Chocolate Caramel Fudge

Well, here’s a little change of pace for everyone this holiday season. This recipe isn’t allergy free so although I was able to make it (had a bit of an upset stomach later in the day from inhaling chocolate fumes), I couldn’t taste it to tell you if it’s any good but, judging by the recipe, who could lose with chocolate and caramel! I started making hand-dipped and hand-molded filled chocolates when I was twelve years old. The woman who I learned with, Carol, just turned 80 and has lost most of her sight. So, not needing her recipes anymore, she sent them to me earlier this year. Mostly fudge recipes. Well, I tried for years to make fudge, even the never-fail kind with the marshmallow but I was never able to succeed at it. That’s the reason I learned how to make filled chocolates. I had an uncle that I adored and every Christmas I made him a pan of fudge and every year, he stood there with a spoon eating it and told me it was the best fudge he’d ever had. So, after about four or five years of that, I learned how to make chocolates and he was very pleasantly surprised that Christmas. So, it’s been decades since I attempted to make fudge. My daughter-in-law has two favorite candies – chocolate fudge and chocolate covered caramels. This recipe should be perfect for her so after putting it off for several days, I finally tried it today and was very pleased to find that it actually worked!

Spray an 8×8″ baking pan with non-stick spray being sure to coat the sides as well as the bottom. In a medium sized microwave safe bowl combine:

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup brown sugar (or you could try date sugar)

1/3 cup baking carob or cocoa

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (or regular milk)

Microwave on high until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 3 minutes. Immediately stir in:

3 cups confectioners sugar (I used the monkfruit confectioners sugar)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix thoroughly (I added 1 cup at a time) until all the sugar is incorporated. Mixture will be thick. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the surface. In a smaller microwave safe bowl combine:

30 unwrapped caramels (I know there are sugar-free ones available but unfortunately not dairy free)

1 tablespoon water

Microwave on high for approximately 2 minutes until caramels are melted. Immediately pour over the fudge mixture in the baking pan. If desired, add 1 cup of chopped nuts to the caramel before spreading it. Lastly, into another microwave safe bowl, put:

1/2 cup semi-sweet carob or chocolate chips

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (if preferred and you want sugar free and dairy free ones, use all semi-sweet)

Microwave on high for approximately 1 1/2 minutes until chips are melted. Stir to combine and spread over the caramel. Refrigerate for about 2 hours until the fudge is set. Cut into pieces. I cut it in quarters, then the quarters in half and then each slice in thirds so I got 42 pieces total. It’s easiest to cut it with the chocolate side down so the tops won’t be as smooth and pretty as one might like.

I’m thinking, since the actual fudge can be made with the monkfruit confectioners sugar, that I might substitute a nut butter, perhaps cashew, for the caramel, 1 cup of nut butter and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of monkfruit confectioners sugar.

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