Warm, chocolatey, just sweet enough, high fiber, and with little pockets of gooey melted chocolate chips!   My sister-in-law posted a similar recipe on Facebook.  It sounded delicious and had very little added sugar.  The original recipe called for applesauce instead of oil, but I'm a fan using healthy fats alongside carbohydrates so that my kids and I aren't hungry again an hour after breakfast!  It helps you process the fiber in these, too.

Chocolate Fudge Banana Muffins - makes 12
(can be gluten-free and dairy-free)

3 medium bananas, very ripe, mashed (about 1 cup)
2 eggs
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 c. oil or melted butter (I like coconut oil in these)
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 c. oat flour (or you can use all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
chocolate chips, optional (1/4- 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.  
Whisk together eggs and brown sugar.  Mix in the oil, cocoa powder, and vanilla.  Mix the dry ingredients and add to the wet.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide between the muffin cups; bake about 17-23 minutes, or until the top of a muffin springs back lightly when gently pressed.
 
 
Bonus- this fudge can be made dairy-free and still have that creamy, melt-in-your mouth text ure!

This week in Joyschool I taught the kids about the process of making chocolate.  I had a library book that had pictures of each step, from cacao tree to wrapped chocolate bars, and I brought hands-on things, as well.  They got to see, smell, and taste bits of roasted cocoa beans (didn't like them!- it's like eating unsweetened chocolate but crunchier.), see and smell cocoa powder, see, smell, and have cocoa butter rubbed into their skin, we melted and molded chocolates (cute little Easter shapes).... and then made this baggie fudge.  If you're making it yourself or have careful children, a single bag is fine, but for this group that includes a few 3-year-old boys, I double-bagged it. :)  This could be a fun Family Home Evening activity AND treat. 
Our batch was made using the coconut oil and coconut cream, since 3 of the kids can't have dairy.

I had brought walnuts in the shell to use in the fudge, but the kids had so much fun cracking the nuts first and eating the bits inside that they were all gone before the fudge was ready.  It's good fudge either way!

Baggie Fudge
1/2 c. coconut oil or butter, softened or melted
1/2 c.  cocoa powder
1/3 c. coconut cream, OR 1/4 c. water and  1/2 c.  nonfat dry milk powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 lb. powdered sugar (about 4 cups unsifted)
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Put the ingredients in a gallon-sized ziptop bag.  Put this bag inside another bag if  it seems like a good idea.  Squish, knead, or pound the bag until everything is well mixed.  (Giving the kids 30 -second turns seemed to work the best- and gave them practice counting.)  

Once it's mixed, squish the mixture into a rectangular shape near the top, making the rectangle about an inch narrower on each side than the bag.  Put the bag on a cutting board or similar surface.  Cut down one side of the bag and across the bottom with scissors. Cut fudge into squares, or use small cookie cutters to make cute shapes.  Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

If fudge is a little too soft, let it chill in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.



 
 
Are you trying to eat healthier but really, really crave fudge?  This one uses healthy fats and honey.   It's also dairy-free and gluten-free for those who need to avoid those.  

Avocados are high in three amazing fats: both phytosterols and PFAs (polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols) are documented to be anti-inflammatory, and oleic acid, which helps our digestive tract absorb fat-soluble nutrients.  Coconut oil is healthy for many reasons, including being anti-inflammatory and having a high lauric acid  and medium-chain fatty acids content.  
But enough about that.

The big question is, doesn't avocado totally mess up the flavor here?

No.  I have a pretty discriminating set of tastebuds, and the only way I can detect the avocado is by a faint fruity flavor.  Because of that, some of my favorite variations of this fudge include fruit:  orange zest or oil, chopped dried cherries (and toasted almonds!), and the like.  This fudge is really only a slightly thicker version of my ChocolateTruffle Pie.

The recipe below includes both orange and pecans; if you don't want them, just omit the pecans and orange zest or orange oil.

You can also use this recipe to make truffles; cut into squares, then quickly roll each square into a ball; roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts to coat.

Orange-Pecan Fudge            makes about 3/4 of a pound 

1 ripe avocado, peel and pit removed
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. water
zest from half of an orange (about 1/2 Tbsp.), or 2 drops orange essential oil
3/4 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt (1/16 tsp.)
1/4 c. toasted chopped pecans

Line a 5 1/2 x 3 loaf pan (or 2-cup rectangular or square container) with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.   Set aside.
Put the water, zest (should be about 1 Tbsp), honey, coconut oil, cocoa, avocado, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor.  Run on high for 1-2 minutes, until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan.  Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours until set.   

Store in the refrigerator or freezer.  If freezing this, let pieces thaw about 10 minutes before serving.  I don't know how long it will keep in the fridge because it gets eaten so quickly.   But the one piece that survived us for a week and a half was still good.  Any longer than a week, though, it'd be better preserved in the freezer.  Wrap tightly.

 
 
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Yogurt Cheese

This is 'strained yogurt', the same thing as authentic Greek yogurt;  use it like cream cheese in recipes, or eat it with a little jam or fruit.   Add a bit of salt if subbing this for cream cheese.  
Since the whey- which contains the lactose, or milk sugar- is drained off, you end up with a product that has twice as much protein and quite a bit less milk sugar.

All you do is pour plain yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander, set it over a bowl overnight, and check on it in the morning.  You can either leave it on the counter or do this in the fridge. The longer it drains, the thicker it gets.  It works best with homemade, unthickened yogurt, since added thickeners make it hard for the whey to separate away from the solids.  If you don't have cheesecloth, use something else that liquid can drain through but the solids won't, like the superstrong paper towels, or a clean flat-woven dish towel.
16 ounces of plain yogurt will yield about 8 ounces each of yogurt cheese and whey.  You can substitute whey in place of buttermilk in recipes.  I use it for part of the liquid when making bread.


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Sweetened Condensed Milk- use it to make my favorite, Two-Minute Fudge recipe.  For the closest version to a 14-oz can, use

1/2 c. (non-instant) powdered milk
1/2 c. water
1 c.  sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
To read more about making it or how to use it, see here.
If you happen to need it, here's a recipe for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk 

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Easy No-Bake Cheesecake  

Another great way to use sweetened condensed milk!

 
 
Do you want something simple to give to friends and neighbors?  Here are some quickies; if you have more time you might like Candy Cane Bread, shaped and decorated like a candy cane.  
Recipes for the fudge and the gingerbread syrup are below.

For the jars to pour syrup in, I save jars through the year: spaghetti sauce jars, pickle jars, jelly jars,baby food jars, peanut butter containers (don't use those for anyone with peanut allergies!)...
After Christmas, anything that didn't get used gets put in the recycle bin, and I have cupboard space once again!
Cherry-Almond Fudge

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
7 oz. marshmallow creme (may use 7 oz. marshmallows instead)
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. cherry flavor  (I used wild cherry, and it was amazing!)
1/4 c. dried cherries or cranberries, finely chopped
1/2 c. almonds, chopped

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment or foil; butter well if using foil.  Set aside.  Combine the sugar and milk in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring often, then boil for 3 minutes.  Pull off the heat, then add marshmallow creme, chocolate chips, almond and cherry extracts, and dried cherries.  Stir until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan, and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm, then cut into squares.  Store airtight at room temperature.

Makes just over 2 pounds.


Gingerbread Syrup 
(notice this recipe is basically the same as above, only without the marshmallow, and with extra milk to make it pourable)  If you don't have cinnamon chips, use white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips, then add 1-2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon, to taste.


2 c. sugar (can use brown sugar for deeper flavor, or add 1 Tbsp. molasses)
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. milk
12 oz. cinnamon chips (I used Hershey's brand)
1 tsp. ground ginger OR 1 drop ginger essential oil
1/2 tsp. ground cloves OR 1 toothpick of clove oil
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. pecans, toasted and finely chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and milk to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Stir in cinnamon chips, ginger, cloves, salt, and stir until smooth.  Stir in pecans, then pour syrup into jars.  Store in the refrigerator.  Warm before serving.  (If too thick, microwave briefly.)

Makes about 3 1/2 cups.




 
 
This is a dairy-free version of sweetened condensed milk, using honey as the sweetener.  For some other ways to make a substitute for sweetened condensed milk, including some with dairy, see here
It doesn't need cooked, which not only makes it super fast to make, but is great if you want to use raw honey and keep the enzymes.
Due to the fiber in this recipe, it won't be as smooth as the store product, but it is still thick, creamy, and sweet

This has one rather obscure ingredient: coconut butter.  That, however, is super easy to make, and will store at room temperature for a long time.  Months, at least.  
Coconut butter is plain, unsweetened coconut ('macaroon coconut') that has been pureed in a blender or food processor for several minutes, until it becomes liquid and creamy.  It, like coconut oil, will solidify at temperatures under about 75 F, but can be gently heated to liquefy again.  If you make your own, use at least 2 cups of coconut to begin with so there's enough in the blender or bowl to puree.  This much will give you about 1 cup of coconut butter.  If you want other ideas on using this coconut butter, see here or the Tropical Traditions recipe blog, where they call it Coconut Cream Concentrate.

No-cook Honey-Sweetened Condensed (coconut) Milk
Makes about 14 ounces

2/3 c. honey (7 oz. by weight)
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, warm but not hot
1/2 c. coconut butter (also known as coconut cream concentrate), warmed



Add the warm water and coconut cream to the liquid measuring cup you have the honey in. Whisk together.

Mixture will thicken as it cools to room temperature, but can be used right away.

To thicken faster, cover and put it in the fridge.

This can be used any way that you'd use regular sweetened condensed milk, EXCEPT in the no-bake cheesecakes that call for lemon juice.  It won't thicken up properly there, because the condensed (dairy) milk thickens by the lemon juice curdling it.  Coconut milk doesn't.

Try it with the Two-Minute Fudge recipe!
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One tablespoon of this sweetened condensed milk contains 1g of fiber, 1g of protein, 7g fat, and 19g sugars.  The regular canned stuff has no fiber, 3g protein, 3g fat, and 22g sugar.

So this recipe is higher in fat, but it's a healthy fat.  It's lower in sugar, plus contains coconut fiber, which has shown an ability to reduce the glycemic load of foods by slowing glucose release.
 
 
This is a variation for a previous post, Creamy Chocolate Blender Frosting
which uses unsweetened chocolate instead.

Chocolate Blender Frosting
using milk chocolate chips

2 c. milk chocolate chips (1 bag, 11-12 oz.)
¾ c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
⅓ c. sugar
4 Tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)

Chop chocolate, then put everything into a blender.  Blend on low until better chopped, then scrape down sides with a spatula. Blend on high until it becomes dark and smooth.  This may take about ten minutes, or only two minutes in a Vitamix or similar.   Makes 3 cups.

*TIP* to clean that last bit of frosting out of your blender, add about 3/4 cup of hot milk to it (depends on how much frosting is still in there), cover and blend.  The milk will clean the blender better, and will give you some very creamy hot chocolate!

For different flavors, try using a different extract than vanilla- maple, orange, rum, mint.  You could also add a teaspoon of frozen concentrated orange juice, a couple Tbsp. of maraschino cherry juice in place of the same amount evaporated milk (along with maybe a 1/2 tsp. almond extract).  Or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon for a nice winter flavor.

Any extra frosting may be used as a base for some hot chocolate: 2-4 Tbsp. per cup of milk, use a blender to mix. Add more plain cocoa powder if you like.  (Personally, I use up my extra by putting it on a spoon...)

Chocolate-hazelnut:
In the blender, combine 1-2 cups toasted hazelnuts (5-10 oz- depends on how nutty you want this) and  1 1/3 c. evaporated milk; blend nuts and milk together first.  Reduce milk chocolate chips to 1 cups, increase salt to 1/4- 1/2 tsp. salt, use 1/3 c. sugar and 4 T. butter.   Blend until smooth.  Taste, then add more sugar if you want this sweeter, up to 3/4 cup total.

Click here for more variations- caramel, coconut-chocolate, butterscotch, or peanut butter frostings.
 
 
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Fresh fudge, made whatever flavor you feel like.  This one is Gingerbread Fudge.

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Truffles, the same on the inside but rolled in cocoa, powdered sugar, and sprinkles.

I love making treats; it makes me very popular with my children and the neighbors!  Every Christmas season I make 'goodie plates' with my family, and take them to neighbors, teachers, and friends. We try to get them done by the first or second week of December.  This way mine are distributed before anyone has overindulged and decreased in their appreciation for sugar.  So far we've made lots of bread, caramels, truffles, and fudge.   See here for the candy recipes.
Below the list are photos and instructions for making a fun layered and swirled Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.
True to form, this includes basic recipes, then how to tweak them to get new flavors.  Here's what's in that file:
Buttercream Fondant
Fondant centers

Pecan logs

English Toffee

Fudge

Two-Minute Fudge

Milk Chocolate Fudge

Peanut Butter or Butterscotch Fudge
Vanilla Fudge
Cherry Vanilla Fudge
Cookies and Creme Fudge
Orange Creme Fudge (Creamsicle)
Caramel Swirl Fudge
Candy Bar Fudge
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge
Mint Layer Fudge
Orange-Pecan Fudge
Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge
Rocky Road Fudge
S’mores fudge
Strawberry Fudge
Strawberry ‘Truffle Layer’ Fudge
Toasted Coconut Fudge
Wonka Bar Fudge
Five Minute Fudge
Easy Fudge
Old-Time Fudge
Blue Ribbon Fudge
Quick Penuche
Maple-nut Fudge
Maple-nut Goodies
Molasses Fudge/Gingerbread Fudge
Quick Centers for Pecan Logs
Truffles
Milk Chocolate Truffles
White Chocolate Truffles
Whipped Truffles
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For this batch of chocolate-peanut butter fudge, I used the Five Minute Fudge recipe but split the batch in half after adding the marshmallow.  Half of it got peanut butter, half of it got chocolate chips.  I spread the peanut butter layer into a lined pan, then topped it with the chocolate mixture.

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Lining the pan with waxed paper or foil, buttered, makes it much easier to cut the fudge when finished. 

To make the peanut butter swirl, drop several small spoonfuls of plain peanut butter on top.

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Tap the pan on the counter to get the peanut butter to flatten into the fudge.

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Drag a knife or spoon back and forth through it to swirl a bit.

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It's best to not break it up too much.  Tap the pan on the counter again to flatten the top.

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Chill until it's firm, then lift the whole batch out.  Put it on a cutting board, and cut into squares.