Baking, Lactose-Free Dairy, Uncategorized

Lactose-Intolerant Friendly Chocolate Chip Ranking

If you are like me, chocolate is a versatile (and delicious) pantry staple. I always have chocolate chips in my cupboard in case I have an urge to make some chocolate chip cookies or I want to try my hand at tempering some chocolate to make truffles for a party.

Being lactose-intolerant can make it difficult to find chocolate chips that are smooth, decadent, AND friendly to my stomach. I went to a couple different local grocery stores near me and grabbed the options they had for chocolate chips that didn’t have dairy in the ingredients.

I tried out 9 different chocolate chips. Four of them are from Guittard at varying percentages of cocoa and two of them are from Simple Truth Organic. I was curious to see how the recipes varied between the types of chocolate. You might be surprised to know what I thought!

I evaluated them right out of the bag and then later in an oatmeal cookie. I chose to bake them in an oatmeal cookie for the mild flavor so the chocolate chips would stand out.

My verdict:

  1. Guittard – 55%: hard chip texture, nice light cocoa flavor, lightly sweetened, very nice vanilla flavor. BAKED: Smooth after being baked, good amount of presence without being overbearing. A good amount of bitter and sweet.
  2. Guittard 46%: Buttery texture in the mouth, sweet without causing a toothache. BAKED: Sweeter than the other chips, but a stronger chocolate flavor. Still not too sweet, which I appreciate in a cookie.
  3. Guittard 48%: Also buttery smooth, pleasantly sweet, prominent vanilla flavor. BAKED: Has a richer flavor than expected for its percentage. Since the chips are bigger, it is a good amount of chocolate in a bite. I thought these would be my favorite, but after comparing them all… maybe I like the 55% or 46% better?
  4. Guittard 63%: Harder chip texture, doesn’t melt as easily on the tongue, robust cocoa flavor and very lightly sweetened. BAKED: Doesn’t have as powerful of a presence as others. I like the level of cocoa.
  5. Kroger’s Private Selection 62% cacao: Harder texture of chip, deep cocoa flavor and sweeter than the Guittard 63%. BAKED: Lighter flavor than the Ghirardelli, but I prefer it in a cookie. It is just as of a rich flavor, but not as bitter.
  6. Ghirardelli 60% cacao (contains milkfat): Very smooth chip, more buttery on the tongue, not very sweet. BAKED: Almost an oily texture? Nice dark flavor, but not so dark that it overpowers the cookie. After baked, they are even more velvety and smooth than before. Not my favorite chip- a little too bitter for me. Not sure why they taste more bitter than the 62% and 63%- maybe the vanilla they used?
  7. Simple Truth Organic- semi sweet: Typical level of sweetness for a regular chocolate chip, no bitter flavor, soft with a nice chew. BAKED: Not super sweet, has a weird tang to it? Almost fruity? Not my favorite.
  8. Simple Truth Organic- allergy friendly: They are sweeter than Enjoy Life, true semi-sweet, has a bizarre bitter flavor. BAKED: Barely any flavor when inside a cookie- no recognizable chocolate flavor- I can feel the texture of the chips, but it it overpowered by the mild cookie flavor
  9. Enjoy Life- semi sweet mini chips: Instantly starts melting on the tongue, it has a bitter flavor- potentially from the vanilla? Not very sweet for a semi-sweet chip. BAKED: Very light flavor- can barely taste it in the cookie. It has a very fruity aftertaste. There is a slightly funky flavor that I can’t identify.

So, what did you think? Clearly, I am a fan of Guittard chocolate. The flavor and quality of the chips are unparalleled. I also love that they contain Fair Trade Cocoa and are made in a peanut free facility. I was disappointed by the allergy friendly chips, since I want a chocolate chip to stand out in a cookie. Maybe they would be better in trail mix, if you can get past the strange bitter flavor.

Let me know what brand of chocolate chips are your favorite! I am always excited to find new brands that are lactose-free and dairy-allergy friendly. I hope the list helped narrow down your search for a tasty chocolate chip!

Notes:

The only chocolate chips that are technically dairy-free are the allergy-friendly chips. Otherwise, the chocolate chips most likely were produced in factory with dairy or might have milk fat in them. Ghirardelli always has milk fat in all of their chocolate products. Milk fat doesn’t contain much lactose, so the chocolate chips haven’t bothered me yet. I would make sure to read the backs of the bars and bags from Ghirardelli because they don’t list milk on the list of allergens although it does have milk fat. To all those with milk allergies, please read labels!

Lactose-Free Dairy, Uncategorized

5 Tips for being Lactose-Intolerant

Welcome! You found out you are part of the lactose-intolerant group of uncomfortable stomachs and avoiding dairy. Now what?

When I first found out I was lactose-free, I went completely dairy-free because I didn’t know there were options for lactose-free products and lactase capsules. Now that I have adventured in lactose-free land for a couple years, I have a couple tips and tricks to keep you enjoying food AND having a happy stomach.

First, gauge how lactose-intolerant you are. Everyone has a different body, which means you can handle different levels than other people. I have to be super careful to not have dairy without a lactase pill… or I pay for it in the end.

Second, dairy-free options might be the best option for you. I know that I feel better when I eat less dairy, even if it is lactose-free. There are so many awesome companies that make tasty dairy-free products. Of course, it won’t be what you are used to, but now is a good time as any to broaden your horizons!

Third, Read labels, read labels, read labels. I cannot stress this enough! There are so many products that are lactose-free that don’t advertise it! Do I know why? Nope! But I am in the process of making a mega list of products that are sneakily lactose-free so keep your eyes peeled!

Fourth, ghee is a great substitute for butter when cooking. You get the same great flavor without the lactose. Ghee seems to be more accessible than lactose-free butter in stores, so it’s a great option. (Butter is super easy to make, and I have the recipe to make your own lactose-free butter here.)

Fifth, don’t be afraid to ask people what they put in food. In my opinion, it is better to be safe rather than sorry! Luckily, my family and friends all know, so when I ask if they added dairy, they know I am not being picky. More often than not, people are willing to accommodate you. If lactase works for you, that is another great option for big gatherings. Just remember- your stomach is important, and you need to take care of yourself!

I hope these 5 tips help you on your adventures in navigating food sensitivities. Let me know in the comments if you learned something new or have something to add!

Lactose-Free Dairy

Easy DIY Lactose-Free Milk

This is less of a recipe and more of a life hack to save money- and your stomach! Milk is used in so many ways that it’s hard to cut out of my diet. My husband prefers me to use milk over milk alternatives when baking, and truthfully, so do I.

Of course, I enjoy a good bowl of cereal with some chocolate almond milk, but it’s hard to convince my husband that almond milk is tasty.

So I turn to lactose-free milk instead of dairy alternatives but it gets expensive. That’s why I decided to make it myself. It’s super easy and cheaper!

Now I don’t have to worry about buying two kinds of milk every week for my husband and me. Such a relief!

If you are like me, you need a nice glass of milk with just-out-of-the-oven cookies. Now you can have that creamy milk without worrying about paying more than you actually need to!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gallon of milk
  • 2-4 tablets/ drops/ caplets of lactase

Directions:

  1. Take 2-4 tablets/ caplets/ drops of lactase and put them into your milk. Shake the milk well and let it sit for at least 24 hours. If needed, let the milk remain in the fridge for up to 4 days before using.

Side Notes:

  • This recipe does need you to know how sensitive you are to lactose. If I put two tablets of lactase into a gallon of milk, I can use it within 24 hours. But other people might need to wait 3 or 4 days before using it.
  • If you use lactase tablets, I recommend crushing them up before putting them into the milk. If you use caplets, I would open the caplet and put the powder directly into the milk. I haven’t used lactase drops before, but I know that you can buy them on Amazon. Let me know if you use them and what your experience is like!
  • On occasion we see some funky clumps of milk, but it has never bothered us. I am guessing it has to do with something the tablets or caplets have in them. If this would bother you, I would recommend buying the lactase droplets instead. (Although I don’t know if it eliminates the lumps because I haven’t used them before.)