Love the idea of fudge but not the usual ingredients? Me too. That's why I'm excited to bring you this supremely decadent, delightfully creamy, whole-food, dairy-free, high-protein, and refined sugar-free freezer fudge. It's a treat you can feel good about enjoying because it's good for the body and sweetened with local honey from some very hard-working bees. Plus you can make this healthy fudge in only ten minutes!
I'm thrilled to be collaborating with about 50,000 local bees to bring you this recipe. These busy bees live at the Champlain College Apiary and forage on a smorgasbord of flowers around Burlington, Vermont. In this post, I'll explore why local honey is a wonderful, versatile ingredient and I'll give the details on this freezer fudge recipe, which is a great way to get started with using honey.
What Is Freezer Fudge?
If you've never tried freezer fudge before, be prepared to be delighted! Freezer fudge is healthier twist on fudge that's based in protein-rich nut butter instead of regular butter. It comes together very quickly (about ten minutes), sets in the freezer overnight, and gets stored in the freezer (hence the name). This dairy-free fudge variation is made with just a few simple, whole-food ingredients: nut butter, coconut oil (to help it have the perfect texture upon freezing), a bit of sweetener, and whatever additional flavors or mix-ins you like.
Is Freezer Fudge Healthy?
Freezer fudge is a much more nourishing option than traditional fudge. Traditional fudge usually relies upon a very large amount of butter and refined sugar. This healthy fudge, on the other hand, is mostly nut butter, which means it's loaded with protein and healthy fats. This version is dairy-free and only minimally-sweetened using honey, with no refined sugars added. Because of those great ingredients, this dairy-free fudge makes for a decadent-yet-nourishing dessert, or even a post-workout snack since it's mostly just cashews.
Local Honey, Local Flavor
I had an amazing visit to the Champlain College Apiary and learned a huge amount from the founder and manager, Dr. Kristin Wolf. Kristin showed me around the hives, where I got to see the bees busily creating and tending to their precious honey. I even got to see the lower parts of the hive, where the queen bee (who I had the honor of meeting) lays eggs and raises the next generation.
The beauty of local honey is that its flavor is remarkably distinctive. Kristin's approximately 50,000 bees are foraging within a couple miles of the apiary. Although their forage changes over the course of the season, these bees have a really interesting mix of suburban flowers and farm flowers to visit. Because every apiary is different, I encourage you to sample your own local honey options. If possible, visit your local apiary too!
Honey can have a huge range of different flavors, which makes it a fascinating sweetener to work with. The honey from the Champlain College Apiary is delightfully floral, a bit citrusy, and nicely balanced, with a beautiful light golden color. If you're able, try to get a few different types of local honey, either from different apiaries, different seasons, or different single-origin types of forage (e.g., blueberry, clover, etc) and set up your own honey tasting; you'll be amazed at the diverse flavors you can find.
Why Use Honey?
There are so many reasons why honey is a wonderful sweetener to use in your kitchen. As described above, it has a huge array of different flavors, so it's far more interesting than refined sugars. Honey also contains a number of different vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are good for the body. Finally, because honey can be produced locally across much of the globe, it's a wonderful way to support your local farmers.
That latter point has become especially important to Kristin at the Champlain College Apiary. She works with apiaries in South America as a mentor and cares deeply about the complex relationships between humans, bees, and the environment. Kristin says:
"There are thousands of different bee species that pollinate most of the world's wild and cultivated plants, so they are vital to local food systems, economies, and the landscape in general. As someone who is fortunate enough to work with many other beekeepers (and bee species), I have really grown to appreciate the relationship between humans and bees. And while you can't generalize how beekeepers relate to the bees that they "keep", I'd venture to say that respect, gratitude, and wonder are widespread feelings. Spending time with bees is rewarding and the honey is a very sweet bonus - it's fundamentally a taste of place."
Here's what you'll need for this dairy-free fudge, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Cashew butter. Cashew butter is the backbone of this healthy fudge recipe; it will work best with a super-smooth, natural, light-colored cashew butter (Artisana is my favorite). Macadamia butter would also work. I don't suggest using peanut butter or almond butter because they're stronger in flavor and darker in color.
Honey. I of course adore the honey from the Champlain College Apiary and you can order it off their website. But this recipe will work great with whatever honey is most local to you. Make sure you're using a high-quality, raw, local product since you really want that beautiful honey flavor to shine.
Freeze-dried raspberries. Look for them in the snack section of a health food store. Fresh raspberries won't work in this recipe because of their water content. If you can't find them, feel free to just omit them or add another freeze-dried or traditional dried (but not fresh) fruit.
Miniature dark chocolate chips. I suggest using mini chips because larger chips will overwhelm the small pieces of fudge. If you can't find mini chips, dice up a dark chocolate bar as finely as you can. Choose dairy-free and/or unsweetened chocolate as desired.
Have I convinced you to try freezer fudge?? In my mind it's a winning choice all-around. It's significantly easier to make than traditional fudge, has way more flavor (thanks especially to my bee friends!), and is infinitely more nourishing than the butter + sugar bomb that is classic fudge.
I can't wait for you to try this healthy fudge. It's everything I look for in a treat: indulgent yet still good for the body, filled with interesting flavors and real-food ingredients, protein-rich so that it's actually satisfying, and secretly easy to make. Whether you serve this special fudge as a dessert, gift it to a friend, or keep a stash in the freezer for post-workout snacking, I hope it's a recipe you'll make again and again.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
This healthy fudge is surprisingly easy to make using just a few simple, whole-food ingredients. It tastes just like regular fudge yet is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and loaded with protein and good-for-the-body fats.