This post took longer than planned. Unfortunately, our whole family got sick for a little while, so I put this experiment on hold. Once I finally started feeling better I got out all the ingredients:
On the far left in the back is one of the sugar substitutes we used: agave nectar. On the far right is evaporated cane juice. We discovered on this one we have to be careful when we buy it. There is a product in a similar container that is an actual sugar. We had to check the back and read the ingredient listing. The one in the picture said evaporated cane juice. The other one said something like organic sugar. We also decided to use a healthier butter spread. We used the same butter in all the cookies.
I made 3 batches, one with sugar and one with each of the sugar substitutes. As a way to keep them separated, I cut each batch into a different shape: The circle was made with sugar, the star was evaporated cane juice, and the heart was agave nectar.
Anthony took the cookies to work and polled his co-workers. Sugar ended up being the favorite. The sugar seemed to have a little more of a buttery flavor that people seemed to like. The ones made with evaporated cane juice ended up being a little hard. I baked them for the same amount of time and tried to make the thickness the same. I wonder if adding a little more butter would help. The agave ones turned out to be the softest, but the flavor was a little off. Some people didn't mind it, but a few didn't really like the taste at all.
Here is the recipe I used.
3/4 cups soft butter 2 1/2 C flour
1 C sugar 1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla and blend. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix everything. Put dough in fridge to chill at least 1hr. Roll dough on floured board. Cut shapes 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 400 on ungreased cookie sheet 6-8 min.
I changed 1 cup sugar for 1 cup evaporated cane juice. For the agave, I did 2/3 cup instead of the sugar and I only used one egg and one yolk to make up for the extra liquid.