Vegan white chocolate is so easy to make that there is really no excuse to not make it. Plus, since you’re working from pure cocoa butter, you know exactly what is inside. It’s an economical choice that you can feel good about.
Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the cocoa bean. Typical milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor, sugar, and cocoa butter. When making white chocolate, the chocolate liquor is left out. Instead, it is usually flavored with vanilla extract. Sometimes powdered milk is added; this recipe uses powdered coconut milk in its place to create vegan white chocolate.
Coconut milk powder can be found in grocery stores or online. I ordered mine from Amazon. The nice thing about coconut milk powder is that you can reconstitute small amounts of coconut milk to use in curries or baking. I never use a full can of coconut milk in one go, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this powder!
Cocoa butter can be hard to find in conventional grocery stores. It is easily found online and you can order it in bulk quantities, which makes it economical. Not only can cocoa butter be used in the kitchen; it can also be used to make lotions for dry skin.
Cocoa butter is white, hard and waxy to the touch. It comes in large chunks and can be difficult to break apart. It does not melt readily in your hands, probably due to its high saturated fat content. Although cocoa butter lotions smell like chocolate, cocoa butter itself has its own scent and flavor – similar to chocolate but much stronger.
In my opinion, the purpose of cocoa butter and coconut milk powder in vegan white chocolate is for texture, while the sugar and vanilla do more for the flavor. Even though we use coconut milk powder in this recipe, the end-product does not taste like coconut.
Fat repels water, so any water that gets into the white chocolate mixture during assembly will cause the chocolate to get lumpy. Make sure that your bowls and utensils are dry before starting.
Melt the cocoa butter over a steaming pot of water. Add shortening and stir until combined.
Stir in the coconut milk powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. I let mine come up in temperature to thin it out a bit.
Transfer to a mold. I just used a glass baking dish. Refrigerate until hard (I’ve seen recipes say as little as 30 minutes.. Mine took at least an hour).
Chop the finished product into usable pieces.
- 4 ounces cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or coconut oil
- ½ cup coconut milk powder
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Fill a saucepan with about 1 - 2 inches of water. Place on the stove but don’t turn the heat on yet.
- While the water begins to simmer, weigh out 4 ounces of cocoa butter and chop it into small pieces. This will help it melt faster. I’ve used a knife to cut it and I’ve also put it in a plastic bag and hit it with a mallet. Both methods work
- Melt cocoa butter and shortening or coconut oil. Add cocoa butter and shortening or coconut oil to the glass bowl and place on top of the saucepan. Turn the heat to low. The steam will warm the glass bowl, gently melting the cocoa butter and shortening. As cocoa butter melts, it turns yellow and looks like liquid oil. The amount of time that this takes will vary depending on the size of your saucepan and glass bowl. Use the rubber spatula to stir it around to help it melt
- Add remaining ingredients. Meanwhile, measure out ½ cup of coconut milk powder and ¾ cup powdered sugar. Sift them together. Remove the glass bowl from the steam. Add the sifted ingredients slowly to the bowl when the cocoa butter has fully melted. I like to use a whisk at this step to prevent chunks and lumps from forming. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Temper. At this point, my white chocolate mixture was pretty thick, so I allowed it to warm up a bit over the steam before removing the glass bowl from the steam. You want to temper the chocolate if you’re going to be making bars or if you’re going to be dipping fruit and you want a glossy finish. Allow the temperature to drop from 110℉ to 84℉ and then raise the temperature to 89℉. I’m chopping mine up to use in baking, so I skipped tempering.
- Pour into molds and refrigerate until hard. I poured it into a 9x9 glass baking dish and covered it with a cloth napkin, then refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I removed it from the refrigerator and it was ready to chop into rough chunks to use in baking!
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