Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Everyone was asking for a sweet fix in the house yesterday. We had gone through our usual bounty of fresh fruit…needed to get more soon but that wasn’t a good enough answer to give our kids at the moment. Instead I needed something quick and went to the fridge and started opening up packages of nuts and seeds. I had a bag of dates as well and smiled as I thought of the perfect answer. FUDGE.
I love gooey, rich, and chocolatey fudge. It is a treat that satisfies on many levels. What I came up with was not my mothers fudge, rich in condensed milk and white sugar. Nope, this was even more gratifying. A food that can stop cravings in their tracks and nourish as well.
There are so many alternatives to using white sugar. Raw cane, agave, rice syrup, stevia, xylitol and a multitude of others. One simple sugar that is easy to use is dates.
Either eaten alone or blended into a paste to mix into recipes, they are easy to obtain, relatively inexpensive, a whole food with nutrients intact and really, really tasty.
Dates are also rich in vitamins, minerals and a good source of fibre. I use to live in Palm Springs, California many moons ago and loved going to the date gardens and slurping on a date and banana shake in the hot, dry days of summer. Date sweetened cakes and ice creams have stayed with me since then and I love to experiment with recipes that originally call for more conventional sweeteners.
In the Fudge recipe I just throw them in the processor whole. But if you want to use them to replace sugar in cakes and puddings you may find it easier to make a paste or syrup of it first. Here is the recipe;
10 large or 20 medium dates, pitted
1 3/4 cup water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a blender and process for a few minutes until smooth and completely blended. Can keep in refrigerator for several weeks.
This makes a great sweetener for tea as well.
If your dates are not organic than you may be getting pesticide and fungicide residue with each sweet little mouthful.
There was a Dietary Risk Assessment done by the Australian Government in 2011 which ended in a 12 month suspension of the use of Dimethoate on certain crops. Dates were one of the crops that the suspension of use was put in place though malathion, fenthion or others may still be used at this time.
In 1991 methyl bromide was identified as a chemical that contributes to depletion of the ozone layer. Australia was to phase it out completely by January 2005. Methyl bromide use for fumigation is an exemption though and is still being used today. Not really sure I understand this reasoning. If there was that much concern about this chemical to suspend use of it on growing plants then why would they still allow it to be used in the food packing houses? In soil methyl bromide is said to have a life of 31 to 55 days and in the air up to two years! Scary stuff.
But I love dates, and so the answer? Buy organic.
Raw Fudge Squares
1/4 cup organic unhulled tahini
1/3 cup organic coconut cream
1 cup organic dates (make sure there are no seeds)
1/2 cup each, organic raw almonds and macadamias
1/2 cup organic raw cacao or dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup organic shredded or dessicated coconut
organic coconut sugar (optional)
Place all ingredients into a strong food processor and run until smooth.
My Thermomix does a good job with all the ingredients processed at once. You may find it works easier if you grind the nuts first then add the rest slowly as your processor is running.
Mix equal parts coconut sugar and cocoa powder if desired and sprinkle a thick layer on the bottom of a rectangular pan. With moist hands pat fudge into pan and sprinkle with more of the cocoa and coconut sugar mix. Alternatively just pat straight into pan without additional sugar and cocoa.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes and slice the fudge. Serve.
About the Author
Jeani-Rose Atchison is a health advocate, and home-schooling mother of five who also finds time to write about nutrition, whole foods and environmental concerns. She authored, Every Day Vegan – 300 recipes for healthful eating which is a mainstay in vegetarian kitchens. Atchison’s latest book, Food for Thought – Thought for Food is chock full of delicious whole food recipes. It also takes a controversial look at the food we eat today and the processes involved in bringing it to your table. Can your food make you ill? The answer may shock you!
To find out more go to Jeani-Rose’s Facebook or Website