Monday, June 23, 2014

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Let's face it, chocolate is a big deal.  Desserts were one of my top worries when I stopped eating dairy. However, I have found other things (like cheese) much harder to replace.  The world of dairy free chocolate is pretty much amazing!   Many favorite treats such as chocolate chip cookies and brownies can easily be made from scratch by simply using an alternative milk, non-hydrogenated margarine, and dairy free chocolate in your favorite recipe.  And nowadays there are so many great non-dairy products available to buy (I recommend clicking on the links below to view the products so you know what you are looking for when you go to the store):   

  • Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips :  Look for the yellow package. Some of their other chocolate chips contain dairy ingredients. These taste way better than the Nestle brand chips I was buying for years.  

  • Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix :  Make sure to buy this specific one, some of their other mixes contain dairy ingredients.  I like the Ghiradelli products because they are easy to find at grocery stores and at Target.

  • Cocoa Powder:  You can make any of your favorite recipes using cocoa powder because it is always dairy free.  The only thing to watch out for is that you are buying true cocoa powder, not cocoa drink mix, which usually contains dairy. This is my favorite reasonably priced organic cocoa powder.

  • Dark chocolate:  Most bars of dark chocolate sold in regular grocery stores are dairy-free so that's an easy one.  It's only tricky if you are looking for one that is soy-free but  I like this one that is also fair trade and is available in better grocery stores.  

  • Rice Dream Bites: Chocolate covered "ice cream" bites (my favorite non-dairy frozen treat)  

  • So Delicious Coconutmilk ice creams:   These ice creams do taste like coconut so if that's not a flavor you like, you might not like these.  Their chocolate ice cream flavors camouflage the coconut taste better than some of the other flavors. These are available at regular grocery stores but health food stores typically have a wider selection of flavors.  

  • Enjoy Life Ricemilk Chocolate Bar:  This is tasty (I prefer it to a regular Hershey's bar) but it's not the most delicious thing I've ever eaten either. However, I'm including it in my list of products because it's a great option for people who do not like dark chocolate.  They also make a version with crispies in it. 

For multiple allergies, check out the family of Enjoy Life  products (which are free of common allergens including gluten, soy, dairy and nuts). Although I prefer the texture of the Ghiradelli chocolate chips, Enjoy Life ones are still good!  And they also sell a variety of different cookies, bars, trail mixes, and chips, some of which are better than others.  

I've listed my favorite products here but the baking aisle at Whole Foods has a variety of dairy free cookie, brownie, frosting, and cake mixes from brands such as Cherrybrook Farms,  Arrowhead Mills and European Gourmet Bakery Organics.  If you don't mind transfat, Duncan Hines has pareve baking mixes available at regular super markets (check out my FAQ if you are not familiar with using pareve labeling to identify dairy free products).

A last word of advice:  Cocoa butter is NOT dairy so if you see that on a label, don't worry!