I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but as it’s the season for such things I thought I’d turn my hand to sweeties, not least because I really don’t have a penchant for dark chocolate brazils…which come my way with unerring predictability ….because I’m vegan, and therefore probably an alien who likes chocolate brazils. (No offence intended if they’re your favourites.) Nevertheless, ’tis the season for sharing, and it’s nice to have a little plate of sweet nothings for when those visitors turn up! Particularly if they say: ‘Is this really vegan?’ 🙂
First I did fudge, which is the least faff, but requires a sugar thermometer.
In my household, it’s the dry crumbly fudge that’s a major hit, but the recipe below can be adapted to make a smoother softer fudge if preferred….in fact I might try a smooth soft chocolate version before too long.
Second, I did a chocolate bonbon …. a zesty sharp lime syrup, embedded in white marzipan and coated in dark melted chocolate before scattering with cocoa powder and ground almonds. Faff alert!
Finally I threw a handful of raisins and roughly ground almonds in to the remaining melted chocolate and sprinkled with desiccated coconut for a coconut-coated fruit and nut cluster.
Scary as my chocolate decoration skills are….at least you can tell I went to art school more years ago than I care to mention! And they’ll taste the same…anyway….
CLASSIC CARAMEL FUDGE VEGAN STYLE
- 50gms. coconut oil
- 250gms. demerara sugar
- 50gms. golden syrup
- 160ml. coconut cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 scant tsp. salt
You need a sugar thermometer for this….
- Melt coconut oil, sugar, golden syrup and coconut cream in a a heavy saucepan.
- Stir regularly and bring to the boil.
- Boil until it reaches 116C, stirring more constantly the hotter it gets.
- Take off the heat and add vanilla extract and salt.
- Continue to beat until it starts to lose its glossy sheen. 5-8 mins.
- Pour into a greaseproof paper lined tray ( approx. 24cm. x 15cm.)
- When it has cooled somewhat, cut it into squares and then allow to set completely in the refrigerator.
To make a softer fudge there are three possible adaptations:
- Replace up to half the coconut oil with a vegan spread such as sunflower spread.
- And/Or replace up to 50gms. of demerara sugar with further golden syrup, matching gram for gram.
- Take it off the heat at 113C.
- Experiment to get your perfect fudge consistency.
I resisted the temptation to add anything else, such as chocolate or orange extract, coffee powder, or fruit and nuts, as I like the subtle caramelised flavour of classic fudge…..but of course this fudge can be flavoured in all sorts of ways….up to you.
ZESTY LIME AND MARZIPAN BONBONS
For the lime syrup:
- The juice of 3 limes, made up to 200ml with water
- 100 gms. sugar
- 2 tbs. *kudzu powder 20ml. water
- *Kudzu is a wonderfully smooth and delicate thickener, but 1-2 tbs. arrowroot would be an alternative.
- In a heavy small pan, add the lime juice and sugar and bring to the boil.
- Stir and simmer on a fairly high heat for 15-20 mins.
- Meanwhile, mix the kudzu thoroughly in 20ml water.
- Remove the lime syrup from the heat and add the kuzu to the syrup stirring vigorously to avoid lumpiness. Whisk if necessary.
- Return the syrup to the heat, and bring slowly to the boil and simmer until the mixture becomes less and less opaque, and starts to thicken. Continue beating and heating for a few minutes more.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
I bought ready-made vegan white marzipan.
Life is too short.
- Take 10gms. of marzipan and roll into a small ball, and then mould it into a cup shape. Place approx. 1/2 tsp of the cooled lime jelly into the cup, and close it up. It doesn’t matter if the jelly oozes little.
- Repeat until you have 16-20 jelly balls. Turn them over so the smooth side is facing up…
- Tip: It’s best to have a finger bowl of water near your bonbon-making operations as this can get a little sticky!
- Melt 100gms. of plain vegan chocolate in a bowl resting over a saucepan of boiling water. Make sure the bowl containing the chocolate does not touch the water.
- When the chocolate has melted, keep the heat below it on low, and using a toothpick or an orange stick, dip the jelly balls one at a time, in the chocolate until they are covered or partially covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip back in the bowl and then place the bonbon gently on a sheet of baking parchment.
- Repeat until all jelly balls are covered.
- Decorate: with further melted chocolate (waggle a spoon of it over the chocs like they do on the tele), cocoa powder and ground almonds.
- Have some fun…..
- Before the chocolate has completely set, but is quite cool, slice any excess carefully away around the lower edges.
So. There we are. A bit of a faff, but personally, I like sweetness to have a contrasting flavour with it, and the zing of the lime soft centre really does work brilliantly with the mellow marzipan and the bitter chocolate. Worth the faff…I’d say…
FRUIT AND NUT CLUSTERS
Waste not want not, I threw a handful of raisins and a few finely chopped almonds into the remaining melted chocolate and spooned the mix onto greaseproof paper to cool, and sprinkling with desiccated coconut before they set.
All these sweeties will keep in the fridge for weeks. Ha.
Finally, again for the flavour contrasts, they’re nice with a sharp black bitter espresso….