IN THE KITCHEN: Picnic desserts offer 'Splenda in the grass'

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By Robin McDaniel
Blount Today

Sometimes we just have to have a taste of something sweet. For many of us, that’s just a hip or waist-line problem. For others, however, it can be a serious health problem. Those with diabetes have to carefully monitor their intake of sugar, despite having a sweet tooth.

Modern science has made indulging that sweet tooth much easier. Artificial sweeteners have come a long way since the little white saccharin pills of our grandparents. Splenda, especially, gives recipes a sweet taste without an aftertaste.

My friend Norm Forsythe asked for some good recipes for diabetics. These two are sure to add a sweet touch to your summertime picnics. They aren’t sugar-free because they have chocolate chips and honey, but they do offer reduced sugar intake from their non-Splenda counterparts.

Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups plain, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup Splenda sugar
1/2 cup packed Splenda brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup peanut butter or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour and baking soda and set aside. Beat butter, both sugars and vanilla until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate or peanut butter chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Press down slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in Splenda sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are set but centers are still soft. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Splenda Blueberry Muffins

2 cups plain, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 stick light margarine, softened
1 cup Splenda sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or use the mini-muffin pans. Lightly spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Blend flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Beat margarine, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and milk. Add flour mixture slowly. Fold in berries. Spoon batter evenly into lined muffin pans, and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from pan immediately, and cool on wire rack.

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