This raw almond butter fudge isn't your old-fashioned fudge recipe. Unlike traditional fudge, this fudge doesn't require any boiling, cooling, or setting, and turns out perfectly every single time. It's vegan, grain-free (paleo), and refined sugar-free.
Dates are the key component of many raw desserts. If you've ever visited a gourmet food store, you most likely ran across many different types of dates. Personally, I have sampled and cooked with a few.
Perhaps the most popular variety is Medjool date. Despite what many people believe, Medjool dates are actually a fresh fruit. There's no processing and they are never physically or chemically dried. This is why you'll find Medjool dates in the produce aisle of many grocery stores. They are large and their skin has a color of amber to reddish-brown. Their texture is soft and juicy with a melt-in-your mouth feel. These dates are very sweet, rich, and caramel-like. However, there’s a brightness about the taste which offsets the sweetness slightly. The Medjool date is not the best date for making breads, but it's excellent in smoothies, creams, energy bars, or just to snack on.
While not as popular, the most common variety is Deglet Noor. These dates can be located in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. They are smaller than Medjool dates, elongated, and their color ranges from light red to amber. The flesh is firm and semi-dry. Because of their honey-like sweetness and firm texture, Deglet Noor dates are the supreme baking variety. They are easily chopped and diced without becoming mushy and keep a slight bite in cookies and cakes. They are also the preferred variety for the manufacture of date sugar.
The round Barhi is by far the softest, most fragile, and sweetest type of date. Unlike most other dates, Barhi dates are sold unripe and have a crunchy texture. The thin yellow skin covers flesh that is sweet like butterscotch but has some astringency. As the small dates ripen off the tree, their skin gradually changes color from distinctly yellow to a darker color of brown. During this time, their sweetness intensifies, and they lose some of their astringent taste. Also, the texture of the flesh takes on a chewy softness that is characteristic of most dates. Barhi are one of the most unique types of dates as they are edible unripe as well as fully ripened. This type of date is best eaten fresh as it spoils very quickly.
Lastly, Thoory, one of the hardest dates. Thoory dates have a wrinkled, brown to red skin that is not at all sticky. The firm, patry-like texture of Thoory dates means that they are good for using in baked goods, especially breads. They have a semi-sweet (the least sweet out of the four) and distinctly nutty flavor. Because they’re not as sticky and malleable as other varieties, they make for a great snacking date.
Tips for Making Almond Butter Fudge
Depending on your taste and preference, you may look for soft dates, semi-dry dates, types of fresh dry dates or dried dates. For this almond butter fudge recipe, I would recommend soft dates, such as Medjool dates, because they break down perfectly into the creamiest caramel-like consistency. Their sticky texture also makes them excellent for binding ingredients. If all you can find are semi-dry dry dates, such as Deglet Noor dates, you will need to soak them in warm water first. It works, but soaking does take away from their flavor a bit. Dry dates, such as Thoory dates, won't work in this recipe.
Other than dates, the second ingredient that provides body to this fudge is almond butter. You can experiment with any nut butter you like. Peanut butter, for instance, would be phenomenal in this recipe!
Many raw fudge recipes also call for coconut oil to smooth out the fudge and bring all the ingredients together. The problem with coconut oil is that it melts quickly at room temperature. So you have to store the fudge in the fridge or the freezer. This might be a problem if you plan on taking this almond butter fudge to a party because it will melt in everyone's hands. Cacao butter, on the other hand, remains solid at a room temperature and helps the fudge to firm up. The melting point of cacao butter is 95°F/35°C whereas the melting point of coconut oil is 76°F/24°C.
Finally, cacao powder (or cocoa powder), which gives this fudge a richer, more intense flavor. It's not an essential ingredient, but it does take this fudge onto a different level.
This recipe does require a powerful food processor to blend all the ingredients together. However, it's an extremely easy recipe to make. Simply add all the ingredients into a food processor, and process into a smooth paste.
Transfer the mixture into a parchment paper-lined dish (I used 6.5 x 6.5 inch/16.5 x 16.5 cm storage container), and let the fudge set either in the refrigerator or the freezer before slicing.
If you've ever made traditional fudge, you know how finicky it can be - cooking the syrup-y mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, using a candy thermometer for the proper caramelization, stirring vigorously until the fudge mixture starts to lose its sheen ... none of this is required with this raw fudge. In fact, it's most likely one of the simplest raw recipes you've ever made.
More Almond Butter Fudge Recipes
If you don't own a food processor, but still want to make fudge with almond butter, try this chocolate fudge. It has a rich, deep flavor and thick, creamy texture. It holds together well without being too hard, and melts in your mouth when you bite into it. It's no-cook as well, meaning it's really quick and easy to make.
Tools You'll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 3. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 4. Storage containers (Set of 10, Glass) | 5. Measuring Cup (2 Cups, Anchor Hocking, Glass) | 6. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 7. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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Almond Butter Fudge
- Blend all the ingredients. Add the dates, almond butter, cacao butter, cacao powder, and salt into a food processor, and blend into a smooth paste.
- Let the fudge set. Transfer the mixture into a parchment paper-lined 6.5 x 6.5 inch/16.5 x 16.5 cm dish. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm. Cut into 16 pieces.
- Store. Leftover fudge keeps well at room temperature for 5-7 days. You can also refrigerate it for 1 month. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
**Prep time does not include freezing (15-30 minutes).