Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge (Dairy and Gluten free)

Mint Chocolate Fudge (dairy and gluten free)

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Velvety smooth fudge, rich in chocolate, mingled with refreshing peppermint is a must-try this season. This mint chocolate fudge is the perfect way to satisfy a craving, or finish off a hearty meal this holiday season. Even better it’s surprisingly quick to make, and can be boxed up easily to give as a lovely gift.

I am a huge fan of fudge. It’s always my go-to treat during summer vacations at the beach, and my top pick off the Christmas dessert table. The first time I made fudge at home I used Kimi’s recipe for the easiest, healthiest, most scrumptious fudge ever (also see this version using maple syrup). It definitely lived up to its name, and I have made it many times since then to satisfy those pesky little chocolate cravings. I love that her recipe, and the one I created as well, is free from refined sugar, dairy, gluten, and all other kinds of yucky ingredients the more typical fudge recipes have. This version starts with chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder for a more stable fudge for gift giving.

My 3 year old son is a major chocolate lover. He saw me pull out my bag of chips and immediately wanted to help with whatever I was doing. I purposefully made this recipe as simple as possible because, well, life can be a bit crazy with a toddler in tow…especially during the holiday season! He had so much fun helping me dump all the ingredients into a big bowl (not as much as he enjoyed trying to finished product though). I received a hearty “yum yum yummy in my tum tum tummy!” after his first bite :)

Mint Chocolate Fudge (dairy and gluten free)

There are some fantastic chocolate chips on the market that are completely allergy free, and would be a great option for this recipe. I have used the Enjoy Life Brand of chocolate chips, which are very allergy friendly, a number of times and find the flavor and texture top notch!

You can use either the (Affiliate links)  Semi-Sweet chocolate chips, or the dark chocolate chips in this recipe. Truly though, any chocolate of your choice should work, and the amount of honey you add to sweeten the recipe can be adjusted to your liking as well. I used Frontier’s Natural Mint Extract for flavoring my fudge, and it was delicious!

Homemade gifts are some of my favorite to give. Even the most frugal and simple recipe can be made extra special with its presentation. This fudge wrapped in parchment paper, tied up in colorful bakers twine, and a special box makes for a very thoughtful gift.

Other healthy, and homemade, gifts you may enjoy:

Mint Chocolate Fudge (dairy and gluten free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
 
This velvety mint chocolate fudge is simple to make, includes nourishing ingredients, and is a lovely gift to give this season!
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teapoons peppermint extract
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, and create a double boiler by placing it over a pot of lightly simmering water.
  2. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly. Stir continuously until all of the ingredients are smooth and incorporated.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture into a parchment paper lined dish. If desired, top with crushed candy cane pieces. Refrigerate until hardened, and cut into small square pieces to serve.

 

Vanilla Lemonade (A whole fruit vitamin C rich beverage)

Lemonade with vanilla and whole vitamin C powder. A hydrating way to get your daily vitamin C powder in that is delicious too!This lemonade is a wonderful combination of tasty sweet and tang, plus it offers a hearty dose of vitamin C from whole food sources! It’s lovely for drinking when fighting off a cold or illness (or for hydrating if sick).

This lemonade is unique for a couple of reasons – first, it uses peeled whole lemons for more potential health benefits (and you end up using fewer lemons, which is frugal too!). Secondly, the vanilla is amazing with lemons! Who knew? Thirdly, I add a whole fruit source of vitamin C to make this drink a wonderful, whole food source of vitamin C!

Today is the first day of December, and we are getting in the Christmas spirit over here. Our tree is up, and I have running lists of holiday plans for us (including fun posts coming up for this blog!). But I am also trying to keep us well during this holiday season so that we can enjoy them. This little drink is just part of my “stay well” eating/drinking plan.

There is some controversy over how much vitamin C we should optimally consume every day, and whether we should use any vitamin C supplements or not. Personally, I have used a more typical vitamin C pill, but I feel most comfortable with it getting it from real food, or concentrated real food powder. For those of us who follow Dr. Price’s dietary recommendations, getting a whole food source of vitamin C in every day is part of his protocol. This lovely refreshing drink is one great way to do so.

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This was inspired by the “Singing Canary” Trim Healthy Mama drink, but is a simplified version (I choose not to use turmeric or protein powder), My version also uses a whole food source of vitamin C, rather than a synthetic version. My version also contains fewer milligrams of vitamin C in total.

Vitamin C and pregnant women and nursing mothers

One thing to double check with your health care provider about is how much vitamin from any sort of supplement you should consume when pregnant or nursing. I have gotten different answers on this question. The most conservative response is probably given by Medline Plus (a service from the National Library of Medicine)

They say, “Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vitamin C is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken in the recommended amount of 120 mg per day. Taking too much vitamin C during pregnancy can cause problems for the newborn baby.”

Two dieticians answer that question here, a summery being that eating vitamin C rich food and taking a multi-vitamin will give you plenty of vitamin C (and taking large doses could be harmful for your baby), and the second opinion being that you shouldn’t take over 2,000 MG of added vitamin C per day.

You can also get helpful charts for general info on recommended amounts of vitamin C (from diet or supplements) from WebMD, where they also point out that, “A substantial number of Americans may have low intake levels of vitamin C due to the inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables.”

The point is this – vitamin C is an important vitamin, but you can over do it, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. Many midwives recommend the higher amount (2000 milligrams per day), so there is a wide range of advice in how much to take when pregnant is optimal.

For the rest of us, it makes sense to me to get our vitamin C from food as much as possible – which is why I love this recipe!

Vitamin C from lemons in recipe: According to WhFoods.com, ¼ cup of lemon or lime juice contains 23.61 MG of vitamin C (and a small amount of folate as well!). But the pith and the peel has even higher concentrations of certain elements that could be especially healthful. Intriguing research has shown that those who consume citrus peels have a lower risk of skin cancers (read here and here), and research shows that some of the elements could be helpful in preventing breast and colon cancers. So, save those citrus peels from this recipe to use in other ways!

Whole Food Vitamin C

If you’d like to up the vitamin C content even more, you can do what I do by adding some of this Vitamin C powder made from acerola cherries. From Traditional Market, “Freeze drying and spray drying changes the acerola’s pH and reduces its vitamin levels. This vitamin C is processed with a proprietary gentle low heat method. As a result, the natural cherry color flavor and smell remains unchanged. Lab tests confirm that no vitamin C is lost during the process. Each bottle contains at least 25,000 mg of only naturally occurring vitamin C per bottle. This is truly natural vitamin C—there is no ascorbic acid added or synthetic vitamins added at all. It’s just powdered organic cherry.”

I love this stuff! It also works well in smoothies. A ¼ teaspoon has 250 mg of vitamin C, so to get 2000 mgs, I use 2 teaspoons. It has such a mild flavor, that you could easily use less as well.

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/VitaminC

Ingredient links:

Gluten free vanilla extract
stevia
raw honey
Whole Fruit Vitamin C Powder

Vanilla Lemonade (A whole fruit vitamin C rich beverage)
 
 
You could also add 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1-3 teaspoons MCT oil, and a small amount of protein powder, if desired.
Ingredients
  • 2 lemons, peeled (white pith left on)
  • 1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whole Food Vitamin C extract of choice (I use this one), I use ¼-2 teaspoons worth, depending on how much vitamin C I am wanting.
  • Stevia or honey to taste
  • Dash of unrefined salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Slice the peeled lemons into 4 pieces, and remove any seeds. Place in a blender with 3 cups of water and blend well, until smooth.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve or a nut bag into a large rim jar or bowl.
  3. Pour back into jar, and add the vanilla extract, optional salt, if using, and stevia or honey to taste (start low and build up). Blend briefly, and then pour over a 2 quart jar full of ice. Add water to reach the rim of the jar. Enjoy!

 

Grain Free Caramel Apple Tart

Grain Free Caramel Tart (egg free and dairy free too!)
This tart has a lovely shortbread crust, and a sweet apple filling made all the better with dairy free caramel sauce. Sweetened lightly with coconut sugar, this healthier treat was a real win in this household! You don’t have to have any food allergies to enjoy this, but it is to grain free and gluten free, dairy free, and egg free!

I have a sweet daughter who can’t have gluten, dairy or eggs, and sometimes that is a challenge. We had been doing gluten and dairy free for a while, but when we found out about eggs, some of our favorite recipes were no longer useable. Thankfully, I have slowly been adding back in recipes that we love that are delicious and fit her needs. This year, I really wanted to figure out an apple pie or tart recipe that wasn’t stressful to make. I’ve made apple pies in the past for her, and they were wonderful, but also a lot of work. (Apple is her favorite pie/tart!).

Why you should own a tart pan

This year I went for the tart, and it was SO easy to make, and incredibly delicious too! That’s a great combination in my mind. We are looking forward to enjoying this at holiday meals. And if you don’t have a tart pan, get one! While I have been weeding out items from my kitchen I don’t use often, I actually added in an item, a tart pan, because I realized how much I was missing out by not having one (easy delicious desserts that make allergy friendly desserts stress-free!).

I ended up buying (Amazon links are affiliate) this tart pan after looking at what was available at local stores and am really happy with it. It’s a stainless steel 9 inch pan. I also love the rectangular versions such as this this rectangular pan, and will probably add that into my collection as well.

For this recipe, you need only three components. The crust (if you can make cookies, you can make this crust, plus no rolling needed), my uber easy dairy-free caramel sauce (or caramel sauce of your choice), and then the apple filling.

I would recommend serving it with whipped cream or ice cream, and the leftover caramel sauce. Yum!

Recipes:

Maple Sweetened Whipped Cream
How to make coconut whipped cream with an ISI dispenser
Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Chai Coconut Milk Ice Cream

A word on ingredients:

I’ve tried this crust in a variety of recipes recently. The combination of almond flour and tapioca starch works amazingly well in many recipes (like these Grain Free Mexican Wedding Cookies). I do use a finely ground almond flour (I used this brand). I’m not positive that a more coarsely ground flour would work the same. I also tried out a combination of using non-hydrogenated palm shorting, a combination of butter and non-hydrogenated palm shortening and butter, and all butter, and found that our favorite was the all butter version. If you need this recipe to be completely dairy-free, use the palm shortening option. I recommend this one or this one. Firm coconut oil is another great option; it’s just a little more finicky to work with in a recipe like this one.

I love the use of coconut sugar in this recipe as it lends itself naturally to a caramel flavor, so it enhances the caramel sauce. Yum!

While deceptively simple to make, this easy tart has so much flavor! I used Honeycrisp apples, which were perfect in this recipe. But you can use other excellent cookies apples as well, such as green apples, pink ladies, etc. I used a nine inch pan tart.

This amazing Grain Free Caramel Apple Tart is also egg free and dairy free! A delicious, elegant dessert from The Nourishing Gourmet.

Grain Free Caramel Apple Tart
 
Author:
 
While deceptively simple to make, this easy tart has so much flavor! I used Honeycrisp apples, which were perfect in this recipe. But you can use other excellent cookies apples as well, such as green apples, pink ladies, etc. I used a nine inch pan tart. Serves 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of finely ground almond flour
  • ⅓ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice, such as unrefined cane sugar, organic evaporated cane sugar, maple sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon unrefined salt
  • ⅓ cup cold butter, or non-hydrogenated palm shortening (for a dairy-free version, use one of the palm shortenings listed above – firm coconut oil could also work, but is a little more finicky)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 large Honeycrisp apples
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar ((or sweetener of choice, such as unrefined cane sugar, organic evaporated cane sugar, maple sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour, arrowroot flour, or organic cornstarch
  • 2-3 tablespoons of caramel sauce
Instructions
  1. Make caramel sauce, and set aside to cool (can make a week ahead, if desired)
  2. In a food processor, combine the almond flour and tapioca flour with the salt and sugar. If using butter, cut into cubes and add, or measure the palm shortening out and place in the food processor. Pulse until the shortening or butter is blended into the flour in small pieces (biggest pieces should be the size of a small pea). Pulse after each addition of tablespoon of cold water. (You want the dough just to be moist enough that it sticks together when you pinch the dough into a small ball. I found that two tablespoons was just enough.)
  3. Press into the tart pan, making sure that there is a good ¼ inch or so of dough pressed along the side all around the tart pan. This will help make the tart more stable once cooked. Place in fridge. (you can prepare this hours ahead of time, if desired, just cover).
  4. Preheat oven to 375F.
  5. Peel the apples, core them, and then thinly slice. Toss them in a medium sized bowl with the lemon juice, sugar, and tapioca starch. Take the tart pan out and artfully fan out the apple slices in the pan in a circular pattern (if using a circular pan). You want the apple slices to be angled, but not flat (as you wouldn’t be able to fit many slices in that way). We only had a couple slices of apple leftover. Don’t pour the juice from the bottom of the bowl over the apples.
  6. Take the previously prepared caramel sauce, and brush on caramel sauce over all of the apples.
  7. Place in oven and cook for 40-70 minutes, or until the apples are fork tender, and the crust is cooked. I covered with foil at 40 minutes to keep the crust from over browning.
  8. Take out of the oven and cool thoroughly before removing the sides of the tart pan. Slice, and enjoy plain, or with whipped cream or ice cream, served with extra caramel sauce. Enjoy!

 

Grain Free Pumpkin Recipes Fit for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

grain free, gluten free, pumpkin

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy pumpkin! These grain free, gluten free pumpkin desserts are lovely.

Pumpkin is one of the flavors of fall for good reason – There are so many delicious ways to enjoy it! Whether you are looking for a grain-free pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars or a dairy free pumpkin spice latte, there are some lovely, favorite recipes shared below. They are making me ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    
Am I the only one that can’t believe that the holiday season is upon us? Where has this year gone? We are looking forward to the holidays, and our recent cold weather has helped get us into the spirit of the season.
    
As I was looking through the many recipes shared by myself and others here on The Nourishing Gourmet, I realized that there are a lot of beautiful, grain free pumpkin recipes, and that it would be fun to share them in a post altogether as a resource for you all.
    

(Related: 25 Nourishing Real Food Thanksgiving Dishes and 7 Delicious ways to use Thanksgiving Leftovers)     

 Meanwhile, I have some pumpkin puree to use, and it’s hard to decide what to make first!

    
Easy Peasy Pumpkin Puree (using a slow cooker): Speaking of which, if you are looking to make homemade pumpkin puree, I recommend this recipe as a really easy method!

 Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Apples (Grain Free with Dairy Free Options) - The Nourishing Gourmet
Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Apples: This is one of the newest recipes on the blog, shared by Natalie, and I love how creative and clever it is! No crust needed as the apples themselves create an edible dish to serve pumpkin pie in. How fun is that?
 Pumpkin Spice Cranberry No-Bake Cookies - GI 365 1 (1) (1)
Pumpkin Spice Cranberry No Bake Cookies: Pumpkin Spice cookies are studded with cranberries for a very allergy-friendly, yummy cookie that doesn’t even need an oven.
grain free pumpkin pie
 Streusel Pumpkin Pie (grain free, dairy free): This is a popular grain free pumpkin pie recipe that you will glad to see is easy to make as well!
Another option for pumpkin pie filling is this recipe for Maple and Honey Sweetened Pumpkin Pie. It makes an amazing filling, just use a grain free crust, like the above recipe, for a delicious pumpkin pie. Maple Honey Pumpkin Pie (with coconut milk)
Vegan and Paleo Ginger Snap and Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits on thenourishinggourmet.com
Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits: But why limit yourself to pie? These beautiful dairy free, grain free Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits are as beautiful as they are delicious! Thinking outside the box this holiday season is fun too.
Grain free pumpkin bars
Pumpkin Bars: What I love about making bars is that they are a more portable, easy dessert to make and serve. These grain free pumpkin bars would make a great kid-friendly addition.
Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer- www.thenourishinggourmet.com
 Nourishing Pumpkin Spice Creamer: No need to buy coffee creamer (often full of so much junk!) when you can make your own using simple recipes like this one! You can use whole milk or coconut milk in this recipe.
Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte (vegan too!)
 Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte: Speaking of coffee, this is a really yummy (and popular!) recipe for a dairy free pumpkin spice latte that is so delicious! I find it much more satisfying than those I’ve gotten out.
 Pumpkin Chai Latte made with coconut milk and paleo-friendly!
Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte: Don’t enjoy coffee? You can still enjoy a “latte” by using chai tea! I find that the spices of chai go perfectly with pumpkin, and so they marry well in this creamy dairy free drink.
Of course, many of these recipes are made even better when topped with whipped cream!
Maple whipped cream is incredibly delicious and easy to make. Plus, it's entirely sweetened with pure maple syrup!
Maple Whipped Cream: If you can handle dairy, I recommend trying out this Maple Whipped Cream. It is SO good, and it’s lightly and naturally sweetened too.
A dairy-free dream! Delicious coconut milk whipped cream
Coconut Whipped Cream: If you can’t have dairy, coconut whipped cream is an amazing alternative! We love it. You can see my regular Vanilla Whipped Cream recipe here and my Stevia Sweetened Coconut Whipped Cream recipe here.