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It’s sorbet season again, and the local Lidl started stocking xylitol, which made me wonder: could you reduce the calories in a sorbet by using a sugar alcohol instead of (some of) the other sugar?

I usually use all invert syrup for sorbets in my super cheap churn, but I’m not sure how much leeway I have despite its excellent thickening power. How do sugar alcohols compare to sugar when it comes to binding water?

  • How do you find invert syrup thickens compared to plain sugar? – GdD Jul 4 '20 at 9:47
  • @GdD A great deal more, it makes the difference between grainy sorbet, and a fluffy creamy paste for things like raspberries that aren’t too pulpy. Corn syrup does (and more or less is) the same thing, but you can make invert syrup at home if you don’t live in corn syrup country like me. (I don’t think it’s widely available in Europe at all.) – millimoose Jul 4 '20 at 14:52
  • a hint from scant personal experience ... 1) using a single kind of sugar alcohols will not, 2) using more than one will give a much better chance – pleasePassTheCheese Jul 9 '20 at 18:43
  • @pleasePassTheCheese not sure I can get my hands on anything but xylitol and sorbitol, I grabbed X because uhh… it was there and should be less laxative than the others. – millimoose Jul 9 '20 at 18:52
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Well, I got around to braving this and potentially sacrificing a box of strawberries at ‘rona prices, and going half xylitol half syrup at ~25% added sugars of total it turned out… fine. Not as creamy as using all syrup but not sandy the way my early all sugar batches did - at a guess, it behaved barely different from table sugar for me. 1 part substitute : 2 parts syrup might be better, but at that point it seems like mostly a pointless complication and expense - xylitol has 60% the calories of sugar, cutting the calories of the sorbet by all of 13%.

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