Why Fudge? Why Now?
Alright, so we just had Thanksgiving. Maybe some of us overdid it on the pie. Maybe we went back for seconds…thirds…in other words, we feasted. Feasting is fine, as long as it’s just done occasionally. The problem is, in our American culture, we don’t feast only occasionally, we feast whenever we feel like it.
My plan is as follows: feast on Thanksgiving (I did, while sticking to my limits of avoiding refined sugars and gluten), and feast on Christmas. For all those days in between “the holidays” my plan is to eat my normal diet.
So why am I offering you a recipe for, of all things, fudge? What kind of a monster am I? Ok, hear me out.
First of all, ’tis the season for gifts of all sorts, holiday parties, and cookie exchanges. That alone is enough to necessitate an indulgent treat.
But let’s redefine our view of indulgent. Indulgent doesn’t have to mean going overboard, nor does it have to mean consuming something with lots of sugar. This rich, decadent fudge is low in refined sugars, high in flavor, and high in the satisfaction factor. As in, you don’t need much before you don’t want more. As in, you get some nice benefits from dark chocolate, dates, and walnuts. As in, make these today, give most away, and save some for yourself.
Read on for the recipe!
Benefits of Dark Chocolate
I use 85% dark chocolate in this fudge to keep the refined sugar to an absolute minimum. The dates add sweetness, too, so this fudge is super palatable and not too bitter. But like I mentioned above, it’s still dark enough to keep you from over-consuming it.
Cocoa has a plethora of health benefits, but I will just focus on a few of my favorites:
- Mood Boosting: One study showed that the polyphenols in cocoa are capable of improving mood! More studies are needed to understand the exact way cocoa has a positive effect on the brain.
- Weight Loss: Cocoa has been shown to improve thermogenesis, which is basically the process of your body producing heat. To produce heat, we burn calories. Keep in mind that consuming cocoa with a lot of sugar and unhealthy fats kind of negates the weight loss factor. This rich, dark chocolate fudge is low enough in sugar to be beneficial for weight loss, as long as you just have a square or two.
- Blood Sugar Levels: When your blood sugar is up and down, often due to high sugar or high carb diets, we can feel wired one minute and like taking a nap the next. Cocoa may help stabilize our blood sugar so we have more even energy and focus.
Benefits of Dates
Dates are decadent and rich, and they are a whole fruit. Instead of highly refined sugars or empty calories, dates are packed with nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
Dates are also known to have a positive impact on gut health, can help with blood sugar regulation, promote brain health, and contain antioxidants.
One of my favorite ways to eat dates is to cut them in half, pop a whole almond on top, and dust it with cocoa powder. Sometimes I add coconut butter to it. It tastes like a candy bar, but it is a healthy treat.
Blending soaked dates into melted chocolate is what makes this fudge so rich and decadent. The dates soften the chocolate to give it a better “chew” that is similar to fudge.
Benefits of Walnuts
Walnuts have long been a favorite of mine. They are a super satisfying snack – just a handful goes a long way. Sometimes I pair them with a handful of raisins.
They have some health-promoting benefits, such as improving the gut microbiome, lowering appetite, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing inflammation.
I like to soak and dehydrate raw walnuts (and other nuts) to improve the digestion of them, lower phytic acid content, and make them more nutritious. Check out my previous post for instructions on how to dehydrate them.
Who Will You Gift This Fudge To?
This is the perfect time of year to make treats for your loved ones, and this rich chocolate date walnut fudge is the perfect thing to make. Whether you make it for a holiday party, give is as a gift, or bring it to the next cookie exchange, ,you’ll need to be prepared to share the recipe!
See you next time,
Before You Go…
Don’t forget about these other delicious chocolate treats. They are all sure to keep you vibrantly healthy!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Keto Fudge: This keto fudge pairs magical peanut butter with coconut oil and cocoa. It is absolutely divine.
- Low Carb Chocolate Paleo Pudding: A personal favorite of mine, I like to make these and chill them in the fridge for a decadent, after dinner treat for my family and I to share.
- The Best Einkorn Chocolate Chip Cookies: These have half the sugar (in the form of coconut sugar) with chia seeds added for fiber and einkorn flour for ancient grain digestibility.
Rich Chocolate Date Walnut Fudge – Dairy Free!
- Blender or food processor
- Parchment paper
- 9 x 13 inch casserole dish
- 4 cups dark chocolate 70-85%
- 2.5 cups dates pitted and halved
- 2 cups crispy, dehydrated walnuts* or sub roasted walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- flaky sea salt and/or cocoa powder for sprinkling
- boiling water to soak dates
- Boil about 2 cups of water. Slice the dates in half and remove the pits. Sometimes the dates have hard caps on the ends; remove those as well. Place the dates in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, making sure they are completely submerged. Soak for 15 minutes.
- While the dates are soaking, chop enough dark chocolate to measure 4 cups. Pour chocolate in a saucepan. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, for about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, for about 2 minutes or until melted).
- When dates are finished soaking, drain the water and blend in a food processor or blender. Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract and blend. Add walnuts (you may chop if you like, I didn't bother) and pulse, using a spatula in between pulses to distribute somewhat evenly throughout the fudge.
- Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Pour fudge into dish, pressing down and smoothing evenly. Freeze for 1-2 hours until hardened. Remove from freezer, cut into 48 pieces (8 rows, 6 columns), and wrap in parchment paper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.