I've always been fascinated by the process of making chocolate and whilst in my day job, I usually use already prepared chocolate covertiture, for this recipe I've decided to explore the world of actual chocolate making.
So, here is how to make a simple vegan chocolate bar with only three basic ingredients. This recipe is of course suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets, but it's also gluten and wheat free and doesn't contain any lactose (milk). So, this is as healthy as chocolate can get!
The basic vegan chocolate recipe
170g cacao butter, melted
170g cacao powder
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
pinch of salt, finely ground
Here is what you do:
Making Vegan Chocolate Notes & Troubleshooting Tips
How do I make vegan chocolate without cocoa butter?
You can replace the cocoa butter with almond, coconut or similar plant based butter. Bear in mind that the flavour of chocolate will slightly change, depending on what type of butter you use. This might not be a bad thing, especially if you are thinking of adding other flavours in to compliment the chocolate, for instance whole almonds or other nuts or dried fruits.
Where do I buy vegan chocolate chips or buttons to make my chocolate?
The thing is - a proper quality dark covertiture chocolate is always vegan! It doesn't contain any dairy, gluten and because it has a cocoa butter, it's all plant based. unfortunately, this type of chocolate is not really available in the supermarkets, so it's best to order online. I've put together chocolate making resources and you can find them right here.
Do I need to temper my vegan chocolate?
For best results - and if you want your chocolate to withstand higher temperatures, it's always best to temper your chocolate. If you replace your cocoa butter with other plant based butter or oils you might find that your chocolate can be quite soft (as oil usually melts at lower temperature than sturdy cocoa butter), so it's even more important to temper your chocolate. If you are making just a chocolate ganache or chocolate sauce or desert (where the chocolate will stay slightly soft), it doesn't need to be tempered.
I'm making vegan chocolate bars - can I flavour my chocolate?
Yes, of course - there are so many ingredients you can complement your chocolate with. If you are using flavour essences, they have to be 'oil based'. If they are water based, they will split the chocolate and your chocolate won't set. Check the labels to make sure you are using vegan friendly essences. If you want to stay more in tune with the nature, I would recommend using various spices, which blend beautifully into chocolate and create a great flavour. I often use cinnamon, sweet chilli, mixed spice or pepper to compliment my chocolate. Always make sure it's finely ground and add only a bit at the time. It's easy to get carried away and your chocolate would be easily spoiled.
What about dried fruit - can I add it to my vegan chocolate?
Yes, absolutely - anything 'dry' can be used to topped your chocolate bar with. I love a mix of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, which really add an extra nutritional value to my chocolate. Just a piece of my chocolate bar is enough as a snack.
I don't have a agave nectar, can I use something else?
If you want to keep your recipe vegan friendly, you can swap the agave nectar for maple syrup (which is also great if you are looking for a chocolate recipe suitable for IBS, as agave nectar is very high FODMAP, whereas maple syrup is low FODMAP). If you are not worried about keeping this recipe strictly vegan, you can also swap the agave nectar for honey or other suitable liquid sugar.
Can I use real sugar instead of the liquid sugar?
That's a great question, but since we want to make our chocolate beautifully mellow and easily to eat, we are sticking with the liquid sugar. I'm also trying to keep this chocolate fairly healthy and that's why I've chosen to use more natural sugar. You could use any type of 'real' sugar, but the problem is that unless you can grind it very fine (even if you use icing sugar) you'll always be able to fell the sugar crystals in your mouth. If you are not worried about it, go ahead and swap it and see how you get on.
Can you add coconut oil to melted chocolate?
Yes, you can add a small amount of coconut oil to your melted chocolate. This will slightly thin it, so either add more cocoa powder or less cocoa butter. Coconut oil is much lighter than cocoa butter or coconut butter, which means that it melts at lower temperature. As coconut oil is slightly cheaper than cocoa butter, it means that you can make your own vegan chocolate on a budget.
I don't have any cocoa powder, can I use something else?
The higher quality cocoa powder you use, the better your chocolate is going to taste. So, I would always use cocoa powder and not try to replace it with other substitutes. But if you've either run out of your cocoa powder or you just need few extra grams to top up your cocoa powder quantity, you can also add powdered chocolate drink (just check ingredients, as they might not be always vegan friendly).
How can I use this recipe to make vegan milk chocolate?
It's possible to make vegan milk chocolate, but you would need one crutial ingredients.
Do let me know how you get on with your chocolate making and of course, if you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below.