Recipe: Blackberry Jam and Thyme Chocolate Bark: Vegan, Top 8 Allergen Free

One of the benefits of joining Epicurious’s #cook90 challenge ("The #cook90 challenge is simple: cook three meals a day, every day, for a whole month." - @epicurious) had been that I’ve upped my leftover game. Epicurious calls them #nextovers, because the challenge is to transform your leftovers to something new and more delicious, or at least different. I don't usually do that, I make a big batch of something on Sunday -- a soup, a chili and braised meat thing -- and then, well, just dine on that as is. And I’m fine with that, it’s autopilot, it’s safe and delicious for me.

But this #nextovers concept and doing it online (public accountability!) has pushed me to do a bit more than simply reheat what is already delicious. 

Like this. 

Bark ready to be chilled

I made a big batch of blackberry jam (recipe here) the other day. And I had some herbs I had purchased but hadn’t yet used. Part of my personal #cook90 goals are to use more herbs and spices. So I wondered: what blackberry jam and thyme and chocolate would be like together? Pretty terrific, I guessed. I did a quick search online and saw that several others had created desserts using  that combination so I did a test run. 

Chocolate bark, if you haven’t made it before, is so ridiculously easy and it’s a great treat to make and bring to parties or get-togethers. It looks impressive, tastes delicious and for the home cook is a buh-reeze to make. 

Essentially it’s melted chocolate, spread out on a parchment covered pan and then you sprinkle your favorite toppings on top. Chill until it’s hardened, break up it glorious uneven shards, put on a plate and serve and listen as your guests ooh and ahh (which I promise they will.)

The combinations are endless. This is a great kid-cooking project and they (and you) can go crazy with the flavor combinations: sweet, salty, spicy, sour, it can all go with chocolate. Go play!

So here I took it easy on the blackberry jam as you want pockets of juicy fruit, rather than wall to wall, which gets messy and textural boring. I also took it easy with the fresh thyme. You want a hint of it, you want to get the herby goodness but not so much that it’s all you taste. Having said all that, I eyeballed this, it’s barely a recipe.

I melted a .5 cup Enjoy Life chocolate, swirled  in 1.5 T of blackberry jam, had the leaves from three single stalks of thyme and a light sprinkle of Kosher salt. And it was perfect for my tastebuds: the herbs with the jam and the chocolate created an exciting taste profile, something different, juicy, herby, sweet but not wildly sweet and chocolatey. It was so delicious, I had to give half of it away before I ate the whole batch. My tester loved it, too.

Next up I may try orange zest and rosemary and chocolate. What?! Yaassss! Stay tuned.

Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Facebook feed to see my #cook90 month unfold. Better yet, tag me at @allergicgirlnyc #cook90 to cook allergen-friendly with me!


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