I mentioned in my last post how inspired I was by Chef Fran, whose book Vegan Chocolate dazzled and delighted me once I got the chance to fully peruse its pages upon my return from New York. I was mesmerized, particularly, but the beautiful photo of chocolate ganache, which was just simply a big bowl of glorious, shiny, deep and rich chocolate. No need to get fancy, there. A bowl of chocolate sauce was enough to pique my curiosity and had me testing things in the kitchen very shortly after my return, as tired as I was feeling… Did I mention that I do not do well on less than 8 hours of sleep?
Anyways, I headed to Whole Foods to see if I could find an unsweetened Bakers Chocolate so that I could start testing recipes for a low-sugar ganache using alternative sweeteners. But once I got to Whole Foods, I found something better: vegan chocolate chips sweetened with…
That’s right, a sugar-free, vegan and certified gluten-free chocolate chip is now available commercially! Finally, someone picked up on the fact that there was a dire need for a product that fit these multiple dietary criteria. Lily’ Dark Chocolate Baking Chips do not disappoint. Big side note: keep reading labels, as most of the Lily’s bars — as opposed to chips — I found are not vegan and contain milk fat.
Ironically, I fear that Chef Fran would not approve of these chips. She does not like stevia because it’s heavily processed and she can taste its bitterness. But if you have a less refined palate like mine — and are looking for lower-sugar alternative due to past struggles with candida after years of being on antibiotics for Lyme disease — then these chips should be a suitable alternative to sugar-filled sweets!
Chef Fran also likes her chocolate to have a higher cocoa percentage, and I do, too, normally. But I kinda liked how these strawberries ended up being reminiscent of a milder milk chocolate, as it may help bridge the gap for chocolate lovers and non-lovers alike.
There are many wonderful things about these strawberries. First of all, they are simple to make, as there is no baking involved. Additionally, you’re getting a low-sugar and lower-calorie sweet that’s naturally portion controlled. One chocolate strawberry might satisfy a sweet tooth, while keeping the added carbs, sugar or fat to a minimum. Plus, strawberries are a naturally low-sugar fruit, keeping them within the confines of many anti-candida diets (including the one my doctor put me on several years ago…from which I’ve admittedly strayed).
I hope you enjoy these sweet little treats. Ideally, while the ganache holds up pretty well after it has set, I would recommend storing these in the refrigerator until ready to serve or eat. Because of the moisture content of the strawberries, chocolate is more prone to melting on these than, say, a cookie.
Thank you, Chef Fran, for your beautiful book, and for inspiring these sugar-free yummies (I’ll pretend I didn’t hear your expressed dislike for stevia…)
Chocolate Ganache Strawberries:
Chocolate sauce makes enough to cover a pint of strawberries, plus a little left over for fun
One pint (preferably organic) strawberries, washed and laid flat to dry completely; keep stems on
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
7 drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or other nuts (optional)
1. Heat soy milk over low to medium heat in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes, or until warm but NOT boiling.
2. Add chocolate chips to a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. Once soy milk is warmed, pour into bowl with chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted. Add stevia drops and continue to stir until combined. Do not whisk or stir too vigorously, but make sure that everything is smooth and combined.
3. Let sauce sit for about 15 minutes. Test with one strawberry by dipping. Sauce should stay on strawberry with minimal dripping. Keep dipping to cover each strawberry about 3/4 with some red flesh still showing at top. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, or lightly roll strawberry over a shallow plate of chopped nuts. Lay flat on parchment paper. Continue with remaining strawberries.
4. Refrigerate Strawberries until chocolate has set, about 15-20 minutes. Can refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.