This Valentine’s Day, give your significant other what they really want. We’re talking about chocolate, of course. It’s hard to beat the rich, decadent taste of chocolate fudge — but you can eat only so much before your skinny jeans tap out. That’s where Katie Higgins, who produces the popular healthy-dessert blog Chocolate Covered Katie, comes in. This secretly healthy fudge recipe, featured in the first episode of What the Fudge, has no refined sugar and delivers the familiar rich, chocolatey taste using a secret ingredient: banana.
Watch Katie make this recipe in Episode 1 of What the Fudge:
“Out of all the recipes that are on my blog, one that I still make for myself years after I posted it is this Secretly Healthy Chocolate Fudge,” says Katie.
All of Katie’s healthy desserts contain secret ingredients — healthy substitutes such as the sweet potatoes in her brownies recipe.
In the case of her fudge recipe, the secret ingredient is overripe bananas.
“You might be surprised to know there are bananas in here. But trust me, it’s going to taste delicious,” says Katie.
The trick is to use ripe bananas that are brown and mushy; anything fresher will throw off the flavor. “You want super-overripe bananas because they just really bring out the natural sweetness,” she explains.
“If you have ever made a banana dessert and it tastes a little earthy, that’s because the bananas weren’t ripe enough. You want to make sure that they’re really ripe. I know they might not look like the most appetizing thing you’ve ever seen in your life, but trust me, these are the ones you want to use,” Katie says.
A word about maple syrup
Into the blender go peeled bananas, cocoa powder and pure maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is a healthier alternative to granulated, refined sugar and, combined with the bananas, gives the fudge its sweetness. Make sure, however, that you use only pure maple syrup, not the stuff made with corn syrup.
“Pure maple syrup is not the same thing as pancake syrup,” says Katie. “They’re not interchangeable in many recipes.”
Coconut butter? Yes, please!
Katie swaps out regular butter in her fudge recipe for coconut butter. “Coconut butter is one of my absolute favorite ingredients because it is just so delicious,” she says, admitting that she loves to eat a spoonful straight out of the jar. You can’t use coconut *oil* in its place here; coconut butter has the right texture and flavor for the fudge. If your store doesn’t carry coconut butter, make your own by simply pouring a bag of shredded coconut into a food processor and blending until smooth and creamy.
Next in the food processor: a pinch of salt (“it brings out the sweetness”) and pure vanilla extract. Add in a pinch of cinnamon, and it’s time to blend.
Katie’s favorite kitchen gadget
“The food processor is definitely my most used kitchen gadget,” she says. “I use it for fudge recipes. I use it to blend up brownie batters, pancake batters, chocolate chip cookie dough and dip batters. I use a food processor pretty much every day. Sometimes, I don’t even bother to put it away because I’m just going to bring it out.”
Blend the fudge ingredients until the mixture’s smooth and chunk-free. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula frequently to ensure the batter is thoroughly blended. Pour the creamy batter into a pan lined with parchment paper, and pop it into the freezer. Once the fudge has set, cut into bars and enjoy… guilt-free!
“I love this fudge because it’s so easy and fast to make. You just throw everything into the food processor, put it in the freezer — and you’re ready!”