Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

Cheddar cheese crackers are one of the few things I've really missed since I embarked on a healthy ketogenic diet in 2019 (and lost nearly 60 pounds). The only acceptable replacement I've found for those famous, small, square cheese crackers in the bright red box with the cutesy name are Defy Foods' yummy keto cheddar crackers, which are only available online and, like all high quality commercial keto foods, cost significantly more than their unhealthy, conventional counterparts.

Recently, I began experimenting with my own homemade keto cheese crackers recipe, inspired by recipes from two of my favorite low carb recipe developers. I combined elements of both their recipes and added some powdered, dehydrated, real cheddar cheese for an extra flavor boost. This past weekend, I finally perfected my version. Both my husband and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results!

I am sharing not only my delicious new keto cheese crackers recipe but also my product review of the Defy Foods keto cheddar crackers, which I will still keep in the freezer for when I don't have time to bake them from scratch.

Crisp, Salty and Satisfying Keto Cheese Crackers with photo of crackers on plate
My healthy, homemade low carb crackers are bursting with real cheddar cheese flavor

My Inspiration for This Recipe

When I decided to try my hand at making homemade cheddar cheese crackers, I started by searching for recipes on my two favorite low carb keto recipe developers' blogs, Carolyn Ketchum's All Day I Dream About Food and Maya Krampf's Wholesome Yum. Carolyn and Maya are two of my go-to gurus for reliable, delicious recipes that support my low carb lifestyle. 

Carolyn's Keto Cheese Crackers with Pepper Jack looked great, but I'm not a big fan of pepper jack cheese or red pepper flakes. I also wasn't sure that adding garlic powder to the dough would give me the classic flavor I was looking for. The recipe also called for brushing the thinly rolled out dough with melted butter and then sprinkling it with coarse salt before baking. While it sounded delicious, I preferred to start with fewer ingredients and fewer steps for my first attempt.

Maya's Low Carb Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe had fewer ingredients and steps. However, the optional nutritional yeast "for cheesier flavor" wasn't something I had on hand, since I didn't care for the taste the few times I had tried using it as a substitute for grated cheese.

Recipe Experiment #1: Tasty, But Not Quite There Yet

Since I wanted my crackers to have a strong cheddar cheese flavor, I replaced the optional nutritional yeast in Maya's recipe with Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder. 

The resulting crackers were quite tasty. However, I wanted them to have a stronger cheddar flavor and be a bit more buttery and salty. In addition, the small, fragile squares of thinly rolled dough were quite prone to tearing as I transferred them to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Recipe Experiment #2: We Have a Winner! 

For my second batch, I changed a few things when I was making Maya's cheddar dough:

  • I substituted twice as much Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder for the optional nutritional yeast.
  • I increased the amount of salt from 1/4 teaspoon to 3/8 teaspoon. 
  • After stirring together the dry ingredients, instead of combining them with the egg first, I stirred them into the melted cheese along with the egg.

I also made several other changes based on Carolyn's pepper jack cheese crackers recipe:

  • The dough was rolled out on a silicone baking mat sprinkled with almond flour (using parchment paper on top to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin). After pricking and cutting the  dough, it was much easier to just slide the mat onto the baking pan instead of lifting and transferring the fragile squares of raw dough.
  • I used a pizza cutter to slice the sheet of dough into approximately 1-inch squares. (I also didn't worry about trying to cut perfectly parallel and perpendicular lines, since I wouldn't succeed in any event!).
  • Before putting the crackers in the preheated oven, I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled them with coarse salt.
  • This time, I baked the crackers at 300 ℉ instead of 350 ℉, left them in longer, turned off the oven when they were barely golden brown and left them inside to finish developing their color, cool slowly and crisp up.

Maya and Carolyn are extremely talented, very experienced low carb recipe developers. Combining elements from both their recipes and adding the Vermont sharp cheddar cheese powder turned out to be a winning strategy. This new version produced dozens of perfectly crisp, deliciously salty, buttery cheddar cheese crackers that tasted absolutely amazing! 

My husband adored them, too. (In fact, he might easily have devoured the entire batch on the spot if I hadn't set aside a small plate of these crackers to photograph for this recipe!)

Plate of prepared keto cheese crackers

Wholesome, Homemade Low Carb Cheddar Cheese Crackers That Everyone Will Love

I'm really excited to share my new keto cheese crackers recipe! 

For the many people who follow a low carb or ketogenic diet and have been searching in vain for buttery, salty, flavor-packed low carb crackers that don't cost an arm and a leg, these scrumptious bite-sized savory snacks will satisfy those cravings. Unlike the conventional grocery store kind, these are made with minimally processed, "real food" ingredients. 

These crisp, delicious, high protein cheese crackers are tasty enough for everyone can enjoy, whether or not they are trying to cut back on highly processed foods with empty calories.

They're wonderful to bring to holiday parties or get-togethers with family and friends any time of year. You can indulge without "cheating" on your low carb diet and no one who tastes them will guess that your homemade cheddar crackers are made with almond flour instead of wheat flour.

Who says you can't enjoy holidays treats without gaining weight?

How to Make Keto Cheese Crackers

These irresistible keto cheese crackers are quite easy to make. However, low carb baking is quite different from conventional baking methods. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind, especially if this is your first experience baking with almond flour.

Photo of keto cheese crackers with recipe ingredients

Choose High Quality Ingredients for the Best Taste and Texture

This recipe calls for only a few ingredients, so the quality of each one will have a major impact on the taste and texture of your homemade crackers. 

For the best flavor, buy a block of good, sharp (or very sharp) Vermont cheddar cheese and grate or shred it yourself just before making this recipe. Cabot Creamery cheddar, which Carolyn Ketchum recommends, is one of my favorite brands, too. 

I used King Arthur Better Cheddar Cheese Powder for these keto cheese crackers, which I had purchased for another recipe and like very much. King Arthur Baking Company (formerly King Arthur Flour) has a a well deserved reputation for excellence and baking expertise. I have relied on their products and recipes for decades. 

It's important to use fresh, finely ground and blanched almond flour for most low carb keto baking recipes. My favorite is Maya Krampf's Wholesome Yum premium almond flour.

You will need two kinds of salt: fine sea salt (or table salt, if you prefer) and coarse or flaked salt. For the dough, I used Redmond Real Salt Ancient Fine Sea Salt, an unrefined, unprocessed sea salt with trace minerals and no additives. It's comparable to pink Himalayan sea salt, but has been "mined in Utah since 1958 from an ancient seabed protected from modern pollution."

After pricking, cutting and brushing the thinly rolled out dough with melted butter, I sprinkled the tops of the crackers with a combination of coarse sea salt and crushed Maldon sea salt flakes before baking. The Maldon sea salt flakes were too coarse to use straight from the package, but crushing them with my fingers and mixing them with the regular coarse sea salt turned out to be the perfect topping.

Use a Silicone Baking Mat and Unbleached Baking Parchment to Roll Out the Dough

Rolling out and cutting the dough on a silicone baking mat and then sliding it onto your baking sheet is much easier than rolling the dough between sheets of baking parchment and cutting and transferring the small, fragile squares to the pan. The best known brand, Silpat, commands a premium price. Fortunately, I've also had good luck with much less expensive silicone baking mats.

It's essential to cover the raw dough with a large sheet of baking parchment paper when you're rolling it out, so that it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. These days, I only use unbleached baking parchment. (Who wants to risk leaching chlorine bleach into their homemade baked goods?) I find the flat, 12" x 16" pre-cut sheets of unbleached baking parchment much easier to use than wrestling with a piece torn from a roll whose curl stubbornly refuses to flatten out. 

Use a Large, Microwave-Safe Bowl and a Sturdy Silicone Mixing Spatula for Making the Keto Cheese Crackers Dough

I often use my 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup as a large mixing bowl, especially for recipes that require melting ingredients such as butter, chocolate or cheese in the microwave. The handle provides a good grip on the microwave-safe glass bowl as you incorporate the dry ingredients and the egg into the melted cheddar cheese.

The best tool for the job is a sturdy, stiff rubber spatula. I prefer the DI ORO Seamless Series Large Silicone Spatula for this purpose, which was named "Winner: Best All-Purpose Spatula" in Cook's Illustrated's March 2017 Silicone Spatulas Equipment Review (paid subscription required)

Roll Out the Dough as Thinly and Evenly as Possible 

The thinner you roll the dough, the crisper your crackers will be. Try to roll out the sheet of dough to as uniform a thickness as possible, which will help the crackers bake at the same rate. (You may want to make the dough near the edges slightly thicker to prevent the outermost row of crackers from browning too quickly.)

Use a Pizza Wheel With a Plastic Blade to Cut the Dough Into Strips and Then Squares

The plastic blade cuts through the dough cleanly without slicing into your silicon baking mat. It's also faster, easier and safer than cutting the small squares with a knife. The OXO 1065872 Good Grips 4-inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter for Non-Stick Pans is very similar to the one I own (which is no longer made) and gets excellent customer product reviews.

If You Are Using a Countertop Oven, Divide the Dough Into Quarters and Bake It in Four Batches

The built-in double wall ovens that came with our 1950s ranch-style house died several years ago. Since then, we have been making do with a countertop oven. (If you are considering one, I encourage you to read Sylvestermouse Cynthia's recent Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven product review.) 

Photo of unbaked keto cheese crackers on silicone mat in small baking pan

Obviously, having to use a much smaller silicone baking mat and pan (approximately 8.5" x 12.5") that could fit inside my large toaster oven took much longer than using a large silicone mat and baking sheet and baking in a full-size oven. However, as you can see from my photos, it is certainly doable. 

Keto Cheddar Cheese Crackers Recipe

Photo of prepared keto cheese crackers on a small plate
These buttery, low carb crackers will satisfy your cravings without kicking you out of ketosis. They're yummy enough to share with carb-loving friends and family of all ages, so they're perfect for holidays, football games, parties, kids' lunchboxes and everyday snacks. 

Prep Time   20 minutes

Cook Time  30–60 minutes

Total Time   50–80 minutes

Servings       8–10

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups finely ground and blanched almond flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 Tbsp good quality sharp cheddar cheese powder
  • 3/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 ℉. Place a large silicone baking mat on your counter, table or other work surface and sprinkle it with almond flour.
  2. Grate or shred the sharp cheddar cheese into a large microwave-safe bowl or a 2-quart (8-cup) Pyrex measuring cup. 
  3. Stir together 1 ½ cups of the almond flour with the cheddar cheese powder and salt.
  4. Microwave the cheese on High at 30-second intervals, stirring with a large, sturdy rubber or silicone spatula until the cheddar is completely melted and has a smooth consistency. 
  5. Stir in the almond flour mixture and the egg and use the spatula to "knead" the dough against the the sides of the bowl. Then, turn out the dough onto a lightly greased sheet of parchment or waxed paper and use your hands to squeeze and finish kneading the dough into a compact ball. The dough should be soft and pliable and feel a bit oily. If it's too sticky to work with easily, you can either chill it for 15 minutes or so or work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour.
  6. Flatten the ball of dough and shape it into a square patty, then place it in the center of the prepared silicone baking mat. Cover it with a large sheet of baking parchment (or wax paper) and roll it out as thinly and evenly as possible (no more than 1/8-inch thick).
  7. Use a pizza wheel with a plastic cutting disc to slice the sheet of dough into small squares or rectangles approximately 1-inch wide (although you can make them wider, if you prefer). You should end up with between 5 dozen and 8 dozen (60–100) crackers, depending on how thinly you roll the dough and what size you make your squares or rectangles.
  8. Prick the tops of the crackers with a fork or toothpick, brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle them with the coarse salt. Then transfer the silicone mat carefully onto a large baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven. 
  9. Bake until the crackers turn a light golden brown and the edges begin to crisp up (approximately 15–30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness), then turn off the oven and allow them to remain inside until they are firm to the touch. Keep a close eye on the color of the pieces around the edges. If they are browning faster than the ones in the center, remove the darker pieces and let them cool at room temperature while the rest of the crackers cool down more slowly inside the warm oven. 

I like to store these keto cheese crackers in single layers, separated by paper towel, inside an airtight tin or large Stasher silicone food storage bags, which are extremely easy to seal and unseal. Layering them with paper towels helps absorb ambient moisture and keep them crisp. However, if they last more than a day or two, you can just pop them back into a 300 ℉ oven for a few minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't get too brown.

Defy Foods Cheddar Crackers Product Review

There are very few healthy, low carb crackers on the market. The ones I have tried have been disappointingly dry and bland, with one notable exception: Defy Foods Keto Cheddar Crackers

These delicious gluten-free, grain-free, ketogenic diet-friendly cheddar cheese crackers have only 2g of net carbs and are made from wholesome, high quality ingredients. In addition, Defy Foods is a small business start-up and these cheddar crackers are the first (and, so far, only) product in their line. As a result, they're a bit on the pricey side. However, if you don't have the time or the inclination to bake your own keto cheese crackers from scratch, these are the next best thing.

As of this writing, they can only be purchased online, and until last week they could only be ordered directly from the Defy Foods website. However, they just launched on Amazon, with free Prime shipping, which is great news for Amazon Prime members! Amazon is also promoting this launch with a 15% off digital coupon. There is no way to know how long this promotional discount coupon will remain valid, so now is the best time to order a few bags of these delicious low carb crackers if you want to give them a try!


My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

 Losing weight is a piece of cake (so to speak) compared to keeping those pounds from coming back. If you are following a mostly clean ketogenic weight loss diet for an extended period, figuring out how to maintain your successes after you reach your target weight can be even more challenging.

This time last year, after celebrating the one-year anniversary of the start of my successful keto diet weight loss journey, I shared my best advice for preparing to succeed on a keto diet

Last week marked my second keto-versary, In honor of this important milestone in my transformational journey toward better health and wellbeing, I am sharing what I’ve learned during the past year about how to maintain the significant weight loss I achieved on a ketogenic diet.

image collage of woman at different weights between 2017 and 2020

The Best Tips to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss Success

In part one of my post about preparing to succeed on a keto diet, I shared my belief that there is no “one-size-fits-all” ketogenic weight loss diet that is optimal for everyone, that dirty, lazy and strict keto are not your only options, and that designing a personalized approach to this way of eating that best fits your unique needs, lifestyle, and priorities can improve your chances of success. Based on my own experience so far, I think it’s just as important to design a personalized plan to maintain your keto diet journey wins after you reach your target weight.

For the past 12 months or so, I have been working on and refining my long-term strategy to maintain not only my new, healthy weight but also the other profoundly positive changes that resulted from my switch to a mostly clean ketogenic diet. Although I will likely continue to experiment, evaluate and make further tweaks over time, I have gradually figured out a viable “new normal” that is meeting my needs, for now. 

The best advice I can share is to learn as much as you can from people who have transitioned from a keto weight loss diet to a healthy, sustainable maintenance diet and kept those pounds from coming back. Use whatever aspects resonate with you to help you design your own personalized plan, tailored to your needs, priorities, and preferences.

To help you get started, here are the seven strategies that have helped me maintain my nearly 60-pound weight loss so far. 

3 side-by-side photos of same woman before and after losing weight and keeping it off with a ketogenic diet

Make Small, Incremental Changes to Your Diet at a Time

Increase your carbs and calories very slowly, then wait at least a week or two to see how your body responds before deciding whether, what, and how much to change next. You also may want to try gradually decreasing your fat intake somewhat and evaluating the effects. I increased my carbs by 5 grams and added 50 calories every three weeks,  very small changes to my calories and macros roughly every 3 weeks so my metabolism would adapt to each minor change without overreacting to a perceived food surplus or famine. 

Use Most of Those Extra Carbs and Calories to Add Nutrients and Fiber

It’s okay to reserve some of your extra maintenance carbs and calories for a keto-friendly cheddar cheese and chive biscuit or a square or two from a healthy, sugar-free The Good Chocolate bar, but try to invest most of your carb and calorie “raise” into a broader range or slightly larger portions of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods, such as berries and root vegetables, especially if you plan to continue with a modified keto or low carb diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. You can also try introducing small amounts of high-fiber beans and legumes and see how they affect your blood sugar, insulin, energy level, mood, and mental clarity. 

Pay Attention to How Your Body Responds 

If you have (or had) a lot of weight to lose, start experimenting with very small, gradual increases to your calories and carbs when you are within three pounds of your target weight, even though it means waiting a bit longer to reach your “magic number” on the scale. Finding your personal nutritional “sweet spot” to maintain your new, healthier weight will require navigating uncharted territory. Switching your focus from losing those last few pounds to figuring out how to keep them off for good will give you a good head-start on testing the effects of those dietary changes and fine-tuning them by the time you  reach your weight loss goal. 

Don’t Revert to Your Former Bad Habits

To paraphrase Henry Ford, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. So, if you go back to eating the things that caused you to put on weight and made it hard to lose—especially sugars, refined starches and highly processed foods—you will soon put back any pounds you dropped on keto, and probably a few more, too boot. 

Keto cookbooks and baking books

Build On Your New, Healthy Lifestyle Habits

If you have been following a "dirty keto" approach, consider eating fewer highly processed foods and buying healthier, fresh, whole, or minimally processed foods, such as organic fresh berries and vegetables and grass-fed (and, ideally, grass-finished) beef and dairy products.

If you your meals have relied heavily on fast food restaurant chains or packaged foods, try cooking more of your meals and eating out less to help you control the quality and quantity and enhance the flavor and nutrition of the foods you consume. (You will probably also save some money in the process.) To expand your repertoire of quick and easy, delicious and nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, I highly recommend Carolyn Ketchum's cookbook The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen: With More than 150 Inspirational Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes to Maximize Your HealthMaya Krampf's The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook: 100 Simple Low Carb Recipes. 10 Ingredients or Less, Kyndra Holley's Craveable Keto: Your Low-Carb, High-Fat Roadmap to Weight Loss and Wellness, Natasha Newton's Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle, and Maria Emmerich's Keto Restaurant Favorites: More Than 175 Tasty Classic Recipes Made Fast, Fresh, and Healthy

If you miss traditional baked goods and have been disappointed by the keto recipes or packaged versions you've tried, invest in a couple of cookbooks with reliable recipes from a keto baking expert, such as Ketchum's The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking: Master All the Best Tricks for Low-Carb Baking Success or Hilda Solares' Essential Keto Bread: Sweet and Savory Baked Goods to Satisfy Any Craving.

If you haven't been getting much exercise, look for ways to build a more active lifestyle.

Bagged piles of women's clothing to donate or sell

Get Rid of Clothes That No Longer Fit You 

Don’t sabotage yourself by holding onto this safety net in case you gain back the weight you worked so hard to lose. Try on every piece of clothing you own and sort it into the appropriate pile: throw away, give away, donate, sell, or bring to a tailor to be altered to fit your new size, depending on the style and how much would need to be taken in. If you’re having trouble letting go of some favorite pieces that would require too much alteration, think about how much good you will do by donating them to someone in need.

Digital body weight scale and tape measure

Keep Paying Attention (for the Rest of Your Life)

Body weight can fluctuate frequently for many different reasons, so stepping on the scale too often when you’re on a reducing diet can be frustrating, demotivating and even misleading. However, once you are close to your goal, more frequent weigh-ins can provide important feedback as you experiment with and fine-tune changes to your diet to develop a successful eating plan to maintain your target weight. 

Even after you have developed a maintenance diet framework that appears to work for you, it’s important to weigh yourself consistently, at the same time of day, at least twice a month. This is even more important if you stop tracking your calories and macros with nutrition tracker app such as Carb Manager after you reach your desired weight. 

The longer it has been since you reached your weight loss goal, the more likely it is that you will start taking your ability to maintain that weight for granted. I learned this the hard way after Carb Manager’s initial poorly implemented redesign of this popular keto and low carb diet tracking app early this year forced me to stop using it for several months. Recording and tracking everything I ate or drank against my daily calorie limit and macros in the Carb Manager app had been one of the keys to achieving my target weight and maintaining it for the next eight or nine months. So, when the initial launch of the redesigned app made it too time consuming and frustrating to keep using, I was nervous about losing the main tool I had come to rely on to help me keep my weight and my healthy eating on track. But it didn’t take long to become confident in my ability to maintain my weight without tracking every bit and sip. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that my tummy wasn’t as flat as it had been a year ago, and the scale informed me that I had gained back four pounds. I realized it was time to start learning to use the new version of Carb Manager and get back to tracking my calories and macros. I have already shed two of those four pounds and returned to weighing myself every two weeks, so that if my weight creeps up a pound or two, I can nip that trend in the bud and return to my ideal weight quickly and easily, simply by cutting back on the carbs for a week or two.


The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

I love baking homemade cinnamon muffins, which always fills our house with the lovely, nostalgic aroma of this traditional, warm spice. So, I've been collecting and trying out low carb, keto-friendly cinnamon muffin recipes that fit my healthy, ketogenic approach to eating. 

The recipes I'm sharing produce scrumptious sugar free cinnamon muffins that the whole family will enjoy, especially if they are trying to reduce or eliminate grains or sugar and other sweeteners that can spike their blood sugar levels and be harmful to their health in potentially more serious ways. 

Any of these cinnamon muffins can be paired with a cup of hot tea, coffee, or cocoa, or a glass of cold, unsweetened vanilla almond milk or macadamia milk for a guilt-free, wholesome, low carb treat for breakfast, dessert, or a healthy, nutritious, and delicious snack.

I am also sharing my product review of BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix, which makes excellent low carb muffins in practically no time when mixed with just two ingredients: eggs and melted butter (or coconut oil).

Bon appétit!

Photo of keto friendly cinnamon muffins

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffin Recipes

I have hand picked the following recipes based on their flavor, texture, calories, net carbs, and other aspects of their nutritional profile that make them good choices for people who love baked goods and follow a low carb or keto diet, or who just want to reduce or eliminate sugar from their diets as part of a healthier lifestyle. 

The keto cinnamon muffin recipes I've chosen to feature also can accommodate a range of common dietary restrictions. Most of them are low carb, sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and diabetic friendly. Two are also dairy free, and many of the others can be used to make dairy free muffins by replacing the butter with coconut oil. One of those is vegan. The other suggests substituting sunflower seed meal (aka sunflower seed flour) for the almond meal or almond flour for a nut-free cinnamon muffin recipe option. 

Replacing almond flour or meal with sunflower seed flour or meal works well in many low carb or keto baking recipes, and for someone with nut allergies, it's well worth experimenting with. (You might need to use a bit more than the specified amount of almond flour.)

If you are making these treats for someone who has dietary requirements other than, or in addition to, following a low carb or keto diet, be sure to review the ingredients for each recipe to ensure that it will fit that person's specific dietary restrictions.


Keto Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins Recipe (Wholesome Yum)

Maya Krampf developed the recipe for these yummy low carb keto cinnamon cream cheese muffins for her deservedly popular Wholesome Yum low carb and keto website. She is also the author of one of my favorite low carb cookbooks, The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook: 100 Simple Low Carb Recipes. 10 Ingredients or Less.

A sweet vanilla cream cheese filling makes her low carb keto cinnamon cream cheese muffins like a cross between a coffee cake muffin with cinnamon streusel and a cheese danish pastry. I always make sure to warm these up before eating them (or sharing them with my husband, who also enjoys them), so the creamy filling returns to its slightly runny, just-out-of-the-oven state. 

The batter and cream cheese filling are sweetened with Maya's granulated/crystallized Besti monk fruit allulose sweetener blend. She says you could substitute allulose, or granulated erythritol for the batter and powdered erythritol for the filling, if you wanted to. The cinnamon streusel topping is sweetened with her Besti Brown monk fruit allulose sweetener blend, and she says she hasn't found another healthy, keto-friendly brown sugar substitute that works well in this recipe.

Compare the macros for Maya's Keto Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins, at 4.8g net carbs each, with those for Winchell's Donut House Cream Cheese Muffins (the most similar commercial muffin I could find nutrition data for), at a whopping 81g net carbs!

Nutrition Facts

Keto Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins
(Wholesome Yum)
Winchell's Donut House Cream Cheese Muffins
(source)
Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories 318 610
Total Fat 29.3g 27g
Total Carbohydrate 8.7g 82g
Net Carbs 4.8g 81g
Dietary Fiber 3.9g 1g
Sugars 1.8g 56g
Protein 9.3g 9g

Recipe Notes:

As of this writing, these sweeteners are not yet available on Amazon.ca. However, you can order Besti sweeteners on Wholesome Yum Foods and have them shipped to Canada (although the shipping obviously will be higher). If you live in a country other than the U.S. and Canada and would like to be able to order these products, Wholesome Yum plans to expand its distribution internationally, based on demand. To express your interest, you can sign up to be notified when Besti sweeteners will become available in your country.


Keto Coffee Cake Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)

Like any coffee cake worthy of the name, these tempting keto coffee cake muffins from Carolyn Ketchum have a grain-free, sugar-free cinnamon crumb topping, as well as an optional sweet vanilla glaze drizzle. Carolyn is the writer and fabulous recipe developer for another extremely popular low carb recipe blog and website, All Day I Dream About Food, another of my go-to resources for consistently excellent keto recipes.

She says these keto coffee cake muffins are "better and healthier than any bakery option!" For me, that's a bit of a stretch. (Even though my taste buds have adapted to enjoy the baked goods from the best keto baking recipes, which definitely includes Carolyn's, I have never eaten keto baked goods that have a better taste and texture than their flour- and sugar-laden counterparts from a good bakery.) That said, this recipe produces wonderful, bakery-style low carb muffins that have an unusually moist and tender crumb (for keto-friendly baked goods), thanks to the use of both almond flour and coconut flour, as well as unflavored whey protein powder that helps them rise properly, since there is no gluten in the grain-free batter. The cinnamon streusel topping and optional vanilla glaze also add to their bakery muffin taste and texture. 

The recipe calls for Swerve Brown sweetener for the crumb topping, granulated Swerve sweetener for the muffin batter, and powdered Swerve for the vanilla glaze drizzle. 

Compare the huge differences in nutrition between a Keto Coffee Cake Muffin from All Day I Dream About Food (3.9 g of net carbs) and a Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffin from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (54 g of net carbs):

Nutrition Facts

Keto Coffee Cake Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins (source)
Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories 285 450
Total Fat 24.4g 23g
Total Carbohydrate 7.6g 55g
Net Carbs 3.9g 54g
Dietary Fiber 3.7g 1g
Sugars - 32g
Protein 9.1g 4g

Recipe Notes:

Swerve sweeteners are mostly erythritol. If you don't care for the taste of erythritol, or if it causes you gastric distress, you can check out Carolyn's Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners on All Day I Dream About Food to find suitable keto-friendly brown, granulated, and powdered sweetener alternatives.


Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)

I have had a long and complicated relationship with Nutella. The first time we met, it was love at first bite. I fondly remember the blissful decades when we were together. Sadly, when I started focusing on improving my health and trying to lose weight, I was forced to accept that my beloved "Nutty," with its palm oil, sugar, and artificial vanilla flavoring, was just no good for me. Finally, I found the strength to break up with it, fervently hoping that, someday, I would find another chocolate hazelnut spread that would be just as sweet, satisfying, and special, but also would support my commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

Fortunately, when I began researching low carb and ketogenic diet recipes, I discovered Carolyn Ketchum's All Day I Dream About Food website, which includes quite a few Nutella inspired low carb and keto recipes. Her amazing keto Nutella-stuffed cinnamon muffins hide a sweet surprise—a rich, creamy chocolate hazelnut filling made with healthier, fresher ingredients than the popular commercial spread. In this recipe, her sugar free Nutella filling is made from freshly toasted and husked hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, dark cocoa powder, heavy cream, keto-friendly sweetener, and pure vanilla extract.

These luscious keto cinnamon muffins are sweet and rich enough to enjoy for dessert. Served with a cup of fresh, hot coffee, they also make a truly decadent breakfast. 

The most comparable muffins I could find (from a reliable source I trust) for a nutritional comparison were the Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins from Sally's Baking Addiction, which have a cinnamon-sugar topping instead of Carolyn's streusel crumb topping and vanilla glaze drizzle. 

Compare the calories, net carbs, fat, fiber, and protein in these indulgent yet low carb, keto-friendly Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins from All Day I Dream About Food to the wonderful Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins on Sally's Baking Addiction.

Nutrition Facts

Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)
Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins (Sally's Baking Addiction) (source)
Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories 310 450
Total Fat 29g 23g
Total Carbohydrate 8g 55g
Net Carbs 4g 54g
Dietary Fiber 4g 1g
Sugars - 32g
Protein 10g 4g

Recipe Notes:

In the comments, Carolyn Ketchum explains how she toasts and husks the hazelnuts. Toast the nuts in a preheated 350 °F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, take them out, and let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then roll them between your fingers while still warm and most of the husks will come off easily. Don’t worry about a few stubborn bits of husk; they won’t matter after you grind the hazelnuts. 

In my experience, nuts can go from nicely toasted to burned very quickly. I toast mine on a rimmed baking sheet, so I can give it a shake every few minutes without the nuts falling off the pan, and keep a close eye on them until I remove them from the oven. I let them cool for only 3 or 4 minutes, and then rub the toasted nuts briskly inside a clean kitchen towel to loosen the husks. I find that they loosen more easily when they are quite warm, and the towel protects my fingers from the heat.

Note to low carb baking enthusiasts:

In addition to being the driving force behind All Day I Dream About Food, Carolyn Ketchum has written eight keto cookbooks (as of this writing). I highly recommend the two I have purchased so far, the Keto For Two Cookbook (e-book) and The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking: Master All the Best Tricks for Low-Carb Baking Success, which I consider my keto baking "bible" and a must-have for anyone who wants to understand the chemistry and techniques of successful keto baking recipes (which are fundamentally different than those of successful conventional baking). 

Note to conventional baking enthusiasts:

For many years, Sally McKenny's Sally's Baking Addiction website and her superb baking cookbooks have been among my favorite sources for consistently reliable, clearly written and clearly explained recipes for mouthwatering baked goods made with conventional ingredients, such as sugar, wheat flour, and cornstarch. So, although they don't fit within a sugar free, gluten free, or low carb diet, I recommend her cookbooks and website very highly to anyone who loves to bake with sugar and other high carb ingredients.


Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins (The Big Man's World)

This high protein, low carb cinnamon roll muffins recipe from Arman Liew of The Big Man's World is quite unusual, since it contains no eggs and no butter. In fact, this recipe is keto, paleo, vegan, sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and dairy free. 

These almond flour muffins also contain vanilla protein powder to add sweetness, increase the protein, and help them rise in the absence of gluten, which creates a lighter texture and a better crumb. Pumpkin purée makes them moist. Coconut oil provides the fat in the muffin batter, along with your choice of unsweetened, low carb nut butter or seed butter (Arman suggests almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter), which further boosts the protein, while coconut butter (also called coconut manna) gives the lemony glaze a luxurious mouthfeel. 

It was hard to find a close analog for a nutritional comparison. I finally chose to compare the impressive macros for these Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins from The Big Man's World (only 1g of net carbs per serving) to Starbucks Cinnamon Muffins (41g of net carbs each). 

Nutrition Facts

Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins 
(The Big Man's World)
Starbucks Cinnamon Muffins
(source)
Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories 112 350
Total Fat 9g 27g
Total Carbohydrate 3g 42g
Net Carbs 1g 41g
Dietary Fiber 2g 1g
Sugars - 30g
Protein 5g 5g


Keto Cinnamon Muffins (Sweet As Honey)

This versatile recipe for gluten free, dairy free, sugar free cinnamon muffins comes from another of my favorite low-carb food bloggers, Carine Claudepierre, the writer, recipe developer, food photographer, and videographer at Sweet As Honey

Her bakery-style keto cinnamon muffins are dipped into sugar-free cinnamon sugar while they're still hot, to add a crunchy topping and more cinnamon flavor. After they have cooled completely, the tops are coated with icing, made from powdered sugar-free sweetener mixed with just enough unsweetened almond milk to achieve your preferred consistency. 

This recipe is made with equal amounts of almond flour and flaxseed meal (aka flax meal). Flax is a source of many nutrition and health benefits, and flaxseed meal contains very few carbs, so it's great to bake with. Carine recommends using golden flaxseed meal rather than brown flaxseed meal, which would give these baked goods an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste (and no one wants that!). I prefer Bob's Red Mill organic golden flaxseed meal

She says she always uses an erythritol and monk fruit sweetener blend, and although the ingredients list says "erythritol," it links to the original Classic White Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener With Erythritol. The recipe was published in August 2019, three months before the brand introduced its  Lakanto Monkfruit Baking Sweetener With Erythritol, which also contains tapioca fiber, chicory root inulin, and cellulose gum and was created specifically as a 1:1 sugar replacement for baking recipes. According to Lakanto, some of its advantages for baked goods recipes are that it "dissolves effortlessly, retains moisture, can control cookie spread, and provides better browning for your desserts." I suspect it would be even better than the Classic White Lakanto for this recipe.

Since I couldn't find any commercial equivalents to these Sweet As Honey Keto Cinnamon Muffins whose tops are completely covered with icing (2.3 g of net carbs), I'll compare them to the Walmart Bakery Marketside Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins with no icing (45g of net carbs):

Nutrition Facts

Keto Cinnamon Muffins
(Sweet As Honey)
Walmart Bakery Marketside Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins (source)
Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories 217 370
Total Fat 16.5g 19g
Total Carbohydrate 5.5g 46g
Net Carbs 2.3g 45g
Dietary Fiber 3.2g 1g
Sugars 0.4 26g
Protein 5.3g 5g

Recipe Notes:

Carine offers several suggestions for optional mix-ins, if you would like to customize these muffins to suit your personal preference. (Keep in mind that any additional ingredients or substitutions will affect the calories, macros, and other aspects of this recipe's nutritional profile.)

Even though the recipe uses flaxseed meal, she warns against trying to replace the whole eggs with "flax eggs" (flaxseed meal mixed with water), egg white, or another substitute. 

She suggests coconut milk as an alternative to almond milk for the glaze. (I'm sure any keto-friendly dairy-free milk would work.)

If you don't need dairy-free muffins, you can use melted butter in place of the coconut oil, if you prefer.

For nut-free low carb cinnamon muffins, you can replace the almond flour with the same amount of sunflower seed flour or meal.  


BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix

If you don't have a lot of time for (or don't enjoy) baking from scratch, you can still indulge in some delicious, fragrant, freshly baked keto cinnamon muffins, thanks to BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix.

Photo of BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffins on cooling rack
My most recent batch from BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix

Low Carb Muffins in About 15 Minutes

Preparing these tasty treats couldn't be any faster or easier! Just mix the contents of one bag of BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix with 3 whole eggs and 1/2 cup of melted butter (or coconut oil, for dairy free muffins), portion the batter into a lightly greased 12-cup cupcake or muffin tin, and bake in a preheated 425 ℉ oven for 12–14 minutes, until golden brown, and enjoy!

Low carb keto baking recipes often turn out to be dense, coarse, and dry. Not these delectable muffins! The texture is lighter than I was expecting, which is great. My first batch was a bit on the dry side, but only because I left them in the oven a bit too long. (It's hard to tell when the muffins are "golden brown" when that's the color of the batter to begin with, lol.) So, I baked my second batch for just 12 minutes, and allowed them to cool a bit longer before sampling them. This time, the muffins were delightfully moist and tender! And, both times, not just my kitchen but my whole smelled divine.

High Quality, Wholesome, Healthy Ingredients

I have shared many posts on Review This Reviews about my keto diet weight loss journey that began in May 2019 and enabled me to lose nearly 60 pounds, and my subsequent decision to continue to follow a very low carb, ketogenic approach to eating that has made it easy to maintain my new, slim, healthy weight for more than a year so far. If so, you know that my primary motivation for this change in diet and lifestyle was getting healthier and lowering my risk of cancer and other serious diseases. So, although I am somewhat flexible, I try to make fairly "clean" food choices. And, when I purchase a low carb or keto baking mix (or prepared baked goods), the first thing I look at is the ingredients.

BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix is made with the same high quality, wholesome, healthy ingredients I use in my homemade keto baking recipes when I'm making low carb muffins from scratch: almond flour, BochaSweet (kabocha extract), grass-fed collagen, psyllium husk powder, organic coconut flour, organic cinnamon, MCT oil powder, baking soda, aluminum-free baking powder, pink salt, and xanthan gum. The ingredients are non GMO, and the mix contains no preservatives or additives. (For that reason, the prepared muffins need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.) 

I love the fact that this keto cinnamon muffin mix is sweetened with BochaSweet sugar replacement, my favorite zero calorie, zero glycemic sweetener! BochaSweet tastes nearly identical to cane sugar and (to me and many other happy BochaSweet customers) has no aftertaste and none of the cooling effect produced by some other keto friendly sweeteners (such as erythritol). After using this healthy sweetener every day for about 1.5 years so far (to sweeten my tea, among other things), I have experienced zero gastric distress or laxative effect from this healthy sweetener, and most other product reviews I have read from customers who mention their reactions concur with my experience. The only downside is that it costs more than most other healthy keto-friendly sweeteners. However, for me and many other people who are looking for healthier, zero calorie, zero glycemic sugar alternatives, it's worth paying the higher price for this one, as well as for products that are sweetened with it.

BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix was launched in late August, 2020, just as I was finishing up my review of recipes and baking mixes for making Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet. That meant I wouldn't be able to order, test, and review this new cinnamon muffin mix in time to include it in that review of my favorite keto muffins and cupcakes. In the course of testing the recipes and mixes for that review, I ended up with a freezer full of baked goods and a pantry that was positively overflowing with packaged low carb keto baking mixes. So, it was only recently that I finally ordered a couple of bags of the BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix to try. Now that I've made these quick and easy, tender, toothsome low carb keto cinnamon muffins, I will definitely update that review to include this yummy, convenient BochaSweet baking mix!

Nutrition Facts

BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix

Serving Size:
23g of dry mix


Calories 60
Total Fat 3g
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Net Carbs 3g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars <1g
Protein 4g


Product Review Notes:

The company provides this information for the dry mix only. However, you can easily calculate the nutrition data for the prepared muffins by entering the data for the dry mix into a tracking app such as Carb Manager and then creating a recipe entry in the app that will calculate the macros based on the ingredients (12 servings of the dry baking mix, three large eggs, and 1/2 cup of butter or coconut oil).

The net carbs for this BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix are calculated as follows:13g total carbohydrates - 4g dietary fiber - 6g BochaSweet = 3g net carbs

BochaSweet is the name of the company, its flagship product (BochaSweet sugar replacement), and the overarching brand for its other products (such as baking mixes), including those with secondary brands (such as BochaSweet BochaBars high protein, high fiber bars and and BochaSweet Bocha-Beets nutritional supplement). For some reason, on the brand's logotype, the words Bocha and Sweet are separated by a space, which likely explains why it is often misspelled "Bocha Sweet" (occasionally, you'll even see an Amazon product listing for a "Bocha Sweet" product). 


Recipes and Product Review: The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Good Chocolate bars - Bean-to-Bar, Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious

The Good Chocolate: Great-Tasting, Healthy Chocolate Bars With No Sugar

I love chocolate! When I was younger, milk chocolate was my favorite. As the health benefits of dark chocolate became more widely known, however, I gradually retrained my taste buds to appreciate bars with a higher cacao or cocoa content. Now, my preference for dark chocolate has been reinforced by my keto diet lifestyle, since milk contains 2–8% lactose (a sugar naturally present in dairy milk).

Several months ago, I discovered The Good Chocolate, a brand of top quality, bean-to-bar chocolate made with 100% organic, ethically sourced ingredients and no sugar. It has since become one of my favorite brands of sugar free chocolate.

I'm pleased to be sharing my in-depth product review to introduce you to this terrific, principled company and its wonderful chocolate bars and mini-bars.

Can a Premium Quality, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Be Delicious and Also Healthy? 

The Good Chocolate is the brainchild of two lifelong friends and partners in a branding and design agency, who in 2014 began to cut out all forms of sugar (including honey and agave) from their diets and replace them with organic, low- or no-calorie sweeteners with a low glycemic index. Six months later, they were thrilled with the results. They had each lost 10 pounds, were feeling great, had more energy, and were able to maintain their focus throughout the work day, without the mid-day crashes that frequently result from consuming sugar (in beverages, desserts, or snacks) in the late morning or early afternoon. (I experienced the same benefits (with a much bigger weight loss) a few months after I switched to a ketogenic weight loss diet, which included eliminating sugar in any form.) 

During this process, they learned about how most food companies are well aware that adding sugar (or salt) to their products makes us eat, crave, and buy more of them—a cycle that is very profitable for the manufacturers...and very unhealthy, and expensive, for consumers. 

The partners were inspired to help others break free from their sugar addiction and experience the improved health, wellbeing, energy and productivity they themselves were enjoying. So, they challenged themselves to create a bean-to-bar chocolate that would live up to their own high standards.

Within a few months, they had come up with a "sweet-blend" of three organic, low-glycemic-index sweeteners that met their exacting requirements for taste, health, and sustainability. They also immersed themselves in all things chocolate making, developing the required expertise in every step from sourcing organic cacao beans in Central and South America to perfectly tempering the roasted, winnowed, and ground chocolate. 

They describe the result as "an exquisite, 100% organic bean-to-bar chocolate that’s as delicious as it is healthy." Source

It also has up to 45% fewer calories than similar dark chocolate!

What Is "Bean-to-Bar" Chocolate Making? 

"Bean to Bar" production means that chocolate maker controls every step of the process, from sourcing the cacao beans to roasting, winnowing, and grinding them, and then tempering the chocolate before it is molded and packaged for sale. 

The bean-to-bar method gives artisan or craft chocolate makers better quality control and produces a healthier product (since craft chocolate makers, unlike many big brands, do not try to accelerate the manufacturing process with chemicals or other additives). Source

It also gives the producers more control over the supply chain, so they can promote ethical and humane business practices.  (More about this important topic later.) 

The Good Chocolate controls the entire production process for its 100% organic chocolate bars at its factory in San Francisco.

Most Sugar Free Chocolate Isn’t Great “Eating Chocolate”

Since many chocolate bars with a higher cacao content, especially those with no sugar, lack the intense, rich flavor and luscious mouthfeel of bars with a lower cacao content, I have become extremely picky about sugar free chocolate.

In the past two years, I have tried many brands of low sugar and sugar free chocolate. There are plenty of low carb chocolate options. Unfortunately, many are sweetened primarily or exclusively with stevia or erythritol. Like many people, I find that anything sweetened only with stevia has a pronounced aftertaste that I dislike intensely, and that erythritol, when used as the only sweetener in a food, creates a cooling, almost mint-like sensation on the tongue. 

Apart from BochaSweet sweetener (made from a pentose-type rare sugar extract from the kabocha squash), blends of two or more keto-friendly sweeteners, such as allulose, monk fruit, erythritol and stevia, taste more like sugar and don’t have the unpleasant aftertaste or cooling effect that stevia or erythritol can have when used alone. 

Chocolate sweetened this way can be quite tasty. For example, I often sprinkle ChocZero chocolate chips over sugar free desserts such as my Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe, and they're fine for baking keto chocolate chip cookies, for example. ChocZero's dark chocolate keto bark is quite good, and their seasonal dark chocolate peppermint truffles are pretty yummy, for sugar-free chocolate. 

On the other hand, their dark chocolate contains only 55% cacao. The ingredients aren't organic. And the taste and mouthfeel are not in the same ballpark as the very high quality, sugar-sweetened dark chocolate I loved and enjoyed for many years, before I decided to cut sugar out of my life. 

So, I have been on the lookout for a great "eating chocolate" (i.e., chocolate meant to be enjoyed as is, rather than with a filling, as a garnish, or in baked goods) with a higher cacao content, a more intense flavor, and a superior mouthfeel.  

The Good Chocolate Bars Are Worth Savoring!

The Good Chocolate has the decadent taste and smooth, luscious mouthfeel of the artisan dark chocolate I used to indulge in before I chose a very low carb lifestyle. Like those, these bars are made from top quality cacao beans and cacao butter, roasted, winnowed, ground, tempered, and molded with the same care and expertise. 

Unlike those, however, they don't contain sugar in any form. This means they won't cause your blood sugar levels to spike. It also means they won't cause you to crave more chocolate than is good for you. One of the biggest benefits of cutting out sugar from my diet is that I can I still enjoy and indulge in sweets without being at the mercy of my former cravings!

Having been a foodie for as long as I can remember, one of the keys to setting myself up for success on a keto diet was finding yummy healthier, keto-friending alternatives to my favorite foods so that I wouldn't feel deprived or be tempted to stray from my new eating plan. I was lucky that, unlike some people, I was able to conquer my sugar addiction without having to give up desserts, beverages, candy, and other foods that were sweetened with healthier alternatives to any form of sugar. 

That's why I was so delighted when I tasted The Good Chocolate bars. They are luxurious enough to savor slowly and should please even gourmet chocolate aficionados. 

A Unique Blend of Organic Healthy Sweeteners 

In addition to using the highest quality, organic raw ingredients and a bean-to-bar process that gives the company full control over every aspect of production, another key thing that sets this brand's sugar free dark chocolate bars apart from most others is its organic "sweet-blend" of erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and mesquite powder. 

Erythritol is a very popular zero-calorie sweetener that is naturally found in pears, mushrooms, and other plants and has a 0 glycemic index. It's easy for most people to digest (unlike many other keto-friendly sweeteners), and has the added benefit of preventing tooth decay.

Stevia leaf extract also has a 0 glycemic index. As I mentioned, combining stevia with the right blend of other keto-friendly sweeteners can mask its bitter aftertaste, which is what The Good Chocolate has done.

Mesquite powder is a traditional Native American product made from the ripened and ground seeds from the seed pods of the mesquite tree. Although traditionally used as an alternative to flour in sweet baked goods and breads, it has gained wider popularity as a "super food." In addition to adding a natural, subtle sweetness to foods, mesquite powder (sometimes called mesquite pod meal) also is high in fiber and protein, and has a very low glycemic index (25).

Even a Single Square Is a Deliciously Satisfying Indulgence

Each bar of The Good Chocolate is scored into six generously sized, squarish sections (approximately 1½ inches by 1 11/16 inches). If I wanted to, I could eat an entire bar in one sitting and still stay within my daily net carbs and calories for maintaining my nearly 60-pound weight loss (currently 59 pounds). However, I almost never do, because this brand is so rich and delicious, has such an intense chocolate flavor, and doesn't trigger my former addictive sugar cravings.

Unwrapped bar of The Good Chocolate dark chocolate

So, when I am in the mood for a piece, I break off one of the six sections, then fold over the elegant silver-lined gold foil wrapper and slide the rest of The Good Chocolate bar back into its heavy paper envelope-style pouch, with its distinctive cover art and graphic design. 

I savor the section I broke off, nibbling off small pieces and letting each one rest on my tongue for a few seconds to warm a bit before I consume it. By the time I have slowly worked my way to the last little bite, I'm usually satisfied. 

Occasionally, however, I may decide to indulge in a second piece, if I want one. It always feels like a guilty pleasure, even though there is nothing to feel guilty about!

Sophisticated Flavor Choices to Please Any Palate

Most of The Good Chocolate bars are 65% cacao dark chocolate. My favorites include Himalayan Salt, Mint, Ginger, and Salted Caramel, although they also made their plain 65% cacao Signature Dark Chocolate bars.

Currently, there is also a limited-edition  Coconut & Turmeric Detox Bar, a 65% cacao dark chocolate bar with developed in collaboration with model and actress Charlotte McKinney and filled with delicious, nutrition-packed superfoods.

The brand also makes a 54% cacao "Dark Milk Chocolate. At the moment, there is also a limited-edition 58% Double Crunch Vegan Milk Bar (which they also refer to as "mylk" chocolate).

I believe that, other than the "Dark Milk Chocolate" bars, all the other bars are vegan. 

Lower in Calories and Net Carbs Than Similar Dark Chocolate Bars

Here's a high-level nutrition data comparison between The Good Chocolate's 65% Signature Dark Chocolate and two other popular brands of dark chocolate, Lindt 64% Dark Chocolate, and Lily's 70% Dark Chocolate (nutrition data pulled from TGC's website).

The Good Chocolate
65% Cacao
Lindt
64% Cacao
Lily's
70% Cacao
Sugar (%) 0 37 1
Sugar (Teaspoons) 0 6 0
Net Carbs
(Total Carbs
minus Fiber & Erythritol)
2 26 6
Calories 227 397 289

Buying Ethically Sourced Chocolate Protects Impoverished Farmers, Children, and Refugees

Against Dangerous Work, Slave Labor, and Human Trafficking

Nearly two-thirds of the world's cocoa beans are produced in West Africa's Côte D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana. Indonesia has become another top cocoa producer.

Tragically, cacao production has long been notorious for the worst forms of forced labor, child labor, and hazardous child labor, sometimes a result of human trafficking. Unfortunately, many cacao bean farmers are paid less than $1 a day for this dangerous, backbreaking work, and can't afford to hire additional laborers to help. Instead, of allowing their children to go to school, they use them as unpaid, forced labor so their family can survive.

The customers for most of this production are large, global chocolate corporations, including Mars, Nestlé, The Hershey Company, and Mondelez International (formerly Kraft foods), and others. Although most have policies prohibiting forced labor practices in their supply chain, those policies are hard to enforce because, for the most part, they don't purchase directly from the cacao bean farmers.

Currently, seven of the world's biggest chocolate companies have been named in a landmark class-action lawsuit in which they are accused of "aiding and abetting the illegal enslavement of 'thousands' of children on cocoa farms in their supply chains" by eight children who claim to have been forced to work as slave labor on Côte D'Ivoire cocoa plantations. 

The Good Chocolate Is Ethically and Sustainably Sourced and Packaged

The best way to help break this terrible, systemic cycle of inhumane practices is for consumers to buy their chocolate from smaller, bean-to-bar producers who have more control over their supply chain than these huge corporations, so they are better able to promote ethical, humane, and not only socially but also environmentally responsible business practices. 

One of the easiest way to find these smaller, craft chocolate makers who are committed to ethical sourcing is to look for brands that are organic, fair trade, direct trade, and/or Rainforest Alliance certified

  • Whenever possible, The Good Chocolate purchases Fair Trade or Rain Forest Alliance certified cacao beans.
  • The company uses only 100% certified organic cacao beans and cacao butter in its bars.
  • It is also committed to sustainable farming practices and is working with its cacao suppliers to reach 100% sustainability as the company grows.

The company also worked with some forward-thinking companies develop cost-effective, renewable packaging solutions that can be recycled or composted.

The Good Chocolate takes its name and mission to heart, "to create delicious chocolate that is [not only] good for you, but also good for the planet." As the website states, "We may spend a little more time, effort and money on renewable packaging, but we hope that our effort, care and responsibility will inspire others and leave the planet a little better off along our way." Source

More Expensive, But Worth It

The Good Chocolate makes premium, small-batch, chocolate bars made with 100% certified organic cacao beans and cacao butter, as well as the blend of erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and mesquite powder, sweeteners that all cost significantly more than cane sugar. 

The company also is committed to following ethical, humane business practices in an industry known for terrible physical, moral, and financial abuses of vulnerable populations, paying a fair price for the cacao beans and cacao butter it purchases, and practicing social and environmental responsibility to protect our future as well as our present.

As a result, these extremely high quality, no sugar dark chocolate bars cost more than some of the high-quality, 100% organic dark chocolate bars sold in Whole Foods Market and similar stores. When I first read about The Good Chocolate and looked into the company and its products, I thought charging $7.50 for a bar of dark chocolate was outrageous (unless the gold foil wrapper was made of real gold!). So, the only reason I decided to buy a 6-bar assortment was that, at the time, there was a promotion that offered a significant discount on your first order. 

I never thought I would even consider ordering more at full price after I finished the six bars from that introductory offer. However, as soon as I taste this new-to-me brand, it immediately became apparent that this premium, sophisticated candy was head-and-shoulders above any other healthy, sugar-free chocolate I had tried. Also, because it was so rich, dark, and delicious, I found that just one section of a bar of The Good Chocolate was enough to satisfy me. That meant that I could indulge in a generously sized square from time to time for $1.25 per serving which, while still pricy, cost less than the 1/3 to 1/2 bar serving of one of the high quality, organic, fair trade chocolate bars I used to buy before I eliminated sugar from my diet. 

Now Available on Amazon With Prime FREE Delivery!

The Good Chocolate just launched on Amazon. So, in addition to Amazone Prime Free Delivery, if you try The Good Chocolate and love it as much as I do, you can save up to 5% with Subscribe & Save (or 10% on your first Subscribe & Save subscription). You can also choose your auto-delivery frequency, as often as every two weeks to as seldom as every six months. 

I highly recommend ordering The Good Chocolate Bar Variety Pack first, which includes six 2.5-ounce (70g) chocolate bars, including all five flavors of 65% Dark Chocolate (Signature Dark, Himalayan Salt, Mint, Ginger, Salted Almonds) and a 54% Dark Milk Chocolate. It's the perfect way to sample their core flavors and pick your favorites before placing another order. 


Product Review: The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


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