Vegan White Chocolate

"Edible and incredible!"
“Edible and incredible!”

There is something which has been bothering me a bit lately, and that is the fact that real, whole food seems to be becoming the exception, rather than the norm.

You only need to take a walk through your nearest supermarket and read some labels to see what I mean. Everything from cheese, to deli meats, to breakfast cereals, to fruit juices is bulked out and preserved with a huge array of ingredients whose names I don’t pretend to understand.

We evolved eating organic foods.... get it..? Evolved..?
We evolved eating organic foods…. get it..? Evolved..?

Some people treat me like a hippy or an extremist for my preference for organic produce, or my aversion to yogurts with thickeners, or store-bought sausages altogether, or “treat” foods which are all sugar and chemicals. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but the addition of pesticides, hormones,  preservatives, artificial colours and artificial flavourings to our food is a relatively recent development.  Terms like “organic,” “slow food,” “whole food” and “real food” are seen as the domain of health “freaks.” The truth is, what we’re talking about is simply food, naturally occurring ingredients which humans have eaten for millennia.

So anyway, I thought I’d share a recipe I tried for vegan white chocolate. I initially searched for a recipe for dairy-free white chocolate, and found this one, which I really liked due to its simplicity. A treat or cheat meal may mean more fat or sugar than you would usually eat, but it doesn’t have to mean ingesting a truck-load of toxins. A high calorie meal now and then won’t harm you if you’re also exercising regularly and eating in accordance with your goals and activity levels most of the time, but there’s no reason to burden your liver with chemicals when it can be so easy to make your own all-natural treats!

IMG_2444I changed the quantities and method of the original recipe slightly, and also used vanilla beans rather than paste, so I’ll list my method below. But please check out the original recipe on Gluten Free on a Shoestring as well!

Ingredients:

500 grams of cacao butter, chopped

3 – 7 whole vanilla beans

325 grams of icing sugar (this makes the finished chocolate quite sweet. If you don’t like it so sweet, feel free to reduce this quantity.)

15 grams of almond meal

a pinch of ground celtic sea salt (regular salt is also fine)

Method:

Melt the cacao butter over low heat in a double burner. It only needs to get to around 35 degrees celsius to start to melt, so really, keep the heat low.

Organic vanilla beans are certainly an investment, but their seeds will endow your creation with a rich taste which completely overshadows any artificial vanilla you've ever experienced. Then you have the pods left over to grind up for other recipes, add to your tea, or use to scent the room.
Organic vanilla beans are certainly an investment, but their seeds will endow your creation with a rich taste which completely overshadows any artificial vanilla you’ve ever experienced. Then you have the pods left over to grind up for other recipes, add to your tea, or use to scent the room.

Cut the vanilla beans open length-wise and scrape out the tiny seeds. Combine the vanilla seeds with the sugar, almond meal and sea salt.

Pour the melted cacao butter into the mixture, and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the whole thing has an even texture and a smooth cream-coloured consistency, flecked with black vanilla seeds. (You have my permission to taste the liquid white chocolate at this point too. You need to, to make sure the sugar has dissolved…)

Now for the hardest part... waiting for it to set before you eat it!
Now for the hardest part… waiting for it to set before you eat it!

Now you can pour the chocolate into moulds, or simply into a flexible tray if you’re not fussed about the appearance of the finished product. Leave it for 60 minutes at room temperature to set. The vanilla seeds give it a speckled appearance, which I quite like.

Obviously this is an extremely high-calorie treat, so enjoy in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with eating high-fat, high-sugar foods sometimes as a treat if you generally take care of yourself with a healthy diet and exercise. If you can, try to make them yourself so you can avoid the toxins that are so prevalent in packaged foods. Hope you enjoy the chocolate!

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