If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you will love these Gluten Free Raspberry Fudge Flowers. While I adore chocolate I have always been put off by the intense sweetness of fudge. I know some people are crazy about fudge but I think the amount of sugar in most fudge recipes masks the depth of flavor for which chocolate is known. These pretty little dessert flowers have the consistency of fudge but without loads of added sugar, which, with the help of a couple of tablespoons of strong coffee, allows all of the chocolaty goodness to shine through. Except for 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur (which you can leave out if desired), there is no refined sugar in this recipe. All of the sweetness is derived from the natural sugars in the dates, which are combined with the other ingredient to create a healthier alternative to traditional fudge. A 1.5 oz. piece of fudge has about 150 calories and somewhere around 29 grams of sugar. By comparison these Raspberry Fudge Flowers have 130 calories and a mere 7 grams of sugar. That is a huge difference in sugar content! And, they are gluten free and require no cooking to boot! This recipe was inspired by the popular Lara Bar recipes that are all over the food blogosphere. I experimented with peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (and various combinations thereof) but found that cashews produce a texture most similar to fudge – soft and chewy. Serve these with dollops of whipped cream and you will be in (a healthier) fudge heaven!
Dates are the sweet chewy fruits of desert palms and are known as “candy that grows on trees”. Sometimes dates will dry out a bit causing the outer layer of skin to become a little tough. If you microwave them on high for 30 seconds this will soften them up a bit so that your blender or food processor doesn’t have to work so hard. You can also boil 2 cups of water, set the dates in a shallow bowl, and pour the water on top of them. Let them sit for 3-5 minutes in the hot water then drain and proceed with the recipe. It’s important to use unsweetened flaked coconut and unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. The sugars in the dates provide all the sweetness needed.
Similarly, be sure to use unsalted cashews. I always check the ingredient label to make sure there is no salt added as some jars are not as clearly marked as this one. Put all of the ingredients, except the raspberries, in a high speed blender such as a Vitamix, or in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Using the highest/most powerful speed setting process the mixture until it is well combined and mostly smooth and fudgy looking. You may still see small flecks of cashews and coconut – that’s ok, just make sure there are not any big clumps. If there are continue to process the mixture until they are gone.Dump the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap (to prevent sticking) and roll the dough out to about a 3/8 inch thickness. Use a 3 inch flower cookie cutter to stamp out the fudge flowers. You may have to re-roll the scraps of dough a few times but you should have enough for 10 flowers. Cut out a small circle in the middle of each flower. The bottom of a standard piping tip is the perfect size for the center cut out into which the fresh raspberries are inserted.
Ease a fresh raspberry into the center of each flower. Push the berry down into the hole just a little bit, until it’s secure.
These are as delicious as they are pretty!
- 5 ounces pitted dates, about 1¼ cups
- 7 ounces unsalted cashews, about 1½ cup
- ½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons strong brewed coffee
- 1 Tablespoon raspberry (framboise) liqueur such as Chambord
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 fresh raspberries
- Microwave the dates on high for 30 seconds OR place them in a shallow bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit in the water for 3-5 minutes, than drain.
- Put the dates, cashews, coconut, cocoa, coffee, raspberry liqueur, vanilla, and salt into a high speed blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process on high until all the ingredients are combined and the mixture is mostly smooth.
- Dump the mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and roll out to a ⅜ inch thickness. With a 3 inch flower cookie cutter, stamp out flower shapes. Using the end of a standard size piping tip cut out a circle in the center of each flower. Ease a raspberry into the center of each flower. Serve with fresh whipped cream.