Vegan Chocolate: The Impossible?

Vegan chocolate: it might seem like the impossible dream. Can you avoid eating all animal products but still enjoy the delicious taste – and the health benefits – of chocolate? I know at least one friend (a vegetarian who avoids dairy products, which means that vegan chocolate would be appropriate for her) who would love to find this product, and I guess that you probably know a person like this too – maybe it’s you. Is vegan chocolate possible? Or are vegans permanently condemned to carob substitutes while others enjoy the pleasures of chocolate?

It’s easier than you think to make and find vegan chocolate. You have to remember that although we’re used to seeing and tasting chocolate that has had milk or dairy products added to it, chocolate does not come from a cow (or even a goat). Chocolate is made from substances derived from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree, known as the cocoa bean. The primary ingredients that go into chocolate – cocoa solids and cocoa butter – both come from a plant source, which is good news for vegans. Most vegan chocolate is dark chocolate: the type of chocolate with 70% plus cocoa solids. This is because vegan chocolate is usually dark chocolate, and it’s only the light coloured (milk chocolate and white chocolate) varieties that have to contain milk. Looking at the label of a 72% cocoa solids block of dark chocolate, the ingredient list contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, soya lecithin and vanilla.. Each of these ingredients passes the vegan test – they’re all from plants – this is vegan chocolate, all right. Most dark (70% plus cocoa solids) chocolate is likely to be vegan chocolate, but read the label if you want to make certain.

The health community has become quite excited about vegan chocolate (a.k.a. dark chocolate) because it is rich in antioxidants, and also contains a large number of trace elements, some of which are hard to find in other dietary sources, especially selenium. While nobody should make a pig of themselves with any sort of chocolate, vegan or otherwise, eating 50 g of dark chocolate a day has a number of health benefits: lowering stress, boosting the immune system and supplying the body with good nutrients. Anecdotal evidence also hints that eating small amounts of dark chocolate can help you lose weight, as dark chocolate has a high “satiety index”, meaning that eating a little of it makes you feel full and satisfied, so you don’t go and eat large quantities of other food.

It’s also possible to find fair trade vegan chocolate and organic vegan chocolate.

You can also enjoy using chocolate in other vegan foods, including baking, by using ordinary cocoa powder. A very easy recipe for vegan chocolate cake that is so simple that children can cook it is given below:

1 ½ cups flour.

1 cup sugar.

1 t baking soda.

¼ t salt.

3 T cocoa powder.

6 T vegetable oil (not olive oil – the flavour is too strong).

1 T vinegar.

1 t vanilla.

1 cup water.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Scoop three holes in the mixture, one large and two small. Fill the largest hole with the oil, and put the vinegar and vanilla separately into the other two holes. Pour in the water over the entire mixture and stir well to make a smooth batter. Place into a greased cake tin and bake at 170°C for 30-40 minutes. For variation, cinnamon and/or sultanas can be added to the dry ingredients.

To find delicous vegan chocolate treats and gifts or to ask more about vegan chocolate, visit Luna Mare Vegan Chocolate. (Click now to get SEO for real readers, not robots, using Semantic Writing by Rick Rakauskas)

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