The other day I wrote about making fudge for the holidays. Even though that recipe is amazing, and several people said they loved the fudge, I didn’t really talk about the healthiness or the ease of the recipe. (Side note: this fudge was about $2 per batch. I made so much and gave it as gifts, which was much cheaper than anything I could have possibly bought.)
Fudge! The ingredients for both the light and dark chocolate are the same, and they are: coconut oil, sunflower seeds, walnuts, stevia, pure maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.
Coconut oil is the base of the fudge, and it’s fantastic! Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils. It doesn’t really have any Omega-3s, but it also doesn’t have much Omega-6, so it’s a non-inflammatory oil. It also has a melting point of roughly room temperature. That means it will stay solid in the fridge (or a cold room) but be liquid in the body. You want liquid in the body; your cells are basically fish, that’s why drinking water is so important – but you don’t want watery fudge-soup.
Sunflower seeds contain a lot of vitamin E. Vitamin E is good for skin, muscle-repair, and just for the whole body in general.
Walnuts are good for the brain, but their earthy flavor goes well with the chocolate.
I’m going to lump the stevia and the maple syrup together, because they’re both needed because of sugar. Refined sugar is horrible for the body (post). Not only can it cause weight-gain, it’s super-duper inflammatory. Sugar in fruit is good since the fruit fiber slows your intake, but if you concentrate those sugars into a “natural” sweetener, like syrups or honey, then it can be just as problematic as refined sugar. To avoid sugar, I use mostly stevia in this fudge. However, since stevia has a bad aftertaste if you use too much, and this was holiday fudge, I did add a few teaspoons of pure maybe syrup to the recipe. A tiny amount of sugar isn’t a problem, and pure maple syrup is “natural” and not inflammatory.
The cocoa powder is purely for the chocolate taste. I’ve heard that there are health benefits to cocoa, but there are even more health benefits of you use cacao powder, which is just the raw form of cocoa powder. That doesn’t concern me since I created this as an alternative to sugar and milk-packed chocolate, but feel free to substitute if you wish.
And finally, vanilla! I bought the cheap vanilla extract for a long time, but I’m now using the more pricey high-quality vanilla. It’s more potent, but it also contains a lot more antioxidants than the cheap vanilla, so it helps reduce inflammation.
I don’t want to get into inflammation in this post, but that’s a big deal to me if you can’t tell. Inflammation is the root cause of the majority of health problems world-wide, including heart disease and cancer (Un-Inflame Me). Diet is the best prevention method, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure.
But back to fudge. This recipe is super easy! Most fudge has to be cooked and whipped and is pretty persnickety. I choose to melt my coconut oil on the stove, but this recipe could totally be done with a microwave or possibly nothing at all if you keep your house warm. If you need a fool-proof method, use sunflower and walnut butters. I only blend them myself because it’s cheaper. Other than that, just stir well, dump into a container, and freeze till set. If this were difficult or time-consuming, I wouldn’t have made nearly 10 batches in less than a week.