Last week, Katie of Health for the Whole Self posted a recipe for The Best Fudge I've Ever Eaten: a concoction of peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar with an active prep time of <5 minutes for purportedly stellar results. However, she noted, "This recipe is not for those who make comments like, 'This dessert is just too sweet for me.'" Well, "those" would be me. My solution? Layer it with dark chocolate fudge for the perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
Easier said than done. The reason I was so excited about Katie's recipe was it was completely lactose free--not a spot of cream or condensed milk in sight. But even for an aspiring librarian with killer search-engine skills like me, finding a chocolate fudge recipe without dairy is like trying to find a liberal democrat in Greensburg, Indiana. Eventually I found one that used Lactaid and marshmallows to approximate the creaminess of the traditional ingredients. Problem? The only marshmallows in my cupboard were these:
And as much as I love my fruity artificial flavorings, orange-and-lime-chocolate-peanut-butter fudge just didn't appeal. However, the strawberry ones wouldn't be too bad...
I like peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches, and I like chocolate covered strawberries, so why not?
Tamara's PB & Chocolate Hack "Fudge"
For the PB layer:
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
-1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
For the strawberry-chocolate layer:
-1/4 cup light vanilla soy milk
-scant 1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup (strawberry) marshmallows
-2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Cover 8x8 square pan with parchment paper and spray with oil. Start the peanut butter layer by microwaving the butter and PB in a microwave safe bowl for two minutes. Stir and microwave another two minutes. Carefully fold in the powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla and spread in the pan.
Now the chocolate layer: heat the soy milk in a small saucepan until bubbling. Add the sugar and stir until glossy and syrup-like. Turn off the heat and melt in the marshmallows. Then, as the original recipe author says, add the chocolate chips and "stir like crazy."
It's not that melting the chips is difficult, but once you do the candy will start to harden fast. As soon as the lumps are out, pour the chocolate over the peanut butter layer and spread to the edges as deftly as you can muster. Because the PB layer is so fatty, the chocolate fudge won't stick, so try to push it to the parchment-lined edges where it will. If it hasn't hardened by the time you're finished, smooth out the top before sticking in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Cut into 16 squares.
The squares were a little messy and crumbly from the knife, which I probably should have warmed first to make cleaner cuts. But I nibbled off the edges of one so you all could see the pretty layers:
Oh, the sacrifices I make for this blog.
Later that night, Sweetie and I put on the tunes and assembled the tree.
We cracked open the sparkling grape juice "champagne" and settled down with squares of fudge to admire our handiwork.
And we soon discovered that the sparkling grape juice was not, as we expected, grape juice with bubbles in it, but smelled and tasted fermented. Sweetie, who has had champagne shoved on him before, said it was a fair approximation...in which case, I officially despise alcohol even more than before.
So we broke out the apple-raspberry juice and poured club soda into it instead. Juicy Juice pairs excellently with hack fudge.