Friday, November 15, 2013

Healthy Fudge

Happy Friday! The people have spoken... all you really want from me are healthy dessert recipes that don't taste healthy so here we go! We're back to baked good Fridays! Today I'm giving you my recipe for an especially delicious dark chocolate treat. I really love it, as it is a very versatile, cheap, and healthy chocolate source. If you put it in the freezer, it comes out like a dark chocolate bar. If you store it in the fridge, it takes the consistency of fudge. And if you choose to eat it at room temperature, you can call it mousse! Like Reeses's, there's no wrong way to eat this healthy fudge.

These days, it seems like dates have taken the place of agave as the "now" sweetener. I've always been skeptical, mostly because I could only find dates at Whole Foods for $6.99/lb so thank you very much, I'll go get my brown sugar for 99 cents! However, I recently came across a package of Dole's dried pitted dates for $1.99 so I decided that I should give it a try. It started like many recipes do: with me throwing things I like in my food processor and tweaking until the flavor was right! The result is a deep dark chocolate cup that is surprisingly comprised of dates, unsweetened cocoa powder, maple syrup, and earth balance buttery spread.

The name of today's recipe comes from a high school friend who would refer to these delicious no-bake oatmeal cookies as "healthy fudge." As you can see, in the case of those cookies, healthy is really a misnomer but for this fudge it is not! Each cup of chocolatey goodness only contains 70 calories and 2g fat, with 2g of protein as a bonus. (Compare that to two of the healthy Dove dark chocolate bites, which are a fraction of the size and give you 85 calories, 4g fat, and less than 1 gram of protein.) The cups also contain 6% of your daily value of iron, but do not count on it as a potent iron source. The antioxidants in dark chocolate inhibit iron absorption, but that's ok since they offer a plethora of other benefits, particularly for cardiovascular health!

Healthy Fudge

1/2c dried pitted dates
1/2c unsweeted cocoa powder
1T maple syrup
1T Earth Balance buttery spread

Soak your dates in a bowl of water at least an hour (or overnight). Add all ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. Like the black bean brownies, patience is really key. Finding unprocessed chunks of dates can really kill your dark chocolate vibe! Taste your "mousse" and add more Earth Balance or maple syrup to taste. (Please note that you may want to add more maple syrup and/ or earth balance.*) Once you achieve a smooth texture and the right flavor, transfer to 6 cupcake wells. (I have these nifty silicone ones which are great for the freezer.) Freeze for chocolate bars, refrigerate for fudge, or enjoy your mousse right out of the food processor!

*Disclaimer: I like my dark chocolate DARK, like >85% cocoa, so you'll need to add more of the other ingredients if you want to tone down the bitterness of the dark chocolate.

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