top of page

How Do I Stop Wasting Chocolate

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Photo of a slice of layered chocolate cake

Not all food waste is vegetables, meat, or dairy. Sometimes it’s chocolate!

Practicing shopping, cooking, and food waste management skills can be made sweeter with recovered and rescued chocolate.

History of Chocolate

Chocolate has ancient roots in Central America. As far back as 1500 B.C. the Olmec Native Americans used cacao to brew a tea. That practice influenced the Mayans who consumed the tea and revered the drink. Eventually, the Aztecs used cacao beans as currency.

Food Waste and Social Justice

By the late 1500’s chocolate made its way to Europe where it became the decadent dessert we consume today. As demand increased, slaves were used to produce the fruit. Eventually, human rights movements and industrial farming were able to reduce the practice, but many agricultural workers continue to face unsafe conditions with low pay. Some farms still enslave workers, often acquired through child trafficking.

Fair-Trade movements are a solution, but consumers must stand up and commit to purchasing chocolate that is produced ethically.

Cooking with Substitutions

Reducing our demand on chocolate through reducing waste is one step in the process improve the conditions on chocolate plantations. Substituting one type of chocolate for another is an easy way to practice.

Baking Fun!

One weekend I made a Jelly Roll for a group of friends, but a few of them were vegetarian. So, I substituted gelatin for corn starch (because as I shopped my pantry, I realized I had copious amounts of corn starch).

I also had a half of a gallon of left-over chocolate milk I bought in the reduced section of the grocery store (read about sell-by dates here).

After I made the Jelly Roll, I had some cake batter left, so I made a layered cake.

Chocolate Jelly Roll Recipe (Adapted from King Arthur Baking)


  • 4 Large Eggs at Room Temperature

  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar

  • ½ tsp Salt

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • 2/3 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • 1/3 cup Cocoa

  • 1 ¼ tsp Baking Powder

  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil

  • ¼ cup Chocolate Milk


  • 1 cup Chocolate Milk

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar

  • 1 cup Corn Starch

  • ½ cup Ground Chocolate

  • *I also added the leftover cocoa mix


  • ¼ cup Chocolate Milk

  • 1 ½ tbsp Corn Syrup

  • ½ cup Dark Chocolate

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two loaf pans with parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray.

To make the cake: In a large bowl, beat the eggs until thick and plate, then meat in sugar, salt and extracts.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder, and fold gently into the egg mixture. Whisk together the oil and milk and fold in, stirring until combined.

Spread the batter onto the pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the top springs back when pressed gently.

Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes then loosen the edges with a knife. Turn onto a tea towel lighted dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Roll up loosely and let cool completely.

To make the filling: Stir together the milk, melted butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix the sugar and corn starch in a small bowl and mix into the milk. Whip until firm. Continue to add sugar and corn starch as needed. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the glaze: Heat all the ingredients until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool for 10-15 minutes to thicken.

To finish the cake: Unroll the cake and spread the filling. Re-roll and place seam side down on a rack set over a piece of parchment paper. Drizzle the glaze over the roll.

Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve later.

Photo of finished jelly roll

Leftover batter, filling, and/or glaze?

Heat 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and fill with the batter. Cook with the Jelly Roll.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes and slice a layer into the sponge.

Use your leftover filling to make a cream filled layer.

Cover with leftover glaze.

Photo of chocolate layer cake

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page