Look, I know I’m the Southwestern gal on Food Network, and I know I should probably stay in my lane— but when a good thing comes along I have a hard time covering it with a blanket and pretending it doesn’t exist.
My husband started Keto 2 months ago and has lost 30 POUNDS! (He wasn’t even that overweight to begin with!) And now that I have (basically) an underwear model walking around my house WITH ABS and MUSCLES, I find it difficult to not share our secret life of Keto. 😀
So from here on out, I hope you’ll enjoy some of the best recipes that I share on our Keto journey… starting today with this Keto Simple Syrup.
It seems that the internets have had a lot of trouble with this recipe— because chemistry is hard and sometimes solutions don’t exist (PUN INTENDED.)
So today, let me share with you my recipe and work around for Keto Simple Syrup, since it’s probably the first time I got to pull out my food science books since culinary school.
First off, What is Simple Syrup?
Simple Syrup is a syrup made from boiling equal parts sugar and water, used by bartenders to make and sweeten cocktails. The tricky thing is it doesn’t just add sweetness. Due to the sugar molecules being distributed densely in the water molecules, it provides a sensation called “mouth feel”, which refers to the denseness and viscosity it contributes to cocktails.
Consider the margarita: The best recipe for margaritas is tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and simple syrup, shaken with ice. Why are good margaritas a little thick if those ingredients are all water based?
Answer: Simple Syrup
So put that in your pocket and hold on to it while we talk about erythritol…
Erythritol in the Keto Diet
In my opinion, one of the main reasons the Keto diet is so successful is it’s promotion of the sugar alcohol, erythritol. Keto diet icons didn’t invent erythritol, it’s actually been around for over 100 years used mostly to sweeten protein drinks and fitness supplements. Erythritol is 70% as sweet as table sugar with virtually no caloric intake, and here’s the thing… to most people it TASTES LIKE SUGAR.
This is coming from a family that despises Truvia, Splenda, Stevia— you name it, we hate it!
Before the Keto diet became wildly popular, erythritol was not widely available to home consumers. ..it wasn’t stocked in grocery and nutrition stores, it was simply an additive for sugar-free gum and diet food makers. Keto cookbook authors and writers brought this ingredient to the forefront and consumers insisted erythritol be stocked in stores. Now it’s virtually everywhere… and it’s delicious. 🙂
But it does have one problem…. erythritol will not dissolve into water in equal parts, without immediate crystallization upon cooling.
It’s chemistry and there’s no getting around it. (We tried… a lot!)
So there is our challenge folks… How can we simulate the mouthfeel of simple syrup, using the palatable sweetness of erythritol, while staying within the boundaries of the Keto diet?
To the lab we go!
I visited a chemist to find out what would be the threshold for dissolving erythritol in water, before crystallization would ultimately take place.
They also recommended distilled water, which after being steamed (through the process of distillation) has no impurities which can trigger crystallization. (Urban Cowgirls know all about that anyway after learning to make bacon fat caramels.) 🙂
So, our recipe begins there…
With 50% erythritol to distilled water we have the begins of our recipe..
1 c. distilled water : 1/2 c. pure erythritol
I boiled this and it’s as thin as water, though still pretty sweet. Now we need to add additional sweetness and mouthfeel.
The usual thickeners of the kitchen are not keto friendly— cornstarch, flour, even arrowroot powder, are all no-nos on the Keto diet. So, I picked up a packet of xanthan gum (a thickening agent used in everything from toothpaste to salad dressing) and got to work experimenting with several different measurements.
Though all of these are featured on Instagram and Youtube in video form I suggest a 1/4 of a 1/4 teaspoon.
1/4 t. of xanthan gum made a simple syrup with the consistency and thickness of dish soap… This would be useful in making a fully Keto Maple Syrup Alternative, with just a few drops of maple extract added…
Anything less than 1/4 of a 1/4 teaspoon was too thin to say it successfully solved the Keto Simple Syrup problem.
How to Bump the Sweetness
To bump the sweetness without adding additional erythritol, I recommend alternative Keto sweeteners such as Truvia or Stevia brand, Sweet Drops. These are eyedropper drops of liquid Truvia or Stevia that allow you to add controlled doses into your simple syrup. And before you get all cray and say you hate the taste and tingly sensation of Stevia, just know… I DO TOO. You don’t taste it because of all the erythritol. Keto cookbook authors constantly recommend using a combination of several keto sweeteners in 1 recipe because together they create a more realistic alternative to sugar.
For me personally, I’ll stick with a good brand of erythritol for all my baking needs, but in this specific recipe Sweet Drops can allow you to gradually bump the sweetness of your Keto Simple Syrup, without the overt taste of Stevia.
Here is the recipe for the Keto Simple Syrup (Erythritol Simple Syrup)
If you make the recipe, post it to social media and tag Urban Cowgirl!
I’d love to see how it turns out!