Finding a Better Sweetener
My journey into chocolate started with a quest to fill my table with nutrient-dense, traditionally produced, whole foods. I was having trouble finding chocolate that met my standards, so I decided to make it myself.
The biggest challenge was finding a natural replacement for the refined sugar used in almost all chocolate. I was already using whole, unrefined cane sugar in my home kitchen and wondered if I could use it in chocolate as well. And the answer? Absolutely.
Adding whole cane sugar to a batch of dark chocolate.
While whole cane sugar is easy to find in many parts of the world, as of this writing the United States does not produce whole cane sugar (and most Americans are unaware of its benefits). For that reason, I source my whole cane sugar from Central America, the closest region producing it.
The Benefits of Whole Cane Sugar
Whole cane sugar is simply dried sugarcane juice. Unlike most sugars, it is never spun in a centrifuge to remove its natural molasses content. That means it retains cane juice's full flavor and nutrients. It's sugar in whole-food form, and it's the only sweetener used in my chocolate.
Unrefined cane sugars from India (left) and Paraguay (right).
In addition to its nutritional benefits, whole cane sugar opens up new flavor possibilities. That's because like cacao, cane sugars from different regions taste different, allowing me to pair specific sugars with specific cocoa beans for enhanced flavors in the finished chocolate.