Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Magic…Sugar(Free) Fun with Isomalt

“Ultimately, the purpose of magic is to free our potential, not bind us to ideas.” Philip Carr-Gomm

Isomalt is a sugar substitute discovered around the 1960’s (some sources say it was first engineered by the German company BENEO-Palatinit in the early 1980s, became popular throughout Europe, but was not approved for use in the United States until 1990). It is a type of sugar alcohol, used primarily for its sugar-like physical properties. It is a unique sugar-free bulk sweetener, and isomalt-containing products have the same appearance and texture as those made with sugar.  It is white, crystalline and odorless. Isomalt is a mixture of two disaccharide alcohols: gluco-mannitol and gluco-sorbitol. Isomalt is originally made from beets, however, despite its natural origins, the compound is generally considered artificial, as it has been extensively manipulated, treating sugar beet with enzymes chemically. It is most commonly used in commercial food manufacturing, and items that contain it can be labeled “sugar free.” It has also been shown to extend the shelf-life of certain products, which has led to its widespread use as a preservative.

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From confectioner’s point of view it is a  very versatile product to use: it is not only suitable for pulled sugar display work, but can also be used to make sugar figures, embellishments for cakes and stunning decorations for desserts.

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 As for what the consumers need to know, isomalt has only a small impact on blood sugar levels and does not promote tooth decay. Its energy value is 2 kcal/g, half that of sugars, but, like most sugar alcohols (with the exception of erythritol), it carries a risk of gastric distress (having a laxative effect), when consumed in large quantities. Isomalt is an ingredient, a useful tool within the total diet, that can contribute to providing low glycemic products to consumers interested in this health benefit. In particular those consumers are addressed that are interested in a healthy lifestyle, management and prevention of obesity, diabetes.

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“Woman magic. A quality that could bring great joy or havoc or both in equal measure.” Margaret Way

The most convenient way to use isomalt is to choose the pre-tempered nibs or sticks. The pieces of Isomalt simply have to be melted in the microwave, until bubbling point in short, 30 seconds, intervals. Since microwave ovens vary in wattage, an exact melting time can not be indicated. Most decorators have success in melting a small amount of nibs in an ovenproof bowl or measuring cup for 45 seconds. Melted isomalt has to have a freely pourable consistency. Allow any bubbles to subside before pouring into the desired mould or proceeding with any other decorating technique. It can be bent to shape whilst it’s still warm. If too much is melted, unused, hardened isomalt can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 2 years.When working with liquid Isomalt remember to take great care – gloves have to be worn at all times – as it can cause serious burns if spilled onto the skin. For this reason, isomalt should not be used by children.

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“Do you believe in magic?
Tell me if you do
I believe in magic
How about you?” 
Victoria Zigler

As directed by Sarah at The Cupcake Oven

6 thoughts on “Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Magic…Sugar(Free) Fun with Isomalt

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