Vegan (Chickpea!) Hazelnut Coffee Fudge

 
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Oh, coffee, my sweet, sweet coffee. Like an on-again, off-again boyfriend who can't make up their mind, I'm the same way with the fragrant coffee bean. I get a great deal of pleasure from my morning joe. I look forward to it when I hit the pillow at night. I wake up, grind the beans, and wait (impatiently) while it burbles and brews. This is getting a bit raunchy, so I'm just going to stop. The point is, I adore my morning coffee; the smell, the taste, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed feeling it gives me... but our encounter is all too brief. I can have only one cup per day and then it's peppermint tea for the rest of my waking hours, otherwise, as Marge Simpson would say, "Snoozyland" eludes me. 

So I can get to said "Snoozyland," I created this vegan fudge with my favourite coffee substitute, Teecino, but instant coffee or espresso will work just as well if you're not affected by caffeine. And don't be freaked out, but the "fudge" part of this fudge is made with chickpeas, creating an extra creamy base that disappears into the background -no bean-y taste will be detected, pinky promise! 
 
 
After doing some light research, I've come across some fascinating coffee facts. 

Health Benefits of Coffee & Fun Coffee Facts  


However, too much of a good thing is, well, not a good thing. The caffeine content in coffee can act as a powerful stimulant for many people, increasing nervousness and anxiety. Caffeine is also a diuretic, so increasing your water intake is very important. Due to its diuretic properties, caffeine flushes out your water-soluble vitamins at a faster rate (B-vitamins and vitamin C). And finally, coffee's caffeine content can cause (way too much alliteration right there) insomnia or restless sleep. 

My Personal Coffee Buying Criteria 

  • Organic: Conventional coffee beans are heavily sprayed, often with chemicals that are unregulated in North America (as they're not grown here). I buy this organic coffee from Costco; it's the perfect medium roast and is always super-fresh. It also has a very cute frog on the bag, and is highly affordable. I've mentioned before that I don't eat a 100% organic diet, as this isn't accessible to me, nor can I afford it, but coffee is something that I try very hard to purchase organically.     
  • Full-Caffeine: I don't do decaf. Why? Let me tell you. Regular coffee has its caffeine removed by either the solvent, ethyl acetate, or methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is a carcinogen, and that's something I don't really want to drink. If the thought of those two solvents gives you the heebie-jeebies, there's a way to decaffeinate coffee with water -the swiss water decaffeination process. Swiss water decaf is slightly more expensive, but worth it, if you don't want your coffee with a splash of methylene chloride (mmm, chemical-y). Most decaf brands will state that they use the swiss water decaf method, and if they don't, they probably use one of the other two chemical solvent methods.  
  • Coffee Substitutes: I've tried all the coffee substitutes in the land, and have found that Teecino is the most delicious. It's made from nuts and grains. There's no MSG, artificial junk, colouring, or preservatives. It comes in a range of delicious flavours, so you can go wild. I love it in the afternoon if I feel like a coffee, but know I won't sleep if I have a "real" coffee. 

Like any food, your tolerance for coffee is completely unique. Love it or leave it (looooove iiiit), there's a way to enjoy this vegan fudge for both the coffee avoiders and embracers -just don't get weirded out by the chickpeas, I promised you no bean-y taste, and I stand by that. Toothache-free fudge at last!      

 
 
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If you don't like the taste of coffee, feel free to omit it. You can enhance this fudge with cocoa powder, mint, loose-leaf earl grey tea, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, orange zest, lemon zest -you get the idea. I do recommend adding a little somethin' somethin' to give it a lift (as long as it's not a liquid, this fudge recipe is fairly foolproof). For nut-free, you could eliminate the hazelnuts, and replace them with allergy-friendly chocolate chips or cacao nibs for crunch.   

Vegan Hazelnut Coffee Fudge

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked chickpeas
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave (brown rice syrup might also work, but I haven't tried it) 
3 tsp Teecino or 2 tsp instant coffee or 1 tbsp whole coffee beans  
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt (omit if using canned chickpeas containing salt)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp hazelnuts, divided  

Directions:

Line a standard (8.5 x 4.5 inch) loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy removal.

In a food processor, purée chickpeas until smooth. Add in coconut oil, maple syrup, Teecino, vanilla, and salt. Purée again until smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides. Add in ¼ cup of the hazelnuts and pulse until hazelnuts are chopped, but still chunky.

Transfer mixture to loaf pan, smoothing out the top. Chop remaining 2 tbsp hazelnuts and gently press on top. Freeze for 3 hours. Slice in as large or small pieces as you like, and store in the refrigerator or freezer (make sure to defrost at room temperature for 30 minutes before eating if using the freezer).   

Are you a coffee enjoyer or avoider? 

 

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