Friday, August 24, 2012

Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread - vegan, gluten free, & free of just about everything else

Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread

I wanted to get this recipe up earlier this week so that you would set forth and make it immediately. But I had to make a second batch, which totally got in the way of posting about it. On the plus side, it's now Friday evening - ok, night -which means you can hit up the farmers' markets this weekend, stock up on raspberries and make this with the ones you don't eat immediately.

Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread
Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread

And you do need to make it, because This.Is.Awesome. Seriously. It's kind of like raspberry jam and Nutella had a love child. But a healthy, dairy-free one! Can't rationalize? I can.

Raspberries = fruit
Chocolate = antioxidants
Almonds = healthy fat
Sugar = fat free

See? Make it organic and it's practically a spreadable salad.

Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread

Raspberry Chocolate Almond Spread - vegan, gluten free, & free of just about everything else
adapted from The New York Times (thanks, Mom!)

The original recipe claimed this made 4 8-ounce jars. Lies. I made 5 1/2 the first time and 6 the second. Because I didn't have enough jars prepared the first time, I have some in the fridge. I'll update this if I see it go bad but I suspect a) it will stay good at least a couple weeks or a month and b) it won't last long enough to complete the experiment. The original recipe said a month. 

I think this would also be excellent with either blackberries or strawberries in place of the raspberries. I made sure to weigh ingredients the second time around, and the ounces below are ounces by weight, not by volume. Obviously, a cup of raspberries weighs a different amount than a cup of strawberries, so I would go with the volume measurements if you switch up the berries. 

Finally, feel free to play with the chocolate. For my first batch, I used 1 Ghirardelli Intense Dark bittersweet bar, which was, I think, 4 ounces, and dark chocolate for the remainder. In the second go-round, I used 2 kinds of dark chocolate and about 1 oz of leftover unsweetened chocolate. Batch #1 has a deeper, darker chocolate flavor, but both are good. So use what you have or what you find, and don't stress too much about it. It's going to be good no matter what. Also, I cheated and bought a bag of toasted, slivered almonds from Trader Joe's. 1 8-ounce bag got me through both batches (I know, I know, the math doesn't make sense, but here we are). 

3 pints (6 Cups/675g/24 ounces) fresh raspberries, preferably organic, picked over but not rinsed
3 cups (600g/1 lb, 6 ounces) sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
8 ounces (225g) best-quality bittersweet and/or dark chocolate, chopped
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 cup (5 oz/150g) toasted slivered almonds, finely chopped (a few pulses in a food processor is the easiest way to achieve this)

Set Up:
Add water and rack to your canning pot and set over heat. Clean and sterilize your jars (top rack of the dishwasher is my favorite, but you can also wash them in the sink with soap, stick them in your canning bath, and pull them out when you are ready to fill them. If so, be sure they boil for 10 minutes). Add a small amount of water to a small saucepan and add lids. Bring to a boil and turn off. The hot water will soften and prepare the seal, and they'll be fine waiting in the pot until you're ready for them.

In a large, heavy pan, mash raspberries and sugar. Use a potato masher- I don't have one, so I use one of my hand mixer beaters. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. If you don't want seeds in your spread, put raspberry-sugar mixture through the fine disk of a food mill or press through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Return mixture to pan. If you don't care about seeds (and I didn't), leave raspberry-sugar mix in the pot and carry on. 

Add lemon juice and bring back to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Don't worry about the foam- no need to skim because it will disappear soon. Add chocolate and stir well until completely melted. Boil hard for five minutes, stirring constantly. The foam should gradually dissolve back into the mixture. I think it's the fat that does it.

Remove from heat, wait a minute or two, then push against the mixture. If the surface of the jam wrinkles a bit, it is the correct consistency. If not, return to the heat for another minute or two and try the wrinkle test again. Add almond extract and almonds and stir to combine.

Ladle hot preserves into the warm jars, leaving 1/4 inch at the top (just below the first ring on the jar’s neck). Wipe jar rims clean with a damp towel. Place lids on jars, screw on rings just to finger-tight and lower jars back into the pot of boiling water. Return to a full boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a folded towel and allow to cool for 12 hours; you should hear them making a pinging sound as they seal. Test the seals by removing rings and lifting jars by the flat lid. If the lid releases, the seal has not formed. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within a month, or reprocessed. (Rings and jars may be reused, but a new flat lid must be used each time jars are processed.) To reprocess, reheat filling to boiling point, add jars, and continue as before.

1 comment:

  1. Now that is my kind of sandwich spread. Never mind if it's gluten free and vegan. I'm going to enjoy sweetening up slices of bread with that.


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