We just got back from Philadelphia, and a couple of super-fun Nutrition Workshops at CrossFit 215 and CrossFit King of Prussia. While in Philly, we were able to spend some time with Aimee and Jason Lyons of CrossFit KOP, who graciously hosted us in between workshops. We had a gorgeous dinner on Saturday night – thick rare steaks, sides of fresh vegetables and big green salads, with a bottle of wine to pull it all together. (Dallas and I always wonder if people get nervous when they have to eat a meal with us. We’re not the Food Police, and we’re not robots. We’re actually really fun. Really.)
Over dinner, Aimee was telling us about her recent experiences with removing certain food groups from her diet, and how those changes have positively impacted her health and performance. With these efforts, she’d been experimenting with different “Paleo” recipes and foods, trying new things and subbing out processed ingredients for those more natural. And at one point, she referenced a special treat she just started making called “fudge babies”. Turns out they’re a chocolate fudge-y concoction made with fruit, nuts and some flavoring – more natural ingredients than traditional processed sweets. Aimee mentioned she’d made them a bunch of times and raved about how delicious they were. Then she mentioned she had a batch sitting in the fridge at home.
Now, I’m (Melissa here) not particularly big on sugar. That wasn’t ever my hang-up, I don’t even really like chocolate. If I get a taste for something chocolate, a single spoonful of Turtle Mountain’s Chocolate Obsession usually does me just fine. But after that amazing dinner, some chocolate sounded kind of good. And as we wanted to be good guests, we figured we should at least be polite and TRY them.
For the record, Dallas and I only had three apiece. For the other record, we are notoriously bad counters.
The recipe for Aimee’s Fudge Babies is posted on her Nutrition Blog. They’re simple to make, with only four ingredients – dates, walnuts, organic raw cocoa powder and natural vanilla. You can make a batch ahead of time, keep them in the fridge and pull them out just before a party or after dinner. And, for the understatement of the day… They. Are. Good.
Before I let you at them, however, a word of caution. You have never, ever seen recipes for ANY “Paleo” sweets posted on ANY of our web sites – not on Urban Gets Diesel, not on our CrossFit sites and not here on the Whole9. There’s a reason for that, kids. “Paleo” or not, THIS STUFF IS CANDY, and you don’t get a free-for-all just because it’s made with fruit and nuts. It’s not just the nutrition behind these babies – dates are very high in sugar, sure, but that’s not our biggest concern. Mentally, sweet treats like this are simply replacing your old Snickers bar, chocolate glazed or fudge brownie. The ingredients are better for you, but your brain doesn’t know that. Crave-Sweets-Eat-Sweets is a bad cycle to get into, and the worst thing you can do when trying to change your life is to try to shove your old, crappy diet into a shiny new “Paleo” mold. So don’t think we’re okay-ing these for unlimited consumption, just because they’re made with fruit. Treat them as you would any candy, and eat in serious moderation (both in frequency and serving size).
End lecture, let’s get to the good stuff! You can find Aimee Lyons’ Fudge Babies on the CrossFit KoP Nutrition Blog. Give them a whirl the next time you have a bridal shower, birthday party or friends over for dinner, and drop us and Aimee a comment to let us know what you think.
Big thank you to Aimee, Jason, Jay and Micah for taking such good care of us this weekend, and to everyone who came out for our Workshops!
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Aimee Lyons_CrossFit King of Prussia says
Melissa and Dallas- What an amazing workshop! Great info presented in an easy to understand format, we got positive feedback by all who attended. We are inspired…Day 2 of the Whole 30 for Jason and I.
Long live the fudge baby!
Chris P. - CF King of Prussia says
Melissa and Dallas,
Thanks for your time and energy, especially with taking specific questions from everyone. While a lot of info is here on Whole9, it’s also great to hear it in person. I’ll let you know how Robb’s seminar goes in April! Oh, and fudge babies are awesome!
Tim Pappas says
Aimee introduced Laura and I to the fudge babies recipe and it’s the perfect sweet treat after a special dinner or event or something like that. Melissa is right, dont abuse them because its soooo easy to pop 5 or 6 no problem every day. After my very first one I think Fudge Babies are actually crack in disguise.
Melissa @ Whole9 says
@Aimee: We LOVED working with you, Jason and your crew. Keep us posted as to how your Whole30 is going, and let us know if you have ANY questions at all. (Or just need to call and vent when you’re missing your wine with dinner.)
@ChrisP: Thank YOU for you smart questions and contributions. Tell Robb we said hi!
@Tim: We call the bacon-wrapped-almond-stuffed dates I make for parties “Crack on a Toothpick”… this could just be the “Crack in a Ball” version. :)
17……..I’m just saying. ;-)
I’ve made several variations of this paleo candy with dried apricots, figs, or cranberries and almonds, pecans or cashews (ok not really a paleo nut, I know) I’ve also made some with a bit of lemon juice and lemon zest. I’m gonna have to try one with coconut. :-)
I wish I read this before experimenting and making something pretty similar on my own. It’s really hard to not keep going back for more.
So for the 30 day kick start plan, I’m assuming, but please correct me if I’m wrong…..no fudge babies?
Dallas @ Whole9 says
You’re correct. The Whole30 program is as much about changing the way you think about your food choices as it is about making better food choices. Stick with 100% Good Food, and steer clear of things (like fudge babies) that, though they might not be lethal on sight, still closely resemble Junk Food. Your brain isn’t very good at distinguishing between things that walk and talk like ducks (“paleo-friendly” treats), and ducks themselves (Junk Food). For now, retrain your brain to crave fewer sweet, tasty things, and once you’ve recalibrated things, then you can make some VERY careful forays into tasty treats that are less bad than, say, a Twix bar or a dozen Ferrero Rocher. Good question. Keep us posted on your Whole30 progress!
I can completely see why you would classify these as candy. I saw in a different post that Melissa said lara bars are ok….then I found myself eating a couple a day. Melissa, I probably shouldn’t be eating those in the first 30 days?
Thanks and thanks for all the great info!
Melissa @ Whole9 says
It’s going to be a bit different for everyone. For clarification, Larabars meet the food criteria as outlined for the W30 program (they’re unprocessed, raw, just fruit and nuts), but they’re certainly not an ideal food choice. “Okay” means they’re acceptable in a pinch, but don’t make them a staple of your diet.
Larabars don’t really do it for me, so in my brain they’ve never been a treat. I just think of them as something high-ish quality to snack on when I can’t get better “real” food. I had no issue including them in my Whole30 program, because they didn’t trigger any cravings. However, if you’re having a mental issue with craving sweets and using Larabars as an “approved” sub, then yep, I’d take them right out for the 30 day program.
The Whole30 is as much about changing your habits, patterns and behaviors as it is changing the food that you eat. Good for you for paying attention to how certain foods make you FEEL, and taking the necessary steps to change those long-standing habits. That’s exactly what we’d WANT you to do!
The habit part makes so much sense to me after 3 weeks of Paleo….I just don’t think to grab crap food anymore. It’s eggs or chicken or tuna and lots of veggies/fruit. I honestly feel a difference and my workouts have been better. And I’ve lost 4 pounds :)
Okay, 1) I know this is an old post and 2) I am brand new to this site (just found it today, where the hell have I been??) but this comment:
“For the record, Dallas and I only had three apiece. For the other record, we are notoriously bad counters.”
made me laugh out loud. Between this and all the other solid advice I’ve seen here so far, I think I’m sticking around. I have a lot to learn still and I’m getting a brand new flash of inspiration here.
PS – I believe that you two are actually really fun!
Dallas @ Whole9 says
Welcome to the Whole9 “family”! We’ve got a TON of articles in our “9 Blog”, so poke around and see if you can find anything else worth laughing out loud about… ;)
Hey guys, Katie of Chocolate-Covered Katie is actually the author/creator of the original Fudge Baby recipe. It’s understandable that Aimee would want to repost it, as it is delicious and paleo, but please link back to Katie’s original post instead. She first posted the recipe in 2009.
Melissa @ Whole9 says
Traci, thanks for the note. I’ve seen a million iterations of this recipe on the web since Aimee first made these for us. Sometimes, the “original” source is difficult to determine, so thank you for the correction. We meant no disrespect to Katie.
No worries, just wanted to give Katie some credit where credit is due. She’s made so many of these recipes and is putting together a cookbook (which will be awesome – so many of hers are Paleo-friendly)! I’m a big fan of y’all so thought you’d want to know!
Thrive Lancaster says
Just saw this, they look good. I may have to make some for the kids…and maybe sample one, or some…