Cacao and Orange Fudge Slice

It was a Thursday afternoon and I had a craving for something rich and in the chocolate realm. That's how this slice came about. Lunch was a salad with grated carrots, quinoa and other good, roasted things... and I recall that Ben wasn't to be home until around 8:30pm. It was mid-December, a busy time of year, and dinners were late, which felt very European. I was going to make an omelette, with prosciutto and provolone. I remember this because it was just after Ben's birthday and our fridge was full of cured meat and cheese, party food. That omelette was good. But first, there was a snack...

Raw cacao met a few other ingredients in the food processor. We had a bounty of oranges leftover from Jackson's cocktail show, so they went in too in the form of zest and juice. I formed a sweet slab and threw it in the freezer, telling myself I could enjoy some in half an hour after doing the laundry and invoicing. Bribing oneself with chocolate is a cliched move but a brilliant one. And it always works. I was surprised by how tasty this cool, nutrient-packed fudge was, so I grabbed my camera and took a few quick photographs (without even bothering to clean up the fudge from under my nails) before finishing the rest, leaving, oh, just a slither for Ben. Real life, all of it.

Though I use dates here, I distinctly remember feeling tired of nuts (too much chewing, perhaps?). Usually the two go hand in hand when talking "raw/vegan desserts", aka expensive, high calorie deliciousness. I'm so into it. But on this day, I couldn't be bothered with chunky nuts, so opted for a simpler line-up of ingredients that included some conveniently pre-ground almonds, sticky medjool dates, raw cacao, orange and salt. The bitterness of the cacao balances the sweetness of the dates rather splendidly, and the orange flavour really shines through, brightening the whole situation.

This slice is rich and energising. It's smooth and fudge-like in texture, provided you blitz everything keenly. I'm prone to impatience, and as a result tend to end up with lumps. Regardless, your afternoon self will be pleased if you keep this fudge in your freezer. It helps you appreciate those late evening meals, tempering any impatience you might feel. Try it, bribe yourself with chocolate, perhaps a chunk of this cacao and orange fudge slice, then enjoy some stellar productivity in the letter posting/dinner preparing/laundry folding realm. Just remember to clean the fudge out of your nails first.

Cacao and Orange Fudge Slice

80g pitted Medjool Dates
1 tablespoon Almond Meal
1/4 cup Raw Cacao
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons fresh Orange Juice
Orange Zest to taste (I used a whole orange)

1. Blitz the pitted dates in a food processor until a smooth paste. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz until combined.
2. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning and texture as desired. You want it to be balanced, quite sweet and moist but not too wet.
3. Pour into a small baking dish (I used a 10cm square baking dish lined with baking paper) or mould or whatever vessel you desire (little cupcake patties, even), cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm and formed. Cut into portions and eat straight from the freezer or once defrosted for a few minutes (this will vary on how hot your climate is).

Heidi xo