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Agave this, agave that... I want to make Chocolate with coconut oil without agave nectar!

edited July 2012 in Food Preparation

I find it crazy how everyone seems so obsessed with agave nectar these days, and some people use it in almost all of their recipes! Can we really be sure that it's a healthy sweetener? Why not try to incorporate whole sweet fruits instead? Well, I'm sure the flavor and consistency just wouldn't be the same and what some people are looking for for some recipes, but it's EVERYWHERE... I've tried it maybe twice before, it was okay I guess, and I'm very iffy about it. I still prefer to sweeten my food with whole fruits like bananas and dates.

Annnnyway, right now I'm looking for recipes to make chocolate - chocolate brittle, and the coconut-oil-infused chocolate dip stuff that's used to cover tasty chocolate treats when cooled. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can make these things WITHOUT agave nectar (or sugar or yacon syrup...)? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated, as well as your personal opinion on agave nectar =)

Kate

Comments

  • if you are looking for a liquid sweetener for chocolate that snaps, you really can't use dates or bananas. You could try lucuma if you are comfortable with something powdered. i personally use a combination of yacon and powdered coconut sugar or lucuma to sweeten my chocolate. if you don't want to use a powder or liquid, why don't you just make brownies with dates and cacao powder? some people use stevia in chocolate but i've tried this and it is not the right taste for me.

    here is a blog post i wrote recently about sweeteners:

    http://bittsblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/sweet-possibilities-lowdown-on-raw.html

  • Dates blended with cocoa powder and coconut oil are delicious. If you go really heavy on the coconut oil, you'll get something close to a hard chocolate, but not quite. You might try making a date syrup to use in chocolate recipes instead of agave, but it may still be difficult to get that chocolate bar texture. I also agree with Bitt's suggestion of powdered lucuma (which is a fruit).

    I agree that agave nectar is not as natural as bananas or dates. However, I am sensitive to high-sugar foods, and I find eating too many dates (or even bananas) leads to a blood sugar crash later in the day. Agave does not give me this problem, and I feel fine eating it. It is also very convenient for recipes, and I believe that the lower glycemic index of agave is better for me in the long run than large amounts of high-glycemic index fruits. However, I am no evangelist, nor am I a doctor, and I think it's great if you (or anyone) wants to stick to only fruits for sweetening.

  • Honey.

  • Maple syrup as a chocolate sweetener is superior to agave in taste and nutrition, and it won't affect the consistency of your chocolate negatively. Maple syrup has super high mineral content. Make sure you get the darkest stuff possible.

    Personally I really hate agave and avoid it completely. It messes with my digestion, gives me head aches and makes me produce mucous. It's no better for you than corn syrup, either.

  • Green stevia. Kick butt.

  • Definitely green stevia. 1 part cacao powder, 1 part coconut oil, 1 pinch green stevia. You just have to play with it to get the right sweetness. It'll still freeze up and "snap" perfectly.

  • Hello Banana Head,

    I Love that name! I grow the sweetest organic bananas right here in my highland farm in Tinamaste, Costa Rica.

    If you want the chocolate syrup to harden use allot of pure coconut oil - that we have allot of here. I would use a dab of Maple syrup as well it works great with the raw organic Mayan Chocolate we use here. For the smooth sauce, you can then pour this over your bananas :) Then if you want some crunchy bits use raisins or dates chopped up and mix that in the chocolate sauce. For Cookies, mix a 1/4 cup of your favorite nut butter in as well as the chopped fruit, and then spoon it into raw chocolate cookies. Place these in the freezer for an hour and then they will keep well in the fridge, In Costa Rica everything melts easy LOL! These are incredible.

  • Well, I think it's refreshing to see that someone else is a little iffy about agave. I don't mind it that much, but I'm always leery about things that are processed. I like buying food in their pure and unadulterated state.

    When I make any raw sweets (which is pretty rare nowadays) I like to use date syrup. Basically, I just soak dates overnight so they even softer than they already are, remove pits, and then blend with some of the soaking water, adding more or less water to the mixture for the texture/thickness I want. Depending on the dates, sometimes it makes my raw sweets a little more or less sweet than what I was going for, but it always ends up tasting great.

    Hopefully that helps. :)

  • You could definitely use raw honey (if you're not against it). That's what I do. I really have never liked agave nectar.

  • I've posted on using small amounts of agave before and so won't repeat myself here. Stevia or yacon syrup seem like reasonable alternatives for agave or even whole fruit like dates, raisins and banana provided it doesn't upset your blood sugar. The raw honey thing I have never understood. There is nothing vegan about honey. Honey is an animal product with comparable fructose to agave (somewhat less but not much) and a much higher glycemic index. Stevia, yacon, and fruit I get. Honey I don't. To each their own.

    Paul

  • I've been using agave to transition from sugar. It was at least a lesser evil. This week tho' I found another sweetener at our co-op. Its coconut syrup! Their story is on the bottle: (I won't repeat) but it says its less processed than other sweeteners, only 30 minutes (90 for the crystals) at a temperature no more than 118 degrees to preserve the enzymes and nutrients. I think it says it has 17 amino acids and its glucose is only like 17% (I'm not home so I can't check, but its much lower than other stuff)

    It has a very rich flavor-almost like molasses, but not quite the strong after taste that molasses has. Its also not as sweet, so they say you may have to use more if you like things sweet.

    I also use dates and raw honey. I grow my own stevia in the summer too-its great! (but I've not used it for anything other than drinks-maybe this year!) :)

  • Have you all tried Date Syrup from www.OrganicsAreForEveryone.com? It is so much smoother and richer in texture than what you can make from scratch and thus great for recipes. Banana Head, try it in your chocolate and let me know!

  • Thanks everyone for the replies!

    Raw_Swede and ReneeGoesRaw - You've got me interested in trying it out with stevia powder! I feel like it would be super tricky to get the quantity down right, but I'm up for the challenge!

    Missc - I've done the same with packed dates to use as a sweet liquid for baked muffins, but I haven't done so in a while. Can anyone recommend a good source to get cheap raw dates?

  • Oh my gosh! I thought I was the only one who got mucous & digestive issues from agave! I used to use it all the time but stopped for a while and now can't tolerate the taste. I absolutely love raw honey and have access to all I want from a bee farmer.

    I'm allergic to maple but am interested in trying the other suggestions for sweeteners as an option.

    This forum is sooo informative!

  • I've never used agave- it is very expensive. Are you from Poland tallpolish girl?

  • Coconut nectar is a new product that works nicely too :) And it has B vitamins and amino acids....

  • coconut nectar ive not seen about yet, have you tried it beaglelove?

    http://www.amlaberry.co.uk

  • Hi Powerlifer :) Yes, I purchased some from www.rawfoodworld.com. It was nice - a little thicker and tangier than agave. I don't like to use syrups as they lack the fiber but it works nice for raw chocolate syrups, etc. I forget the name but its a new line - there is Coconut Vinegar, Coconut Nectar, and Coconut Crystals. They are raw too :)

  • As a couple of others have said, use raw honey. I have a limitless supply of honey because my Dad & I are beekeepers and didn't sell any honey this year. Raw honey hasn't been processed or heat-treated, and is the most natural form of sweetener you can get.

    I make up quick chocolate treats all the time by putting coconut oil, cacao powder, and honey together to taste. Then just pop it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Or you can put a little in a dish in the freezer for 2 minutes, take it out, put in your favorite chopped nut, put some more chocolate on it, and then put in freezer for 15 minutes to completely harden.

  • Aw dixie-I love bees. I nursed one last year when I found her on the pavement dying...

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