I sat on the couch in our bedroom Monday night, googling a bunch of random and seemingly harmless inquiries I’d thought about throughout the course of the day. Season four OINTB. Summer 2016? A whole year? At least they’re consistent with their release dates. Wet hot American summer. Oh, it’s a movie. Turned TV series. Consider them both added to the queue of Shit I Will Watch in Bed at 10PM then Fall Asleep 30 minutes in and Never Watch Again. Donald Trump. LOL. CDC recommended vaccines for Bolivia and Peru. Oh shit oh shit oh shit OH SHIT. Yellow fever. Simultaneous nostril flare + furrowed brow. Subsequent overreactive and very aggressive search of: WILL I DIE IF I CONTRACT YELLOW FEVER?
Which then lead me down an awful, awful hours-long rabbit hole of reading the pros and cons of getting vaccinated for yellow fever, even though the first thing I read was that the vaccine isn’t required if you’re sticking to high altitude areas. Still, I continued reading (well past my typical bedtime) and clung tight to those horrific stories of vaccine receivers who were miserable for a solid week, following the jab. And even though there were a lot of non-horrific accounts, too, I decided to focus on the bad because I’m an irrational human being when I’m under a lot of stress. I’m also an irrational human being who completely overlooks vital pieces of information. Like the fact that the vaccine isn’t even required for the places that we’re visiting.
But the Google party didn’t end there.
Nope. I then proceeded to search and read nearly every scholarly article surrounding the efficacy of various mosquito repellents. Because if I’m going to forgo the vaccine (that isn’t required), I should probably make sure I’m choosing one that will provide optimal protection from those sneaky, little vermin. It should come as no surprise that my preferred repellent is one that’s made with all natural ingredients, the active one being lemon eucalyptus oil. As it turns out, it has a decent success rate (if you douse yourself in it every damn hour) (who has time for that?) – but research agrees: nothing is as good at keeping the biters at bay as that heavy-duty, chemical shit storm pesticide that will likely be attributed to cancer at some point in my lifetime. The chemical shit storm I was hoping I could avoid because our skin is a like a giant sponge, yo! So instead of continuing to go down yet another rabbit hole of unwarranted speculation, I got a fudge pop from the freezer and then decided that the fact that I’m even worrying about any of this is an indication that I need to find something more productive to do with my time. Like get posts lined up for you guys while I’m away. And make more fudge pops. Because I ate them all last night.
Notes: If you don’t want to make the vanilla cashew milk, replace it with your favorite raw nut milk or water. Or, if you couldn’t care less about preserving the raw status of these fudge pops, make them with your favorite unsweetened vanilla almondmilk. Since most popsicle molds you find in grocery stores make six popsicles, I scaled my original recipe back so those of you who don’t have a ten-pop mold wouldn’t have to find something to do with the rest of the fudge pop mixture. If you have a ten pop mold (like me) you can multiple the recipe by 1.5 (except for the vanilla cashew milk – use 3 cups of that) to get enough mixture to fill your mold. If you’ve got an aversion to dates (HI MEL!) you can replace them with 1/3 cup of grade B maple syrup or any other liquid sweetener of your choice.
RAW RASPBERRY FUDGE POPS + HOMEMADE MAGIC SHELL
Raspberry fudge pop base
3/4 cup (100g) cashews, soaked 4+ hours
8-10 (140g) medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 20 minutes
1/2 cup (44g) cacao powder
1 3/4 cups (390g) raw vanilla cashew milk, recipe follows
Heavy pinch of fine sea salt
10-12 frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1/2 cup (44g) cacao powder
1/4 cup (75g) Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
Pinch of fine sea salt
Discard the soaking water and add the cashews and dates to the base of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the cacao powder, cashew milk, and sea salt, then blend on high speed until smooth and creamy; about 1-2 minutes. At this point the mixture will be filled with air bubbles, so you’ll want to slowly pulse it for about a minute to remove them. Once the mixture is mostly air bubble-free, pour it into your popsicle mold, top with raspberries (you’ll want to break them into smaller pieces) and cacao nibs, assemble sticks, then transfer the mold to the freezer for at least 12 hours (although 24 hours is best).
When you’re ready to finish the fudge pops, remove the mold from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before attempting to remove them. While you’re waiting, prepare the magic shell by adding the cacao powder to a small bowl and stirring in 1/4 cup of the coconut oil, until smooth. Stir in remaining coconut oil, maple syrup, and sea salt, then transfer to a deep glass or jar (preferably one that has a lid).
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer. Remove fudge pops, one at a time, from the mold and dip into magic shell, then garnish with freeze dried raspberries and/or cacao nibs, if desired. Once the shell has dried (it takes seconds), place the fudge pops on the frozen parchment lined sheet. Once all of the pops are dipped, allow them to chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes, then transfer to a plastic bag. They’ll keep frozen for weeks, but I doubt they’ll last that long. Allow frozen fudge pops to thaw for 20-30 minutes before consuming.
The magic shell recipe makes more than you’ll need to dip the fudge pops, so store leftovers in an air tight jar in the refrigerator. It will solidify so you’ll need to reheat it to return it to dipping consistency. To do so, simply place the jar in a small saucepan then fill water halfway up the side of the jar. Heat over medium heat until liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature before dipping or pouring over frozen treats. DO NOT REHEAT IT IN A MICROWAVE.
Yield: 6-7 fudge pops
RAW VANILLA CASHEW MILK
1 cup (100g) cashews, soaked 4+ hours
3 cups (654g) filtered water
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
1-2 (20g) medjool dates, pitted (optional)
Pinch of fine sea salt
Discard the soaking water and add the cashews to the base of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the filtered water, scraped vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon (if using), dates (if using), and sea salt, and blend (on low speed, working your way up to high) for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to one week. Shake before using, as separation is inevitable.
Yield: About 3 1/2 cups