Sugar or sugar-free? I have to admit that I’m getting so tired of listening to debates about the pro’s and con’s of sugar in all it’s various forms. Tired of seeing programmes advertised on TV about the growing epidemic of obesity. What happened to enjoying a well-balanced life? Isn’t it common sense anymore? Come on people, we know that too much sugar is bad for us. We know exercise is good for us. We know that there are hideous amounts of hidden sugar in processed foods. We also know that fizzy drinks, energy drinks, too much chocolate and an abundance of lollies is bad for us, just like too much salt isn’t a good idea…don’t we?
As you know, I enjoy baking. Whether it’s for myself, my family, work colleagues or friends. Any excuse is a good excuse to bake. And I use sugar. Now I do agree that some forms of sugar are better for our bodies than others, but I read an article yesterday saying how fructose (sugar found in fruit) is bad for our livers. For Goodness’ Sake!! Where will it end?
In my opinion, as long as we are aware of what we are eating, and we prepare the majority of our food from scratch and not packets, boxes or bottles, a little indulgence once in a while can’t be all that bad; and as I referred to it earlier – I live by the adage “a well-balanced life”. Balance in all things. That means exercising self-control a little more often than some of us are used to. But if we do that, l’m sure the majority of people’s lives would be so much more enjoyable.
Right – I’ll climb off my soap box now and share this glorious sugar-filled chocolate treat with you. If it makes anyone feel better, it has raw peanuts and dried apricots in it. But yes, the apricots have fructose…
This is a version of what Kiwi’s call a Hedgehog Slice, and what I’ve always made and called my Chocolate Chunky Fudge (see recipe here). It’s a super easy recipe for kids to make if you’re wanting to get them into the kitchen. It freezes well too, although I’d advise cutting it into squares and storing in the fridge for a while before moving it to the freezer. To defrost, separate the pieces and leave covered on the bench-top or in the fridge. Great for a lunch-box treat too.
200 g packet dark chocolate wheaten biscuits (chocolate digestives)
125 g malt biscuits
125 g butter (no need for room temperature as you’re going to melt it)
1½ cups caster sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg at room temperature
¼ cup each: chopped dried apricots, raw peeled peanuts
1¼ cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
50 g butter, softened (not melted)
2 – 3 Tbsp hot water
1 Tbsp coconut for sprinkling
- Line a 20 cm x 20 cm pan with baking paper.
- Place all the biscuits into a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, put the biscuits a few at a time into a plastic zip-lock bag (let the air out) and pound with a rolling pin. Not letting the air out could mean an almighty explosion of cookie crumbs everywhere.
- Place the butter, sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract into a large saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg well and pour it into the chocolate mixture, whisking quickly to combine. You want the mixture to become thick and shiny, you definitely don’t want bits of scrambled egg in it.
- Then add the biscuit crumbs, dried apricots and peanuts. Stir well to combine and press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Put it in the fridge for half an hour.
- To make the icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add the softened (not melted) butter and enough hot water to make a spreadable icing. Spread the icing over the chocolate base, sprinkle with the coconut and put it back into the fridge to set.
- When ready to serve, remove it from the baking paper and cut into squares or rectangles.