I can always tell if I’m going to like a restaurant by the after dinner mints waiting at the door. A few local favorites here in Frisco have large bowls of Andes chocolate mints, and those are my favorites. No need for dessert after the meal because my mind is on the creamy little treat I’m no doubt going to grab on my way out. And of course I never take just one.
In my opinion, mint gives peanut butter a run for its money when considering which I like better to pair with chocolate. And one clear advantage of mint – this time of year, my yard springs to life with the stuff. Plus, mint has a few health benefits in its back pocket too. It is a leafy green after all. Mint has long been known to be soothing to the digestive tract and beneficial to those with irritable bowl. Plus, mint has a cooling effect that is useful for skin maladies like burns, rashes, and irritations. Breathing in mint opens the airways of those with asthma, allergies, or a cold, and chewing mint freshens your breath with its anti-bacterial quality. Mint contains some nutrients too: folate, vitamin A and C, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. So with an abundance of this little gem sprouting in my backyard, I’m looking for ways to use it besides making mojitos.
For this Friday’s treat, I decided to make paleo and vegan chocolate mint fudge. If you’ve ever made traditional fudge, you know what a headache it is to pull off – watching the thermometer closely to achieve that perfect soft ball state. Plus you know the amount of butter and sugar and marshmallow crème involved. This fudge is just as delicious (seriously!) without any cooking or processed sugary ingredients. It takes minutes to make and melts in your mouth just like the real thing.
To make chocolate mint fudge, I started with raw cashew butter. I chose this raw cashew butter by Artisana, and added one cup to my food processor.
Next, I melted (over a double boiler or in the microwave) ¼ cup of cocoa butter (raw coconut oil also works just as well), which is the fat portion of the cocoa bean, so it’s both a vegan and paleo butter, and I added it to the food processor. I like using cocoa butter because it helps out with the chocolate flavor plus gives this recipe the melt in your mouth quality of the fudge I grew up loving.
Cocoa butter is handy to have in your pantry for any candy making, and it is also good for your skin so is ideal for making your own skin care products. Although the type of fat in cocoa butter is in large part a saturated fat, surprisingly, small amounts of this type of saturated fat have been shown to protect your heart in a 2006 American Heart Association Study.
I added 1/3 cup raw cacao powder and ¼ cup maple syrup to the food processor. I always buy pure maple syrup, as the alternatives are highly processed and include other unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. When purchasing pure maple syrup, notice you have the choice of two grades: A and B. Ever wonder what the difference is and if it even matters? Grade A is lighter in color and sweeter in taste with a more subtle maple flavor, while Grade B is darker, less sweet, with a more robust maple flavor. Both are a good source of manganese and zinc, but Grade B, with its darker color, contains more. I always choose Grade B.
Lastly, I flavored the fudge by adding vanilla extract, mint extract, a handful of mint leaves, and a little bit of sea salt before processing the ingredients to form a smooth ball of chocolate fudge. I pressed the ball of fudge into an 8×8 ceramic pan and put it in the refrigerator to harden. The result is a rich and creamy treat that is so good it replaces the traditional fudge recipe in our house. I cut the pan of fudge into small squares, and I store it in the fridge.
- 1 cup raw cashew butter
- ¼ cup melted cocoa butter or coconut oil
- ⅓ cup raw cacao powder
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- handful of mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process until a ball of fudge forms.
- Press into an 8x8 ceramic or glass pan.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Cut into small squares, and store in the refrigerator.