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Dairy-Free Caramel Almond Fudge…or Baileys Fudge…or Rum & Raisin….or…..

October 30, 2015

Dairy-free, low sugar, creamy fudge!

Dairy-free, low sugar, creamy fudge!

It’s that time of year again when I start thinking about edible gifts for the festive season. Wanting to make something a little different from my standard healthy rum balls or coconut truffles, I was thinking FUDGE!

But not chocolate fudge…

Maybe toffee..

Or caramel.

But toffee and caramel require copious amounts of sugar – and to get the right consistency you have to caramelise the sugar over high heat. After a bit of experimenting I came up with this fudge which texture I liken to jersey caramels* – but with nuts; and not as sickly sweet; and they taste MUCH nicer!

So what is fudge?

Fudge is a confectionery, essentially a firm fondant, which is soft and sweet. It’s made by boiling sugar, butter and milk, and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. American fudge always contains chocolate and can sometimes be a thick sauce. (I remember when our local McDonald’s first opened in 1973** yep, I’m old and my mother introduced us to their hot chocolate fudge sundaes – poor Cottee’s chocolate topping was never the same after that!)

I think that the most important attribute of fudge is its texture. The cooking temperature distinguishes hard caramel from soft fudge. The higher the temperature, the more sugar is dissolved and more water is evaporated, resulting in a firmer fudge. If this isn’t done properly the resulting fudge can be grainy and sugary.

My dairy-free recipe is almost ‘raw’: I only melt the cacao butter which creates the creaminess (to replace the butter) and melt the gelatine which helps firm the texture (to replace the sugar). I purposely didn’t use dates as they produced a coarser mouth-feel, plus there are lots of date recipes! And although I like to freeze it to help it set, this recipe does not need to be kept in the freezer; it will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.

You can make some wonderful variations to this basic recipe – feel free to play around with the flavours, the possibilities are endless –  see below!

40g hot water

1 tab gelatine

100g cacao butter, chopped

40g rapadura or dark coconut sugar

100g maple syrup or brown rice syrup

stevia to taste (optional)

150g almond butter

a dash of vanilla (or seeds scraped from ½ a vanilla bean)

¼ teas salt

50g coconut cream (or cream if not dairy free)

handful of toasted almonds or pecans

Course salt flakes to sprinkle (optional)

In a small cup, sprinkle the gelatine over the hot water and allow to sit for 10 minutes to bloom.

In the TM, grind the cacao butter and rapadura on SP 9 for 20 seconds. Melt for 3 minutes at 60°C on SP 2. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the gelatine water, and mix on SP 4 until well combined and smooth. Stir through the toasted nuts and pour into a shallow lined dish. Sprinkle with salt, if using, and freeze for several hours or overnight.

While frozen, cut into squares to serve. This can be kept in the freezer OR fridge for about 2 weeks.

Alternative Flavour Variations

  • Rum & Raisin – Substitute 30g water for rum and add a handful of raisins.
  • Peppermint – Add a few drops of food grade peppermint essential oil.
  • Hazelnut – Use hazelnut butter instead of almond butter and substitute the toasted almonds for toasted hazelnuts.
  • Baileys – Substitute 30g water for Irish whisky and substitute 50g cacao butter for 70% dark chocolate.
  • Coffee Walnut – Use black coffee instead of water and substitute the almonds with lightly toasted walnuts.
  • Green Tea – Use green tea instead of water and add 1 teas of green matcha powder.
  • Peanut Butter & Cranberry – Use peanut butter instead of almond butter and substitute the almonds for toasted peanuts, add a handful of dried cranberries too.

Have fun!! Your kid’s school teachers will love you!!

*The ingredients in jersey caramels are glucose syrup, sugar, soft icing sugar, sweetened condensed milk (more sugar!), flour, vegetable oil, water, flavour, gelatine, salt. YUK!

** The Glen Waverley franchise is the oldest surviving McDonald’s in Australia.

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