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I am sensitive to Caffeine as I suffer from a rare sleep disorder; I don't consume anything with caffeine rather on rare occasions.

I miss the taste of Chocolate sauces such as Hersey's.

How could I prepare a (vegan) decaffeinated chocolate-like sauce for pancakes, ice cream, and similar foods, if it is even possible by food engineering in December 2019?

  • 1
    What about white chocolate? Is that sufficiently chocolate-like for you? – FuzzyChef Dec 4 '19 at 3:44
  • @FuzzyChef nice point --- I doubt that, sadly... – JohnDoea Dec 4 '19 at 4:05
  • You kinda don't @JohnDoea, unfortunately. – GdD Dec 4 '19 at 12:01
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    ... today I learned that chocolate (or rather: cacao) has caffeine. How can I live on this planet for close to 40 years and not be aware of that fact? Since it's in the bean, I think you're pretty much out of luck. Chocolate substitutes simply don't taste like chocolate, at all. – Gimby Dec 4 '19 at 12:31
  • Humbly I think I am out of luck with finding a substitute particularly; I am as I am with other things. – JohnDoea Dec 5 '19 at 0:13
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+50

There's actually very little caffeine in chocolate. So little in fact that decaffeinating it in any kind of economical fashion is next to impossible. Scientists have done it in the lab, but doing it on a scale where you could actually buy it at a reasonable price remains out of reach for most. If you feel like chocolate leaves you 'wired' it's probably down to the theobromine which is another chemical present in chocolate which is structurally very similar to caffeine, but it has a more pronounced affect on your body and heart rate than your head usually.

I'm not sure if this would work, but you could try steeping cocoa powder multiple times. Caffeine (and I'd assume theobromine as well) are very water soluble. For example, with tea approximately 75% of the caffeine will dissolve out of the tea leaves into the water after a single steeping. If you took cocoa powder and steeped it in hot water, and then filtered it through a coffee filter, and did this a few times you should be able to eliminate most of the caffeine and theobromine. You could then use the cocoa powder to make some sort of chocolate-like sauce by adding in some sweetener and coconut oil to make it vegan.

Or you could use carob.

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    "There's actually very little caffeine in chocolate." How "very little" depends on the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate can contain 25mg per ounce (or more), which is only a bit less caffeine than a can of Coke (32mg). While theobromine can also have significant effects from chocolate, the amount of caffeine is not necessarily insignificant to those sensitive to it. (Admittedly, the Hershey's sauce brought up by OP is less likely to contain as much caffeine.) – Athanasius Dec 4 '19 at 16:43
  • @Athanasius, it's not "no caffeine," but compared to coffee, it's not much. According to some slightly dubious sources I found in a quick search, there's about 1.5 mg of caffeine per gram of cocoa powder and around 12 mg of caffeine per gram of coffee bean. – Juhasz Dec 4 '19 at 21:10
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    @Juhasz: I wasn't comparing it to coffee -- but "not much" is relative. Again, for those sensitive to caffeine (as OP claims to be), it can still be significant. I too am very sensitive to caffeine, and a can of Coke before bedtime would likely keep me up half the night. Eating an ounce or two of some dark chocolates has too on occasion. – Athanasius Dec 5 '19 at 0:26
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There are products which are used as a substitute for cocoa. Carob comes to mind. While it obviously doesn't have the same aroma, you can still try making the substitution. Just use carob powder instead of cocoa powder.

If you also have to replace cocoa butter, it becomes more difficult. No other fat performs exactly like cocoa butter, but at least this is a sauce, not a chocolate bar. So shea butter can work, or, if enough liquid is included in the recipe, coconut oil. The fats alone won't taste of cocoa, you'll have to replace a "cocoa powder plus cocoa butter" or "dark chocolate" ingredient with a "shea butter plus carob powder" substitution.

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While chocolate is technically very low in caffeine, it has a not-insignificant amount of theobromine, a metabolite of caffeine. Unfortunately, if you are so sensitive to caffeine that Hershey's chocolate syrup (and I would suspect decaffeinated coffee) affects you, there may not be much you can do with raw chocolate. While CO2, solvent, and Swiss Water Process decaffeination could be applied to cocoa, there don't seem to be many on the Market. A quick search brings up a product called Wondercocoa. An avenue you may wish to explore is synthetic chocolate flavoring, or natural extracts of chocolate flavor and making your own syrups with them.

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