Once in a while an idea comes along and you just can't get it out of your head. Last week I was meandering around World Market for no other reason except that I wanted to get out of the house. There wasn't really a reason for that, either, except that sometimes you just need to be alone. And for some reason my strategy of hiding out in the bathroom has proven ineffective with my children.
So, off to World Market I went.
I spent some time looking at the "summer's officially over" sale items. I looked at the kitchy kid toys from 'round the globe. Finally I headed to the wall of fancy chocolates.
Of course everyone knows raspberry and chocolate are two great tastes that go great together. Obvious, right?
But I was focused on peppers. After all, that wes Kaela's ingredient of choice for the October CanJam.
What about Chipotle?
Chocolate. Raspberry. Smoked chipotle in adobo.
And there, in the pleasant company of an entire wall of chocolate, I was inspired to make the world's most delectible, versatile, and tasty (if I do say so myself) sauce:
Chocolate Chipotle Raspberry Sauce
Because the heaven's opened up, light shone down on the cholocate wall, with millions of dust particles flickering in its rays, and this curious little angel with a trumpet arrived right there in the middle of the store…I knew I was onto something.
And who am I to deny that something to the world?
And so I ran straight to the Trader Joe's (conveniently located across from the World Market) where I bought some straight-up cocoa powder.
I already had a half-flat delivery of raspberries from my CSA. And I had bought the can of chipotle in adobo prior to running out of World Market.
So here it is, folks, straight from The Heavens and the World Market Wall of Candy Bars (WMWoCB):
Chocolate Chipotle Raspberry Sauce
(makes seven 8-ounce jars of sauce, with half a jar left over for the fridge)
4.5 cups crushed raspberries (about 40-45 ounces whole)
2 chipotles from a can of chipotle in adobo
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 3/4 cups sugar
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
Prepare your canner bath and jars. As opposed to yesterday's Sweet and Spicy Pepper Jelly, this recipe goes fast, so you do need to get the jars sterilized from the get-go.
Put your cocoa powder through a sifter and into a bowl. I love sifting.
Add the packet of pectin to the sifted cocoa powder and mix. Set aside.
In a food processor, puree your two chipotles (no need to worry about the sauce you scoop up with the chipotle. I neither try to get around it, nor scoop up a ton of it) with 1 cup of the crushed raspberries.
Add the chipotle/raspberry mixture to a stainless steel saucepan, along with the other 3.5 cups of crushed raspberries. Mix in the lemon juice then the pectin/cocoa mixture until dissolved.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
Add sugar all at once and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. The color is this amazing deep red that looks like the color of blood you see in scary Halloween movies – a perfect sauce for making with the kids, while telling scary stories!!! MWAH HA HA!
Come to think of it, this sauce could be featured cleverly at your upcoming Halloween party. Think small vienna sausages dipped in the sauce ala "bloody fingers"!
Once the mixture has hit a hard, rolling boil that can't be stirred down, boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Remove from heat.
Pour sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Use a butter knife or similar to run along the sides of the jar, removing air bubbles.
Wipe rim, center lid on jar, and add screw band to fingertip tight.
Process in a canner bath for 10 minutes at sea level, more depending on altitude or larger size of jar.
Remove canner lid and let jars rest for 5 minutes before removing from the water. (This is an important step, especially with sauces. The goats will tell you why.) Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them.
Cool overnight. Once the jars have cooled, ensure they are sealed. Press down gently in the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. Put the jar in the refrigerator and enjoy it for the next 3 – 4 weeks. If the lid remains taut, you've got a good seal.
Now to the fun: this sauce is so very versatile. You can use it as a replacement for barbecue sauce. The smoky flavor makes it just right. Which is why it works as a dipping sauce for those little smoked sausages I mentioned above. It can cover a block of cream cheese for your crackers. Or it can be a glaze for pork or poultry. It can top your ice cream or your cheesecake. You can even heat it up for that purpose! The possibilities are truly endless.
BUT before you make it, I'd actually change the recipe a little. When I made my Raspberry Balsamic Jam I wrote this:
Some people test for gel stage by scooping some of the jam, and letting it sit in the fridge for a minute. Some people are so experienced they just know. I have issues with the gel stage, so I rely on a candy thermometer. I got the PERFECT consistency by letting my raspberries get to 215 degrees F, then removing from heat. 220 degrees F is actually the gel stage, but I've found that if I go to 220 the jam continues to heat up and eventually becomes hard, which is a real shame after all of that work.
Well, that little step actually left me with a truly delicious jam….that actually had the consistency of a sauce. That's OK for a jam. But….looking back, THIS is what I should have done for this sauce. And for the jam, I should have added the packet of fruit pectin like I did here. Because my "sauce" is a little "jammy" if you know what I mean. It's really not a problem because you can heat it up, in jar (remove the lid and screw band, of course), for 20 seconds and it's perfect. But still…lessons learned.