Just imagine if there was no chocolate biscuit to dip in your tea, no slice of cake on your birthday, no bar of chocolate to come home to after a long week… Life can already be a challenge, so it only makes sense to sweeten the deal with a delicious snack or two!
Of all the treats, the sweet ones tend to be the most indulgent – and that’s no bad thing. Everyone deserves a treat every once in a while. But it can be hard sometimes to find something delicious and suitable for your diet, e.g. if you’re allergic to nuts, gluten intolerant, vegan or allergic to eggs. Read on to get inspired about snacking again, whatever your dietary need.
Is chocolate vegan?
It depends what chocolate we’re taking about.
The most important ingredients in all types of chocolate are cocoa solids and cocoa butter – which actually contain 0% dairy butter and are 100% vegan. Cocoa butter, also known as cacao butter, is made from cocoa beans, which are the dried and fermented seeds of the cacao tree.
Once the cocoa beans have been processed, the shells are removed to extract the nib, which is then ground up and liquefied to be made into cocoa solids and cocoa butter. It’s the type of chocolate that is made from these base ingredients that dictates whether it is vegan or not.
What types of chocolate are there?
Dark chocolate: typically contains sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa solids and sometimes flavourings
Milk chocolate: typically contains sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, milk / milk powder and sometimes flavourings
White chocolate: the same as milk chocolate just without any cocoa solids
Raw chocolate: is often less processed and uses organic ingredients like coconut sugar to sweeten it instead of refined sugar
What are the benefits of dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate doesn’t usually contain dairy (always check the label just in case), making it a great choice for vegans and dairy-intolerant people. The cocoa content is almost always higher in dark chocolate, and with a higher cocoa content, comes a higher nutritional value.
A typical 100g bar of dark chocolate with 70-80% cocoa will contain significant amounts of iron, magnesium and copper. It often contains less calories than milk chocolate, too.
Not typically, no. Gluten free chocolate is quite common as the ingredients don’t often contain gluten. Some brands go a step further and make sure that there is no chance of cross-contamination in the manufacturing process, so that people with severe allergies don’t have to worry about traces of gluten and can simply enjoy.
How about nut-free chocolate and sugar-free chocolate?
Yes, egg-free biscuits and cakes do exist! Egg is usually used to bind ingredients together, but there are alternatives that can be just as good, including oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, and more. This means that vegans and people with egg allergies can indulge in some cake-y goodness and have a few biccies with their tea too!
What about gluten-free cakes and biscuits?
Cakes and biscuits = flour, and flour = gluten, right? Well yes, most traditional cake and biscuit recipes call for wheat flour, but not all flours contain gluten. Gluten-free biscuits and cakes can be made with a variety of different flours, including rice, almond, coconut and buckwheat flour. These flours also contain unique nutritional values, so can be a healthier choice than wheat flour, depending on your needs – win win!
Can you get vegan cakes and biscuits?
All the dairy and eggs traditional cakes are made with can be swapped for plant-based alternatives. Try using soy, coconut, oat or almond milk in cakes instead of dairy. We offer scrumptious vegan cakes and biscuits at Holland & Barrett if you don’t fancy making your own.