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Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes (plus at least 4 hours for soaking cashews)
Active time: 20 minutes Makes: 18 pieces
After indulging in decadent desserts throughout the holiday season, it always feels good to get back in the swing of regular eating come January. Of course, we still need some sweets in the menu rotation. This fudge is my favorite recipe to make when I want to scale back the amount of sugar my family is consuming, and it’s so rich and creamy that no one will guess it’s made without sugar or dairy.
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
3/4 cup pitted medjool dates (about 9 large), soaked in hot water for 5 minutes if not soft
1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder (see below)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons orange zest, plus extra for garnish
- Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Drain the cashews and place them in a blender or food processor. Add the dates, cacao or cocoa powder, coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and orange zest, and blend until mostly smooth (you may need to scrape the sides down a few times).
- Use a spatula to transfer the mixture to the loaf pan, spreading it out evenly. Cover, and place the pan in the freezer for 1 hour to set.
- Once the fudge has hardened, remove the pan from the freezer and gently tug on the parchment paper to remove the fudge from the pan. Place the fudge on a cutting board and slice into squares. Sprinkle extra orange zest on top to garnish. Serve right away, or store the fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Note: Cacao powder is chocolate in its raw form, and it packs a higher nutritional punch than its processed counterpart, cocoa powder. Whichever you use, this recipe will still be delicious.