It’s weird that fudge is a summer food. Dense, rich, and hardly immune to heat and sand, it’s nowhere near as refreshing as ice cream yet somehow just as ubiquitous in beach towns up and down the Eastern Seaboard. When I was a kid, my favorite fudge was chocolate peanut butter, specifically the chocolate peanut butter at a fudge shop on Block Island, RI, which I ate every summer until I was sticky-fingered and sugar-sick. I still want fudge in the warmer months—but nowadays it’s the nostalgia I’m after more than the sugar rush. That’s why I peer-pressured Chris Morocco into developing a healthyish version that I could eat a whole square of without crashing my blood sugar…or having to trek to the beach.
There are a lot of healthy fudge recipes out there, most of which involve tons of coconut oil or other liquid fats. To keep their fudgey consistency, most of these versions need to be eaten straight from the freezer. Morocco, always down for a challenge, decided to figure out a fudge recipe that didn’t require an arctic blast to keep from melting. (He also hates peanut butter in sweet foods, so he subbed almond butter; I’m here to tell you that peanut butter or any other nut butter will also work.)
This fudge recipe uses only ⅓ cup of almond butter, and the rest of the fat comes from half an avocado, which helps ensure that the fudge will be soft—not liquid—at room temperature. Maple syrup sweetens and binds, cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate give it plenty of deep chocolate flavor, and it all comes together in under ten minutes in a food processor. After chilling it in the fridge, you’ll end up with a dense, nutty, chocolatey fudge that rivals the real thing in texture but is just sweet enough.
If you’re nervous about the avocado, don’t be. You won’t taste it, but it will deliver the decadent creaminess that butter usually lends to fudge. Just be sure that the avocado is fully blended with the almond butter and maple syrup before adding the other ingredients because no one wants their fudge streaked with greenish-brown.
And while it’s fine to eat at room temperature, this fudge does need to be chilled in the fridge for at least an hour before cut, and you can store it in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, for at least a week. Pack a square in your kid’s lunch, take it to work for an afternoon treat, or do as I did and bring some to the beach on a 90-degree day. It’ll get a little melty and a little sandy…just the way fudge should be.