The great fake chocolate taste-off

I know the exact moment that I became addicted to chocolate.

When Dad used to make lunch for me and my brother Bjorn, he used to put a couple of pieces inside a buttered bread roll.

Understandably, at school Bjorn and I were very popular at lunchtime. While all the other kids had to contend with dreaded Vegemite (I’m a Marmite gal myself), we were getting buzzed on a lunchtime sugar high.

Several years later, I gave up chocolate in bread disguised as lunch, and took up including a Milky Bar/Caramello/Dairy Milk/KitKat in my daily diet.

With becoming a healthy person, I’ve had to give up my chocolate friend which has nurtured and sustained me through childhood and into adulthood. It was hard.

Now that I’m on a regular, sustainable healthy wagon, I thought it was time to be brave and investigate the world of healthy(ish) chocolate.

Chocolate tasting in the name of science

Chocolate tasting in the name of science

Consider this a public service announcement, Jeff and I have tried and tested six different types of non-GMO, raw, organic, sugar-free, dairy-free, bars of goodness. With varying results. I’m wary of a laxative effect any moment now.

I should warn you, if you’re going to give up your KitKat in favour of raw, organic or sugar-free chocolate, you should prepare yourself for the financial fallout.

Put it this way, for this wee experiment, six chocolate bars – none weighing more than 45 grams – cost me over $30. Ouch.

My favourite was over $8 for 45 grams. Double ouch.

The other thing to mention is that sometimes you just want a Creme Egg and I say go for it. Eating everything because it’s good for you is great, but don’t forget that sometimes, it’s nice to eat something for no other reason than you enjoy it. Everything in moderation, including moderation!

So, based on the very scientific evaluation formula that Jeff and I established for this experiment – ratings out of 10 for taste, texture and assumed quality – and in order of least enjoyed to most enjoyed… Here are the results:

Damn you sweetner.

Damn you sweetner.

Cavalier – Praline Milk – 3/10

By all accounts, this should have been my favourite. I love milk chocolate. And I LOVE praline with chocolate. There are no two things that should go better together than chocolate and praline.

Well I can tell you that this is just down right terrible. I blame the Maltitol.

Something about the taste of it made my tongue retreat into my mouth. Jeff summed it up perfectly when he said it tasted like an old bed sheet. Shame.

 

Raw cacao dirt

Raw cacao dirt

Wild Heart – Raw Organic Chocolate with Cacao Nibs – 4.5/10

Aside from the sweet packaging, this chocolate bar is also 73% raw cacao and has only three ingredients – cacao nibs, coconut sugar and cacao butter.

It tastes like it’s good for you. It’s bitter and raw tasting with just the right amount of sweet. Unfortunately, it has the texture of soil and makes you want to clean out your mouth with a high pressure hose.

Melted with hot almond milk might be a total winner.

 

Cacao kick up the pants

Cacao kick up the pants

Rapunzel – 85% Kakao Bitterschokolade – 4.75/10

Jeff and I were completely divided on this bar. While Jeff thoroughly enjoyed it, I couldn’t get past a strange aftertaste akin to something industrial.

No translation is needed for ‘Bitterschokolade’. At 85% cacao this was the most bitter of the bunch. It also was the only one that contained actual sugar, though, as I can’t read German, I couldn’t tell you how much.

Also, this bar was the cheapest at under $2, but it was also only 20 grams which doesn’t even touch the sides of any true chocolate lover.

 

Would you like algae with your chocolate?

Would you like algae with your chocolate?

Loving Earth – Mint and A.F.A Raw Organic Chocolate – 5/10

Now this is a crowd who’ve nailed their packaging. This isn’t a review of packaging however.

Again, Jeff and I were split. I really enjoyed the fresh and bitter minty taste of this bar while Jeff thought it was a big powdery mess. Harsh words.

With blue-green algae in the mix, you know it has to be good for you. For added goodness, it also contains all organic ingredients and it’s specified as vegan. Ok then.

I would keep a pack of this in my handbag. Just in case.

 

Supermarket find!

Supermarket find!

Well, Naturally – Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate with Almond Chip – 7/10

Well this one was a surprise.

This bar was from the supermarket and the second cheapest of the lot. Both Jeff and I enjoyed the crunchy almond pieces and sweet yet not-too-sweet taste.

It does contain Erythritol, which seems to be the hot new sweetener in the club, but research so far says it’s the lesser of sweetener evils.

This bar also containers Stevia but without the weird Stevia taste a lot of other products get. Not bad. Not bad at all.

 

Basically a health food

Basically a health food

Raw Hearts Hine Cacao – Stoneground Raw Organic Chocolate infused with Wildcrafted Manuka and Orange Essential Oils – 8.25/10

Yum. Oh my god yum. I would bathe in this if I could (and if it didn’t cost me over $8 for 45 grams!).

This chocolate is crazy delicious. It’s sweet at 67% cacao, with a hint of orange and a hint of Manuka honey.

It has the most glorious texture that melts in your mouth like chocolate should!

A slightly unusual extra is the addition of raisins, which it doesn’t really need but they add a nice little something, something rather than just being weird.

This chocolate has our friend Stevia and also coconut sugar. Pleasingly, no weird Stevia taste which makes me extra happy.

If it wasn’t for the price, I would buy this in bulk. In fact, I still may! Delicious!

So there you have it. Now you don’t have to eat all that chocolate because we’ve done it for you. You’re welcome.

I’m keen to hear what other delicious healthy chocolate is out there so leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time. Enjoy the ride!

 

 

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Things you can’t put in a waffle maker

A very, very good friend of mine bought Jeff and I a waffle maker for our engagement some time ago. This waffle maker instantly became MY waffle maker and mine only.

I love pancakes and I love waffles equally. But the hassle of getting out a fry-pan and having to flip pancakes always seemed to complicated for someone like me so well suited to instant gratification. Welcome to my life waffle maker.

Within 24 hours of owning this beautiful contraption, I had “cooked” three batches of different flavoured waffles – cinnamon and vanilla, blueberry and the ever popular – plain.

image

What waffles should look like

It didn’t take long before I was experimenting with all things you could put in the waffle maker – omelette, bacon, french toast, tomatoes, potato hashbrowns, coconut pancakes and more recently – banana pancakes.

There are some things that you sensibly know you can’t put in a waffle maker but that doesn’t stop you.

Omelette is a great example. If you have any common sense at all, you’ll know that this is never going to work. So what does that say about me then?

The “omelette incident” – as it is now referred to in our house – was the first time I panicked a bit while using the waffle maker. I don’t think it was supposed to let off quite that much steam…. Or spit. It definitely wasn’t meant to spit. After the “omlette incident” I spent about 45 minutes scrubbing egg particles off the waffle maker. Never again.

I lost my nerve a wee bit after that. No delicious food mush was worth the exhaustive cleaning.

The problem with normal pancakes is that they have a lot of flour in them. Actually, it tends to be the main ingredient. So after a decent amount of time had past since my last waffle maker experiment, I started to investigate what delicious, healthy and flour-free waffles I could make.

One of the most delicious and perfect pancake/waffle hybrid recipes I found was with coconut flour. These coconut flour pancakes have become my go-to food if I’m too lazy too cook anything else. They’re absolutely delicious and I highly recommend trying them out. A word of warning though… I would suggest a fry-pan rather than a waffle maker. Despite their nomnomishness they turned out more like crepes than waffles or pancakes and there was a lot of frantic scraping before left an indelible mark on the waffle maker.

The other healthy pancake I’ve was curious about was the two ingredient pancake (note: mine did NOT look like the picture). This recipe has banana and egg in it. That is all. What could possibly go wrong?!

Well just about everything.

The first indication that banana and egg wasn’t going to work in a waffle maker should’ve been when I was mixing up the batter.

With no flour to bind to the egg and banana, and no rising agent to make it, well, rise, it should’ve been pretty obvious that an instant heat waffle maker was the wrong way to go.

The moment the mixture hit the hot waffle iron it spread like molten banana goo. Every inch of the surface was covered, and then over the side. And then in every crevice possible – including all the ones that you can never reach with normal cleaning items. And then all over the bench.

I didn’t think there could be much left to cook.

I was actually too scared to open the lid at first. What exactly was I going to find under there? A giant mess that’s what.

There was this lumpy, half cooked, slightly crepe/pancake looking, definitely not waffle looking, brown substance staring back at me.

All I could do was momentarily freeze on the spot with spatula in hand while it continued to oooze over the sides. Eventually I got up the courage to jab at it with the spatula.

This is a banana pancake/waffle.

This is a banana pancake/waffle.

What I ended up with was a plate of half cooked banana slop. Which I ate. And it was delicious.

Would I make it again in a waffle maker. No. Not immediately anyway. I can’t say that I definitely wouldn’t try it again in a waffle maker because eventually I will forget what a disaster it was.

So, my top three things that you shouldn’t put in a waffle maker are:

  1. Pancakes/waffles that only have two ingredients and neither are flour.
  2. Recipes that specifically say ‘Do not cook in waffle maker’.
  3. Omelettes. Any of them. It’s a terrible idea.

On the other hand, these are three of my favourite waffle/pancake recipes:

  1. Coconut Flour Pancakes (disclaimer – cook them in a frypan)
  2. Maple Peanut Banana Bread Waffles
  3. Healthy Whole Wheat Waffles

May you and your waffle maker have a long, happy life together. Enjoy the ride!