I've been trying to reduce the presence of sugar in my life. Which is great for health, but otherwise rather sad. I intensely dislike the taste and aftertaste of artificial sweeteners which eliminates the option of replacing sodas and candies with diet products or products aimed at diabetics. One of the things I mourned most was the loss of my tea because I just can't drink it unsweetened and I dislike it with the usual suspects of artificial sweeteners.
Then I discovered the sugar alcohols xylitol and erythritol. These are natural, low or zero calorie sugar alternatives that are low-glycemic and do not contribute to cavities. Xylitol actually fights cavities. And they taste pretty great with no aftertaste. Now I find I like the flavor of xylitol and erythritol mixed together at about a 1:1 ratio. Some people experience... gastric distress if they consume too much xylitol and so some people I've converted to xylitol and erythritol choose to consume erythritol straight over xylitol. Xylitol's is slightly better for the teeth. They also have slightly different tastes. Experiment and choose for yourself. I have been unable to find them locally and so I've been buying them on Amazon for over a year now. I use them just for sweetening tea and I haven't tried using them as substitutions for baking, so I have no comments on how they work in that capacity, but I don't use sugar at all in tea any more.
I recently discovered Dr. John's Candies. These are xylitol candies. Xylitol has 75% fewer calories than sugar. It also inhibits the growth of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. It does not raise blood glucose levels. And they taste great. The children are just as delighted to have a Dr. John's lollipop as they are to have a regular one. I adore their hard candies. They taste great. Seriously. I've tried the butterscotch, strawberry cheesecake, mango, natural cafe caramel, and natural double dutch fudge hard candies and I really like them all. Ok. I've also tried a yet to be released cream soda flavor which is my absolute favorite because they happened to include it in the sampler I ordered. When I couldn't find one that looked like it on the website I called their customer service to ask about it and discovered it isn't available yet on their website. I'll be making another order as soon as it appears. My son enjoyed a chocolate caramel from the sampler and claimed to like it even more than the lollipops. I wasn't as impressed with the caramel that I tried, but I'm not a huge fan of caramels in general.
I just wanted to let you guys know that there is a candy out there that you can feel good about giving to your kids that tastes really great, doesn't contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, and is actually good for the teeth. You can also enjoy them guilt free yourself. I find that a couple of Dr. John's hard candies will help curb a sugar craving.
The company also has some chocolates that I would love to try given how good their hard candies are, but the price is just a little too high. You can't get them in a sample size, and at nearly $20 per box, I just can't justify trying something I might not like. If anyone out there has tried their chocolates and wants to let me know what they thought, please leave a comment!