White Christmas was a family favourite in our home until I changed to a healthier lifestyle. It's taken several tries to come up with a healthy paleo version minus the copha, icing sugar and sulphur ladened dried fruit. I found that the addition of blended cashews produced a yummy fudge texture, hence the name White Christmas Fudge. Enjoy!
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Line a 27 x 17cm slice tin with baking paper, leaving a small overhang of paper for easy removal.
Soak cashews in filtered water for 2 - 3 hours, drain and rinse well. (Don't skip this stage). Add cashews to a food processor and process for appropriately 3 minutes, stopping a couple of times to scrape down sides of bowl. It's ready when you have a smooth creamy paste/butter.
Heat a small saucepan over medium - low heat. Melt cacao butter and coconut oil, stirring often then remove from the heat as soon as the oils are melted.
Add honey, vanilla and melted oils to the cashew butter and blend in the food processor until the mixture is well incorporated.
Add the coconut, pistachios, cranberries, apricots and salt to a large bowl and mix well. Pour in the cashew and oil mixture and stir well making sure all the ingredients are moistened and well incorporated.
Transfer the mixture into the lined tin. Spread mixture out evenly using a spatula dampened with water to prevent sticking. Place a piece of baking paper over the mixture and use a glass to roll over the surface to create a smooth finish then remove paper.
Place in the fridge or freezer to set. Once set remove from the tin by using the paper overhang and place on a large chopping board. Use a large knife to cut 8 x 4 rows, making 32 squares.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge, serve cold straight from the fridge.
Cashews work well in a paleo lifestyle, as they are so versatile. They can be used to make dairy free milk, cashew butter, cashew cream or sour cream, dips and many more. Where possible, it is best to soak nuts before using to assist with digestion. Eat them raw but in moderation as they are quite high in omega 6. Stay away from store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.
Raw organic cacao butter is also know as chocolate butter. It is used to make chocolate, truffles and desserts. Raw cacao butter is made by cold pressing ground cacao to prevent the lost of vital nutrients and separates the thick and creamy butter from the fibrous powder. It sets firm and gives a rich chocolate flavour. Choose certified organic, cold pressed and non-gmo, my favourite brands are Lovingearth or Navitas Naturals. Cacao butter is high in antioxidants, healthy fats and is a good mood support.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
In the majority of my recipes where I use dried coconut, I use finely-shredded desiccated coconut (unless I have stated otherwise). Make sure you are purchasing unsweetened and organic - many regular brands contain preservatives (sulphur dioxide).
The pistachio nut is a member of the cashew family. The fruit has a hard, creamish exterior shell and the edible kernel or seed has a mauvish skin and light green flesh. Pistachios are a rich source of protein and dietary fiber, they also contain B vitamins, thiamin and calcium. I use raw pistachio nuts (kernels) in my recipes.
Choose organic dried cranberries that contain no preservatives (sulphur). Cranberries have a tangy sweet flavour and deliver a big healthy dose of antioxidants. My favourite organic brands are Edan or Dr Superfoods, which can be purchase from health foods stores or online.
Dried apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, copper, dietary fibre and potassium. Choose organic dried apricots that have been dried naturally without preservatives (sulphur free). The colour will be darker, as sulphur dioxide (E220) has not been used to preserve the colour. My favourite brand is Fruit Bliss, the apricots are infused with water and keep lovely and juicy.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.