Fourth of July Fudge
Fourth of July was awesome.
We had just wrapped up a lot of development consulting/ feasibility study/ event planning / work in the South Bay and mostly successfully hosted a workshop, so our shoulders were feeling pretty light.
We met a handful of James's CMU SigEp friends and some of their ladies in Pebble Beach for a long weekend+ of board games and general shenanigans. A more odd, riotous, clever and wonderful bunch of humans would be hard to find (though my XC ladies could give 'em a solid run). It'd be easy to be left out among a group that frequently devolves into consonant absurdity at the cue of a seeming non sequitur, so I'm especially impressed by how actively considerate the guys are. (of course, all the girlfriends/wives are equally - if not more - fabulous).
Despite the location*, there was no golf. Despite my definition of chill, there was a lot of alcohol. As predicted, there were a LOT of board games, a lot of good food, and not a lot of sleeping. It was the sort of vacation that disappears way too quickly, leaving your brain filled with happy fuzz and a persistent low grade headache.
The park we planned to hike in on Sunday was closed for storm damage so we reduced our distance by a factor of 3, explored Point Lobos and played three+ miles of Botticelli (largely featuring non-human fictional characters).
Of course, since we don't have electricity or an oven in the whale, and since the board game table was right next to the kitchen, I spent the weekend making desserts. Making the hazlenut fudge recipe below broke my "don't experiment on new friends" rule, but it got me out of making MNR Nut Butter Cups (which are amazing but worrrrrrrk). Slicing into it was a nail biter, but it worked! Proof that the secret to winning is loosing. (or that the secret to making good raw fudge is ruining a lot of nut butter with liquid sweeteners) Enjoy!
We miss you all already & hope to see you soon.
Hazelnut Butter Fudge
1/2 C cacao butter
1 lb dry roasted hazelnuts - 1/2c Reserved
1 C coconut shreds
4-5 medjool dates
1/2 C melted cacao butter
1 C cacao powder
1/2tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 C maple syrup
- Melt cacao butter in double boiler.
- Reserve some hazelnuts for topping and blend the rest with the coconut shreds into a smooth butter.
- Add the dates, cacao butter, cacao powder and salt. Then blend again until smooth. You should have a fairly liquid, lightly sweet chocolate butter/sauce at this point.
- Add the maple syrup and stir. DO NOT BLEND! STIR. Or blend on super slow. Otherwise it will seize and the oil will separate and you will have weird, oily taffy, which is not good. Trust me. I've done it. When you mix in the maple syrup, it should thicken a bit and resemble brownie batter. If you want it sweeter, you can add a bit more, but don't overdo it or you might mess up the final texture.
- Pour mixture into cacao-buttered 8x8 square pan & top with reserved hazlenuts (chopped) and coarse salt.
- Refrigerate until solid.
- Slice & enjoy :)
- Keeps in the fridge for awhile... I think. It didn't last that long.
* Another medium thick nut butter (unsweetened sunflower, almond, peanut etc.) should also work if hazelnut isn't your jam.
*For those of you (like me) who don't know Pebble Beach is a major golf destination, apparently there are a bunch of golf courses and some giant tournaments there. Our airbnb was decorated almost exclusively with golf-themed prints and tchotchkies, with a few exceptions for large scale TJ Maxx & Homegoods wall art.
PS. If you haven't already played Clank, or Tak, you should. They're awesome.