Jalapeno Fudge

If you've never tried the unusual combination of chocolate and hot pepper, be open minded - it really works! I love both individually, and the combination is unusual but great tasting.

This fudge recipe itself is a winner. Unfortunately, I can't find where I copied the original recipe from, to credit it, but I've tweaked it now so I guess I can claim it. If fudge can be healthy, then this is it. Coconut oil has a long list of nutritional attributes, and unsweetened chocolate is hailed for its antioxidant value. Or am I just justifying an indulgence?!?!

As with all of my recipes, quality ingredients are suggested to attain excellent taste. The jalapeno powder used here is one I make from my own homegrown organic jalapenos, harvested only after they ripen to red. (See my instructions on this previous post.) You might get a similar product if you buy hot pepper flakes - the kind used to spice up pizza - which are actually the seeds of hot peppers. Grind these into a powder. You'll need to experiment with the amount you add to this recipe, since the "heat" may vary. Or you can contact me and I'll share my powder with you. 

In addition to the fine jalapeno powder, I've used locally harvested honey, vanilla extract I make with whole beans soaked in vodka, organic peanut butter which I grind fresh at our supermarket, and pecans from a farm in Georgia. For the unsweetened cocoa powder, I used about 1/8 cup of something called "black cocoa powder" which I bought from a store in a Mennonite community in Muddy Pond TN. As its name suggests, it is much darker in color than any cocoa powder I have ever seen, and very strong tasting. Adding just a bit imparts the intense bitter chocolate taste that I love. For the remaining cup of cocoa powder, I used Ghiradelli® unsweetened cocoa powder, which is good quality too.

Jalapeno Fudge

  • 1 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 2 t jalapeno powder
  • dash salt
  • 1/3 c peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans


Grease a 9"x6" foil fudge pan with coconut oil.

Put all ingredients except the peanut butter and the pecans into a food processor. Process for two minutes. Scrap down the sides and add the peanut butter. Process again for two minutes or long enough to be certain the powders are well incorporated with the liquids. You can also do this in a standup mixer, beating to totally dissolve the powders.

Stir the chopped pecans into the mixture. It will be very liquidy. Pour it into the prepared foil pan. Set the pan in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into small pieces. A plastic knife works well for this, just as I've learned to use to cut homemade brownies. Be sure to keep these refrigerated until serving, since the coconut oil softens at about 75 degrees and you'll find this fudge becomes finger-licking good if left at room temperature.


Judy's Hearty Granola

I posted my original granola recipe four years ago, and since then I've refined it a bit. The old version is still very good and easy, with few ingredients. But I've gradually added more nuts and seeds, and I found that maple syrup makes the mix less sticky than honey. I like the flavor - and the extra nutrients - of molasses too. Our southern version of molasses is sorghum syrup, and, after a visit to a Menonite community which specializes in sorghum production (in Muddy Pond TN), I have an ample supply of their delicacy. All this has evolved into my new granola, presented here. Still pretty simple, just a few more ingredients than the original - and more nutritious.

You can process this granola into finer crumbs in a food processor and use it as you would a graham cracker pie crust, mixing the crumbs with melted coconut oil, which will stiffen the crust when refrigerated. See how I use it in my chilled fruit pie recipe.


6 c old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
1 c raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 c raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 c raw sesame seeds
1 c chopped raw nuts (pecans, almonds and cashews are my favorite choices for this recipe)
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 c coconut oil, melted
1/2 c maple syrup
2 T molasses or sorghum syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses or sorghum. Spoon wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to coat the mixture evenly.

Spread the mixture in an even layer in shallow pans (I use 2 large pizza pans). Bake for 15 minutes, stirring with a spatula if the edges brown faster than the center of the pan. Rotate pans from top to bottom oven rack and bake 8-10 more minutes, until everything is toasted golden. Remove from oven. When cooled, spoon into a container with a lid to store.

You can also add grated orange peel, raisins or other dried fruit after baking. Great as a breakfast cereal with fresh fruit, and we like it sprinkled as a topping on baked fruit or yogurt.


Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles

The first baking lesson in my 7th grade Home Economics class with Mrs. Hamel was Snickerdoodle Cookies. This is a great variation on the classic, especially made with homegrown pumpkin. Did you know you can use butternut squash in place of canned pumpkin in recipes? When making your own, just be sure to drain the liquid off the cooked squash or pumpkin, to get that similar thick consistency to canned. More on using fresh pumpkin in a future post....

These are gluten-free, to fit my lifestyle diet, but certainly can be made with wheat flour to produce the same delicious results. 

Remember, ingredients shown in red are described in more detail on the Ingredients page of this blog.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles with Chai Spices (makes about 15 cookies)

  • 2 c fine almond flour or (part almond and part all-purpose gluten-free flour)
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice or chai spices*
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 c fresh pumpkin puree, drained to make it thick
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 T psyllium husk powder (makes a firmer cookie texture)
  • 2 T coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tsp chai spices*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line your cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. (Make sure your pumpkin is at room temperature so the coconut oil does not harden.)

Mix the coating ingredients, sugar and spices, in a small bag.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mix and blend by hand. The dough will be thick, so mix to moisten everything well. Form one tablespoon of dough into a ball (wet hands if necessary to prevent sticking), roughly golf ball size. Drop it into the bag of sugar and spice coating and shake to coat. Reach in and shake off excess, then place the dough ball on a cookie sheet. Flatten the ball with your fingers to about 1/2" thick. These cookies don't expand much except to puff up a bit, so you can place them close. Repeat with rest of the dough.

Bake for 20 minutes until bottoms are golden and the tops begin to crack.

* You can substitute cinnamon for chai spices. I mix my own chai spices, mimicking the traditional chai tea flavors:
4 parts ground cinnamon
1 part ground cloves
1 part ground nutmeg
1 part ground cardamon
1 part ground allspice
1 part powdered ginger root
1 part ground black pepper