SOS Carob: Carob Fudge

[No, this isn't the fudge.  But it does look darned tasty, doesn't it?]

Well, I had a nifty little “Flash in the Pan” post drawn up yesterday so I could share my new all-purpose GF flour mix, the one I used to make these coconut cupcakes, above.  After writing the post, I went back to my kitchen to leaf through my enormous pile of paper scraps on which I scribble recipes as I create them.  I leafted through every single one of these little scraps. . . four times.  And yet, somehow, I’ve lost the recipe! Serves me right for sticking with my chaotic, haphazard cooking methods. Grrrrr!

[I know you're in there somewhere. . . .]

So. . . . I’ll be re-testing my recipe (what I rememeber of it) over the next few days.  Once I manage to re-create it, I’ll let you know. 

In the meantime, I could really use some fudge.

The summer I was sixteen, I played mother’s helper to my cousins in Boston. Their oldest child was only 3 years younger than I was, but the chasm between a 16 year-old girl and a 13 year-old boy seemed enough to warrant a babysitter.  In reality, I didn’t do very much except keep the kids company as they swung on tree branches, swam in the local pond, played with their Hot Wheels or hit baseballs in the back yard.  Mostly, I wanted to interact with my cousins (so much older than I was, then in their 30s!) and help in the kitchen. I loved the food my cousin cooked and began to carry an orange spiral notebook around with me to record recipes I loved: Chili and Grape Meatballs, Tunnel of Fudge Bundt cake, Sock-it-To-Me Coffee Cake.

[A relic from my teenaged past.]

And then there came Irene’s Fudge-Topped Chocolate Cake.

Irene was my cousin’s mother-in-law, a powerhouse of a woman who, at age 91, was still going strong: she lived on her own in the same upper duplex she’d inhabited for almost 70 years. She still cooked all her own meals from scratch and baked desserts to bring to the grandchildren each weekend. Visiting Irene’s brownstone in Newton was like entering a time transporter: we’d ascend the 47 creaky steps and emerge, panting and breathless à la Star Trek, into a dimension of time and space that had existed unscathed 70 years before.

I was fascinated by everything in the place, from the vast collection of porcelain dolls–apparently, she had more than 100–in various poses and handmade costumes, lounging on shelves throughout the living room; to the French Provincial furniture, its glossy embroidery worn to mere threads; to the scuffed wooden floors sporting visible reminders of decades of children and grandchildren, dogs and cats, who’s skidded along their boards; to the ancient white-and-black oven and array of manually-operated to appliances like hand-held beaters or nut chopper (acquired before she had electricity), whisks, oil-stained wooden spoons and glass measuring cups so old their walls clouded up in places, no longer transparent.

Irene herself seemed a life-sized version of the dolls she collected, a human Betty Boop with hand-painted arching eyebrows and porcupine-quill lashes atop an ivory-powdered visage (which she applied daily until she died, at age 101). She was always adorned in gleaming, mismatched combinations of billboard-bright colors cinched together with a wildly patterned belt and rows of beaded necklaces swishing down to her waist.  The whole package was topped off with a daily wig in impossibly copper hues.  A true eccentric, Irene welcomed her grandkids with great joy and always had something sweet to offer us when we dropped by.  With a voice both gravelly and halting, she ushered us into the kitchen, where we invariably spied a plateful of still-warm chocolate chip cookies, or a pan of blondies, or–when we were really lucky–fudge-topped chocolate cake.

That cake was her signature confection, a deep, rich and dense single-layer sheet cake slathered with a thick layer of rich, fudgy, sweet and chocolatey topping.  I was so impressed with it that I asked for the recipe so I could add it to my spiral collection; Irene was more than happy to comply.

[Sweet!]

Once I returned home at the end of the summer, I was impatient to make the cake.  I had brought My-T-Fine pudding mix (the cooked kind, not instant) home with me (you can’t get the stuff in Canada) and went to work.  I mixed, I whipped, I salivated, I licked the beaters.  I covered the cake with fudge topping and popped it in the refrigerator.

And then. . . . . nothing but mud! The fudge wouldn’t firm up no matter what I tried.

Was it my callow inexperience in the ktichen? But I’d been baking since I was six years old! Could it be that my mother’s 11×14 inch pan wasn’t the exact size Irene had specified?  Or perhaps our eggs, or milk, or oil way up in The Frozen North was too different from the ones back in Massachusetts?  After several attempts, I enlisted the help of my aunt (who had been a professional caterer).  When she failed, too, I finally accepted the bitter reality:  Irene had not shared the true recipe.  (As it turned out, any recipe she did share with nieces, or cousins, or sisters over the years always fell flat; no one could manage to reproduce her results.)  Despite her whimsical appearance, her jolly Grandma persona, her generosity sharing the fruits of her labors, Irene turned out to be one of those women who didn’t want to share the culinary spotlight.  When she died, with almost a century of baking under her (crazy colored) belt, she took her secrets wtih her.

This fudge, my second entry in this month’s SOS Kitchen Challenge (don’t forget to enter your own recipes–you can win a copy of my latest ebook OR a bottle of pure maple syrup!)  reminded me of that long-ago topper, both in its sweetness and its texture: the perfectly smooth, authentic mouthfeel of fudge, with a thin exterior “skin” that firms up for slicing. With its indentations and creases from the plastic wrap, it may not truly resemble Irene’s masterpiece, but it was a savior for me in the early stages of the ACD, as it’s suitable for any stage of the diet, including the first one.  The recipe is from my ebook Desserts without Compromise and was a huge hit with the testers.

Go out and make this fudge.  You can even pour it over a sheet cake and dream of another summer, long ago, as you munch on the fudge-topped slices.  It’s easy to make.  And it always works, I promise.

Find other sugar-free inspiration at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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Last Year at this Time: Sunflower Butter Cups

Two Years Ago: The Ultimate Slow Food: Lupini Beans with Garlic and Olive Oil

Three Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Cocoa Nibbles (LaRaw Bars) (Gluten Free, Sugar-Free; not ACD friendly)

© Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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Comments

  1. I prefer vanilla to chocolate fudge but carob fudge sounds out of this world! Nightmare about the recipe; I always do that sort of thing, but at least we get to make this now :-)

    • Can’t say I’ve ever had vanilla fudge. . . sounds lovely. And it wasn’t sooo bad–still a good chocolate cake with dense chocolate sauce on top! ;)

      • I only heard of chocolate fudge when I saw it on people’s blogs; I always thought vanilla was how it was! I reckon just leaving the carob out of this, maybe with something to replace its dryness, and upping the vanilla essence would make lovely fudge – I might try that too!

        • I thought of that, too, but I think 1/2 cup carob is a lot to replace (unless you use powdered sugar. . . it would be great, but sadly I can’t have any). :( Let me know what you do if you play with it!

  2. Okay, I have no carob recipes to link up (strangely enough), but this one has me totally drooling. My grandma used to make one very similar, albeit a little less healthy, and it was such a special treat!!
    And I love your memories of Irene. She sounds a lot like my own grandma (who, incidentally, also took a lot of her culinary secrets to her grave). ;)

    • Your grandma made carob fudge?! I don’t know why, I always assumed it was an ingredient that didn’t even show up until the 1960s, with the hippies. . . maybe that’s just my own weird association. ;)

  3. LOL! I could swear that it was carob that she used to make. But since I was born in 72, it should have been around then. ;) I guess I will have to call my mom to make sure, but I hope my mind is not playing tricks on me! ;)

    • Yes, that makes total sense. . . I think it was MY math that was messed up, there! I was thinking about when your Grandma was little, not you! Of course she would have had carob available by the time you came around. ;)

  4. My uncle was a professional baker and guarded his recipes as well. He also gave away “decoy” recipes that didn’t work. Once he passed away, we finally found his secret recipes. It is a shame it had to come to that, but these recipes remain family specialties. :)

    • It does seem to be a pattern among really successful cooks and bakers, doesn’t it? So glad that you did find your uncle’s recipes in the end! I think it would have been more of a shame never to find them, like Irene’s.

  5. that looks amazing! I tried to make something carob for the event (it flopped) and once I re-locate my carob powder, I’d love to try this!
    regretfully, my grandma won’t give us many of her recipes, and most likely they will be lost. It’s a shame on all fronts.

    • I have to agree. . . so many great recipes taken to the grave! It’s so sad that some people feel that way (I would have preferred her to say, “Sorry, I don’t share recipes” than give an incorrect one out!). :)

  6. Wow, this looks scrumptious :) I have not made fudge in a while and cannot wait to try this recipe.

    I have carob on the brain. I initially wanted to make your lemon bars from last month, but tweaked and thought of something else and then poured carob on it, so I just submitted a recipe for Lemon Carob bars to SOS :)

  7. Eeep! Thank you for the [delicious] reminder, Ricki! I made a carob treat for this over a week ago but have been so stressed and overwhelmed with work, and then that whole birthday thing took place, that I haven’t yet posted. Must, must get it up before Tuesday!!

    P.S. I was about to get up immediately and make this, then I remembered I haven’t yet restocked my stevia. DANGNABBIT! I’m planning to order from iHerb but haven’t caught my breath to do it yet!

    • Can’t wait to see what you made. Those birthdays do take up time, don’t they? ;) Sounds like it was a great celebration!

  8. the carob fudge is a decadent recipe…mMmmm!

  9. What a great memory – I wish I had an irene in my childhood – of even that they made her house into a museum so I could visit it today – sounds wonderful! I wish I could be as enthusiastic about the carob fudge but am still having an aversion to carob despite your event – though am going to make my neighbour’s biscuit recipe which sylvia loves so maybe that will get me over the horrid bar of carob I bought from the supermarket! But I am sure I would love the fudge with cocoa!

    • It’s funny, while I have strong memories of her, they’r not necessarily so wonderful–I was a bit freaked out by all the dolls and her over-the-top makeup, actually! ;) I’m so sorry you’re not a carob fan, but the word “bar” set off alarms for me–I use the powder/flour and find that’s the best way to have carob. What kind of bar do you have? Does it have sweetener included in it? I could see how that might not work in chili (though the buckwheat is brilliant). :)

  10. I haven’t spotted carob yet in the stores around here. Maybe I’m going to try it with cocoa ;)

  11. I had to laugh when you told us all about Irene’s wily ways. You are a bit like me when it comes to scribbling down notes and recipes. I do use notebooks, which you would think would be much better, but I have so many, all around the house that I have to search them all for what I am looking for.

    • Ah, well, I feel much better–I’m not the only one who loses recipes! Still working on a way to organize better. . . . one day! ;)

  12. I loved reading about Irene. I was capitivated. You are a great storyteller.

  13. Oh I just love those teenage notes! I have a bunch of recipes in my 17 yr old handwriting from when I went to college and was asking my mom, hey, how do you make meatballs again?

  14. mmm, carob fudge. fabulous. love your old notebooks too :)

  15. Wow on Irene not giving you the real recipe. Bet you’ll find the flour mix recipe. I can’t help but do the scraps of paper routine. I lose mine, too, and sometimes can’t read my own writing. :-( Hmmm, wonder what that says? Love the looks of this fudge, Ricki!

    Shirley

  16. Ricki,

    Thanks for sharing your yummy carob treats at SIT! I haven’t had fudge in so long…it might be time to whip some up.

    Hugs,
    Amy

  17. Ooh, nice! We both did a chocolately post today…love it! This looks absolutely amazing.

  18. Ricki, this looks FABULOUS! Happy to be back perusing the blogosphere, and especially your scrumptious recipes (and precious pooches – love those photos of ‘em). I’ll tweak it a bit (perhaps with some almond butter since I can’t do tahini) and of course link back to you. Love that you are using stevia! Keep up the beautiful work. :)

  19. Ricki, I posted an adaptation of your tasty fudge and linked to you.
    http://www.healthyindulgences.net/2011/06/healthy-peanut-butter-cups-quick-and.html
    Thanks a ton for the inspiration! You never cease to impress me with your creative and delicious creations.

  20. What perfect looking fudge!

  21. HI, thanks for sharing your recipes, I wonder if you would be happy for me to put a few of them in our support group magazine? I would be happy to credit your website and email you a copy of the magazine after. I would particularly like to use this one for carob fudge. I am looking for puddings that might be ok for candida diets for the festive season!
    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Regards,
    Nicki

    • Hi Nicki,

      Could you please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom and I’ll let you know what I usually charge for use of my recipes and photos? Thanks.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I am only on week 2 of the ACD diet and almost in tears due to my sweet cravings right now!! I have been searching for something online all night to help my cravings and now my search is over! My 2 boys who are GF/CF will love this as well. Will be making this FIRST THING tomorrow and thank you so much again! Haven’t had carob since I was young and can’t wait to try this!! : )

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m so glad the recipe can be of help to you! It was one of my favorites (either with the glycerin or the yacon–both are good!). I also relied a LOT on the carob-coconut sweeties on this page. Hope you and your family enjoy it. Let me know! :)

  23. This looks so good! I think this may well be the first totally sugar free recipe i try now that i am having to venture in the anti-candida realm!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] delicious carob fudge, which I made the other day and have been pigging on ever since. I think it’s fair to say [...]

  2. [...] too strict, it can be difficult to stick to healthy eating long term.This recipe is inspired by the Carob Fudge posted by the clever and creative Ricki over at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. Check out her lovely [...]

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