener otherwise the end product results in being quite dry. It’s best to look up recipes from the sweetener company’s website rather than making a simple 1 to 1 substitution.

So that’s a wrap for the Splenda vs. Equal vs. Sugar debate. You can bake with Splenda but not Equal.

8 thoughts on “Sugar vs. Sweetener…again – Blueberry muffins (Part 2)

  1. These are my predictions:

    #1: I think this is sugar. Had the most pleasant taste and texture and tasted most like what a muffin should taste like. I would say this is my favourite.

    #2: This is Equal. Pretty dry and tasteless. Not enjoyable.

    #3: By default this must be Splenda. Taste wasn’t bad but it was a bit dry.

  2. 1. sweetest, browned in the oven, no aftertaste, most crumbly texture – sugarrr
    2. dry, no aftertaste, but not sweet like there was no sugar/sweetener used at all – equal
    3. obvious sweetener aftertaste – aspartame

  3. 1: regular sugar, my favourite, best texture, not dense
    2: Equal, dense, crumbly, no aftertaste
    3: Splenda, dense, crumbly, aftertaste

  4. 1-most sweet, crumblier, made of sugar
    2-least sweet, dry, made of Equal or Splenda
    3-least sweet, dry, made of Equal or Splenda

    My favourite is 1

  5. Overall comment: It was really hard for me to tell the difference in sweetness between the three muffins. The consistency/texture differences were easier to note for me. Sorry! I know the test was for sweetener vs. sugar..but my palate is clearly not sophisticated enough yet 😉

    1) Mmmm. This is so good. Flaky, moist, tastes just like it should. My knife cuts into it easily- right away, I knew it would be magic.
    2) This is my 2nd best, the texture reminds me of a scone.
    3) I found this one a bit dry, not my favourite.

    Additional notes: 2 & 3 had a kind of outer crust, which wasn’t appealing to me. #1 is delicate all the way through, which is why I loved it so much. 🙂

  6. Muffin #1: Number one it is! Although it is two days old it still has the texture and fragrance to remind me of a good ol’ Sunday School bake-sale muffin. Neat, sweet, and tastes like a treat.

    Muffin #2: Aged just like muffin #1, its cross-section reminded me of a Sara Lee frozen pound cake but its texture reminded me of an old scone. There is very little taste and a bit starchy for my liking.

    Muffin #3: It looked a little dense and I was hoping that meant it was moist but that was a misconception. Similarly, lacking in taste and even drier, even blueberries couldn’t help it!

    So my preference is obviously #1>#2>#3. Being a naturalist at heart, I believe our brains have evolved to be best satisfied by real sugar. If that’s not the case, I’m not sure what this world is coming to.

  7. Fresh out of the oven I liked #1 the most. It had cake texture but was soft and moist and sweet. #2 & 3 tasted the same.

    The next morning #1 was still sweet and tasty, but a bit drier. #2 was way better then #3. They both had more of a scone texture, but #3 was dry and not sweet at all.

    My preference is 1>2>3.

  8. 1: Sweet and sticky. Tasted the best overall of the three.
    2. Dry, tasted similar to a scone. Not as sweet at muffin 1.
    3: Dry, also similar to a scone. Hardly sweet at all.

    I like the sweetness of muffin 1 but the scone-like texture of muffin 2.

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