Fudge · IBS

Healthy New Year! {Choc Nut Fudge – Dairy, Gluten & Sugar Free}

So here we are in January 2017! The Christmas tree has been taken down, the ham is long finished – even the candy canes are all eaten up. There’s nothing left to stop you enacting your New Year’s resolutions of going to bed early, doing more exercise… and eating healthier?!

That is, if you’re in to making goals along the lines of ‘get healthier/happier/wiser’.

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I don’t normally make and announce resolutions each January – saves me from having to show my face when I fail to keep them! But in my last post just before the close out of 2016 I did share some of my goals for this blog during 2017 (I’m relying on y’all to hold me to ’em!).

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Now I want to share a personal resolution…

*deep breath*

I’d like to get better control over my digestive health during 2017. On my first blog site (called ‘Irrepressible Baking Syndrome’ – catchy, I know..) I talked a little about my struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. If you’re a newcomer to the blog, feel free to have a read of this post, my take on the causes of IBS. It’s been part of my life for coming up to five years, and lately I’ve started to wonder if it’s affecting other parts of my body and health in general. So to make a start, I used the book voucher my lovely parents-in-law gave me for Christmas to get The Complete Gut Health Cookbook, as an attempt to treat my gut issues the natural way.

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I have to admit that when I first read through the book, I died a little bit inside. The diet recommended is essentially a palaeolithic (‘Paleo’) one – which means no gluten, no dairy, no grains, low carb and noooo sugar. Huh. That really puts a damper on the ‘sweet’ in Sweet nor’westerly! The idea behind avoiding those food types is that your gut struggles to digest them and can actually be damaged by them. According to the authors, changing your diet can not only heal your digestive system but also help increase the good bacteria in your intestines and even build up your immune system (80% of which resides in your gut!), improving your overall health.

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So in the interests of “trying anything at least once” if there’s a chance it could work, I am determined to give it a good go. Although I don’t think I’ll ever manage to do their three-day bone broth fast (bleurgh!), I’ve been getting into their yummy soups and have even started fermenting my own coconut milk kefir for a probiotic boost – but more about that another time. And even though I’ve been slowly easing myself into it, I miss pastry and cheese and chocolate soooo much!!! And just in case you’re wondering… I’ll be getting some medical advice shortly to check that the diet doesn’t cause more harm than good 🙂

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This is all to say, I am all for healthy/happy/wise treat options at the moment and am keen to encourage any of you who have similar New Year’s aspirations 🙂

Today’s recipe is a great remedy for sweet cravings without any added sweeteners! And as a bonus, it doesn’t involve any oven time – super helpful for this super hot summer we’re (not) having… The recipe is an adaptation of this Donna Hay recipe for Choc Almond Mint Fudge, changed to work with dried dates and different types of nuts and flavourings for variation. I’ve made two different types so far: hazelnut cacao ginger (nutella with a zing!) and peanut raspberry chocolate fudge.

The recipe is so easy it should be illegal – after soaking the dates, everything is done in the food processor in less than ten minutes!!! Start off with good quality ingredients, and if you’re avoiding sugar make sure you check the composition of your nut butter and cocoa powder (if using), as sweeteners are often added to them.

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Put your dates and nut butter (peanut shown below) into your processor, get it all chopped up…

…then add your flavourings and coconut oil…

…and lastly spread into your tin and top with delicious roasted nuts. Yum!!!

Check out the Variations and Sweet Tips after the recipe for some advice on getting the most flavour (for minimum cost!) out of this un-baked delight.

Choc Nut Fudge {Dairy, Gluten and Sugar Free}

  • 60 dried dates (approx. 330g)
  • 1/3 c nut butter
  • 3/4 c cocoa or cacao powder
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil, softened not melted
  • fruit and spice flavourings
  • 1/4 c nuts (same type as nut butter), roasted and roughly chopped
  1. Place the dates in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Leave for 10 minutes to soften then drain all the water (otherwise the fudge will be too liquid).
  2. Place the softened dates and the nut butter into a food processor and pulse to combine then process at medium speed for approx. 1 minute until you can’t see any recognisable date bits.
  3. Add the cocoa/cacao powder, coconut oil and flavourings. Process to combine – the mixture will form lumps. If the ingredients haven’t properly combined and lumps have already formed, pulse the mixture a dozen times.
  4. Press the fudge mixture into a baking paper-lined loaf tin (approx. 10 cm by 20 cm in size), smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Scatter the roughly chopped nuts onto the top and press them into the fudge.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares to serve. Store in the fridge.

Variations

  • Hazelnut cacao ginger: use smooth hazelnut butter, raw cacao powder and 1/2 tsp ginger as the flavouring, and top with roasted hazelnuts.
  • Peanut raspberry chocolate: use crunchy or smooth peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder and 3 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder, and top with roasted peanuts and more raspberry powder.

Sweet Tips

  • Don’t have a fancy nut butter like hazelnut? Make your own for cheap: for one recipe quantity, process 1 cup roasted hazelnuts until they are as finely ground as your processor can manage then add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in 1/2 tsp increments while the food processor is running, until the hazelnut butter is a spreadable consistency. Then just add your dates and continue with the recipe!
  • If you notice liquid seeping out of the fudge after you press it into the tin, this could be because you didn’t fully drain the dates or your coconut oil was too soft/melted. Press a paper towel onto the top of the slice to remove the liquid before adding the chopped nuts.
  • Don’t tell your friends that it’s a healthy treat until after they try it – so you can enjoy watching their jaws drop when they find out something so tasty can be so good for you!!

And to all of you keeping up your New Year’s resolutions, I’d love to hear what you’ve resolved so I can cheer you on! We can do this!!!  xo

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2 thoughts on “Healthy New Year! {Choc Nut Fudge – Dairy, Gluten & Sugar Free}

  1. Hi Claire

    Thanks for your honesty with the blog. A change of diet (for lifestyle as opposed to losing weight) is never easy especially when there are foods that we love to munch or create.

    All the best with the changes you make – I think is possible to lose the taste for sweet things. Maybe it’s a mind set that we have acquired in the west that we expect to eat cake and dessert, we could blame Marie- Antoinette for that.

    I love the quote at the end about what we put on the plate- too true. Have a good week Love Judith

    PS How did things work out with moving/selling/buying a new house?

    On 22 January 2017 at 22:39, Sweet nor’westerly wrote:

    > Claire posted: “So here we are in January 2017! The Christmas tree has > been taken down, the ham is long finished – even the candy canes are all > eaten up. There’s nothing left to stop you enacting your New Year’s > resolutions of going to bed early, doing more exercise… a” >

    Like

    1. Hi Judith 🙂
      Thanks so much for the encouragement! I hope you are right about losing a taste for sweet things…because I can’t seem to stop thinking about them :O
      Hehe glad you enjoyed the quotes, I certainly need a bit more strength with what goes on my plate. Hope you get to try the recipe!
      Oh yes we have our house on the market (again!) this time selling before putting in an offer on a new place. Hoping that we have a few bites from the open home yesterday, will find out from our agents soon – will update you next time I see you!
      Claire xo

      Like

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