Okay. Let’s not dwell on the fact that candy, as a basic concept, is usually just not that good for you. This much is a given: wiping away the world’s candy supply might make the human race a good deal healthier, and would put an end to some rather unsavory cravings we all experience from time to time. Ah, but that wouldn’t be much fun now, would it? Life, after all, has its moments of difficulty among the joy, and those moments occasionally cry out for a decadent, sweet treat. Let us not forget that ode to sweet delights: “Who can take a rainbow, wrap it in a sigh, soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie?” The candy man can!
Fortunately, rewarding yourself with a treat doesn’t have to mean abandoning your vegan way of life. Vegan candy also has the benefit of avoiding several key animal-derived ingredients: gelatin (which is made from cow and pig bones), lard and pepsin (which both come from the pig abdomen) and cetyl palmitate (a waxy oil from sperm whales), among others. Even carmine, the red coloring used is assorted candies, is made through a process that involves ground up insects. Vegan candy, on the other hand, replaces these and other worrisome products with natural animal free ingredients.
Luckily for consumers, PETA lists dozens of vegan candies that are widely available on store shelves. Scan the list and you’ll find a few pleasant surprises, including popular favorites as Airheads Taffy, Dots, Dum-Dums, Lemonheads, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, and many others. Or, to be completely safe, why not try making your own vegan candy in the comfort of your own home. Here are a few of our favorite vegan recipes that you and your family and friends will be sure to love. And check out our vegan candy recipes for more amazing options for sweet vegan treats!
Vegan Peanut Butter Cups
- 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup powdered vegan sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cut 12 paper muffin cups in half.
- Place the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler over low heat and melt until creamy.
- Using a spoon or a kitchen brush, brush the chocolate on the inside of the muffin cups, making sure to get in to all of the crevices. There should be some chocolate remaining for the tops.
- Place in the freezer until the chocolate hardens.
- Combine peanut butter and salt in a medium bowl, then fold in the vegan powdered sugar.
- Place in to the top part of your double boiler for one minute, then let cool.
- Spoon the mixture in to the cold chocolate cups, leaving a little bit of room on the top.
- Brush chocolate on to the top and place in to the freezer for at least an hour, then serve!
Vegan Chocolate Nut Bark
- 2 cups vegan sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- 1/4 cup vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance
- 1 1/4 cup hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or combination of nuts, chopped coarsely
- 10 oz vegan chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
- Place nuts on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the nuts, and place the baking sheet back in the oven with the heat off to keep it warm.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water and agave nectar, and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, then remove the cover.
- Stir in the butter substitute and reduce heat to medium. Do not stir.
- Insert a candy thermometer and bring the temperature of the mixture up to 325F.
- Remove pan from heat and place in to a bowl of ice water for about ten seconds.
- Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, pour the mixture on to it, and spread it with a spatula to about 1/4 inch thick. Allow to cool completely.
- Put the chocolate chips in to the top portion of a double boiler and melt chocolate chips.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the nut brittle, and spread with a spatula.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours until completely cooled, then break in to small pieces and store.