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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dairy Free Fudge!

Normally I am the anti sugar advocate of my house- rationing, and waging war on sugar for my masses. But around the holidays I soften and want to share and enjoy some of the vices and traditions of the past. Making fudge is one of those allowable evils this time of year. Other than the sugar for the most part fudge isn't completely void of nutrients and life isn't much fun without the occaisional treat here and there.

Making fudge has never been my strongest suit. I can't tell you how many grainy or rocklike fudges I've made in my life. Oh yes, I know there are many intracacies of making fudge and it's a technique that requires all sorts of precision and proper timing. Don't scrape the sides with the spatula, don't over heat it, don't under heat it, blah, blah blah.. Enter reality, enter distracting kids, enter my personality which is so NOT precise, or timed in any way shape or fashion and you get -- welll, less than great fudge. My mother makes fantastic fudge- yummy, perfect fudge, she even made up her own recipe and when she makes it, it's delightful! I use her recipe and it's well.. dissapointing at best. This year I decided to venture out of the family recipe book, off the back of the package and into the internet for my recipe. I found this one and low and behold it worked!! It even appeals to my use what you have nature and offers both a recipe using creme and one with marshmellows in case that's what you have. I had creme so that is what I used and I left out the artificial butter flavor-ick. I used the paranoid version and cooked it for a minute before adding the creme and cooked it 8 minutes but think I might cook it longer next time as I like a more firm fudge in general-- but it was good, not grainy, not solid, dry and cracking-- just fudge! It was perfect, lovely and it even tastes very similar to my mother's fudge-which is also made with both semisweet and milk chocolate chips. The technique allows for some fudging with-- which is of course right up my alley.

Thoughtful mother that I am, I can't imagine making fudge and not having anything to offer to my wee dairy free ones that resembles what we are eating. I've seen some recipes for dairy free versions -- using bags of dairy free chocolate chips-- OUCH! Those things are $3.79 a bag and only have something like 9 oz. in them... so trying a recipe using two bags and some super expensive dairy free products in addition to that and having it fail gets pretty pricey. In all likelihood just about anything chocolate that I would make they would happily devour even it was horribly inedible or quite ugly in appearance, but at some level I'd like to have something presentable AND affordable and somewhat close to my nutritional standards so when I stumbled across this cheater fudge recipe I was elated! The original recipe uses butter and real milk -- but I think the coconut oil is the perfect substitution in it and the milk is easily subbed out and better yet-- making it doesn't use large quantities of terrbily expensive products! Nothing weird or extensively toxic, so even better.. (ok, I'm not saying that powdered sugar is health food perse, but at least it isn't super modified soy and chemicals-- this is fudge afterall, not breakfast..) And even better it's EASY to make-really, REALLY EASY!

Super Quickie Fudge
Based losely off a recipe in - Colorado Cache
Made with my alterations to make it dairy free!!

1 pound of powdered sugar (3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk ( I used coconut milk -- sure soy, almond or rice would also work)
1/2 cup of coconut oil (original recipe called for butter or margarine here)
1 T. of vanilla extract

Mix powdered sugar and cocoa in a 8x8 in dish. (Next time I would do this in a bowl --then scrape it into a wax paper lined 8x8 dish so I could pull it out and cut it easier.)Pour in milk and place coconut milk on top. Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and stir every thing together. Add vanilla -(could add 1/2 cup of nuts here too). Stir until blended. Place in fridge or freezer until it cools --then cut and serve!

Is that easy or WHAT? AND it tastes great.. I don't even have to feel quilty about "making" the wee ones eat the less yummy fudge!

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