The Best Vegan Chocolate – Chicago Tribune
If the crumbly texture, bland taste, and unsatisfying mouthfeel put you off vegan chocolate, chances are you haven’t tried it lately. As more and more people follow a vegan diet, companies have responded by making some of the most delicious chocolates in the world, vegan or not.
If you’re looking for an authentic chocolate taste, Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips are a great choice. These miniature chips can be used in baking or as a snack right out of the bag..
The percentage of cocoa influences the bitterness of your vegan chocolate. The more cocoa there is in the chocolate, the less room there is for other ingredients such as sugar, plant milk or flavorings.
Vegan or not, there are two main types of chocolate: dark and milk.
- Dark chocolate: This guy is usually vegan. It has a higher percentage of cocoa with added cocoa butter and sugar. Dark chocolate is frequently used in baking so bakers can control the amount of sweetness in their final product.
- Milk chocolate: Milk chocolate still contains cocoa, but milk – dairy or vegetable – is added for a smoother mouthfeel. Milk chocolate is generally sweeter than dark chocolate.
Another type of chocolate, pink chocolate, has a pink color and a delicate citrus undertone. It is not a common type of vegan chocolate.
As for white chocolate, it’s technically not chocolate at all because it doesn’t contain cocoa. The addition of milk solids means it’s generally not vegan.
This delicious vegan snack is available in many different forms, including:
- cooking chocolate
- Chocolate covered fruits, nuts, pretzels and chips
- Other confectionery
As with many gourmet ingredients around the world, it’s important to know where your food comes from and if it’s produced fairly. Ethically sourced cocoa offers a living wage and a fair market price to cocoa farmers around the world.
If, in addition to a vegan diet, you also avoid other common allergens, check the label of your vegan chocolate. It must be free from:
Another advantage of vegan chocolate is that it may contain less sugar than its traditional counterparts. Although this is not always the case, the higher the cocoa percentage, the more likely it is to contain less sugar.
Chocolate prices vary enormously. Because there are so many different options for the shape of chocolate, the cost ranges from $6 to $50. This covers everything from a bag of chocolate covered pretzels to a 5 pound bag of vegan baking chips.
A. Chocolate is naturally vegan, but the difference is in the powdered milk or solids added when cocoa beans are made into chocolate.
- Cocoa beans are cut from the tree by hand.
- The grains are dried then roasted at low temperature.
- The nib – the meat of the bean – is separated of the shell in a process called winnowing.
- The feathers are ground in cocoa liquor then placed under high pressure to separate into cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
- In some cases, chocolate makers use cocoa liquor to make chocolate by adding more cocoa butter and sugar.
- Gourmet chocolate is produced by conching. This process mixes and heats the cocoa liquor to further develop the flavor.
- The chocolate is tempered by heating and cooling to specific temperatures, then molded into guns for delivery.
- Chocolatiers can add flavoringssweetener and dairy or vegetable milk to make other sweets with tempered chocolate.
A. Chocolate comes in different types which can be used in different culinary applications.
- Cooking chocolate: Baking chocolate is available unsweetened, sweet and sour or semi-sweet. It’s used for things like fudge, cookies, and frostings.
- Cover : It is a type of gourmet chocolate used in baking and confectionery. Its silky and smooth texture comes from a higher percentage of cocoa butter.
- Raw: Raw chocolate has not been processed or mixed with other ingredients. Most raw chocolate is vegan.
- Modeling chocolate: When more sugar or corn syrup is added to melted chocolate, it creates a paste that can be used to decorate cakes and pastries.
- Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder is the other product produced when the seeds are ground. This is generally vegan, but you should check the ingredient list. Some varieties designed for use in making chocolate drinks have added milk solids and powders.
Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Available at Amazon
Our opinion : This 5 pound bag of mini chips satisfies your chocolate cravings and is perfect for baking and snacking.
What we like: Made from just three ingredients, these chips are also free from most common allergens, including tree nuts, soy, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts. They are verified non-GMO and kosher.
What we don’t like: This packaging does not withstand high temperatures well. Order a supplement during colder months.
Nutiva Organic Vegan Hazelnut Spread: available on Amazon
Our opinion : If you’ve been missing the creamy taste of Nutella on your morning toast, this is a great substitution.
What we like: This spread uses real cocoa along with other healthy ingredients like flaxseed flour, coconut oil, and chia seed oil. It is also available in dark chocolate. It contains 40% less sugar than the other leading brand.
What we don’t like: This product is manufactured on shared equipment. This means that there may be traces of dairy products. If you are allergic to dairy products, be careful.
Snackers Only Store Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bites: Available at Amazon
Our opinion : These delicious vegan treats are individually wrapped for on-the-go snacking.
What we like: These are gluten-free peanut butter rice crispy treats covered in vegan chocolate. They contain no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Whole-grain brown rice boosts protein content to 2 grams per bar. Count calories? Each bar contains only 100 calories and 4 grams of fat.
What we don’t like: Some people thought it looked more like an energy bar than a chocolate candy.
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Suzannah Kolbeck is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a single mission: to help simplify your buying decisions and save you time and money.
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