Mmm…the very mention of chocolate can trigger saliva rolling out; it’s simply irresistible! Ever wondered what makes chocolate melt in the mouth? The presence of an absolutely delectable ingredient we all know as cocoa butter.
What is Cocoa Butter?
Like butter, cocoa butter is pale yellow in color and is an edible vegetable fat derived from the cocoa beans. In spite of the word ‘butter’, which may give the impression of it being a dairy product, it is said that cocoa butter has just about as much ‘dairy’ in it as peanut butter does, i.e., nil.
Is Cocoa Butter Vegan?
Yes! Cocoa Butter is 100% vegan. As said earlier, it is made from cocoa beans and there is no sign of dairy in its ingredients or in the making process. Cocoa butter gives a soft and melty flavor to your dish that you can enjoy being vegan too.
Uses for Cocoa Butter
As mentioned earlier, it’s found in chocolate bars, but also in a number of cosmetic products such as moisturisers and body lotions (does Shea cocoa butter ring a bell)? In fact, cocoa butter works great on burns, scars, rashes, and stretch marks because of its healing and soothing properties. It can also be used as lip balm on chapped lips or as shaving cream because it’s an excellent skin soother.
Besides, cocoa butter is 100% natural unlike other chemical-laden creams so you have nothing to worry about. As for its edible nature, cocoa butter is sold individually as a product because it solidifies at room temperature and can be used as an ingredient in lots of desserts, including chocolate bars, of course.
Cocoa Butter Process
Now let’s understand how and from where this magical natural substance comes. Firstly, is cocoa vegan? Yes, cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa fruit that grows on cocoa trees. The cocoa beans are then extracted from within the fruit, cleaned up, roasted, and then pressed in hydraulic machinery. This process is conducted so as to obtain cocoa butter.
The solids that remain from the cocoa beans extraction process are further processed to prepare cocoa powder, another vital ingredient used in the preparation of chocolate. It’s interesting to note here that chocolate derives its nutritional value, lip-smacking taste, and caffeine from cocoa powder. Yet, the “melt in the mouth” experience we all long for and relish is lent by the presence of cocoa butter.
So now we know that our beloved chocolates are literally incomplete without cocoa butter in them!
Is Cocoa Butter Dairy-Free?
Veganism is the talk of the town nearly everywhere; lots of people are embracing it with open arms for multiple reasons they support. Now, since cocoa butter is such an essential edible ingredient in chocolates, besides its significant use as a natural and safe moisturiser, vegans are definitely interested in knowing if it’s safe for them to use.
The word butter here, do not anyway imply that cocoa butter has dairy. Moreover, there’s no presence of any animal products or animal-derived product in its production process. If you’re still on the fence about buying one from the store, you might want to check the label once to be doubly sure. Besides, if you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to only use pure cocoa butter.
Once that’s cleared and out of the way, let’s move on to answering the second-most common doubt in the minds of vegans: does cocoa butter have dairy? Again, this emanates from the same root – the mention of the word ‘butter’. Now, pure cocoa butter has absolutely no amount of any dairy present in its composition (despite its butter-like pale-yellow color).
Although, cocoa butter in chocolates are vegan, the chocolate entirely isn’t vegan. This is because chocolate has certain ingredients that are not vegan. Instead, you can have vegan chocolates available in the market. Again, to be double sure, you may check the package label of the cocoa butter before buying one from the store and ensure that its ingredients are 100% dairy-free.
Why is Cocoa Butter Good for Health?
Cocoa butter has numerous health benefits to boast about, just like another irresistible member of its family – dark chocolate. Besides the distinctive chocolaty flavour it lends to the treat, cocoa butter even makes it sweet and vegan! This is perhaps the reason why it’s highly preferred over normal butter.
Also to mention is the fact that the substance has tons of nutritional value, laden with minerals such as magnesium, manganese, and copper. It also contains a number of antioxidants which are good for the heart and help lower hypertension too. Besides, cocoa butter helps boost the immune system as well.
Interestingly, that indescribable feeling of bliss that we all experience as we bite on a piece of chocolate is also thanks to cocoa butter. Science proves it that the substance can help increase the levels of serotonin and endorphin in the body, which further help produce a feeling of calm and joy within.
The only thing to take care of, however, is that the ingredient has is pretty high in fat content and should therefore be consumed wisely. This is to say that you may enjoy the bliss that comes from chocolate but not at the cost of your body shape/health.
Is Cocoa Powder Vegan?
Cocoa powder is also extracted from cocoa beans just like cocoa butter. It is made from roasted cocoa bean particles which are left behind while extracting cocoa butter. So cocoa powder is also vegan if it is in its pure form. However not all cocoa powders are vegan; some powders do contain non-vegan additives. So make sure you check the ingredients before buying the cocoa powder.
So now we know the secret behind our very own beloved chocolate (normal chocolate, dark chocolate as well as vegan chocolate) and why it’s so damn irresistible. No wonder brands make claims of their chocolates melting in the mouth and rendering absolute bliss at every bite. It’s indeed true and now we know why too. All of that plus the added health benefit that cocoa butter adds to the chocolate – we don’t think there’s any stopping at one bar now!
When you newly turn vegan, you wander around finding solution to several such daily life questions. I will solve all your such daily life question and help your turning vegan journey simpler. Check my articles on is Vaseline vegan (the petroleum jelly or lip balm), are tortillas vegan and many more to come!