Ah Fudge! Why do you taunt me so? You’re 100% sugar + other not so great for me things (it’s allowed to add up to more than 100% because fudge is more than 100% delicious. I don’t make the rules, I just follow ’em…sometimes 😉 ). I don’t know about you, but fudge is just one of those things that in the past, I have found myself completely losing control and eating way way too much of it. It tastes oh so delicious while I’m consuming it, but then 5 minutes later I feel like I’m wearing dentures made of sugar cubes, I’m bouncing off the walls, and I fear that if I were to bathe in the ocean, it would become a sugar-water instead of salt-water ocean (speaking of which – why is that not a thing? Get on it mother nature).
Bearing all that in mind, this fudge has so many things going for it, I don’t even know where to begin (but I will figure out where by the start of the next sentence I promise 🙂 ). First of all, taste-wise, I actually think this is one the best fudges I’ve ever had (oh modesty, where hath thou gone? 😉 ). BUT, but, even better than that, it’s not sickly sweet and actually has a bunch of good-for-you things in it as well. Final piece of awesomeness? Super-fast to make. Well, full disclosure on that score, it’s super fast to make if you’re not homemaking some of the ingredients, or if you’ve made them in advance already (I’m talking about you sunflower seed butter and coconut butter). Honestly though, making homemade nut, seed, or coconut butter is actually disturbingly easy, but it is a smite time consuming. Basically you put the ingredient of your choice into a food processor and let it run for 10-20 minutes (depending on what it is you’re blending), scraping down the sides occasionally. That’s it. Sadly the whole reason I looked into doing this at all was because I wanted to make this fudge nut-free. When I looked into purchasing sunflower seed butter however, I couldn’t find any that didn’t have a ton of sugar and other stuff added to it which I most definitely didn’t want. Also, it was crazy expensive (as is coconut butter if you can even find any). Clearly those people think money grows on sunflowers and that the jar will thus pay for itself.
Anywho, I had also recently purchased some Amber grade maple syrup (I swear not just for the name, but I definitely support anything delicious that has my name stamped right into it as a government regulation. Which just makes me sad for anyone with the name “alcohol regulations”, those people are just going to have to embrace the fact that no one is ever going to invite them to a party or find them fun in any way 🙁 ). I have a full on and deep love for all things maple syrup, but, mostly because it seems you can only get it online or at specialty stores/maple syrup farms (? – is that what they’re called, I have no idea), I don’t think I’d ever had anything that was a higher grade than medium. There are actually five grades of maple syrup though (For an actual description of uses etc. see here):
- # 1 Extra Light maple syrup
- # 1 Light maple syrup
- # 1 Medium maple syrup
- # 2 Amber maple syrup
- # 3 Dark maple syrup
I actually really wanted to get the dark maple syrup, ’cause I’m all hard core like that, but everything I looked at online essentially said “NO! DON’T DO IT!! DEATH BY MAPLE SYRUP SOUNDS DELICIOUS, BUT IS PREFERABLY AVOIDED!!” (or some variation of that 😉 ), so I instead wussed out and got the #2 Amber grade instead. It’s definitely more intense than the #1 medium (which is what you would normally be able to get in the grocery store etc.), but honestly, I think I could’ve easily handled the dark. I’m sure it would’ve been equally delicious. I’ll get you next time Gadget…errr..dark syrup, next time.
Obviously I just wanted to use my new maple syrup, so feel free to put in whatever sweetener you want, although I did quite enjoy the added maple-yness that it provided. You could maybe just add in some maple extract alternatively if you wanted.
I had also purchased birch syrup at the same time as I got all fancy with the maple syrup (mostly to save on shipping costs, and also because I saw it and thought “What the heck is that? Who cares, it’s interesting and I need to try it!”), so I’m thinking I’ll probably use that in an upcoming post at some point as well. Birch syrup sort of a has a really intense, almost molasses-y flavour to it in case you hadn’t heard of it before. I’m thinking it could be pretty delicious even just drizzled on some vegan ice cream or something. Or maybe birch syrup crème brulée? I know I already did crème brulée, but seriously, I think that would be a really good combination so you might just have to suffer through another crème brulée post (or you could just not read it, I mean no one’s twisting your arm here people 😉 . Seriously though, thanks for reading my nonsense!)
Yield: 36 pieces
- 1 cup sunflower seed butter (or make your own by processing in a food processor for about 15 minutes, scraping down sides occasionally)
- 1 cup coconut butter (or make your own by processing in a food processor for about 15 minutes, scraping down sides occasionally)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup agave
- vanilla paste from one vanilla bean pod (save the pod and turn it into a powder to sprinkle on top! see note) – or use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- cocoa powder for dusting on top (approx 1 tablespoon)
1. Line an 8×8 glass dish with wax or parchment paper (or lightly grease it. The wax paper just makes it easier to take the fudge out afterwards, but it’s not necessary).
2. Using a double boiler, allow the water in the bottom to get to simmering, then lower heat to medium-low (or if you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a small saucepan, just make sure to keep the heat on your stove really low and stir constantly). Add all the ingredients except the sea salt and cocoa.
3. Stir constantly until everything is smoothly melted together (the coconut butter will likely take the longest).
4. Pour into prepared dish and smooth out the top with a spatula.
5. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, cocoa powder and vanilla bean pod powder (see note on how to make this).
6. Allow to firm up in the fridge and then cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator (although it’s pretty delicious if you let it slightly warm up (i.e. remove from fridge 10-15 minutes before you want to eat it)).
Note: To make vanilla bean pod powder: Preheat oven to 400F. Place vanilla bean pod on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for about 5-15 minutes (it just depends how dry your vanilla bean pod already is. Basically you want it to become dry and crumble a bit if you were to press it between your fingers, but you don’t want it to burn). Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place in a coffee grinder and grind it into a fine powder. Sprinkle on top of fudge.