Chocolate / Friday Challenge / Musings & Contemplations / Vegan

A Lesson in Chocolate with Cara from “Fork n Beans” Blog

I needed a little help with my chocolate month as although I know I can follow some recipes I wanted to learn more about how chocolate could fit into different dietary requirements such as gluten free and vegan….well I didn’t have to look much further than the fabulous Fork n Beans blog as Cara specialises in exactly that – gluten free, vegan cooking and baking!!

Her blog continues to astound  me with her extremely creative and clever recipes. Take for example her RAW Chocolate hearts and the Gluten, Dairy and Egg free Date and Caramel Cupcakes (Both pictured below)

These are recipes which I just wouldn’t even know where to begin dreaming up, yet Cara makes it possible  and I think you’ll agree she does it with class! So I contacted Cara to sneakily get a few hints and tips from her! I just wanted to learn (and share) how you could get started with a project such as gluten free, vegan and even raw baking, in particular with chocolate.

Here is our foodilicious interview 🙂

How did you go about researching how to bake vegan and gluten free recipes when you first started?

The internet became my biggest source of help. I couldn’t get enough of reading articles, studying recipes, understanding the science of baking, as well as vegan/gf baking. It was a real struggle for the first 2-3 months actually, but hindsight has shown me that it really was my mistakes that taught me the most. Kitchen failures are meant to be teaching moments; opportunities to learn from them and turn them into knowledge.

Are there any ingredients that are a must for someone who wants to do gluten free/ vegan baking?

It depends on what your individual taste preferences are, but I strongly suggest playing around with a variety of gf flours and find which flavors you enjoy most in baked goods. The items that I always have in stock are: sorghum and brown rice flours (both Authentic Foods Brand), arrowroot powder, potato startch, flaxseed meal, xanthan gum, raw apple cider vinegar, baking powder and soda, and of course, I always have a stash of non-dairy chocolate chips on hand.

Understanding the science of what makes a good egg replacer as well as how to create a good gluten free all purpose mix have been of tremendous help for me. For me, it’s not necessarily the ingredients but the knowledge that have been of most help.

What sort of mistakes would someone expect to make when beginning with vegan baking?

ALL mistakes. ha. Really, you go from one way of baking to a completely different kind–of course you are going to make mistakes! The sooner you accept the fact that you *will* make mistakes, the better your positive attitude toward yourself will be. With that said, it’s a real trick figuring out how to make baked goods rise without eggs, not to mention how to avoid it from becoming too crumbly or too dense. Expect a lot of paper weights and caved in cupcakes 🙂

Is there a difference in taste between vegan chocolate and non vegan chocolate?

I personally don’t taste it. I really like a brand called Enjoy Life, which to me, is identical to real chocolate chips. Also remember that dark chocolate typically doesn’t have dairy in it so you can indulge in that {just make sure you read the ingredients to make sure}.

What’s your favourite vegan chocolate recipe?

I am really proud of my collection of candy bar recipes {all vegan and gluten free}. It’s hard to narrow it down to one but I would have to say the Baby Ruths are one of my favorites. Or the Twix bars. Or the Whatchamacallit. Or the Snickers. haha.

I know you have made some raw recipes before, what made you decide to dabble in the world of the raw food diet?

Though I eat a gluten free and vegan diet, I am always evolving in my diet, looking for new ways to improve my health. Despite the fact that I eat a rather balanced diet, I have to keep in mind that I have poor digestion and the lure of raw foods has always drawn me in. I never felt better than I did while on my 2 week “detox” eating raw.

Can chocolate be used in raw recipes?

You can definitely make raw chocolate! It usually is a blend of raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and a sweetner of choice. I made a raw vegan Cadbury Creme Egg using cashews, oats, and raw chocolate.

Does vegan chocolate behave differently to non vegan chocolate when being cooked or is it very similar?

It’s is 100% the same.

Do you have a favourite type of chocolate you use?

Enjoy Life Chocolate chips or a good grade dark chocolate bar. I typically like to blend both together.

What is your favourite flavour combination using chocolate?

I am a sucker for the sweet and salty combo, so you can never go wrong with a chocolate and nut mix. Or a raw date caramel sauce is a nice touch too 🙂

I’d really like to have a go at making a raw chocolate recipe so this is something I’ll bear in mind for Aprils Friday Challenge 🙂 Hope you enjoyed our lesson in chocolate – Gluten Free/ Dairy Free stylee! Thanks Cara 🙂 xx

13 thoughts on “A Lesson in Chocolate with Cara from “Fork n Beans” Blog

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    • thanks! I know her recipes are seriously amazing, I wouldn’t even know where to start lol. Feel like I’ve learnt so much from reading Cara’s blog, just got to take the plunge and try some baking!

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