Just when I thought I was through with updating you on the yummy holiday goodies we've been eating, I received the most wonderful surprise from my coworker's wife, Natalie. She has first-hand experience with food allergies as her second son suffered from them when he was a baby. She gave up dairy and soy for many months while she was nursing him, and became an expert in cooking and baking dairy- and soy-free during this time. For Christmas, she gave us a batch of her to-die-for dairy-free fudge. Ainsley absolutely flipped for it, and Dave, Leighton, and I had to stop ourselves from eating all of it before Ainsley could get her fill. The best thing is it appears very easy to make! Here is the recipe:
Natalie's Dairy-Free Fudge
20 oz (2 bags) Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1 can (15 oz) Cream of Coconut (she used the Coco Lopez brand, which she found at a regular grocery store - Cream of Coconut is used to make Pina Coladas so it may be on the same aisle as the alcoholic drink mixes)
dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, dried cherries or other fruit, marshmallows, etc.
Melt the chocolate chips and cream of coconut over low heat until fully melted. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Pour in a square baking tin lined with waxed paper and refrigerate until hard (about an hour). Allow to soften at room temperature for 10 min or so before pulling the sides of the waxed paper to remove the fudge from the pan in one big block. Cut into squares and store in a cookie tin or in the fridge.
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One of the best things about this recipe is that it has introduced me to Cream of Coconut - I had never heard of it before! Natalie informed me that it can be substituted 1:1 for sweetened condensed milk. She has offered to use it to make her famous Key Lime Pie for our family after the new baby comes, and I am definitely taking her up on the offer!