Finally, an opportunity to use that phrase without the imminent embarrassment of sounding like I’m somebody’s mom trying to sound cool and/or young and hip. Although a) I’m about 20 years too late for “What’s the Dilly Yo?” to be used by anybody even 5 seconds younger than I am and b) Who am I kidding? I still sound ridiculous trying to use slang. I should’ve just completely embraced that and instead labelled this post (*said in stilted mom/dad voice*) “And what is it that is the Dilly (*long pause*) You?” (and no, that “you” was not a typo, it just seemed like the kind of thing a lame-o like me would say. Plus, then it just sounds like I’m intentionally being ironic and of course I know how it’s really supposed to be said 😉 ).
For this week’s herb-based confection, I’m obviously incorporating dill. This is the first week where I finally went out on a limb and decided to not make an herb combination that’s already known to be a match made in heaven. I love dill and we all already know how delicious it is when combined with chips and popcorn and other such snackery foods (and if you don’t find such things delicious you need to leave my presence right now. Seriously. I’m waiting *tapping foot impatiently*. Ok, now that we’ve reduced our numbers to only those who have at least a modicum of common sense and taste, I will move on to my romanticizing of the herb that is dill).
First off, it’s no coincidence that dill has the name that it does. It’s pretty obvious to me what happened here. One day, a farmer was out in his herb garden, and shoved a handful of dill into his pie hole, and was trying to communicate that it was delicious, but wasn’t willing to stop chewing enough to get the whole word out. Trust me, it’s historically accurate. Look it up if you don’t believe me (actually, can you go ahead and just believe me and not look it up? That would be great 😉 ). Being the in-depth researcher that I am, I actually just did look up the etymology of this one, and according to Wikipedia “”Dill” is a Germanic word whose origin is unknown”…so, my version really could be true. Told you so 😉 .
I know, I know, I’m taking a really long time to get to the point here. Basically, I was considering my own experiences with dill in the savoury world, and thought that orange and dill would be a great combination. They both scream summer vibrance (both in appearance and taste), so I thought what could be better? I was pretty nervous about this one, but, as usual, I figured go big or go home right? This recipe is essentially a riff on my “healthy-ish” sunflower seed butter fudge from a while back, but I switched out the homemade sunflower seed butter for homemade cashew butter and added in the dill and orange zest. Then, to really bring the dill home, I topped it with dill-infused sugar.
Being too scared to taste it myself, once these had chilled sufficiently in the fridge, I cut them into super miniscule size bites and forced Kevin to have the first one. As if I were watching a horror movie I covered my eyes with my hands (still peeking at him through my fingers though – why do I always do that? Do I really think this is going to protect my brain from being impacted by scary images? The answer to that is…yes I do). Even Kevin had a look of trepidation on his face before eating it (although who could blame him when confronted with me acting as though these were to be his last moments on earth?) but as he started chewing his face began to look more and more “dill”-ighted. To make sure he wasn’t just trying to trick me, at this point I deemed it necessary to try it for myself. My verdict? These were actually surprisingly good, the dill sugar was kind of a stroke of genius on my part, it added a nice little bit of crunchiness, and the orange and dill flavours balanced each other out really nicely.
So far my herbery concoctions have turned out surprisingly well. Will next week prove my downfall, or will it be the greatest recipe to date? (or possibly middling in both taste and creativity…who knows?) Stay tuned next week to find out the thrilling conclusion of “Herb”-ivore Month. Feel free to host your own herbed theme party in anticipation 😉 .
Yield: 36 pieces
- 1 cup cashew 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
- 1.5 teaspoons orange zest (add more or less depending how “orange-y” you want it)
- 1 teaspoon finely chop dill (try and just use the “threads” and not the stalk part)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Dill-Infused Sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon (or less) coconut oil
- couple of sprigs of dill
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 dill-infused sugar.
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. Place in the refrigerator to begin to firm up while making the dill-infused sugar (if making dill sugar, otherwise just sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and you’re all done).
6. Preheat oven to 200F and line a baking pan with parchment or a silpat sheet. Lightly coat dill in coconut oil and chop up. Coat in sugar and lay out on baking pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes (watch it closely after it passes the 20 minute mark to avoid burning). Allow to cool completely.
7. Whir candied dill in a coffee or spice grinder (or just chop/crush finely to get a fine “sugar”). Dust on top of fudge.
8. Allow to finish firming 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)).