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I'd like to try making some sugar-free cookies, which means no refined or "natural" sugar (honey, came syrup, etc.). I'll be trying to use stevia instead.

The obvious problem is that sugar is very important to cookies structurally, not to mention caramelization. Even if stevia were to caramelize, there won't be enough in the recipe to be sufficient for the taste.

So, are there any other agents I could use to counter these problems?

Related: Does Splenda caramelize? (No.)

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No, there are no other agents. Caramelization is literally sugar in a certain state. If you remove all the sugar, you cannot have a caramelization taste. You can make cookies which don't taste caramelized, of course.

As for the "important structurally" part, it depends what cookie you are trying to make. If you want to achieve the texture of a sugar-rich cookie, this is again impossible. Out of all edible substances, only sugars behave like sugars when baked.

You can however use other fillers to get a different type of cookie. A shortbread cookie (like pie crust, but in cookie form) with stevia shouldn't taste that much different than a shortbread cookie with sugar. Nut flours or nut butters will give you some very good fillers so you can make a cookie with some bulk without having to use too much flour.

The result will never look and taste like a standard American chocolate chip cookie, or its relatives but will certainly deserve the term "cookie".

  • I'm OK without having actual caramelization, but I would have hoped there was something that tasted substantially similar. Good suggestions about other fillers and different types of cookies. – Matthew Read May 6 '14 at 16:06
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    You can apparently get a somewhat caramel taste without sugar; Google for sugar free caramel. I doubt it tastes nearly as good as the real thing. And of course, the structure is still a problem. – derobert May 6 '14 at 16:24
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It likely depends on what you qualify as 'sugar'.

America's Test Kitchen, in their recipes for gluten-free flour replacement suggested using powdered milk to enhance the browning. As that would contain lactose (a sugar), that might not fit within your requirements.

  • I'd consider it, but I'm looking more for taste than color. – Matthew Read May 6 '14 at 16:04
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My husband cannot stand the taste of stevia in anything, so I've been having similar problems. I've been told by my doctor to cut down on sugar (easier said than done for my sweet tooth). I have substituted Monk Fruit sweetener and it does work well, but it doesn't seem to be as sweet as sugar. I have found, with certain recipes, that a combination of Monk Fruit sweetener and pureed pitted dates works well when the recipe calls for both white sugar and brown sugar. I just change out the white sugar with Monk Fruit and the brown sugar with pureed dates, same measurements. I've used this in cobblers and cookies. I hope this helps.

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