Raw Chocolate Peanut Fudge Slices

I recently went to a simple, yet very chic and homely, health food cafe and was introduced to the wonderful word of raw peanut fudge slices. One bite and I knew I needed them in my life on a regular basis. I came home craving for another and more importantly, determined to recreate the amazing-ness. The story began with dates, nuts, peanut butter, coconut oil and cacao powder. Who am I kidding? Let's just get to the end already. It ends like this: they came out 99% perfect and the missing 1% was fixed by adding more of just one ingredient (hint: this is the key ingredient in making the ganache layer chocolate-y).
Oh and did I mention they're raw, vegan and refined-sugar-free? In terms of my own diet, no, I'm not any of those things, but thought it good to highlight this to people who may be. It's also worth noting that treats as delicious as these can be made to fit most dietary requirements. 

These fudge slices are crunchy, ooey, gooey, chewy, dense, rich, naturally sweet and are simply spot on in all aspects. And the best thing? They don't make you feel heavy or give you a sugar high straight after. I've been reaching for them at least once, if not twice, a day and invariably find myself reaching for seconds (and thirds). I'm slightly addicted and it may be a problem... Not. 

If you're feeling extremely generous, you could even make these in larger batches, as these treats are fantastic to make when having friends friends over for coffee or to a picnic (be sure to pack them in a cooler!). 

Can we also just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that cross section?

I could keep on rambling, but if I were you I wouldn't bother reading the rest. I'd probably have already scrolled down to get the recipe and start making this, so kudos to those of you still reading, but I'm going to do you a favor and end the mumbo jumbo here and leave you with three words. Go. Make. These.

1 1/4 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 cup mixed nuts of choice*
*I used walnuts, pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts. To keep the flavor traditional and emphasize the peanutty-ness, you could stick to 1/2 cup peanuts and 1/2 cup almonds. However, I decided to mix it up to get a variety of nutrients (and tastes!) as this recipe already has a peanut element and I eat lots of almonds on a regular basis.

Peanut butter fudge layer:
1 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
generous pinch of salt

Chocolate ganache:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp smooth natural peanut butter

For the base layer, put the mixed nuts into a food processor and pulse until they are in small chunks. Pour into a bowl and set aside. In the same food processor - no cleaning or such required - blend the dates until a thick, sticky mix forms. Place the nuts back in with the dates and blend until combined. If your dates are not gooey enough, you could add a tablespoon or two warm water to help the blending process. Press the date nut mixture into a square tin (sides 8-9 inches) - lined with parchment paper to make removal easier - and set aside. 

Onto the next layer - combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. TIP: again, there's definitely no need to clean your food processor before doing this! The mixture will be quite thick and sticky. Spread evenly on top of prepared crust and set aside. 

For the chocolate ganache, combine ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Pour on top of peanut butter caramel layer. 

Place the tin in the freezer for an hour or two to set, then cut into squares (quick tip: dip a knife in warm water between cuts and this will be so much easier). Store in either the fridge or freezer (freezer is my preference because I love things extremely cold, hard and fudgy) and eat whenever the cravings hit. For me, this means pretty much all. the. time. As always, enjoy!

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