Guest post by Debra of Worth Cooking
As a young kid I always viewed my mom as having unfathomable wisdom and maturity. She knew so much, could do so many things, etc., etc. I still think she is pretty incredibly awesome (reading this, Mom?), but realize she is also human–not the other worldly creature of my younger years.
But, there was one thing that always defeated my undefeatable mom. It turned her into a delightfully “crazy” lady who would scream “DON’T SET!! DON’T SET!! DON’T SET!!” It was fudge.
To this day I am not sure what I liked better–the fudge or the show. She did it mostly for everyone’s amusement, but there was genuine frustration too as she attempted to pat nearly set fudge into her prepared pan. Or over compensated by not boiling it enough and we got “spoon fudge.”
Sadly, or happily for her, she knows much more about fudge making now. It boringly and predictably turns out. We have glossy set fudge at most family gatherings. Fudge, my daughters sadly can not have.
I could make it dairy free (my sister has shown me how). But I like to save my candy making for marshmallows, which I find a lot easier. One time of spreading nearly set fudge in a pan while yelling “don’t set! don’t set! don’t set!” was enough for me.
I needed to come up with an easy dairy (and soy) free fudge that I could make. A few weeks ago I had the idea to use dates.
Dates are a wonderful natural sweetener. I addition to sweetening they work really well with baking chocolate to create really fudgy treats. I buy them at my local grocery store (with the other dried fruits or in the produce section), in bulk from co-ops, or online.
The resulting fudge is not only easy, and a healthier alternative, it is quite delicious. Chocolate and dates make the texture. A bit of salt enhances the flavor. A bit of sucanat for just a touch more sweetness. Nuts add textural contrast. Last, but not least, some vanilla to really tell your taste buds “this is something special.”
- • 8 oz dates
- • 4 tablespoons sucanat
- • 3 tablespoons coconut milk or cream
- • 1/2 cup tahini, or nut or seed butter of choice
- • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
- • 1/8 teaspoon salt
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla
- • 1/2 cup nut or seed of choice, roughly chopped (optional, but recommended for texture)
- • A bit of oil or shortening
- 1. Put the first 6 ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat until the dates are slightly softened and the chocolate is melted.
- 2. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Blend in the vanilla. Add the nuts, if using, and blend until just incorporated.
- 3. Lightly spread a 8x8 baking pan with oil. Spread the fudge mixture out into the pan, patting or rolling as smooth as possible. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
- 4. Depending on the nut butter you use it might be sticky, if that is the case you can roll the fudge in cocoa butter or cut and separate the pieces to sit in the fridge for a few more hours until less sticky.
Have you ever used dates as a sweetener?
Debra Worth is first and foremost a daughter of the King of kings. She lives in mid-Missouri with her husband of five years and three young children. Debra has a passion for cooking healthy foods and is author of Much Ado About Chicken and co-author of The Veggie Book. She blogs about healthy allergen friendly foods at her blog Worth Cooking. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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