Saturday, June 23, 2012

Superfood Peanut Butter n' Cookies Fudge

I know, I teased you with fudge yesterday! Well, this may not be "true" fudge in the sense of the intense butter/sugar overload (yes, I know... that's what makes it good), but if you fell in love with my earlier "Saintly Smooth Fudge" you'll probably like this one! I had such successful taste tests of the dark chocolate and black bean combination that I wondered if I could do a white bean, white chocolate creation with peanut butter and cookie chunks. After making the Kamut® Cookies for Creme, I broke them up and added them to the puree. I would have pulsed them in with the food processor, but the old thing is a little worse for wear these days and doesn't want to work very well.  

When I first made it, I was stymied by what I could use to replace the cocoa powder. Obviously the colouring and flavour would be wrong for a "peanut butter" fudge with it, so I started to look through my pantry for possibilities. When I found my small stash of maca powder, I wondered if I could use that - but I also knew that the stuff raw is not great eating (I find it slightly sour/bitter, so I add it in smoothies to cover it up).
After scouting the intarwebs and my nutrition textbooks, I got schooled on the whole world of the superfood, and found out that when raw (i.e. unroasted / ungelatinized) maca can be difficult to digest and is a goitrogen (which can mess with the thyroid). The unpleasant taste of the raw stuff is just nature's way of saying stay away or cook me! The digestion and thyroid inhibitors are reduced  or deactivated by heat. So toasting it would be the way to go. As a bonus, roasted maca reportedly tastes like caramel or butterscotch, with some coffee-like notes thrown in (I found more like a pecan / vanilla caramel flavour in my taste tests FWIW). Nevertheless, it would go nicely with the rest of the mixture.

But just what is maca anyways? Well, long story short, maca powder is an ancient Peruvian energy and libido booster, containing large amounts of amino acids, carbohydrates, and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, and iron. It's also packed with the vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E and is an adaptogen - basically helping support the body's adrenal and pituitary gland health to help protect against physical and mental weaknesses (including stress and disease!). Overall, it's a huge tonifying agent for all of the body's glands and hormones, which can improve fertility, sexual function, digestion, and brain and nervous system activity. Whew!

So I had part of the "dry" mixture, but I didn't want to use all maca - for one, it's expensive ($1.37 an ounce or more), and for another, I didn't want the taste of it to dominate the peanut butter. I decided to use ground almonds for half the volume in a small batch, which worked but left the texture a little too soft for my liking even when stashed for 2 days in the fridge (frozen chunks, however, are delicious "cookie dough" additions to ice cream / pudding). Then, when at one of the health food stores downtown, I found "partially defatted roasted peanut flour" by Protein Plus and picked it up on a whim. The package said it was a good thickener, so I figured that it would help with texture as well as boost the peanut taste. The half and half maca / peanut flour version was far superior in texture and full of balanced nutty, sweet, caramel and chocolate, and my taste-testers (who had no idea what was in it!) fell in love too.

I'm going to cross my fingers that Ricki will accept this into her Wellness Weekend - after all, she (and Gretchen) started my obsession with beany fudge! Obviously, I used vegan white chocolate here (I found Bonvita white chocolate made with rice milk and raw cane sugar at the same store as the peanut flour), but if you aren't vegan go ahead and use your favourite brand. The nutrition information is almost the same regardless of whether you choose peanut flour or ground almonds too!

Superfood Peanut Butter n' Cookies Fudge
Makes one 8x5" loaf, 48 small pieces
1/4 cup maca powder (raw or roasted, see note)
1/4 cup peanut flour (I used Protein Plus) or ground almonds
2 oz vegan white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 oz vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) or refined coconut oil
1 1/2 cups very well-cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
2 tbsp amber agave nectar
2 (1 gram) packets vanilla flavoured stevia
2 (1 gram) packets caramel flavoured stevia
1/4 cup natural, smooth peanut butter
10 small chocolate crisp cookies (I used my Kamut® Cookies for Creme, you can use Teddy Grahams too)
fine sea salt and/or raw sugar, to sprinkle

Note: if using roasted / gelatinized maca, skip the first step
  1. In a large, dry frying pan over medium high heat, toast the maca powder and ground almonds if using (stirring constantly) until the mixture is a "toasty" brown colour and the bitter/sour smell of the maca becomes almost butterscotchy - about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Immediately pour into a bowl and cool completely. Stir in the peanut flour if using this instead of the almonds.
  3. Combine the chocolate and butter in a small bowl and melt gently in the microwave. Set aside.
  4. In a food processor, puree the beans with the agave nectar and stevia until very smooth.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture, maca and ground almonds and puree in.
  6. Add the peanut butter and process in until completely smooth.
  7. Pulse in the cookies until combined but still chunky.
  8. Line an 8x5" loaf pan with clingwrap and evenly press in the fudge. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Chill 1 hour, uncovered, then press a layer of plastic onto of the surface and keep in the fridge.
  10. This tastes better if you chill it overnight and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before enjoying.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 40.8
Total Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 31.9 mg
Total Carbs: 3.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.4 g

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