Canning: Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

If there were only two foods I could take with me to a deserted island, I’d choose raspberries and chocolate.  Both are so uniquely delicious by themselves, but put them together and the sum is always more than the parts . . .

As a sauce this goes on just about anything — ice cream, sorbet, pound cake, pancakes, tarts, in coffee, on bacon strips . . . well, just imagine it — sweet, chocolatey and salty — and honestly, I just saw chocolate dipped bacon strips somewhere and I don’t think it was in my dreams!

I probably wouldn’t put it on bacon, but it does make a great gift for yourself, your loved ones, teachers (hint, hint) or best friends.

And of course, it’s so easy!  The problem with many topping sauces is that they don’t can well since there is not enough acid to make the product safe, but in this case, the lemon juice and raspberries provide acid, and the sugar helps preserve the contents as well. There is little fat to spoil it since we are using cocoa powder instead of a chocolate bar.

I made this last night . . . and it’s just . . . just . . . halfway gone since I keep tasting it to make sure I haven’t imagined it  . . .

1.  Combine 2 teaspoons pectin powder (see Pomona Pectin) and 4 cups sugar. Stir well to incorporate. Set aside.

2. In a saucepan, crush 5 cups raspberries, add 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons calcium water (see Pomona Pectin) and bring to a gentle boil. You can use frozen raspberries like I did here, without a loss of quality.  You may strain out the seeds at this point if you like.  Then bring it gently back to a boil.

3. Add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.  I always tell my students that mistakes are great learning experiences, and no question is stupid.  So you may be asking, why does it look like you’re straining raspberries that are covered with chocolate instead of just the raspberries like you said above in 2.?  And I would say — that’s a good question, and here’s why mistakes are good learning experiences:  If you don’t strain until after you add the chocolate powder, it will gunk up the strainer!  So strain first. There — we learned something!  Of course, I tried it this way so you wouldn’t feel bad about making mistakes.  And to show you that mistakes can be learning experiences, and because I wasn’t thinking as I was dashing around getting excited about all the potential of putting raspberries and chocolate together . . .

4. Stir the cocoa powder into the strained raspberry mixture. You may choose not to strain, and then your mixture would look a little lumpier — like this teaching example:

5. Add the sugar/pectin and whisk madly to incorporate.  Bring gently back to a boil  — be careful not to scorch the raspberries and chocolate — or at least heat until it seems like it’s bubbly for about 1 minute.  Check for sheeting.  You don’t want to overcook this or you’ll have raspberry chocolate fudge . . .

6. Ladle into hot prepared jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  This should make about 5 half-pints.  Process in water bath for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 5000 feet).

Then try it on everything – how about as a fondue for fresh fruits or pretzels?  Or a raspberry chocolate mocha tiramisu?  The possibilities are endless . . .

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