3 Nut and Seed Jams -- Healthier Hacks of Popular Sweet Treats
When my husband was a little boy in the 1950s, growing up with his family in Vancouver, BC, he was excited about a parcel from relatives in Germany that arrived just before Christmas every year. Apart from the aunties' hand-knit mittens or socks, the box also contained the delight of his young life: marzipan, that delicious almond paste candy that is paintstakingly shaped and painted and glossed up, transformed from food to objet d'art and back to food that he could pop into his mouth and eat.
I arrived in Vancouver from the Canadian prairies in 1969, met my husband shortly after that, and was introduced to a rich gamut of European sweets and treats: cheesecake, bundt, pfeffernusse cookies, strudel, Black Forest cake, and of course, marzipan.
And yes, marzipan became a Christmas tradition of ours as well. We often buy one of those size Large marzipan chocolate bars and share it, at least once during the Christmas holiday. I have actually tried to make the candy as well, but was frustrated that, while it tasted better than the "real thing", it was too sticky to mold into tiny little vegetables, not to mention undertaking the painting process.
I did, however, find a recipe online that I felt was a healthier version of the traditional Marzipan-- using only a few ingredients and NO white powdered sugar or dairy. My husband thinks it is pretty yummy. I've designed it as a 'jam' or spread that can be used on banana bread, muffins, brioche, shortbreads, croissant, maybe even cheesecake.
Marzipan is not candy. It is a unique substance unto itself, like Velveeta or plutonium— Gilmore Girls
How To Blanch Almonds
Blanch your own raw almonds and save money while getting the quality of almond you want.
- Cover almonds in water in a small saucepan.
- Bring almonds to a boil for one minute only- no longer, no less
- Pour almonds into a colander and run cold water over them
- Grasp each almond and squeeze to remove its jacket... be careful not to shoot the almond across the room!
- 1 1/4 cups pitted Medjool Dates, soaked in warm water for an hour- put soak water aside
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 packet "True Leaf" Stevia
- 1 1/4 cups Almonds, blanched (you can do this first, or buy almonds already blanched)
- 1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Add the date soak water or almond milk if the consistency is too dry, add almond meal if the consistency is too soft.
- Put in a squat glass jar and refrigerate.
(adaptation of recipe from http://greatbodyskin.com)
And that turned out to be so much fun I decided I would include our two other DIY- takes on popular sweet nutty "jams". The next one is for people (little OR big people) who get too wired on chocolate, but like that N--ella stuff.
If you are really averse to carob, go ahead and use cocoa (but don't forget that carob has minerals in it that your body loves, less fat, no theobromine,)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Spread one layer of hazelnuts on pan and toast for 5 minutes, checking to make sure they are not burning
- Remove from oven and pour into metal colander, swirling continually and removing nuts as they lose their coats. Can also rub between clean tea towels.
- 1 1/2 C. Toasted Hazelnuts (cooled completely)
- 1 C. Almond Milk
- 1/2 C. Carob Powder
- 1 T. Chicory or Chicory Coffee Substitute (like Roma or CafLib)
- 1/2 C. Maple Syrup (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- Blend in high speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Put in a squat glass jar and refrigerate.
(Adaptation of recipe at forealslife.com)
And the last nut jam-- actually, a SEED jam (unless you include pistachios, which I didn't)-- is the easiest to make! You don't even need a blender.
- 1 C. Natural (organic is great) Tahini
- 1 C. Coconut Palm Sugar (low Glycemic index)
Mash together with a spoon until smooth or spin up in the blender.
Raw Nuts with John Kohler
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