Growing up in the Midwest, I always used to love the little mint fudge squares from Marshall Fields. Any time of year, they were great, but especially around the holidays. Do you know the fudge I'm taking about? This Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge is like that - only healthier.

Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge

I made these with my daughter, who fancies herself more of a baker and less of a dish washer or "cleaner upper." Regardless who did the work after this dessert was complete, these Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge turned out exactly as I wanted them to.

They taste great, but they also don't require refrigeration (like some of my bar recipes do) and they're easy to cut - like fudge should be.

 

A Life Without Milk Chocolate

A lot of fudge recipes call for semi sweet or sometimes milk chocolate chips. I always use dark chocolate  - usually capping off around 85% cocoa - and used dark for this recipe, too.

A lot of people prefer milk chocolate because of the texture, as it tends to be smoother. But also because it contains more sugar.

From a nutrition perspective, the benefits of dark chocolate far outweigh milk chocolate. A few of these benefits include:

Dark chocolate contains more cacao

At first blush, you not think of this benefit as much, but cacao has been shown to improve heart circulation,  lower bad cholesterol and improve mood.

Cacao beans (which are actually seeds) contain about twice as much antioxidant activity as blueberries.

 

Dark chocolate contains less sugar

Let's be honest, we don't need to add sugar to have a good time, do we?

The longer you go without sugar, the more sensitive your tastebuds become to them. If you can wean yourself off of sugar-laden milk chocolate for heart-healthy dark chocolate, you'll eventually get the full flavor of the chocolate along with the sweetness without the sugar overkill.

 

Milk Chocolate has more stuff in it

Not to be vague, but do you really know what you're getting in milk chocolate. You know you're getting more sugar, that's for sure. But your'e also getting a good amount of milk solids, cream and other ingredients.

These are the ingredients in a Hershey chocolate bar:  Milk chocolate (sugar, milk, chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier, vanillin, artificial flavor).

The artificial flavor labeling is less-than-transparent, which always concerns me, and the PGPR* is there primarily to make the chocolate smoother. PGPR stands for polyglycerol polyricinoleate. In all fairness, it's not harmful, but now we know how Hershey gets their chocolate to be smoother!

A Totally Dairy-Free Fudge

Fudge usually contains condensed milk. To keep this recipe dairy free, I added condensed coconut milk. In addition to the condensed coconut milk, this recipe also contains dark chocolate chips, a little bit of coconut oil and of course peppermint extract.

If you're not a fan of peppermint extract, then you can just omit it. It won't affect the consistency, but will make the flavor come through as 100% dark chocolate fudge.

I double boil my chocolate. I stay away from microwaving it because I've had a bad experience a couple times with the chocolate overheating and things not turning out right. 

I've included a simple way to double boil in the notes. I high recommend using this method to melt chocolate. 

Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge

Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge

Yields 42 squares

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 4 hours or overnight

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 can condensed coconut milk (note: I used a 7-ounce can)
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

 

Preparation:

  1. Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper
  2. Add chocolate chips to a medium-size bowl.
  3. Fill a small to medium-size sauce pan with about 1 to 2 inches of water.
  4. Place the bowl over the top of the sauce pan. The base of the bowl should be nowhere near the water and should not touch.
  5. Bring the water to a boil, stirring the chocolate regularly.
  6. When the chocolate is about 90% melted (you'll still see a few clumps), turn off heat and continue to stir until completely melted.
  7. Remove from the stove and place on a heat-resistant surface.
  8. Add condensed coconut milk, coconut oil and peppermint extract.
  9. Pour into a parchment-line 8x8 pan.
  10. Either refrigerate for a few hours or allow to cool overnight.

 

Notes:

  • If you're not dairy-free: No problem. You can substitute regular condensed milk and butter in lieu of the coconut condensed milk and coconut oil respectively - and get the same results. If you're using regular condensed milk, use 7 ounces, or about 1 tablespoon less than a cup.
  • Double boiling trick: I use a vegetable steamer as my double boiler. I should buy a double boiler, but this is just too easy. I place my bowl in the steaming basket, which holds the bowl nicely over the water without touching. The key is just to make sure that you're using a bowl that is wider than the pot.
  • Slicing: Don't use a serrated-edge knife to cut the fudge into tiny squares. Use a smooth knife surface for a cleaner cute and nice, neat pieces.