I am willing to bet that with this post, some of you are starting to think I am a little nuts. You are thinking “Why bother???”. Perhaps you are thinking that I am taking this “made from scratch” trend a little too far. Well, there is a method to my madness, I promise. My forays into the food-blogging world have made me realize how many of us are on specialized diets, whether self-imposed or by necessity. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, nut-free, low carb, vegetarian, vegan, you name it, somebody is on it (and blogging about it!). And even those who may eat whatever they choose are often highly discerning when it comes to ingredients. They don’t want all of the fillers and emulsifiers and preservatives, they want real, whole food.
Well, the best part about these chocolate chips is that they can be tailored for pretty much any dietary restriction. With the exception of chocolate…if you are allergic or you have sworn off the stuff, I am afraid I can’t help you there. Now for the “why bother?” part. There are plenty of companies that cater to our dietary needs, and many make chocolate chips free of whatever we can’t, or don’t want to, ingest. So why make my own? It comes down to simple economics. Let’s face it, our dietary restrictions make us a captive audience and the prices are higher. It’s not all about greed on the company’s part – they don’t mass produce these products on the level of regular commercial chocolate chips, so their costs are higher too. It is what it is.
All of this occured to me as I was about to purchase some low carb chocolate chips online that went for $16.99 a pound. Wow, that’s steep! There are less expensive “sugar free” chips out there, but most of them are made with maltitol, a sugar alcohol that for many diabetics is as bad as sugar. The ones I wanted were made with my preferred sweetener, erythritol, but being the frugal creature that I am, I just couldn’t stomach the price. A google search on homemade chocolate chips didn’t yield too many results, so I was on my own. But knowing what I do about making ganache and other chocolate treats, I figured it couldn’t be that difficult. What’s in a chocolate chip, after all, besides chocolate and sweetener?
The Results: I’d say that these were a great success. I was pleased with the results as they were, but I had to test them out in an actual recipe, to see if they would hold their shape like commercial chocolate chips. And they did! I like very dark chocolate, so I held back on the sweetener in these, but you could make them sweeter if you like. I made them like chocolate chunks, just for simplicity’s sake. I did attempt to dab bits onto parchment paper to make them more like chocolate chips, and although that worked, it was very time-consuming. Unless you have a good reason for needing them to be “chip-shaped”, I’d just pour the whole batch into a pan and cut them into chunks after they are cooled.
And if your dietary restriction is not of the low carb variety, you can use real sugar or other sugar substitutes. You may need to experiment a bit to get the sweetness you want and to make sure all of the sugar, honey, agave or other sweetener dissolves properly, but it shouldn’t be too hard.
You could also flavour these with various extracts. I didn’t use vanilla on this go round, but I think they would be good that way. They could also be flavoured with peppermint extract, or a little coffee for a mocha chip. Wow, the possibilities are endless!
Naturally, I test-drove these chocolate chips in a chocolate chip cookie (had to go with a classic). I made mine low carb, although not gluten free this time. Will post that recipe as soon as I can!
Homemade Chocolate Chips
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
10 tbsp butter, cut into chunks OR 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup erythritol (powdered, preferably) OR other sweetener
20 drops stevia extract
Optional: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or other flavouring
Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper
In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate, cocoa powder, butter or oil, and erythritol or other sweetener. Stir over low heat until sweetener has dissolved and mixture is smooth.
Off heat, stir in stevia and any other extracts or flavourings.
Spread in pan and chill in refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours. Lift parchment paper out of pan and cut into small chunks with a sharp knife.
Store in fridge or freezer until needed.
Yes, it’s that simple!
Makes 11.5 ounces (almost the same as a regular-sized bag of chocolate chips, or a little over 2 cups). The entire recipe has 100g of total carbs, and 26g of fiber. 52g of carbs if you subtract erythritol.
I figure this to be about 22 servings, so each serving has 4.5g total carbs, and 2.4g if you subtract erythritol.