Paleo Maple Fudge
Every so often, I just crave fudge. While I do love a good organic dark chocolate bar (my usual source of chocolate-y goodness), there is just something about the melt-in-your-mouth texture of fudge that takes me to an extra happy place. The trouble is that most fudge contains ingredients I would really rather not eat. So I don't. At least, I didn't until I whipped up these little beauties...
Adapted from Coconut Mama
1 cup organic coconut oil, melted*
1 cup organic cocoa powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup maple sugar**
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
Garnish: maple flakes (optional)
Garnish: fleur de sel (optional)
*Look for "virgin" coconut oil if you desire a more pronounced coconut flavour.
**In the absence of maple sugar, substitute another unrefined granular sugar, such as coconut sugar, muscavodo, or sucanat.
In a food processor, blend liquid coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, maple sugar, vanilla, and sea salt until smooth.
Spoon mixture evenly into reusable mini silicone baking cups. Alternately, line a 9"×5" pan with parchment paper and pour fudge into it, spreading the contents evenly.
If desired, garnish with fleur de sel and/or maple flakes. (I used both.) Cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until fudge is firm and set, about 4 hours.
Remove fudge from silicone baking cups (or cut fudge into small squares, if you elected to use a pan) and serve.
TIP: One way to ensure that your fudge will be as delicious as possible is to choose your cocoa with care. While I love the higher antioxidant value associated with raw, less processed cacao powders, I just don't find that they taste anywhere near as rich and luxurious as Dutch cocoa powders, which have been alkalized to help remove some of the cocoa bean's bitterness and emphasize the robust chocolate-y notes. I really like Green & Black's Organic, Fairtrade Cocoa Powder, but let your taste buds guide you.
Makes 16 servings
Coconut Oil--According to a 2015 study out of Tuft's University, coconut oil possesses the ability to help control the overgrowth of the fungal pathogen, Candida albicans, in the gastrointestinal tract. This is of particular value in a dessert, as sugar is known to feed C. albicans.
Cocoa Powder--Most of the health benefits ascribed to chocolate relate to the cocoa content. The higher the cocoa content (and the lower the sugar), the greater the purported health benefits. Among other things, cocoa has been lauded for its ability to help lower blood pressure, improve brain health, manage obesity, and relieve bronchial asthma.
Maple Syrup--Maple syrup is a rich source of the mineral manganese, which supports bone production, skin integrity, blood sugar control, and antioxidant activity.
"All you need is love. But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
~Charles M. Schulz