Sometimes I really do miss chocolate. I have fond memories of walking along the boardwalk at the New Jersey shore, inhaling the flavors of the freshly made fudge. I could never decide which was my favorite flavor, so I'd usually spend a little bit more for a variety box. Sweet, creamy, chocolaty stuff that eventually made me sick with a monster headache after I'd finished a few pieces.
Still, I miss the flavor and the consistency of fudge. Of course, there are plenty of companies offering malitol-laden fudge, but that also has awful consequences for me. I won't divulge details here, but suffice it to say that the packages of "sugar-free" sweets with sugar alcohols are labeled as hazardous for a reason.
To develop a fudgy candy that wouldn't have icky and/or painful consequences (even in small amounts), I stepped into the kitchen and experimented. My intention was to make carob fudge. As you can see from the photo above, I got pretty close. Because there's only the dairy included with the carob chips, it's not a creamy-tasting concoction. And, it's a bit more chewy than I'd like for "true" fudge, but it's really close. I'll be experimenting again, especially with different add-ins and alternate proportions of the base ingredients, so you'll see other incarnations of carob fudge in the future.
I deviated from my usual sweetener, agave nectar, and used barley malt. I'll probably try it with agave next time. Which is not to say the barley malt was bad at all, because it wasn't. It just didn't achieve the sweetness profile I was going for in the recipe. I tried it here because I've had it in health food store-bought confections that were really tasty, and thought I could wing it.
Because this recipe yields 15 pretty large pieces, it will be a while before I try my hand at carob fudge again. It's rich stuff, so I can only tolerate a piece a day. Give me a month or so, and I'll be back at it.
Experimental Carob Fudge I
2 cups unsweetened carob chips
1/2 cup barley malt
3 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
3 tablespoons carob powder
1. Grease an 8-in. square pan.
2. In the top part of a double boiler (or in a glass bowl over simmering water), melt the chips, barley malt and oil. Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth.
3. Mix in coconut and carob powder until well blended.
4. Press into pan and refrigerate until just set.
5. Let the pan come back to room temperature (1 hr) and cut into 15 pieces.