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Victoria BC (which I assume refers to the city, rather than a name and initials) responded to the Energy Bar thread with this query:
Where can you find erythritol? What is it? Is that the sugar alcohol? How much do you usually use in a recipe?
Erythritol is, indeed, a sugar alcohol or polyol. It has been gaining a lot of popularity because, of all the polyols, erythritol has the lowest rate of absorption -- pretty much zero -- and the least risk of gastric effect. It's not a perfect substitute for sugar, but it's darned good.
Erythritol has a cooling effect in the mouth -- think of those sugar-free cough drops that feel cool on your tongue; it's like that. This is fine in cold drinks -- there are a couple of erythritol-and-stevia sweetened diet sodas on the market now -- and certainly no problem in frozen desserts. However, the first time I used the stuff I made a batch of peanut butter cookies that made my mouth cold, which was a tad disconcerting, though we ate them all.
Too, erythritol is more likely to crystallize than maltitol (or sugar, for that matter,) which can make things gritty. For example: I made a wonderful sugar-free chocolate sauce with maltitol. Tried the same recipe with erythritol, and it was beautiful when hot, but as soon as it hit the sugar-free ice cream it turned gritty. Not the texture you're looking for in a sundae.
That being said, Hershey's has a new erythritol-based sugar-free chocolate syrup on the market (which I intend to try and review), so it can be done. I just need to experiment some more.
Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as sugar. In baking recipes I usually go with 50%-75% Splenda granular/25-50% erythritol substituted for sugar. I don't bother to increase the measurement of erythritol to make up the extra sweetness. I've gotten good results, but keep in mind that because I've been sugar-free so long, things taste sweeter to me than they may to you. (Heck, sometimes even broccoli tastes sweet!)
I can get erythritol at both my local health food stores, Sahara Mart and Bloomingfoods. But if you can't find it locally, you can order it through our friends at CarbSmart. I'm betting you can get it through Amazon.com, too. You can get everything through Amazon.com!
You can also get erythritol blended with stevia (herbal sweetener) at your local grocery store under the brand name Truvia. I haven't tried this in recipes because I've only seen it in little packets, and who wants to rip all of those packets open to get enough sweetener for a batch of cookies? But I see on their website that they now have Truvia Spoonable. I'll try it in a recipe soon, and report back.