With its melt-in-your-mouth texture and luxurious cocoa flavour, this vegan chocolate fudge recipe is impossible to resist! And we’ve included cordyceps mushroom powder to boost your energy and support your immune system, so you can give into temptation without guilt. Get ready to meet your new favourite sweet treat.
Fudge was, well, fudged!
Like many great discoveries, the creation of fudge was an accident. It’s not clear exactly who made the confectionery first, however food historians believe it may have been students at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. They were likely trying to make caramels, as the recipes are similar, and instead crafted what we now call fudge. It quickly became popular across the US, before spreading around the world. Perhaps the first documentation of the chocolate fudge recipe known as Vassar Fudge is in a letter from 1888, written by a freshman named Emelyn Battersby Hartridge.(1) In it, she acknowledges getting the details from another student’s cousin, both of whose names have been lost to time. Interestingly, the word ‘fudge’ is actually much older than its culinary namesake. Here in the UK, people used it to mean ‘nonsense’ or ‘put together clumsily and dishonestly’. Quite how it started being used to describe the confectionery is another mystery! Since the invention of that original chocolate fudge recipe, chefs and home cooks have come up with many other varieties. From classic vanilla fudge to rum and raisin, salted caramel, and maple and walnut, we’re definitely spoiled for choice! You’re even able to adapt it into a chocolate fudge cake recipe for special occasions. And while fudge is absolutely a decadent treat, you can add nutritional value to it by choosing your ingredients carefully. That’s exactly what we’ve tried to do with this scrumptious vegan chocolate fudge recipe. And happily, it’s also surprisingly simple to make. So, let’s look at how to cook up our homemade fudge, before exploring some benefits of the key ingredients.
Soft, sweet, and superbly indulgent: our vegan chocolate fudge recipe
One reason we think this is the best chocolate fudge recipe is how quick and easy the prep is. In fact, most of the time spent making it is waiting for the mixture to cool in the fridge! Start by gathering all the ingredients and lining your container with cling film. The latter step will make it easier for you to decant the fudge once it’s set. To melt your dark chocolate, chop it into evenly sized pieces and place it in a heatproof bowl. Then pop this on top of a simmering saucepan of water, stirring regularly to achieve a silky texture. Once melted, add the peanut butter, date syrup, and vanilla extract to the chocolate and mix until it’s all combined. Smooth peanut butter is preferable to crunchy, unless you want chunks of nut to give your fudge some bite. Feel free to use another type of nut butter in this chocolate fudge recipe too, such as hazelnut or cashew. This is a brilliant way to subtly alter the confectionery’s flavour. Likewise, you could swap the date syrup for maple or agave nectar. Next, stir in the cocoa powder, coconut milk powder, and cordyceps powder. Using a sieve can help to ensure you don’t get any lumps in the bowl. Lastly, melt the vegan butter and pour this over the chocolate mixture, stirring until it’s well incorporated. With all the ingredients completely blended together, transfer the chocolate fudge to the lined container that you prepared earlier. The final touch is to sprinkle the sea salt flakes on top. Then simply pop the fudge in the fridge to cool. It should take about an hour to set, after which you can slice it into squidgy squares and tuck in!
The health benefits of dark chocolate
When choosing your chocolate for this chocolate fudge recipe, we strongly recommend going for a top quality, dark variety. This will give the confectionary a richer and more nuanced flavour. In addition, the higher the cocoa percentage is, the greater the health benefits of the chocolate are. That’s right, dark chocolate can be good for you! For example, it’s high in key minerals such as copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, and zinc. On top of which, it’s a fantastic source of plant compounds which act as potent antioxidants.(2) These defend our cells against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which experts have linked to several chronic health conditions. As well as being antioxidants, such polyphenols have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, using dark chocolate in this chocolate fudge recipe could benefit the health of your heart. Research indicates that consuming dark chocolate may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.(3) This is because it can help to improve cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and increase blood flow.(4) Another consequence of dark chocolate enhancing blood flow is that it can improve the function of our brains. Studies suggest that cocoa might heighten cognitive performance and neuroplasticity in healthy young people.(5) The fact that dark chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine further helps it boost cognition in the short term. In addition, the flavonoids in dark chocolate might offer neuroprotective effects, staving off cognitive impairment in old age.(6) It’s important to note that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to chocolate. For optimum results, we recommend enjoying it in moderation. Likewise, try not to use bars that have a lot of added sugar when you make this chocolate fudge recipe.
Go nuts for peanut butter
Continuing with the positive news, peanut butter does more than add a gorgeous soft texture to this chocolate fudge recipe. As long as you choose a good quality brand without unwanted additives, it can also have benefits for your health. First, peanut butter is a fabulous source of plant-based protein. This is crucial for building everything from muscle and bone to hair and hormones. Nut butter is additionally rich in healthy fats, which may help to protect the health of your heart.(7) Peanuts can further support the cardiovascular system by improving cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation.(8) In addition, peanut butter contains numerous key vitamins. These include vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, plus several B vitamins. It’s also bursting with important minerals such as magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. Moreover, peanuts are packed with antioxidant plant compounds like resveratrol, isoflavones, and phytosterols. Just like dark chocolate, the health benefits of peanut butter come with a caveat. Peanut butter is high in calories, so be mindful of how much of it you eat. Likewise, avoid products with added sugar, salt, oil, or preservatives. Despite this, it’s worth noting that studies have linked peanut consumption with a lower risk of obesity.(9) This is likely due to several factors, including that they promote feelings of fullness and are rich in fibre. Don’t worry if you want to mix up the nut butter that you use in this chocolate fudge recipe. While the specific levels of different vitamins and minerals may fluctuate between nuts, they all offer the same core benefits.
How cordyceps benefits your wellbeing
It’s time to talk about the star ingredient of this chocolate fudge recipe: the cordyceps mushroom powder. Cordyceps is a type of fungus that’s long been popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine thanks to its potential health benefits. Today, these claims are finding plenty of support from modern scientific research. We’ve got a more complete article on the benefits of cordyceps, but here’s a quick summary. The mushroom is perhaps best known for its ability to boost energy levels. Studies indicate that cordyceps may improve exercise performance and reduce fatigue by improving the way the body uses oxygen.(10) Thanks to its high concentration of beta-glucans, cordyceps could additionally help to support your immune system. Beta-glucans are a type of polysaccharide that might enhance the function of specific types of immune cells in the body.(11) They further benefit immunity by acting as a prebiotic, supporting the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Similar to dark chocolate, cordyceps also has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(12) Both oxidative damage and inflammation can contribute to a number of chronic conditions, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. As such, these are both key advantages of including cordyceps in our chocolate fudge recipe. Speaking of heart disease, research suggests that cordyceps could support cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels.(13) Similarly, it might be useful in treating diabetes by decreasing blood sugar levels.(14) However, further study is required to confirm both of these findings. All of which means that cordyceps mushroom powder is not such a strange ingredient to include in a chocolate fudge recipe after all!