Does chocolate have milk in it?
You can’t eat that, can you?
Is chocolate vegan?
I get asked these questions again and again. And my answer is yes and no. ‘Yes’ I can eat chocolate and ‘no’ there are some chocolates I choose not to eat because they contain animal products.
Chocolate is just one of those foods that people can’t live without. But the best news, the news that’s even better than being able to eat chocolate is that vegan chocolate is full of amazing ingredients with exceptional health benefits.
There are basically three different types of chocolate. Dark, milk and white. Milk chocolate has dairy milk in it, so that’s definitely one to avoid. Some people don’t consider white chocolate to be chocolate. Whether you think it is or not, white chocolate usually contains dairy milk, although there are now some brands of vegan white chocolate available. Dark chocolate is the type of chocolate that is most likely to be free of any animal products and it is also the chocolate that you hear about regularly as being good for you due to its anti-oxidant properties. Great news for the vegan chocolate lover!
The key when eating any chocolate is to check the ingredients. There are three basic ingredients in vegan chocolate. They are cocoa, some kind of sweetener and cocoa butter. Other ingredients can be added such as fruits, nuts, spices like cinnamon and flavour such as peppermint oil.
Despite it’s name, cocoa butter does not contain dairy butter. Cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted and then pressed which extracts the cocoa butter. After it is extracted, the remaining solids are processed into cocoa powder. The cocoa powder and cocoa butter are then recombined with sweeteners to create the chocolate we know and love. This is kind of weird. Chocolate comes from cocoa beans that get separated into 2 ingredients, then put back together with as little as one other ingredient to make chocolate.
The cocoa butter gives chocolate that melt in your mouth experience, the health benefits come from the cocoa powder (so the most beneficial chocolates are the ones that are the least processed) and the taste bud sensation comes from the sweetener.
Yes, I had to buy my favourites to photograph them. I didn’t want to waste them, so I had to eat them all too. Hmmm, sometimes life is tough.
Have you ever wanted to make your own chocolate?
Well, with 3 simple ingredients, you can.
What you need
1 cup cacao
½ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or other sweetener)
What to do
Place cacao in a large bowl.
Melt coconut oil (if it’s solid) and add to the cacao along with the maple syrup.
Whisk until combined.
At room temperature this chocolate is liquid, but in the fridge or freezer it will solidify.
Ways to use it
To top a slice like peanut butter slice.
Add nuts and pour into a tray before placing into the freezer. Let it freeze for an hour or so and break into small pieces.
Dip chopped fruit into it.
What’s your favourite chocolate? Let me know in the comments.