When my friend Bethany told me Truvia was hosting a baking contest to promote their new Truvia Baking Blend and Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, I was wholeheartedly on board. I’ve been looking for ways to introduce my blog to new readers, and thought this could be a perfect way to do that. Plus, it just sounded like fun! The finalists get to go to NYC and prepare their recipe for a group of judges for a chance to be named Truvia Baking Star. “I mean, I’d be okay with being named a ‘Baking Star,'” I thought. And, as you readers know, I try to keep things healthy (both through food and lifestyle) while balancing in sweet treats, so I liked the idea of cutting calories with this sugar substitution, too. And so I began testing recipes to enter into the contest.
I stocked up on Truvia Baking Blend and Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (they don’t sell it yet at grocery stores near me, but I hunted it down in Target) and tons of additional ingredents and I began with testing out healthier versions of my tried and true blondie recipe.
In addition to subbing out the white and brown sugar for Truvia versions, I tried using whole wheat flour instead of white flour and reducing the butter by half.
I baked a version with avocado — no go. Tried adding Greek yogurt instead of the full amount of butter. Nope. Replaced half the butter with applesauce. Not the same. None of these batches were bad, per say, but none were even close to as delicious as my standard recipe. Check out all my failed attempts, with meticulous notes (in case one turned out well and I wanted to recreate it):
Three batches later, I thought maybe the Truvia wasn’t to blame, and instead it was the butter substitutions piece. So I baked another batch of blondies exactly the way I usually do, but used Truvia instead of white or brown sugar. (I adjusted the amounts as Truvia instructs, too.) Still not anywhere near the same.
Next up: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies — another favorite recipe of mine. Again, I used Truvia instead of the white and brown sugar the recipe calls for, but everything else remained the same. Another fail. (Again — not bad, but not something I wanted to share.)
What about almond coffee cake? That recipe only uses white — not brown — sugar, and has very few ingredients. So I gave that a go, and it was…not good.
I wanted to try baking with coconut oil, so I tried a new cookie recipe — something I pieced together from various coconut oil cookie recipes I found — and baked this twice, trying to tweak it a bit. Still not bad, by any means, but not especially good, either. (They look better than they taste.):
Kevin helped me taste test throughout, and he was equally unimpressed. His feedback: “None of it tastes bad, but it’s nowhere near as good as the stuff you usually bake.” Also, specifically regarding the coconut oil oatmeal cookies: “They taste like grocery store cookies.”
If baking is my “thing,” I’d hate to promote a recipe that was just so-so. I mean, I have so many WONDERFUL recipes to share — I just couldn’t feel good about mediocre. I couldn’t feel good about grocery store cookies.
And so, I officially decided I was not destined to be the next Truvia Baking Star. In fact, I’m still not convinced that this Truvia baking sugar works. I bake a ton, and this just did not perform the same as regular sugar. Sorry, Truvia. Maybe I wasn’t using the product right, but I could not make this stuff work for me. I would have been a terrible Truvia Baking Star anyway, considering I can’t really feel good about endorsing the product! I’ll stick to regular sugar. I have lots of evidence that it makes my baked goods taste really, really great.
And, when all is said and done, I’d rather have one really good cookie (and then hit up a Pure Barre or yoga class to balance things out) than a couple of “sort of good for you” grocery store-tasting ones.