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Sorbitol - and why you should stop avoiding it!

Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in a number of fruits, including, e.g. apples, pears, peaches, and plums. It can be made by reducing glucose and is often made from corn syrup. It can also be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum, soft drinks (used as a low-calorie sweetener) and in low-calorie and diabetic foods as a sweetener.

Sorbitol is commonly used as an artificial sweetener because it contains fewer calories than regular sugar. In addition, sorbitol does not taste as sweet as regular granulated sugar. The sweetness of sorbitol is only about 60% compared to regular sugar.

Sorbitol is not dangerous

...and therefore, there is absolutely no reason not to use sorbitol when making ganache for chocolate bonbons. However, you can make ganache for chocolate bonbons without sorbitol. But having said that, sorbitol is a bit of a wonder sugar in the context of ganache. This is because sorbitol helps to significantly extend the shelf life of ganache without adding too much sweetness. In addition, sorbitol ensures that recrystallisation of the granulated sugar contained in the chocolate in the ganache is prevented. So there are several advantages to using sorbitol.

Compared to other sugars, sorbitol has an extremely good ability to bind active water, including active water in ganache. Sorbitol thus significantly reduces the AW value in ganache - and thereby contributes to extending the shelf life of your ganache. In addition, when you use sorbitol, you don't run the risk of your ganache becoming too sweet - because sorbitol sweetens less than most other sugars.

In my e-book "CHOCOLATE BONBONS - a practical guide" you will find many different recipes for ganache, all of which are balanced in terms of the different components and which contain different types of sugar. These ganaches all have a shelf life of 2 months.

Summing up

By adding sorbitol to a ganache, the following benefits are achieved:

- The AW value is significantly lowered, and the shelf life is therefore also signifi­cantly extended. 
- Recrystallisation of the granulated sugar contained in the chocolate in the ganache is prevented.
- As the sweetness is low, the risk of getting a too sweet ganache is reduced.

Sorbitol is a bit of a wonder sugar in the context of ganache, as it has fantastic AW-reducing properties and at the same time a low degree of sweetness. Therefore, sorbitol can be added to a ganache without much risk of the ganache becoming too sweet.