Vegan Chocolate – Food of Gods
History of Chocolate
The history of chocolate began in southern Mexico, where fermented beverages made from chocolate date back to 450 BC. If you thank the good Lord for that history, you won’t have to give it all up just because you decided to go plant-based!
Vegan chocolate is equally tasty. And it is much healthier due to the lower fat and calorie content, making it appropriate for any diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight but find it hard to ignore your sweet cravings.
The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods” and the Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom. So, you can enjoy chocolate guilt free when you do it wisely.
The word “chocolate” comes from the Classical Nahuatl word “chocolātl” and entered the English language from the Spanish language.
What is Vegan Chocolate?
Vegan chocolate is made without added animal products. A typical chocolate bar includes sweetener, cocoa butter (yes, this natural cocoa fat is vegan!) and vanilla.
Like any other packaged food that you can buy from a shelf, the fewer the ingredients the healthier. By default, dark chocolate is often made without milk but not everybody is a fan of the bitter taste, which is due to the higher concentration of cocoa solids.
Thankfully, many brands have now developed a variety of milder vegan chocolate to satisfy any palate: with plant “milk”, coffee flavor, ginger, oranges, sea salt, mint, fudge, nuts… you name it. There is even a vegan white chocolate so, yes, everything can be successfully veganized.
Benefits of Dairy-Free Chocolate
We already know that dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that can increase cardiovascular function. For health benefits, always look for a high percentage of cacao, between 55 and 85 percent. Doctors recommend that we just obey the saying that eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third. Stash up on your favorites!
But, this is something that your parents will probably not tell, dark chocolate can have an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and protect against tooth decay. Japanese scientists found that theobromine, a major component of cocoa beans and higher in concentration in dark than in milk chocolate, helps harden tooth enamel.
This makes dark chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods as it offsets high sugar levels. This is great news but we still need to brush our teeth afterwards!
Six vegan chocolate recipes you need to try
With just 5 ingredients, you can make the healthiest chocolate to indulge yourself or treat your kids, and conscious free as you can avoid refined sugar and other undesirable ingredients.
1. Home-made Diet Vegan Chocolate
Home-made chocolate is easy to make with just 3 ingredients: 1 cup cocoa butter, 2-5 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup, ½ cup cacao powder (unsweetened). Now all you have to do is melt the cocoa butter in a bain-marie, add the sweetener, whisk, and remove from the heat.
Continue by adding the cocoa powder and mix until it is perfectly combined. Pour the content into desired molds and let them sit for 10 or 15 minutes in the fridge. To vary the recipe, you can add to the cacao other flavors such as vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, sea salt, chopped nuts, or goji berries to elevate the dessert.
You can store it in the fridge up to a week, if it even lasts that long.
2. Vegan Chocolate Truffle
Vegan truffles are also rich and luxurious. “A decadent chocolate ganache center smothered in dark chocolate” is what Allison from lovingitvegan.com promises with her recipe.
First a chocolate ganache is made by heating 1 cup (240ml) of coconut cream until it shimmers and then pouring it hot over grated vegan chocolate – 1 and ¾ cups (10.5oz/300g) will do.
Allow one minute for the chocolate to melt then mix it into a chocolate sauce. Afterwards, place the bowl in the fridge for around 2 or 3 hours to harden enough to scoop out even amounts of ganache.
Drop them in cocoa powder and roll them into a ball with your hands. After forming the balls, let them sit again in the fridge to harden up again. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate coating by melting 1 and 3/4 cups (10.5oz/300g) of vegan chocolate and adding 1 tsp of coconut oil. Take the balls out of the fridge and drop them one by one into this mixture to coat them, put them a parchment-lined baking tray and put them back in the fridge for the chocolate to set.
Don’t forget to decorate with chocolate shavings or pistachio crumbs before letting them cool. The result is a hard chocolate outer with a creamy inside. A delicious treat fit for any occasion.
3. Healthy Vegan Nutella
Craving some good and healthy chocolate spread? Me too!
It takes 30 minutes and 4 ingredients to obtain this rich and creamy treat that’s also gluten free.
In a preheated oven (350 degrees F/ 176 ⁰C), roast 3 cups of raw unsalted hazelnuts for 12-15 minutes in order to warm up the natural oils, making processing so much easier, and to loosen the skin. After removing them from the oven, peel off the skin and blend them in a food processor on low speed until a butter is formed. In the meantime, melt 2/3 cup of dairy-free dark chocolate.
Once the hazelnut butter is creamy and smooth, add 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp salt, and finally stir in the melted chocolate. Transfer the goodness into a clean jar and store at room temperature for 2 or 3 weeks.
4. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
You won’t even taste the avocado, I promise!
All your tongue will feel is the silky-smooth chocolate mousse. Is it too healthy to be a dessert?
We think not, so grab 2 ripe avocados (about 240 g) and toss the flesh into a food processor along with 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup Dutch cocoa or melted chocolate chips, 3-4 tbsp milk of choice, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or sweetener of choice to taste, and blend until completely smooth.
The Dutch cocoa is lower in fat and sugar but if you opt for the chocolate chips instead, the mousse will be richer.
5. Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake
I highly recommend this decadent and creamy cake as I’ve made it on several occasions and it was a great hit.
It must have some magic sprinkled on top because it disappears just like that! Plus, it checks all the boxes for food allergies so it’s stress free for kids’ parties. Gluten free, nut free, dairy free, eggs free, and if you need, you can substitute the cocoa powder with carob powder, it is equally delicious.
It’s easy to make with ingredients that every vegan often has in the home. Preheat the oven to 190⁰C/ 374⁰F and line the base and sides of 2 tins (20 cm diameter with sealed bases) with baking paper.
This will make 2 layers. Alternatively, bake the layers one at a time. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 and ½ cups of boiling water, 1 cup maple syrup, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup coconut oil until completely melted.
Add 1 and ½ cups gluten free plain flower (or regular flour), 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda, ¾ cups cacao powder and a pinch of salt, mix and bake the mixture for 20 minutes – don’t overcook it, the texture should be fudge-like. For the icing, in a food processor, blend until smooth 2 ripe avocados, ½ cup cacao powder, ½ cup maple syrup, ¼ cup melted coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt.
6. Easy Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
With just 2 ingredients, this is one of the easiest dessert recipes ever: 1 12oz (340g) jar of creamy salted peanut butter and 14oz (400g) vegan chocolate. Melt the two in a bain-marie, stirring until everything is melted and incorporated.
Transfer to an 8×8 square dish, smooth down, and leave to cool before cutting into delicious irresistible fudge cubes that can be decorated by drizzling melted peanut butter and crushed peanuts or whatever your imagination desires.
Special Chocolate Day(s)
Vegan chocolate is too good not to make excuses to indulge in, so any reason will do to eat some. That’s why World Chocolate Day is a global annual observance on 7th July. For the United States, once is clearly not enough because they celebrate it three times a year: International Chocolate Day on September 13, National Chocolate Day on October 28, and then again on December 28. Maybe this explains the fact that 100 pounds of chocolate is consumed in the U.S. every second.
Take your cooking skills to the next level and craft some amazing chocolate truffles. Just replace cream with a vegan version and you’re ready to go. You can also try this fantastic Muscavado truffles recipe by Chef Paul Hegeman.