If you prefer dark chocolates than the milk varieties, and looking for information on sugar free dark chocolate you have just landed on the right article.
Dark chocolate means heavy on cocoa and less of the sweetener. It will give you the taste of the burnt flavor of the bitter roasted cocoa.
Cocoa has excellent health benefits, especially against heart ailments and diabetes. So if you wish to reap on the benefits of cocoa and yet would like to cut off the calories and carbs, the best way is to go for the sugar free dark chocolates. But your dark chocolate should have the highest cocoa content for serving the purpose. The darker your chocolate, the lesser the sugar content, the more the cocoa and the more beneficial.
So if you want to savor your chocolates yet remain healthy, sugar free dark chocolate is your only option. Read on to find more about them and a few recipes for making these in your kitchen!
What is sugar free dark chocolate and what should you consider before buying it?
Sugar-free dark chocolate is dark chocolate minus any kind of sugar – making it ideal for diabetics as well as health conscious people. But before buying one, you should consider –
The percentage of cocoa in the chocolate – The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate the better it is for your health requirements. And the darkness of chocolate is a clear measure of the content of cocoa in it. The darker the chocolate the more is the cocoa content.
What are the tricks for making sugar-free chocolate?
The main ingredient is cocoa butter. You may try this variety of widely acclaimed cocoa butter which is priced around $10.00. You may also use coconut oil in place of cocoa butter, but in that case, the chocolates have to be kept chilled once they set as coconut oil will melt at room temperature. The Dr. Bronner’s virgin coconut oil is ideal for cooking purposes and has a high star rating.
The sweetener commonly used is liquid stevia. You may also use granulated or powdered monk fruit if liquid stevia is not available readily. The Pyure organic liquid Stevia Extract Sweetener from Pyure costs below $5.00 and is quite a favorite amongst customers as is evident from the reviews. Stevia or monk fruit will make the recipe keto and low carb.
The cocoa butter has to be heated slowly in the microwave in short increments with in-between stirrings and at the same time cooling slowly. It has to be brought to the room temperature for solidifying and then stored in the refrigerator. If done otherwise, that is, the warm chocolate is kept in the freezer to chill, it will cause bloom – the dusty white layer forming after condensation on the outside of the chocolate.
It would be wise to stick to silicone molds or slightly greased ceramic mini loaf pans instead of rubber molds to prevent bloom on your chocolate.
How to make Sugar free dark chocolate?
Making sugar free dark chocolate is quite easy. Moreover, you can make the best and safest sugar free dark chocolate only at home in your kitchen. Those available in the market may not be entirely free from sugar, nuts, dairy, gluten or other allergens. Herein we shall discuss a few recipes for making sugar free dark chocolate at home.
Vegan and Paleo Homemade Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate
This is quite a simple recipe and you can tweak it in bits according to your desire if you wish to or add your special touch for your loved one!
- Good quality sugar free cocoa powder – ½ cup
- Liquid Stevia – 15 to 20 drops (or to taste)
- Pinch of salt
- Cacao Butter – 4 tablespoons (almost ¼ cup)
- Vanilla extract – 1/8 teaspoon
The cacao butter has to be mixed into the cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon at a time. The bottom and the sides of the bowl have to be scraped down periodically so that all gets incorporated. Then the stevia, vanilla, and salt have to be stirred. Thereafter, two greased loaf pans have to be taken and greased lightly. The mix has to be divided into the two loaf pans. You may use lightly greased chocolate moulds in place of loaf pans too. The mix has to be left at room temperature for 30 minutes for it to set and then transferred to the fridge for completely setting it. Finally, it has to be stored in the fridge until it gets ready to eat. If left at room temperature, it might become a bit messy.
You may use coconut oil in place of cocoa butter in this recipe, but then it will not remain solid at room temperature and has to be stored in the fridge.
Sugar Free Chocolate Recipe Made with Stevia
This homemade sugar-free chocolate with stevia has no added sugar alcohol but adds natural sweeteners to unsweetened cocoa and cocoa butter.
The preparation time is 5 minutes and the cooking time is 15 minutes. So you barely need 20 minutes to prepare this chocolate recipe which will give 8 servings and has a calorie content of just 99 Kcal.
The Ingredients –
- Food grade Cocoa Butter – 100 g (about ¾ cup)
- Concentrated Stevia powder – ½ teaspoon (according to taste)
- Unsweetened cocoa –1 cup
- Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
The cocoa butter has to be melted in a double boiler or a chocolate melter. Then the cocoa powder has to be stirred with stevia. The heat has to be kept on till the dry ingredients are totally incorporated. Then the heat is removed and the vanilla extract is to be stirred in. Lastly, the chocolate has to be poured into the bar molds.
The stevia extract is to be increased to almost ½ teaspoon slowly keeping in mind that you do not add too much. You can also replace stevia with ¼ cup of any powdered sweetener or a fiber-based bulk sweetener. But erythritol based sweeteners may crystallize.
Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Candy Bars (Nut, Dairy and Gluten-Free)
This recipe is perfect for those who are susceptible to allergens. It has only 118 calories, 2 gm of protein and fiber in two small pieces. Moreover, it is free from any preservative or sugar in any form. And it is also less harsh on your pockets and healthier.
The Ingredients –
- Softened coconut butter – ¾ cup
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla liquid Stevia – 1 teaspoon
- Coconut oil – 3 tablespoon
- Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
The coconut butter has to be melted with the coconut oil in a microwave bowl. Then the cocoa powder has to be whisked in. Thereafter you have to stir in the stevia and the vanilla extract and pour the mix in candy bar molds. Then you just refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour till they harden. Then store these at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer until you serve. This will take you just 5 minutes for making and for hardening you will need 30 minutes.
What are the health benefits of Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolates are loaded with lots of nutrients that are bound to affect your health positively. It is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree and is loaded with huge amounts of antioxidants. Medical statistics have proven that dark chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease and improves health conditions. Now let us concentrate on the health benefits of dark chocolate.
The dark chocolate has to have a high cocoa content to be nutritious. Also, it contains quite an amount of soluble fiber and lots of minerals. A single bar of dark chocolate weighing 100 gm will contain 70 – 85 % cocoa, 67% of the RDI for iron, 89% of the RDI for copper, 11 gm of fiber, 58% of the RDI for magnesium, 98% of the RDI for manganese and lots of potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium.
But 100 gm is a huge amount and you should never think about consuming it daily as this comes with around 600 calories also. You should consume dark chocolate in moderation only.
When it comes to fats, dark chocolates are quite risk-free too. The fat contained in dark chocolate is mostly monosaturated and saturated and with very little amounts of polysaturated fat. It further contains stimulants like theobromine and caffeine. Don’t worry! The proportion of caffeine is quite small and won’t hamper your sleep.
Improves Blood Flow and Lowers Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate contains flavanols that stimulate the endothelium – the lining of arteries – to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide sends signals to the arteries to relax and this lowers the resistance to blood flow as a consequence of which there is a reduction of blood pressure. Some studies have shown that dark chocolate and cocoa improves the flow of blood and mildly lowers blood pressure due to the presence of bioactive compounds.
Reduction of Risk of Heart Diseases
The compounds present in dark chocolate are highly protective against the oxidation of LDL. As a result, much less cholesterol will accumulate in the arteries in the long term causing a decrease in the risk of heart disease. Various studies have confirmed the improvement. It has also been found through studies that eating dark chocolate at least twice or more every week lowers the risk of having calcified plaque in your arteries. And if eaten more than five times in a week, the risk of heart disease comes down by 57%.
Improves the Function of the Brain
Dark chocolate may improve your brain function. A study has shown that having high-flavanol cocoa for five days has shown to increase the blood flow to the brain. Cocoa improves cognitive function in older people who have mental impairment in a significant way. It may also bring about a positive change in verbal fluency and other risk factors for disease. Cocoa contains theobromine and caffeine and these stimulants could be the reason for causing improvement in brain function.
Good Source of Antioxidants
Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans score highest amongst all tested food in the measure of ORAC. ORAC means ‘oxygen radical absorbance capacity’ and is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods.
Researchers set a bunch of free radicals against a food sample to see how well the antioxidants in the food can disarm the radicals.
Dark chocolate has lots of biologically active organic compounds that work as antioxidants. These are flavonols, polyphenols, and catechins.
Increases HDL and Protects LDL from Oxidation
Dark chocolate has been found to show great improvement in the risk factors for heart disease. A study has shown that cocoa powder decreases oxidized LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and lowers total LDL in those who have high cholesterol. By oxidized LDL we mean that LDL has reacted with free radicals. Oxidized LDL being reactive can cause damage to other tissues like the lining of arteries in your heart.
Cocoa can lower oxidized LDL as it contains a lot of strong antioxidants that move into the bloodstream and save the lipoproteins against oxidative damage. Also dark chocolate reduces insulin resistance another common risk factor for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Protects your skin from the Sun
Dark chocolate has bioactive compounds that are great for your skin. The flavonols protect against the damage of the sun, improves blood flow to the skin and increases hydration and skin density. A study has shown that the MED more than doubled when dark chocolate high in flavonols was consumed for 12 weeks. MED is the minimal erythemal dose, i.e. the minimum amount of UVB rays needed to cause skin redness after exposure of 24 hours.
This is all about dark chocolate and its health benefits. But these benefits are taken one step further when artificial sugars are eliminated.