Monday, June 14, 2021
Chocolate of the Day
Sugar Free Brownie Mix Sweetened with Monkfruit
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 9.7 oz. (275 g.) in total package
Calories: 275 calories (estimate) in 1 brownie
Cost: $4.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Brownie Theme Week.
Today's Lakanto Sugar Free Brownie Mix "Sweetened with Monkfruit" was distributed by Saraya USA, Inc. (Orem, UT).
These baked brownies had a smooth chocolatey flavor (dutched cocoa) and a relatively moist, rich, filling center, in part thanks to a generously amount of coconut oil.
The monk fruit + erythritol blend* used to sweeten these brownies instead of sugar seemed to have a very slight "cool" (very faint, tingling, menthol-like) sensation. But, overall, there was no significant "off" taste to this sugar substitute.
This relatively high-fiber, "keto-friendly," gluten-free and dairy-free brownie mix offered an interesting break from a processed cane/beet sugar rush, and will likely appeal to those who are trying to reduce sugar, gluten and/or dairy intake, and/or to those following a low-carbohydrate or keto diet.
Note: I sprinkled Venezuelan cacao nibs across the top of these brownies 2/3 way through the (20-24 minute) cooking time, to add extra cacao flavor, and crunchy texture. (Nibs can burn if you sprinkle them on at the beginning, i.e. before popping the brownies in the oven.)
Ingredients: Tapioca fiber, Non-GMO Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (erythritol and monk fruit extract), dutched cocoa, chick pea flour, sugarcane fiber, acacia gum, oat fiber, sea salt, baking powder, guar gum, Natural Flavors.
Allergen-related information: None stated. Note: instructions do call for added eggs and coconut oil.
*Lakanto's monk fruit is harvested in Asia. The description of monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) on the back of today's packaging talks about how Buddhist monks called the Luohan discovered the round, purple-skinned fruit (native to southern China and Thailand) in the remote mountain highlands of Asia over a thousand years ago. (Thus the name monk fruit, or Luo Han Go.) This fruit was thought to raise chi (energy), and was also referred to as "The Immortals Fruit."
Erythritol is a sweet-tasting sugar alcohol** used as a sugar substitute and food additive. While it is sometimes described as a naturally occurring substance, it is typically produced in a controlled setting using an electro-chemical process from corn sugar (with the help of enzymes and fermentation), or extracted from certain lichens or algae. It is used medicinally as a vasodilator.
While monk fruit is considered the key ingredient in Lakanko's sweetener blend, monk fruit has a very high, natural sweetness level (Lakanto describes it as 200-300 times sweeter than sugar), whereas Erythritol is "only about 70% as sweet as sugar." The company states: "Because of this, the combination of the two...is where magic happens in matching the flavor of sugar."
**Sugar alcohols are popular alternative sweeteners and include xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol.