Maltitol can be used successfully in home baking because of its similarity to sugar. It’s a sugar alcohol, or sugar substitute, which looks and tastes like sugar and is about 90 percent as sweet as sugar, which means the difference between the two is not very noticeable. This makes it good for use in a calorie-controlled diet and suitable in moderate amounts for diabetics and in helping prevent tooth decay.
Available in crystallised, powdered and syrup form, there is no need to adapt recipes when using maltitol (unless you want to create 100 percent sweetness) – just use measure for measure. Powdered maltitol is best for sponge cakes, but the crystallised version is good for things like cookies, as the finished baking looks better. Maltitol syrup has a high melting point, so this is best used for making sweets and candies.
St Clement's Teatime Buns
Preheat a moderately hot oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F (Gas mark 5) and prepare 12 bun tins with paper cases.
Beat 4 oz. of butter or margarine and 4 to 5 oz. of powdered maltitol in an electric mixer until the mixture is almost white.
Add two eggs and two drops of lemon essence and continue beating. If the eggs curdle the mixture, add a spoon of flour and beat again.
Add 4 oz. of self-rising flour gradually and continue beating until all the flour is thoroughly combined and the mixture is of a dropping consistency, ie, it drops easily from a spoon. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more flour and beat again. If it does not drop easily, add some half fat milk or, better still, some buttermilk, a little at a time, and beat again until the correct consistency is achieved.
Spoon a heaped teaspoonful of mixture into each paper case so that the cases are just over half full and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Test whether the buns are baked by pressing the top of them lightly with your finger; the sponge bun should spring back up when you remove your finger if they are ready. Cool in the tin and remove to a wire rack when cool enough to handle.
Mix 4 level tbsp. of icing sugar with a little water to make a stiff paste that will drop from the teaspoon. Add more sifted icing sugar if the paste is too runny. Add orange colouring a little at a time – you can always add more to make the colour darker – and mix to incorporate the colour fully.
Spread a teaspoonful of the icing on top of the cooled buns and sprinkle on two or three shreds of orange peel. Leave the icing to dry on top of the buns for about 30 minutes. Serve. Store any leftover buns in an airtight box or tin.
Maltitol is one of the most common sugar alcohols. It is not easily available in the UK but can be found in some health food shops or on the internet.
As maltitol is absorbed slowly into the body, it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which is why it is suitable in moderate amounts for diabetics.
If you cannot find orange food colouring, add a tiny drop of red colouring to a larger amount of yellow colouring and mix.
As maltitol is absorbed much slower by the body than sugar, excessive consumption can have a laxative effect.