Thanks to the consistently rising prices of cocoa butter, companies and chocolate lovers all over the world are searching for a healthy alternative that won’t break the bank. While people would love to continue using cocoa butter to give their chocolate its glossy appearance and delicious fat content, using alternatives for cocoa butter is becoming more popular with each passing day. Alternatives fall into three separate categories, so keep reading if you’re looking for something a little different to use in your favorite recipes.
List of cocoa butter alternatives
A cocoa butter substitute is defined as a fat compound that is partially hydrogenated. Cocoa butter substitutes are a bit healthier than traditional cocoa butter, and as long as you use the right one, it can have the same taste and texture in chocolate as cocoa butter. Unfortunately, the downside to using CBSs is that they don’t mix too well with other fats used to make chocolate.
Used by some of the big names in chocolate, palm oil is a frequently used substitute for cocoa butter. While it gives chocolate its glossy appearance, when unsustainably harvested, palm oil contributes to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. So, if you plan on using palm oil as a substitute for your cocoa butter, make sure that it’s a sustainably grown palm oil that you’re using.
Coconut oil is a widely used cocoa butter substitute because it allows the chocolate to harden a little bit faster. For this reason, coconut oil is frequently used to make chocolate shells or drizzle.
Cocoa Butter Replacers (CBRs)
There are certain organic oils that can be used as a replacer for cocoa butter in chocolate recipes. The consistency of these oils allows them to be mixed in well with chocolate liqueur, which is used to enhance the flavor and the richness of the chocolate. While the following oils mimic the way cocoa butter works, they are only able to mix with up to 20% of other fats, so make sure to do your research before adding them to your chocolate.
Soy lecithin is an oil taken from processed soybeans, and it’s used as an emulsifier in chocolate. This means that the soy is used to blend ingredients and hold things together. Even though soy lecithin can be found in just about every chocolate bar in existence, it’s not the healthiest alternative that you can use.
Cottonseed oil is typically used as an alternative to olive oil or canola oil, and while it is a cheaper alternative, it’s full of polyunsaturated fats. Because of this, cottonseed oil isn’t the most healthy alternative.
Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBEs)
The best cocoa butter alternative that you can use is known as a cocoa butter equivalent. CBEs, like palm and shea oil, have similar fat content and nutrition as real cocoa butter once they are tempered. When trying to find the right amount to use, you have to take the texture and consistency of the recipe into consideration. Of course, trial and error certainly come into play when you’re trying to find the right alternative to use.
Now that you know that there are some great ways to substitute cocoa butter in your favorite foods, let’s take a look at a few recipes that use some of the alternatives that we just discussed.
Chocolate Truffles with Red Palm Oil
- ⅓ cup of red palm oil melted in a warm oven
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar – this is a healthy sweetener that has a low glycemic index
- 1 cup toasted pecans
1. Mix the melted oil with honey until the mixture until smooth
2. Add the unsweetened cocoa powder, palm sugar, and toasted nuts
3. Refrigerate until the mixture is almost firm. This should take approximately an hour.
4. Roll into small balls.
5. Add to a bowl of palm sugar to coat the outside (optional)
These chocolates should stay good for up to two months.
Healthy Homemade Chocolate Bars with Coconut Oil
- ½ cup cacao or cocoa powder
- ½ cup extra virgin coconut oil
- ½ cup pure maple syrup or runny honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Just a pinch of sea salt
1. Combine all of the ingredients until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
2. Using a spoon, put all of the mixture into your favorite chocolate molds.
3. Put the molds into the freezer until the chocolate is hard and set.
4. Once the chocolate is hard, enjoy it!
The chocolate should be kept in the freezer in order to keep the flavor and consistency because they melt very quickly.
Coconut Oil Fudge
- ½ cup of nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)
- 2 ½ tablespoons of virgin coconut oil or coconut butter
- 2 ½ tablespoons sweetener of your choice (optional)
1. Gently melt the nut butter and the coconut oil until they can be easily stirred.
2. Stir in all of the other ingredients
3. Put into candy molds or another container of your choice
4. Put into the freezer so they can set
Make sure to refrigerate or freeze all of the leftovers.
Finding the alternative to your favorite cocoa butter can be a difficult transition, but it’s most certainly possible. After a bit of trial and error, you should be able to find the right alternative that works for you and your needs. But remember, if you have a hard time thinking of recipes, or you’re at a loss of which alternative that you want to use, you can always do some of your own research to find exactly what it is that you’re looking for. Now that you know that there are plenty of healthy, and not so healthy, alternatives to using cocoa butter in your favorite recipes, you can enjoy some chocolate guilt-free without breaking the bank!