smoothie_me.jpg

Hi! I'm Elizabeth Taylor. Welcome to VLGL, home to my vegan + low glycemic load culinary creations. 

VLGL gets delicious new content as often as is feasible, so come back and visit soon!

sugar-free vegan chocolate

sugar-free vegan chocolate

Chocolate in any form is a morsel of happiness; chocolate in cute shapes is pure delight.

Cacao beans, which become the base of chocolate when ground, are extremely rich in flavonoid antioxidants known to destroy free radicals, decrease inflammation, prevent blood clots, and prevent cardiovascular plaque formation. In short, I did not need any more reason to consume lots of chocolate beyond its deliciousness, but I love that I can call this dessert a "health food" in full honesty. Pure delight, indeed! 

These recipes can be made into any shape or mold, but in the spirit of the season, I used a sweet bunny mold to create some Easter treats.

That's right... I said "recipes" in the plural form. Here, I will share my formulas for a "milk"-style chocolate (left) and a classic dark chocolate (right), as my closest friends and family members are fairly evenly split between Team Milk and Team Dark (I'm a lifetime player on Team Dark!). The ombre effect on the milk-style chocolates is a natural result of cacao setting in this home-style recipe, which uses no chemical additives, such as emulsifiers or stabilizers. Both formulas are completely vegan (so dairy-free) and sugar-free, utilizing pure stevia extract for sweetness. Stevia is a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay whose leaves have been used to sweeten foods and treat stomach ailments for hundreds of years. It is completely calorie-free and causes zero glycemic response, so whenever it works, it is my go-to VLGL sweetener. (Just make sure to use pure stevia extract -- many commercial brands are combined with chemical sweeteners. A little goes a very long way, as it is 200 times sweeter than cane sugar, so I find it to be well worth the investment.) 

Those pretty golden flecks are the result of another South American superfood: maca root! Maca, used here in powder form, is believed to increase energy, alleviate menopause symptoms, and enhance desire. It has a faint, butterscotch-like flavor and smell, so I find it works nicely to power up sweet foods, such as these chocolates. No maca? No worries. Just substitute a little extra cacao, and all will be good.

Whatever the season, making chocolate brings me so much pleasure... I think this is both because the process is so simple and soothing, very much a cooking meditation, but also because Chocolat is one of my all-time favorite films, and it allows me to daydream about opening my very own traveling chocolaterie. When you make these, I can't promise that Johnny Depp will make an appearance, but I can promise that your kitchen will smell amazing and that your soul, body, and friends (not that you have to share) will thank you.

chocolate3.JPG

RECIPE: sugar-free vegan chocolate

INGREDIENTS:
☼ For "Milk" Chocolate:
- 1/2 cup raw cacao butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon maca root powder (if not using, substitute an additional teaspoon of cacao)
- 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder (DO NOT overdo the stevia!)
- pinch of salt

For Dark Chocolate:
- 1/2 cup raw cacao butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon maca root powder (if not using, substitute an additional teaspoon of cacao)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder (seriously, do not overdo the stevia, or the chocolate will taste like a sweetener packet, and you will be sad)
- pinch of salt

METHOD:
☼ Same for both formulas:
- Set up your mold; this can be as elaborate as a shaped silicone mold or as simple as a container lined with parchment paper. If using a silicone "sheet" mold, place the mold atop a completely flat dish or cutting board for ease of transfer.
- Place a small pot on the stove with 2-3 inches of water in it and place a mixing bowl (shallow enough that it does not to touch the water directly) atop the pot.
- Turn the heat onto high to create a "double boiler." Once the water is audibly boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer.
- Place the cacao butter in the bowl and allow to melt completely, stirring with a spatula every few minutes. 
- Add the vanilla and stir gently but briskly with the spatula, until the vanilla is well diffused (the vanilla drops should be no bigger than small grains of sand in the cacao butter). 
- Add the cacao powder and stir gently with the spatula until completely combined and no lumps remain. Repeat this process for the maca root powder, cinnamon (if using), stevia, and salt.
- Turn off the heat; using oven mitts, carefully remove the bowl from the pot and place onto a heat-resistant surface. 
- Very carefully spoon or pour your melted chocolate mixture into the mold. 
- Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to harden; this can take 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the thickness of the chocolate. 

Serve with love!

☼ VLGL

sunshine salad

sunshine salad

VLGL tabbouleh

VLGL tabbouleh