Using Vegan Chocolate For Baking: What You Need To Know
Using vegan dark chocolate for baking allows you to produce your favorite sweets without compromising on your diet or values.
While it's definitely not as easy to find quality vegan chocolate chips, they are out there - or you can even find vegan dark chocolate and create your own!
Then, you can adhere to the standards of cruelty-free living while still enjoying all the great baked goods this world has to offer.
In this complete guide on how to bake with vegan chocolate chips, we're going to explain the benefits of avoiding animal products when you bake - because there are a lot of them, some of which you might already be familiar with.
After that, we're going to help teach you which dairy-free chocolate is worth baking with - and what is not. After that, we'll share a couple of our favorite recipes, all of which contain zero animal products!
Why Should You Use Cruelty-Free Chocolate When Baking?
Normal, semi-sweet milk chocolate is what most people think of when "chocolate" is brought up. That's because this is what you'll find in the checkout aisle of your favorite stores, it's far cheaper, etc.
But as you know, dairy is an animal product - and there is a laundry list of issues associated with consuming animal products. Some of these are health problems, others an issue in morality.
If you currently live a cruelty-free lifestyle, then this will simply be a refresher for you on why vegan is the way to go. If not, then we're excited to share all the benefits this lifestyle offers.
From healthier living to sustainability, and everything in between, we've got a lot to discuss here.
Health Benefits That Come From Baking With Vegan Chocolate
Let's be honest - when we get in the kitchen to bake, we aren't always focused on health. We're trying to soothe a sweet tooth!
But there's this misconception that taste and health cannot both be front of mind when baking - which is not true. You can use quality, wholesome ingredients while still producing delicious treats.
The Problems Baking With Dairy-Based Chocolate Create
One of the biggest offenders in baked goods is dairy - which is, unfortunately, prevalent in modern chocolate. It's added as a sweetener, which compromises not just your morals - but your diet.
There are all kinds of problems with dairy - from allergens to bloating. But instead of bashing dairy, we're going to focus on the benefits of dairy-free chocolate, instead!
Baking With Vegan Chocolate Offers Tons Of Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants, & More!
Natural, dark chocolate is 100% vegan - and offers a wide range of health benefits, which may come as a shock to you. For one, you get tons of fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
Plus, dark chocolate is chock-full of antioxidants to help prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc throughout your body. This helps reduce inflammation - which is something just about everyone can benefit from.
Additional Benefits Of Using Vegan Chocolate When You Bake
A few other health benefits worth noting include increased brain activity, enhanced mood, healthier blood sugar levels (super important for diabetics), and optimizes heart health.
There are plenty of other reasons casual bakers and professionals alike are starting to avoid semi-sweet chocolates, and opt for a dark chocolate alternative.
Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Is Sustainable & Ethical
Along with being better for you, dark chocolate sourced right from the cacao plant is also better for our environment, and better for animals.
You don't have to feel bad about exploiting those most affected by the big dairy industry - cows - to satisfy your cravings.
By cutting back on the dairy we use as a population, we'll be able to lower the impact we have on our ozone and extend our stay on this earth a bit longer.
Baking With Vegan Chocolate Just Plain Tastes Better!
If you've ever bought a cookie baked with traditional semi-sweet chocolate chips, you know that it can sometimes be disappointing.
All that artificial sugar and overly sweet milky taste masks the true potential that baked goods have to offer - it's almost a cop-out.
When you bite into a delicious, vegan baked good - you'll taste the difference. Nothing beats that natural, dark chocolate taste - whether it's in the form of cookies, muffins, scones, you name it!
Does Vegan Chocolate Affect How You Should Bake?
Now, if you've never used vegan chocolate when baking before - you might not know exactly how you should go about it.
Are there any differences in how you go about following your recipe? Can you just sub out semi-sweet milk chocolate chips for a dairy-free option?
Yes - you could very easily follow your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and opt for cruelty-free chocolate chips instead.
With that said, there are some incredible recipes out there formulated specifically for baking with vegan chocolate chip counterparts. Let's take a look at all the possibilities
What Can You Bake With Vegan Chocolate?
The good news is that just about everything you bake today can be baked with vegan chocolate chip alternatives instead. Here are some of our favorites:
- And much, much more.
You can produce any variation of these treats above with cruelty-free chocolate. It's just a matter of finding a recipe you like.
The bad news is, you're going to have to work a bit harder to find quality dark chocolate to bake with. The unfortunate reality is that traditional semi-sweet chocolates are cheaper and more accessible, so this is what you'll find more prominently.
Don't stress too much though - we're going to share our favorite cruelty-free chocolate chips with you, later on, so keep reading to the end!
What Other Products Should Vegan Bakers Avoid In Their Kitchen?
Semi-sweet, dairy-packed chocolate is just one item you need to steer clear of when baking for vegans or as a vegan.
Traditional butter is also a dairy product - and unfortunately, is a staple in just about any recipe you'll come across.
You also need to opt for cocoa butter and cane sugar instead, both of which are natural, dairy-free options. Cocoa butter is a common ingredient in cosmetic products - particularly lotion.
But, you can also bake with cocoa butter to add a semi-sweet, creamy flavor to any recipe. It's a stable fat that can replace that traditional, harmful butter sitting in your refrigerator if you haven't already thrown it out.
Same Great Taste As The Recipes You're Used To, Without The Guilt!
Now that you know what's possible in the kitchen when you have vegan dark chocolate chips, all that's left to do throw your old semi-sweet chocolate chips in the trash can and find a cruelty-free alternative.
This is the tough part - because like we've already mentioned, semi-sweet milk chocolate chips are seemingly everywhere, while high-quality dark chocolate seems to hide in the shadows.
Luckily for you, we have found the best tasting, best for you dark chocolate to bake with - all while remaining vegan!
Choosing The Right Vegan Chocolate To Bake With
We mentioned that one of the tricky parts of vegan baking is choosing the right cruelty-free chocolate chips to bake with in the first place.
The first step is differentiating between typical semi-sweet chocolate chips and the good stuff. This is as simple as looking at the packaging.
For one, most vegan chocolate will be labeled as such - they'll display this factoid proudly right on the front. As a rule of thumb, though, it's always best to also refer to the ingredient label.
If you see that milk is listed as an allergen - that's a dead giveaway you're working with animal-based chocolate chips, which we don't want.
So you don't have to waste any of your time scouring the aisles at your local grocery store, we're going to let you in on a little secret - the best vegan chocolate to bake with.
What Is The Best Cruelty-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate For Baking?
Labeled as the first functional chocolate bar, these are awesome to bake with because you'll be producing treats packed with protein, antioxidants, and vitamins & minerals you need to feel your best and perform your best.
Create Your Own Vegan Chocolate Chips Or Chunks to Bake With
You can easily melt these down into a chocolate chip maker - which is basically a tray with tiny holes in it that help you form the chocolate chip itself.
Or, you can just get a knife and dice these up into chunks - this will result in huge, delicious chunks of dark chocolate in every bite of whatever you're baking.
Not Just Vegan - But Organic, Soy Free, Gluten Free, non-GMO, & More!
These chocolate bars aren't just vegan. This is organic chocolate, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO - it checks off every box in terms of health, while also helping you produce melt in your mouth baked goods.
With so many different options - including peanut butter, almond & fudge, and even pure fudge - you can experiment with your favorite recipes or pick one we've laid out earlier.
The possibilities are endless, so grab a pack and get to baking!
A Simple, Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe You Can Follow
Now, we promised you a recipe by the end of this article - and we're going to share our very favorite with you. We're going to go with a classic - chocolate chip cookies.
Grab Your Ingredients
Along with some Mid-Day Squares (we prefer the fudge option), here are your ingredients:
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cocoa butter (or oil)
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or another dairy-free alternative)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour (almond flour if you're looking to stay gluten-free, otherwise you can opt for traditional)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 oz. chocolate chunks (MidDay Squares for a functional, flavorful option!)
Once you've gathered your ingredients, following the recipe is actually super simple. Here are the steps:
Step 1) Whisk Together Initial Ingredients
Start by finding a large baking bowl, and whisk together the cane sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cocoa butter (or oil). The cocoa butter should be melted to make this process easier, if possible.
Step 2) Add Your Liquids
Once your initial dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, you can add in your almond milk and vanilla extract, working it through to create a smooth batter.
You'll know you're ready for the next step once the cane sugar has completely dissolved.
Step 3) Mix In Your Remaining Ingredients
Now, you can sift in your almond flour and baking soda. Fold the mixture with your spatula, and add in your chocolate chunks at the end. The more, the better!
Step 4) Let Your Dough Chill While You Preheat The Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and put the mixed dough in your fridge to chill.
You can wait 30 minutes for the best results, but a lot of people will just wait until the oven is ready to go (usually around 10-20 minutes).
Step 5) Scoop Dough Onto Baking Sheet, & Bake For 12-15 Minutes
You're almost done - once your oven is preheated and ready to go, take your bowl out of the fridge and fill out your baking sheet. Leave 2" between cookies to prevent them from baking into each other.
After 12-15 minutes they'll be good to go - but you can always use the golden brown coloring as your indicator for when they're ready to be pulled.
Once they cool, all that's left to do is enjoy them. The best part is knowing they're entirely vegan - good for you, good for our planet.
You'll shock your friends when you tell them after they give them a try! Cookies aren't the only thing you can bake using MidDay squares, but they're a great starting point.