My first introduction to the fodmap diet was when a friend was doing the exclusion phase of it but was coming round for dinner. She emailed me the list of all the prohibited foods and my first response was ‘are you kidding me?’ On second reading and second thoughts, I started to see connections to my own problems and the rest is history as they say.
But it seems fitting that my first ever fodmap challenge was a dessert. This remains my great dilemma when fodmapping foods. Desserts are heavy on the wheat, fruit and dairy triad of deliciousness and thus very hard to adapt to all fodmappers. My answer on that occasion was to make a dark chocolate sorbet to a David Lebovitz recipe using water and chocolate to creat something so amazing even I liked it and I hate dark chocolate as a rule.
So last Christmas I decided to go one step further and make the famed chocolate mousse version of this to the Herve recipe knocking around the internet. But I took his tip about replacing water with something more flavoured quite literally and used some sorrel (or hibiscus) cordial I had instead. It disn’t so much make mousse as chocolate paste and I realised my mistake had turned into something simple but amazing: homemade chocolate spread.
Accidentally vegan, dairy free, fodmap friendly and so simple it only has two ingredients, it also only takes five minutes to make and can be endlessly customised to the flavour combinations you like best. I’ve made chocolate sorrel and chocolate ginger as well as raspberry and I plan to do a sarsparilla batch and possibly mint if you can still get that peppermint cordial.
It’s totally worth trawling the aisles of your local Polish or Asian store here as both tend to stock a fabulous selection of cordials. Asian cultures that don’t drink alcohol love sweet drinks and you can get everything from spiced drinks to rose or mango while the Poles love single fruit syrups such as blueberry or raspberry (although don’t get this confused with nalewka which is fruit infused booze.)
I can also get amazing Caribbean cordials round here that are suitably sticky and highly flavoured. This isn’t the moment for your reduced sugar mimsy flavoured British stuff. You want the stuff that’s pure sugar water. I made my own ginger cordial after doing slow cooker stem ginger and added an entire bag of sugar to a litre of water. Don’t skimp or your texture won’t be spreadable enough.
If you can’t find unusual cordials from round the world, try Belvoir Farms or the Monin syrups for coffees. TK Maxx often stocks the latter at reduced prices at this time of year and if I can get a bottle of their hazelnut I can’t wait to try a white chocolate hazlenut spread here. Basically your imagination can run riot on flavours.
Homemade Chocolate Spread (makes 2 x 175g jars)
- 200ml cordial of your choice
- 200g chocolate of your choice
- pinch salt
- 250g ice cubes
Start by sterilising your jars. I bought some from Amazon and popped them in the oven at 160C while I made the spread. They need about 15 minutes to be sterilised. Place the jars on a tray for ease of lifting.
Set up a large bowl of the ice cubes and another clean smaller bowl that fits inside the larger bowl. You’ll also need an electric whisk.
Break the chocolate up into a saucepan and add the the cordial directly. Gently melt it all together into a rich smooth sticky and glossy looking sauce, stirring well. Remove from the heat as soon as the last bit of chocolate melts.
Pour this mix into your smaller bowl and set into the bowl of ice. Beat for about 4-5 minutes with the electric whisk until the mix starts to look like ropes of sticky chocolate on the beaters.
Immediately decant into the hot sterilised jars using a jam funnel if you have one. Work quickly as it starts to set very quickly. Put the lids on and allow to cool. Label each batch clearly and you have an easy and inexpensive but endlessly customisable gift for people for Christmas.
Don’t tell any one but I used Sainsbury’s Basics chocolate at 45p a bar and it worked perfectly with even a bit of a cocoa snob loving the jar of the dark chocolate ginger spread I made. Just don’t blame me if you have to make this weekly to get your chocolate spread fix ok?