Some people dream of a white Christmas. Others dream of fudge, peanut butter balls, and chocolate chip cookies. When you're a vegan, finding dairy-free, cruelty-free ingredients for your holiday yummies can be a bit tricky. The good news: Vegan chocolate is available in some stores and online. The bad news: Vegan chocolate can be hard to find.
Mainstream Chocolate Brands
For obvious reasons, milk chocolate is not an option for vegans. Dark chocolate is more confusing. While some dark chocolates – usually the more expensive ones – contain nothing but cacao beans, sugar, and an emulsifier, others contain milk products.
Some examples of mainstream dark chocolates that violate vegan dietary rules are:
- Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips (contain both milk fat and milk)
- Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels (contain both milkfat and nonfat milk)
- Cadbury Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (contain milk solids)
- Girardhelli's Intense Dark Chocolate bar with 86 percent caco (lists milk fat in its ingredients)
Watch Out For Other Deceptive Ingredients
Vegans and vegetarians alike understand how important it is to read food labels. Even if you scrutinize the back of a chocolate chip bag, however, you might miss something important. Some ingredients, although they do not have the word "milk" in their name, still contain animal-derived byproducts.
When shopping for your vegan baking booty, look out for the following deceptive ingredients which are often derived from animal fat:
- Oleic acid
- Myristic acid
- Palmatic acid
Three Chocolate Chip Products to Consider
The following vegan chocolate chip products do not contain the above-mentioned ingredients. Furthermore, they have received great reviews and are definitely worth a try:
Amanda's Own Confections Chocolate Chips: Nothing but evaporate cane juice, chocolate liquor, and non-dairy cocoa butter. This product was created in response to company owners' daughter, Amanda, who has a life-threatening dairy allergy. Available online.
Enjoy Life Mini Chips, Mega Chunks, and Dark Chocolate Morsels: This brand advertises that they are "gluten free" with "no artificial anything." Available online.
Trader Joe's Semi Sweet Chocoalte Chips: These chips are 100 percent vegan and, if you're lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's within driving distance, not too difficult to find.
Cruelty-free chocolate chips make your holiday baking extra delicious for two reasons.
1) The chocolate is of a higher quality than mainstream brands, with fewer chemical additives and other unnecessary ingredients.
2) Eating this chocolate doesn't make you feel sick and sad inside.
Good food and good will – what better way to enjoy the sweetness of the holidays?
Flickr image courtesy of Andrea Goh