How to Make Your Own Delicious Organic Chocolate
What Is Organic Chocolate?
Organic chocolate, unlike traditional chocolate, is created using cocoa beans which have not been treated with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Additionally, all of the ingredients in genuine organic chocolate should be organic as well. Some of the ingredients include sugar, milk, nuts, fruit, and spices. But watch out, just because the label reads organic does not mean that it is completely organic. The best way to know if that bar of chocolate you are holding is completely organic is by reading the labels. Genuine organic chocolate should have an organic percentage between 70-98%.
How to Know If Your Chocolate Is Organic
So as I mentioned above, you have to be careful when buying organic chocolate. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are eating 100% genuine organic chocolate.
- There should be a label that reads: USDA Certified Organic. This can be either on the front or the back of the packaging.
- The USDA National Organic program forbids the use of preservatives, artificial colors, and GMOs. If you see any of these listed on the packaging, then your chocolate is not organic
- As mentioned earlier, organic farming should maintain and replenish the soil for cacao trees without the use of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
- Ideally, organic chocolate is minimally processed, and in separate facilities away from conventional chocolate
Why Eat Organic Chocolate?
Yes, organic chocolate is more expensive when compared to traditional chocolate. But there is a good reason for that. Traditional chocolate uses conventionally grown cocoa, which by the way, is one of the highest pesticide-using crops around. Besides eating cocoa beans full of pesticides, here are some additional unpleasantries found in common chocolate:
- High fructose corn syrup: Also referred to as corn sugar, it is commonly found in sodas and other processed drinks and foods. Having too much HFCS has been linked to weight gain, cavities, and poor nutrition
- Artificial flavoring and artificial coloring: While studies are still being made on the effects of using chemical combinations to create ‘natural’ tastes and colors (some claim it can cause allergies and exacerbates those with ADD or ADHD).
- Organic chocolate, unlike traditional chocolate, does not have wax incorporated. I mean, who wants to eat a mouthful of wax?
How to Make Your Own Organic Chocolate
- Start with 1/2 cup cocoa butter
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup (raw) organic cocoa powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup agave syrup for sweetening
- Lucuma powder (sweetener, also makes the chocolate more milk chocolate like)
- berry powders (blueberry and buckthorn berry in the photo)
- purple corn powder (high antioxidants)
- cocoa nibs
- goji berries
- dried berries
- dates, chopped
- crushed nuts, almonds, seeds
- chili powder
- green tea extract
Grate 1/2 cup of the cocoa butter. It will melt easier when it’s grated. Measure also 1/2 cup of coconut oil.
Place cocoa butter and coconut oil in a water in a small, heat-safe cup or bowl. Then place the cup or bowl in a shallow pan containing a small amount of warm (not boiling, but nearly) water. Stir the oil and butter occasionally until it’s smooth.
Measure 1/2 cup cocoa powder. If you’d like to add any other dry ingredients, measure them out now and stir them together with the cocoa powder.
Pour the dry ingredients in the bowl with melted oil and butter. Stir continuously until smooth.
If you want to sweeten your chocolate, pour 4-6 tbsp agave nectar into the mix and stir.
Pour the melted chocolate on a pan/ plate/ice cube tray. You can also throw some of the additions on top of the chocolate, it looks nice. Place the chocolate for 30 minutes in the freezer or 60 minutes in the refrigerator.
Enjoy with good friends or family.
Organic Chocolate Brands
I know it can seem like a lot of work to find a good organic chocolate bar. And it can seem like a lot of work to make your own organic chocolate. So if you don’t know where to find organic chocolate, or you don’t feel like making your own organic chocolate here is a list we put together with the help of LiveStrong.
The Bar: Made from certified organic Peruvian cocoa beans, cane sugar, and vanilla. This bar by Pascha is well-balanced without a trace of bitterness. Made in a dedicated allergen-free facility, it is vegan and free from peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, and gluten.
Impact on the Planet: It is, most notably, also a member of 1% For The Planet, an organization that commits to donating 1 percent of its sales annually to nonprofits that focus on environmental issues ranging from food and water to land, species and climate change.
The Bar: Big fruity flavor, acidity, and bitterness co-exist beautifully in this premium, full-bodied dark chocolate.
Impact on the Planet: Chocolove supports the International Federation of Red Cross program in West Africa, an organization in the fight against the Ebola virus. Additionally, the company supports ethical manufacturing processes, is committed to fair trade and is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation.
The Bar: Deep, malty chocolate, with a touch of vanilla, this Alter Eco Dark Super Blackout packs all the intensity of the darkest dark cocoa bar in a smooth, creamy bite.
Impact on the Planet: Not only is it made from 100 percent organic and Fair Trade-certified ingredients the outside of this wrapper is also certified by Forest Stewardship Certification, so make sure to dispose of it in the recycling bin. Additionally, Alter Eco is working with its co-op partners to preserve heirloom grains, replenish and reforest the land and, as a Greenhouse Gas Protocol 3 Carbon Zero business, the company offsets more carbon than it emits.
The Bar: Even though this bar by Taza Chocolate — with its 95 percent dark, stone-ground organic chocolate — is quite intense, the bright, fruity flavors of the cacao still shine through.
Impact on the Planet: In addition to being certified USDA organic, the company has created the chocolate industry's first third-party-certified Direct Trade cacao sourcing program, called Taza Direct Trade, to ensure quality and transparency from bean to bar. It is also the first company to publish an Annual Cacao Sourcing Transparency Report.
The Bar: Dark and sweet, these bars balance sweetness, flavoring and cacao for a smooth, harmonious treat.
Impact on the Planet: The first organic, certified Fair Trade, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in North America, Theo Chocolates makes all of its ingredients go through rigorous testing to maintain standards for social and environmental responsibility.
The Bar: Low in sugar, this Equal Exchange chocolate bar has a smooth, velvety finish that satisfies the darker side of chocolate cravings.
Impact On the Planet: Vegan and free of soy, this company sources 100 percent of its ingredients from Fair Trade cooperatives.
Lulu’s Chocolate Company:
The Bar: Not for the sweet at heart, this raw chocolate bar by Lulu's Chocolate Company is for those who prefer their chocolate strong and slightly bitter.
Impact on the Planet: Direct from suppliers, this wild-harvested, certified organic heirloom cacao is wrapped in packaging that is compostable and/or 100 percent recycled with veggie ink. Certified by HowGood, an independent research organization dedicated to improving food systems by making them more sustainable from the ground up, Lulu's donates 1 percent of annual profits to charity.
The Bar: Dark and intense, this low-in-sugar, high-in-antioxidants chocolate bar by Madécasse has a hint of light, fruity notes.
Impact on the Planet: What began as an idea from Peace Corps volunteers turned into a chocolate company using heirloom-quality cocoa from Madagascar. The company has given back to the community through a variety of projects like building a bridge, refurbishing and building elementary schools, building water wells and increasing the incomes of local farmers.
The Bar: In the mood for something a little sweeter? This 70% cacao bar has a satisfying kick of coconut that offers a dynamic layer to its already velvety smooth dark chocolate flavor.
Impact on the Planet: A women-owned company, Sweetriot supports Fair Trade exclusively in Latin America and aims to impact farmer's lives.
The Bar: This Paleo-friendly bar is superbly balanced with a satisfying crunch and a salty-sweet finish.
Impact on the Planet: In addition to being Rain Forest Alliance Certified, Eating Evolved uses organic coconut sugar to sweeten their chocolate bars. Unlike sugar cane, coconut sugar is a sustainable product that doesn't contribute to deforestation.
Traditional vs Organic Chocolate
While you may be used to choosing organic produce, you might not be familiar with the differences between organic chocolate and conventional chocolate. What’s really the difference? Let’s dive into some of the details of what makes organic chocolate worth reaching for!
Organic chocolate is healthier for farmers:
Behind every bar of chocolate are two key agricultural products: cacao and sugar. Conventional chocolate uses cacao and sugar can be grown with the aid of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and more. These chemicals have been linked to numerous negative health effects, and most farmers lack the kind of protective gear that would help mitigate some risk of exposure. Organic chocolate, however, means that cacao and sugar are produced without the use of these harmful chemicals. Instead, farmers use biodynamic and organic fertilizers and pest deterrents. These natural agricultural products are better for both the crops and the farmers who grow them. Additionally, this allows their work to thrive without putting their health and the health of their communities at risk.
Organic chocolate is better for the environment:
The chemicals involved in the cacao and sugar production for conventional chocolate have a negative effect on the environment, too. Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides are designed to kill unwanted insects and plants. But unfortunately, they usually end up eliminating important complementary species from farms. This elimination throws off the delicate balance of local ecosystems. Chemicals can also leach into the soil and water, affecting plant and animal life even beyond the treated area. Organic chocolate is made from cacao and sugar that is grown without these synthetic chemicals. Organic methods are good for biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. Additionally choosing organic chocolate means supporting these alternative means of production.
Organic chocolate is better for you:
In choosing organic chocolate, you are choosing to eat a food that is made without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and other chemicals. While we may not think of chocolate as an agricultural product in the same way as the fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle, we can think of the benefits of organic production in a similar way. Why consume the added chemicals of conventional chocolate when you don’t have to? Enjoy the chocolate made from cacao and sugar grown with care by small farmers.
So by now, I hope that we have painted a positive picture as to why organic chocolate tends to be slightly more expensive compared to traditional chocolate. Due to more rigid harvesting techniques of more sustainable crops and ingredients, the bar will cost slightly more. But think, the majority of the chocolate bars we listed also provide percentages of their income to charities. So yes, they may be slightly more expensive, but that added expense equates to a healthier, more sustainable, and environmentally friendly chocolate bar. Take the time and consider if you enjoy eating cheaper wax chocolate with no cause.