Reprinted from Good + Simple: Recipes to Eat Well and Thrive. Copyright © 2016 by Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Nick Hopper. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Sweet and nutty, this is a cross between halva and fudge with a melt-in-the-mouth texture – much easier to make (just blend and set in the fridge) and of course better for you! We love the unique creamy and nutty flavor that the tahini gives and the fudgy texture from the dried dates, used in place of sugar. You could sub in almond butter for the tahini and use dried apricots (dark unsulphured ones) or prunes instead of the dates. Choose a wholefood tahini – see our website – which contains no emulsifiers (the tahini should naturally separate in the jar) otherwise your fudge might not set properly. We usually make this by eye with a mug, rather than get the scales out. Blend, taste and then adjust – not forgetting to try to reduce the sweet flavor by a date or two every time you make it.
Makes about 18 fudge squares
3 oz (about ½ mugful) of pitted dates (chewy dried dates rather than the larger soft ones), or to taste
4 oz (about ½ mugful) light tahini (make sure it doesn’t contain emulsifiers – see intro above)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature, or extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds or desiccated coconut, to decorate (optional)
1. Line a small baking pan – about 4½ x 6½ inches – or similar-sized container (we use a glass lunchbox) with parchment paper.
2. Slice one of the dates finely and set aside to decorate the top of the fudge. Place the rest of the dates in a food processor with the tahini, coconut oil or EVOO and ¹⁄8 teaspoon of salt flakes and blend to a smooth, thick paste. Taste and add more salt if desired.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and use a spatula to press the mixture down evenly.
4. Decorate the top with the date slices and a sprinkle of sesame seeds or desiccated coconut (if using), pour over any leftover oil from the food processor and press down gently.
5. Freeze or chill in the fridge until firm – about 15 minutes in the freezer and 30 minutes in the fridge. Slice into squares, then store in the fridge or freezer. Eat chilled/frozen straight from the fridge/freezer.
• You can upgrade to the more nutritious dark tahini, which has a bitter flavor, if you like.
• This keeps really well in the fridge or freezer, so make double!