Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Enjoy life by eating soy-free and nut-free chocolate!

One year ago I wrote an article about chocolate with no soy lecithin and it has since become one of my most popular blog posts. And I, along with several readers, have been adding to the list of soy-free chocolate on a regular basis ever since I  first wrote the post.  Now I find myself always checking the labels of chocolate bars and baking chocolate to discover if it is soy-free, peanut-free or tree-nut free so that I can help people with allergies find chocolate that they can eat (I am, after all, all about connecting more people to fine chocolate!). 

Recently a reader suggested that Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips (a brand that I had never heard of before) was a soy-free product. Oddly enough, the very next day I was shopping and just happened upon two Enjoy Life products. So I bought a bag of each of the Mega Chunks and the Mini Chips.  Both came in 283 gram bags and both make claims about being not only soy-free, but also gluten-free, and free of the following: milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, wheat, mustard, sulfites, shellfish, crustaceans, sesame and soy. The package specifically claims that they make their products in a "dedicated nut and gluten free facility", which is important to ensure that the products are completely free of any traces of nuts, soy or gluten.

What is great about these little nuggets of chocolate is that they only have three ingredients: brown sugar, cocoa mass and  cocoa butter.  So you get the added bonus of no bleached sugar in this product and no artificial flavours or colours.

Both taste great, although my bag of the Mega Chunks were slightly older than the Mini Chips (according to the expiry date) and did taste a little less fresh than the Mini Chips, but tasted great once baked into a cake. The Mini Chips are so yummy that I just couldn't stop eating them.  My three-year old daughter also loved them because they were so tiny.  She kept calling them her "baby" chocolate chips and was handling them like they were cute little baby birds. Overall, I find no difference in taste or texture than regular chocolate chips with soy lecithin, which is great because Enjoy Life brand is better for us with no artificial flavour, hydrogenated oils or refined sugar.

Because these chocolate chips are meant for baking, I thought I would test them out in a cake (see picture to the left).  It is a chocolate cake with the Enjoy Life Mega Chunks baked right into the cake layers and it is surrounded in Enjoy Life Mini Chips.  It is easier to use mini chocolate chips on the outside of a cake, rather than regular or large-sized ones, because you can get a more even coating and the cake will be easier to slice. I also used Camino milk chocolate to make the ganache that was poured on top and between the layers. (Camino couverture also does not have soy in it), and I topped the cake with a peanut butter buttercream.  So although it is not a peanut-free cake, it is a soy-free cake. And it was an all-yummy cake too...if you are like me and love cake with ridiculous amounts of chocolate in each serving!

 To make a similar cake, just throw a cup of Mega Chunks into your favourite chocolate cake recipe (I won't give away my chocolate cake recipe! Use a cake mix if you have no other recipe) and bake three 8" layers of cake. Make a chocolate ganache (see below for ganache recipe) and pour 1/3 of it over the first layer, then place second layer on top, spread another 1/3 of ganache over it and let more run down the sides, then place the last layer of cake on top. Pour the last 1/3 of chocolate ganache over the top of cake and spread out evenly, allowing more chocolate to run down the sides.  Use your offset spatula to smooth out all the chocolate on the sides of the cake until you have an even coating about 1/8" thick.  Open a pack of Mini Chips and press into sides of cake.  Top with your favourite flavour of buttercream icing and - voila! - you will have a cake that is exploding with chocolate.

Easy Ganache Recipe: Bring 1 cup cream to a boil and immediately pour over 16 oz of milk or semi-sweet chocolate, stir slowly until smooth.

So there you have it, another great chocolate product for people who need to bake chocolate-chip cookies, cakes and pastries (or make truffles!) that are soy-free.

Here are the details from the packages of the chocolate that I tasted today:

Enjoy Life chocolate Mini Chips, 283 g
"free of milk, peanuts, tree nuts and soy"
Manufactured for: Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC
Schiller Park, IL (USA)
http://www.enjoylifefoods.ca/
Ingredients: brown sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter.
Made in a dedicated nut and gluten free facility. Certified Gluten-free.

Enjoy Life chocolate Mega Chunks, 283 g
"free of milk, peanuts, tree nuts and soy"
Manufactured for: Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC
Schiller Park, IL (USA)
http://www.enjoylifefoods.ca/
Ingredients: brown sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter.
Made in a dedicated nut and gluten free facility. Certified Gluten-free.

3 comments:

  1. Where can I order these. My grandson is allergic to all Dairy nuts soy wheat

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