A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Make Your Own Sugar-Free Pudding with Stevia

Are you a fan of pudding? Do you like it warm, cold, or both depending on the type? I usually enjoy a cool, creamy pudding made from scratch, but am guilty of using the instant mixes or premade versions in the past. Since store bought puddings have sugar listed as the first ingredient (mixes and premade), you know there’s a lot of it! Trying to limit my sugar intake, I would buy the sugar-free varieties loaded with artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, and unpronounceable words (never a good sign for ingredients). After noticing bad cramps and pains right after the sugar-free stuff, I decided it was best to make my own as I saw fit; just like almost everything else food related.

There are different ways to make your own pudding; some can be labor intensive using eggs and a stovetop while others are pretty quick and easy. What I like about making my own pudding is, obviously, you control what goes into it. As I’ve said before, I don’t really follow a recipe, just use it as a starting point and change where I so desire. Sometimes the changes work out, and sometimes not so much, either way, you learn something.
Seeing as to how I am against using sugar in most things, and the artificial stuff doesn’t sit well with me (plus it’s artificial), I use stevia in recipes calling for sugar. It takes a few trial and error attempts, but there is always a takeaway after each attempt. I use the liquid stevia in all of my cooking venture, if you want to use the stevia granules, here’s a useful conversion chart found at this site.

Below are some of my favorite pudding recipes using stevia. By far, brown rice pudding is my favorite…..although the chocolate is not far behind!

Sugar-Free Vanilla Rice Pudding with Stevia

Servings: 4
2 cups cooked whole grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups skim milk; I use unsweetened almond milk, try whatever milk you like best
1 tablespoon liquid vanilla stevia
1 ripe mashed banana
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon/1 teaspoon nutmeg /1 teaspoon allspice – optional
Dash of sea salt

- In medium saucepan, combine rice, milk, liquid stevia, & bring to boil.
- Reduce heat & simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat, stir in mashed banana, dash of salt, and any spices you are using.
- Serve warm or store in fridge with a layer of plastic wrap covering the top to prevent skin forming.
Feel free to experiment with your own add-ins as desired to make it yours. I enjoy this as a cold pudding, but many people enjoy having their rice pudding warm. A common addition is raisins, so feel free to toss some in, but I do not like to add raisins to pudding as it takes away from the consistent creaminess. Many recipes call for butter, but I found using the mashed banana adds flavor and gives the same effect as butter would in this dish.
My other favorite recipe is pure and simple; chocolate or vanilla pudding is another comfort food you can never grow tired of. The recipe below does not require many ingredients which makes for a simple creation in your complex world.

Sugar-Free Vanilla (or Chocolate) Pudding with Stevia
3/4 tsp liquid vanilla stevia or 1/2 tsp stevia granules*
3 tbsp arrowroot (cornstarch can be used too)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups milk; I use unsweetened almond milk, but skim, rice, or lite coconut milk will work too
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
*Add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and use liquid chocolate stevia if making chocolate pudding
Add milk, stevia, and salt to a medium saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and pour into saucepan; bring to a boil and stir constantly; it will start the thicken. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes; stir in vanilla. Put contents in airtight container and place plastic wrap on top to prevent a skin forming. 

Try using lite coconut milk and sprinkle unsweetened coconut on top after you're done for a tropical treat.  When making vanilla pudding, I love adding crushed ginger snaps on top for a nice crunch and a little bite.
I have made this too runny before, so it might take a few tries. If yours becomes too watery, try using more arrowroot or cornstarch next time. Don’t throw the runny pudding away! Pour it in individual paper cups and place in freezer; tear away the cups after several hours for tasty pudding popsicles.  I haven't tried it yet, but added 1/2 cup of peanut flour will be my next stevia pudding creation....can't wait!!
Cooking with stevia can be challenging, but the benefits outweigh any challenges. Besides just offering a natural zero calorie sweetness, stevia has these benefits:

- It's good for your digestive system, curbing candidiasis
- It inhibits the growth of all sorts of bacteria
- It helps with an upset stomach, soothing acidity
- It increases energy levels and promotes an overall feeling of well-being.

Don’t let thinking about conversions stop you from making awesome, stevia sweetened treats. I use a handy conversion chart when cooking with stevia to help avoid stress from confusion; you might find it useful too.


Stevia Conversion Chart

Granulated Sugar........Stevia Granules
1 teaspoon..............1/8 teaspoon
1 tablespoon............3/8 teaspoon
1/4 cup.................1 1/2 teaspoons
1/2 cup.................1 tablespoon
1 cup...................2 tablespoons



Granulated Sugar........Clear Liquid Extract
1 teaspoon..............4-6 drops
1 tablespoon............8-12 drops
1/4 cup.................1/8 tsp
1/2 cup.................1 Tbsp
1 cup...................2 Tbsp


Now get in the kitchen and treat yourself to a cool (or warm) and creamy natural sugar-free pudding tonight!

6 comments:

  1. You really should be more specific with your chocolate version. You say that you can use 1/4 cup cocoa powder for it, but you don't say when to mix that in. I've made it twice now using this recipe. The first time I added the cocoa after the 5 minutes (like you say to do with the vanilla), and the second I added it immediately after mixing in the thickener. Both times the cocoa refused to mix in smoothly. Small chunks always remain. Considering the cocoa obviously needs to be treated differently than the vanilla, you should probably say so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sondra, thank you for stopping by and sorry for the lack of specifics on the recipe. For the chocolate version, you should add the cocoa at the beginning along with the milk. Again, sorry about that, hope it comes out better next time!

      Delete
  2. My chocolate pudding turned out really nasty...bitter! I used the powdered stevia b/c that is all we have. Do you think that has something to do with it? What could I have done wrong? I followed the directions to a T, added the cocoa with the milk at the beginning, whisking it together.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi there; sorry to hear about the bad result. There could be several things that play a factor in how it turns out....did you use arrowroot or cornstarch? Also, did it dissolve ok in the water before adding to your cocoa mix?

    Since there are so many brands of powdered stevia, I would need to know which one you have before really being able to offer advice. Did you use dairy milk or another alternative milk?

    Hopefully I can help once I have more info. Thank you for reading!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I use a recipe just like this with the cornstarch, not arrowroot! I use stevia granules, vanilla and the cocoa powder. It comes together so quickly. I love to eat it warm and have to make a small batch or I will eat the whole thing! I also use extra cocoa powder when I'm looking for some darker chocolate taste. You'd never know it was sugar free. I haven't tried different milks, but I'd love to try coconut milk some time! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Melody! Glad to hear how much you like making your own; seems like too many people just go for the store-bought stuff. No thanks!

    Extra cocoa powder is always a wonderful dark chocolate treat; thanks for sharing the tip! You should definitely try the coconut milk if you get a chance, it's perfect with chocolate!

    ReplyDelete