Browsed by
Tag: cacao

Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate.

There seems to be a misconception that when you turn vegan you suddenly stop eating chocolate; this is not the case. There are many brands of chocolate offering dairy free options which don’t have to come from the “free from” section. If you like dark chocolate then you will find the transition easy. If you don’t enjoy dark chocolate it could take a while to make the transition however over time you will get used to the taste and start to love it.

It is possible to get milk and white vegan chocolate however it does have to come from the “free from” section because it isn’t naturally made dairy free. As a result the cost will be a bit higher than your regular chocolate bars.

Things to note:

  • not all dark chocolate is vegan so always double check the label.
  • dairy products are mostly always in bold however “butterfat” is sometimes not highlighted; so again double check the label.

Some facts about chocolate:

Chocolate is made from the cacao plant which in its most natural state is actually a health food. Not to be confused with cocoa, cacao is naturally high in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. Alongside a healthy diet, cacao has the ability to balance blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque and ultimately reverse heart disease.

Other health benefits:

  • Its high in magnesium which increases energy levels and protects against osteoporosis.
  • Cacao boosts serotonin levels and endorphins which improve mood and balance mood swings.
  • It contains healthy fats which create chemical reactions for growth, immune function and metabolic function.

I have accumulated a section of photos on my trip around Tesco, finding all the vegan chocolate I could. Other supermarkets and health shops have more choice so you’re never short of options. These are mainstream brands, where as health shops have great raw chocolate varieties (and more!) but at a higher cost.

Other alternatives include raw cacao powder (to create your own great vegan desserts/ treats) and cacao nibs (to add to snacks, smoothies and oats).

Find some of your mainstream varieties below.

Green & Black’s

Tesco’s Own

Lindt

Green & Blacks Thins

Tesco Finest

Bournville

Ritter Sport (not their mint variety)

BENDICK’S

 

To find out more about how chocolate is made, go view my post on how I made chocolate in the Amazon!

How chocolate is made: Amazon Rainforest

How chocolate is made: Amazon Rainforest

 

image

image

Hello you beautiful people !!

I have just returned from four days in the Amazon Rainforest and I had such an amazing time. During my time exploring the jungle I was fortunate enough to learn all about one of my favourite foods ever, cacao. It grows wild here in the Amazon and everywhere I walked I stumbled across it; heaven. To be honest, before entering the Amazon I couldn’t have told you what cacao looked like before being crushed into a powder or nib but now I can.

image

I have spoken about it before but in case you didn’t know, it is one of the best sources of vitamin C you can get and contains the highest amount of Antioxidants than any other food! They also contain the highest natural source of magnesium, zinc, copper and iron, all of which are essential for a healthy metabolism.

I wanted to share the process of making the chocolate with you because I thought it was pretty amazing and I think you’ll like it too, so let’s get into the process.

Firstly, did you know there are actually three types of cacao plant? They come in three varying colours: red (can turn deep purple also), yellow and orange. Before they ripen they are green in colour; colourful plants hey?

image

Inside the cacao plant sit the beans in their pod, encased with a white soft and sweet coating. You can suck on the beans and eat the gooey coating, it’s delicious, but do not bite as you will bite into the raw bean and it will be extremely bitter.

image

image

The seeds are dried in the sand and stored there for a few days to dry and become the beans you see below.

image

They are the dry fried on a hot heat for about 3-5 minutes to cook; they make a popping sound as they cook.

image

After the cooking process the bean is separated from a very thin shell and set aside; the chickens peck away at the shells so there is no waste, ha ha! This is where cacao nibs would be made as the beans easily crush under little pressure between your fingers making nibs. I ate so many beans whilst helping de-shell them as I kept crushing them too hard and I didn’t want to waste the bean did I? They were warm, crunchy, light and rich in taste. So delicious.

image

Next, the de-shelled, toasted beans are put into a grinder which heats the beans whilst grinding them and forms a warm chocolate paste. Here you could stop the process, leave this to dry and that is how cacao powder is made, however I will continue with the process into making the chocolate.

image

image

Once all the beans are ground, the warm paste that’s produced is added back into the pan on the heat and this is when you will add cocoa butter, milk of choice, sugars and flavourings etc. Bubble away and a thick creamy chocolate is produced. Dip away, leave to cool and solidify or make a hot chocolate drink. Absolute dream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

image

Cacao, you rock my socks. I continue to be fascinated, obsessed and in awe of you. My favourite superfood ever: Cacao.

I also just want to add that after taking part in the making of this chocolate and witnessing the process that goes into the making of it, I can fully appreciate why organic, fair trade, high cacao content chocolate is that extra bit pricey. It’s all made by hand, locally produced, no additives or junk added in and it’s made with knowledge, heart and passion of the Rainforest.

I will never question the cost of great chocolate ever again.

I hope you enjoyed 🙂

image

Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar

Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar

image

Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar; tastes like a chewy chocolate bar but super healthy and of course all vegan!!

Perfect for on the go snacking this bar provides you with healthy Fats, Protein and Carbs to keep you full and satisfied. Not only that but did you know that Goji Berries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and a great source of Iron? It’s also a Complex Carb which means it is full of Fibre and won’t spoke your blood sugars!

Do you need any more convincing?

Try for yourself and enjoy with no guilt 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Oats
  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Cacao
  • 2 Tbsp Goji Berries

METHOD:

  1. In a Food Processor, Nutri Bullet or Vitamix, blitz the Oats and Nuts into a flour
  2. Add in Dates, Cacao and Goji Berries
  3. Pulse together until it forms a sticky ball
  4. Shape into 5  bars
  5. Refrigerate overnight
  6. Enjoy ! 🙂

image

Simple Oat Cookie with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

Simple Oat Cookie with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

Ever get stuck for on the go snacks for work? I know I do, and I always want something sweet and that’s easily transferable! These cookies are just that. They’re not as sweet as the Sticky Chocolate Oat Cookies, but are a Simple Oat Cookie with a slight chocolatey taste to still keep you satisfied at times of need 🙂 They are ready in just 15 minutes and you can walk away and leave them whilst they’re in the oven and then when you get back, they are all done. Easy 🙂

They’re oil free, for anyone concerned about oil, and will keep for about 3 days in the fridge. I take 2 to work each day so works out well as they make about 7 cookies, if you’re smarter than me you could make 6 out of the mix and then it will last you three days !! 😉

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 1/2 Cup Oats
  • 2 Medium Bananas
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
  • 1 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut
  • Dash of Cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 4 (180 degrees)
  2. Blend oats to make a flour and then set aside
  3. Blend together bananas, maple syrup, coconut, cacao and cinnamon
  4. Add in flour to mix and blend again
  5. Stir through cacao nibs
  6. Make into about 7 cookies (recommend using a tbsp as the mix is quite sticky!)
  7. Back on middle shelf for 10 minutes
  8. Leave to cool before refrigerating, and enjoy!!