Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The World's Easiest Vegan Fudge Recipe (Or How to Make Friends and Influence People)

I confess; this post might end up being my undoing. I am so excited about this can't lose fudge recipe: I know how daunting vegan baking and cooking can seem (though I promise, it doesn't have to be!) and just how difficult it can be to find an easy vegan fudge recipe that is still delicious, which is why I decided to share it.

And therein lies the personal problem for me. I have made this fudge countless times and shared it with friends and family at parties and brought it as a hostess gift. It is always wildly popular and loved by all who eat it, but once those folks read this post and see just how easy it is to make, they might feel like I'm phoning it in whenever I bring it as a gift. But for my fair readers, it's a risk I've decided to take.

I am truly stretching my brain to remember where I found this recipe for the first time. I remember the day I found the recipe. I just desperately wanted fudge. Fudge usually involves marshmallows; I don't usually keep vegan marshmallows in my house and they can be on the expensive side (though I strongly recommend the delicious Dandies brand if you are inclined to go buy some). I also wasn't excited at the prospect of standing over a stove and going through the actual rigamarole of fudge-making; I just wanted to fudge to appear. I think I may also have wanted peanut butter and chocolate, too.

Now that I reread that passage, I must have been having a cranky day of fudge craving - yikes!

Anyway, I ended up ordering vegan fudge from Realist Mermaid on Etsy. When the fudge arrived later that week, it was delicious (though I just checked, and sadly, it appears she took down her store). But that did not fix the problem that I wanted fudge NOW. So I looked around on Allrecipes and found what appeared to be the world's easiest, three-ingredient recipe for fudge. All three ingredients were in my house. There was almost zero effort in putting it together. And there was chocolate AND peanut butter in it. I excitedly made it and I've never looked back!

This fudge recipe has been a hero to my countless times. I've thrown together as a dessert when I've been invited to parties at the last minute, it's been a great on-the-go snack (both for winter, when fudge tends to make a holiday appearance and summer, when I want to keep the oven off), it is fancy enough to be wrapped up nicely and presented as a hostess gift, and it can also feed at least one pregnant lady who OH MY GOODNESS NEEDS CHOCOLATE NOW. (I'm going to keep it real with you - I'm actually eating this fudge while I'll type this post.)

Here's how it all comes together!

These are the three ingredients you need - one cup of vegan chocolate chips, one cup of peanut butter, and 3/4 cup of maple syrup. For chocolate chips, I like the Enjoy Life brand, though I've also been known to get the Whole Foods 365 brand Vegan Semisweet Chocolate Chips. (Ghirardelli Semisweet Chips also used to be vegan, but it's been awhile since I've checked.) For peanut butter, I always use natural peanut butter. I tend to get chunky, but smooth or chunky will work. For maple syrup, just get the real stuff. Grade A or B is fine; the grade has to do with the color and flavor, not the quality, so just get what's on sale (I keep a big jug of it in my fridge).

Add all of the ingredients to your pot and melt together, stirring constantly, over medium-low to medium heat. This should only take a couple of minutes...

...until it looks smooth and yummy, like this! (Of course, if you use chunky peanut butter, the peanut chunks will remain. I think that's a positive thing personally!)

Line a square pan with parchment paper. Pour in the fudge mixture and spread it evenly throughout the pan. You might find the edges do not neatly go down; that's okay. Those pieces will just turn out "rustic," which means your friends will believe you that it's homemade, or you can just cut off those little pieces and eat them yourself later. :) If you don't have parchment paper, you can also grease the pan with vegan butter (like Earth Balance), but I strongly encourage you to use parchment paper; it really makes the job - and most any other baking or cooking job - easier.

When you're done, cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour. With this batch, I was tired, so I stuck it in the fridge overnight. When the fudge is firm, remove it from the fridge. Lift the fudge out of the pan by holding onto the parchment paper.

Remove the parchment paper and put the block of fudge on a cutting board. Cut up into slices (I usually cut columns, then rows, as demonstrated above).

And voila! Delicious fudge, ready to be shared! Or not... :) Happy eating!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
adapted (I'm pretty sure) from Allrecipes

1 c. vegan semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 c. peanut butter, smooth or chunky (I use natural peanut butter)
3/4 c. maple syrup (Grade A or B is  fine)

1) Melt together chocolate, peanut butter, and maple syrup on the stove over medium-low to medium heat until smooth.
2) Pour mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square pan lined with parchment paper or greased with vegan butter, like Earth Balance.
3) Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour, until firm.
4) Cut fudge into squares (if using parchment paper, I recommend lifting the fudge out of the pan first, peeling off the paper, then cutting up the squares on a cutting board).
5) Store in the fridge.

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