What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Have your holiday fudge and eat it, too
Special to the Tribune
It’s fudge time again! This time around, however, I’m turning my back on white chocolate and going for feel-good dark chocolate to help get its health perks. Actually during the past week I ate a lot of chocolate, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables paired with herbal teas and coffee. These superfoods can help you to chill during high anxiety times, whether it is below freezing temps, icy roads, or holiday stressors at work or play.
While I am on the home stretch of completing the second edition of “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil” book, that wasn’t the mega culprit. Coping with a post-neutered energetic Aussie pup had me climbing the walls and whining a lot. During the past 10 days, I noticed my eating habits changed a lot. I was turning to decadent fudge. The fact is, good-for-you ingredients in dark chocolate can provide extra energy, boost feel-good endorphins, and even calm your nerves. I’m not going to tell you that fudge is the remedy to dealing with a Type-A dog clad in a hard plastic Elizabethan cone and told to stay put upon command to heal, but chocolate helped me deal a bit better.
But note, you cannot live on fudge alone. The way to stay lean and healthy during a fudgeathon is to incorporate nuts because they boast healthy essential fats with the chocolate, preferably dark. If you eat fudge, like I did, and indulge in big meals and other holiday sugary, high fat goodies — all bets are off. So, to keep it together, balance it out by eating nutrient-dense power foods — the raw stuff caveman ancestors ate to survive when dealing with daily challenges to survive.
No-Cook Dark Chocolate Fudge with Treats
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon European-style butter
3/8 cup organic half-and-half
1 cup premium dark chocolate chips
3 cups premium confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or almond extract
Toppings: almonds, sliced, pecans, chopped, walnuts, chopped, peppermint, finely crushed
In a microwave-type bowl, melt butter (about 40 seconds), half-and -half, and chocolate. Pour into a stainless steel bowl mixer and beat till smooth. Add vanilla. Set aside. Use melted butter to lightly grease a square 8-inch-by-8-inch glass dish. Spread fudge evenly (use a large spatula or spoon dampened with hot water to smooth easier). Cover with foil and chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Cut into squares and top with nuts and/or candy. Makes 16 servings. Place into airtight container and keep in refrigerator.
Recently, a reader of “Callie’s Cabin” wrote me and pointed out my White Chocolate Fudge did not do its fudge thing. Read: It did not get firm for her after 48 hours. But she did use milk. “No!” I told her. Please follow instructions. European-style butter (it’s higher in fat, less in water) and organic half-and-half is richer and will give you the right texture of creamy fudge squares that set in no time at all. Regarding my de-sexed puppy? Chocolate did not help soothe his cone woes — he tried to exterminate the irritating thing around his furry neck — but it helped me help him get through the 10-day ordeal. And the news is, we survived.
Motto: Include healthful low-cal, low-fat nutritious superfoods and good fatty foods so you can have your chocolate and eat it, too.
A special thanks to Alpine Animal Hospital.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. The Healing Powers of Coffee is featured by the Good Cook Book Club, and the series is sold at Walmart stores nationwide. Currently, she’s writing the Olive Oil second edition. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.