A fellow chocolatier in London recently contacted me saying she wanted to add a vegan line of chocolates to her business. She asked for some tips on how to make vegan ganaches, caramels, and white and milk chocolates. Yay! This is exactly why I’m in business—to make tasty things that are so ridiculously delicious that no one cares they’re even vegan (um, except for us vegans). To make treats so amazing that they reassure aspiring vegans that vegans can have treats that are just as decadent and amazing as ones made with dead and dying animals. To this end, I don’t really have secrets. Here’s what I wrote back to her:
What a lovely email! Your chocolates look so great. I’m so happy you’re working on a vegan range!
OK, here are my tips:
Our “white chocolate” and “milk chocolate” aren’t truly tempered or anything, they’re more like ganaches. I make the white chocolate with coconut milk, coconut oil, cocoa butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and sea salt. We just melt everything down and process it in the food processor and it hardens up just fine, though you can’t use it like regular tempered chocolate, obviously. We mostly use it as a filling. Then our milk chocolate is just the white choco plus regular tempered chocolate.
I’ve talked with some bean-to-bar makers around here who have said they could make me real white and milk chocolate that’s vegan with coconut milk, but I’d have to buy big quantities, so it’s a dream for another day.
As far as caramel and ganache—we mostly use coconut milk and coconut oil in everything you’d use butter and cream for. Coconut oil is about 15-20% more fatty than butter, though, so you need to use less of it and play around a bit. We use a refined coconut oil that doesn’t taste coconutty, and the coconut milk doesn’t taste coconutty once you add chocolate or make it into caramel.