I was looking for something sweet recently, but my only options were several pints of vegan and non-vegan ice cream, or a bag of chocolate chips. I remembered this chocolate fudge which I posted on my blog a few years ago, and spontaneously made it with the excuse that the images needed a makeover. This recipe is so easy and it is my favorite “healthy” chocolate treat. I have been disappointed time and time again after being seduced by claims of a healthy fudge recipe, only to find out it was basically frozen chocolate-flavored coconut oil. I love coconut oil just as much as the next coconut lover, but I’m not so into eating a big chunk of it for my afternoon snack, especially if it always tastes like coconut, not just plain chocolate fudge. Not only that, coconut fudge turns into a greasy, shapeless blob if left out of the freezer for more than 10 minutes. I found this out the hard way after serving it to dinner guests one night! #rookiemove
Anyway, one day I made note of the fact that some of my favorite chocolate nut butters turn super firm in the fridge and it reminded me of fudge. Bingo! Nut butter instead of coconut oil! I played around with different nut butters, with cacao powder versus chocolate, different sweeteners and the result is this dangerously addictive, chocolaty, creamy, perfectly sweet, sink-your-teeth-into-it fudge. Is it exactly like fudge? Like See’s Candy fudge? No, not exactly. But I actually like it better! This fudge is not cloyingly sweet, doesn’t make me feel light-headed afterwards, and I think has a richer flavor than “normal” fudge. Plus, considering the fact that this is mostly nut butter, I can convince myself that this makes a perfectly acceptable afternoon or post-workout snack.
So I gave you all the good news. Here’s the bad news. This is expensive to make. It probably costs less than buying a box of fudge at a fancy store, but the nut butter that gives the perfect consistency for this fudge is pricey. I tried to make this with so many different nut butters:
*July 2023 updated I now use JOI Cashew Milk Concentrate which is how I make cashew milk, but I also use it in place of raw cashew butter and instead of soaked raw cashews. Use code PAMELASALZMAN for 10% off.
Living Tree Community Foods raw cashew butter — excellent (contains a little almond oil, I think that’s the key) $15.20/16 ounce jar if you order from their website. I wasn’t charged shipping, but I ordered quite a bit. At Whole Foods, the same cashew butter is $23. Yikes. You need half a jar for 1 recipe of fudge.
Artisana raw cashew butter — VERY GOOD
Whole Foods raw cashew butter from the DIY machine — NOT RECOMMENDED (too grainy, not smooth, super dry)
Woodstock raw almond butter — GOOD, but not as perfectly smooth as LTCF cashew butter. More reasonably priced though, so if that’s an issue, the fudge will still turn out great.
How about some more good news?! 😉 This lasts for weeks well-wrapped in the refrigerator or the freezer. (I just store in small Glass-lock containers.) You can make it today for Mother’s Day and if you have leftovers, just keep them cold until your sweet tooth strikes. These are not great for lunch boxes or traveling though, because they will become too soft when left out of the refrigerator for more than an hour, and even less if it’s a warm day. Although I didn’t do it in the photos, you could take little balls of the fudge and roll them around shredded coconut or use this for the center of truffles. Gasp. Or you can play around with different flavors and add dried cherries, or a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne for a Mexican chocolate version. I even think you could sub a smooth peanut butter for a peanut butter version or just swirl peanut butter throughout. You obviously don’t need to add more nuts, but if you love the idea of a hazelnut fudge, stir in some chopped hazelnuts! Any way you slice it, this fudge is dangerously addictive!
I love seeing your creations! Please tag me @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman on Instagram so I can check out what you make. 🙂 Also, if you’re taking my online cooking classes, be sure to tune in Saturday, May 12 at 9:00 am PT/12:00 pm ET for a Facebook Live!
You can shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below!
- 2 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate (4 squares of a Sunspire bar)
- 1 cup raw cashew butter* or raw almond butter (the smoother, the better)
- 4 pitted dates ( I use Medjool)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup, Grade A or Grade B
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Place the squares of chocolate on the bottom of the bowl and then the nut butter on top in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir to combine until melted and well blended.
- Meanwhile, combine the pitted dates, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Process until well combined.
- Add date mixture to chocolate mixture, and stir to combine well using a wooden spoon or spatula. Or if your food processor is strong enough, put the chocolate mixture in the food processor and pulse to combine.
- Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan (8½ x 4½ or 9 x 5)** or double and spread in an 8 x 8-inch pan, and refrigerate until firm, at least a few hours. Cut into squares and serve. Store in refrigerator.
*The best consistency will be realized with JOI Cashew Milk Concentrate or Living Tree Community Foods raw cashew butter
**To double use an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.