Fancy exotic — yet super simple keto dessert? Then this Keto Almond Jelly recipe is the perfect answer to your needs! With only 4 ingredients, you can create a keto version of the famous East Asian recipe called Annin Tofu (which doesn’t have anything to do with soy-based tofu, by the way!). Read on to find the secrets to the super simple yet sublime dessert with practically no carbs and ridiculously few calories!
What is Almond Jelly aka Annin Tofu?
Almond jelly, aka Annin Tofu, is a jelly or pudding-like dessert originating from China. Even it says “tofu,” it has nothing to do with those soybean-based white blocks that we usually think when we hear the word tofu. The word ”tofu” in Annin Tofu just means that it resembles tofu.
For all you Finns out there: this dessert has nothing to do with Anni either. (Anni is a very common Finnish female name, and “Annin” is the genitive of that name. So, when a Finn says “Annin tofu,” we immediately think of a woman called Anni and her tofu!). By the way, my goddaughter’s name is Anni.
Traditional Almond Jelly is made with apricot kernels, agar, and sugar. As you can guess, apricot kernels lend plenty of bitter almond -like flavor to the dessert. The kernels are processed into milk quite much like you make almond milk or other nut milks. Sugar and agar are added to the hot milk. The mixture is chilled until set into jelly, which is cut into squares and served with syrup and decorated, for example, with goji berries.
Nowadays, there are numerous variations of this traditional dessert. Gelatin is often used instead of agar, and flavorings are used instead of real apricot kernels. And to make your life really convenient, there are instant Annin Tofu mixes that you just add to hot water and let set. Needless to say, the modern versions are pretty artificial, so in addition to unhealthy sugar, they contain nasty artificial ingredients and even soy. Yuk.
How to make this Keto Almond Jelly
This Keto Almond Jelly is a healthier twist on the traditional Annin Tofu. At least it’s miles healthier than the inferior instant modern interpretations.
So, 4 ingredients are all you need. After some thinking, I noticed almond milk makes the best base. Well, as we are going to make Almond Jelly, almond milk is the obvious base for it. However, it’s not the only option. Make sure to check the Tips for Variations section further below.
For sweetener, I prefer to use powdered erythritol, although any natural calorie and carb-free sweetener will do.
The traditional dessert uses agar as a jelling agent, but I prefer gelatin. Gelatin also has health benefits.
For the flavor, bitter almond flavoring or almond extract is best as apricot kernels are not that widely available. As always, choose as natural flavoring as possible, without added sugars or any artificial ingredients.
But, let’s take a look at how to make this exotic keto dessert.
Take 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) unsweetened almond milk.
Pour about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the almond milk into a small cup.
Add 1 tablespoon gelatin powder.
Mix and let bloom while you do further preparations.
Pour the rest (1 1/4 cup = 300 ml) of the almond milk into a small saucepan.
Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) powdered erythritol…
…and 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) bitter almond flavoring. You can use almond extract, but in that case, you can use a bit more, even 1 teaspoon.
Heat the mixture all the time, stirring…
…until boiling. Once boiling, remove from the heat.
Add the gelatin mixture.
Stir until completely dissolved.
Pour into an 8 × 5 inch (20 × 12.5 cm) ceramic or glass dish.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hours or until completely set.
Once set, remove the plastic wrap.
Take a larger dish and add some boiling water to the dish.
Place the dish with the jelly into the larger dish with hot water and keep it there for a couple of seconds. Don’t keep too long, otherwise, the jelly turns into liquid!
Now, you can see that the edges start getting loose.
Remove the jelly from the dish by turning the dish upside down on a cutting board. The jelly should fall on the board softly and swiftly.
Cut into 8—12 pieces.
Serve decorated as wished — I prefer edible flowers.
You can also spoon some sugar-free syrup on top. Yum!
How I came up with this easy keto dessert recipe
Several years ago, I became familiar with the concept of Annin Tofu, a Chinese-originating dessert that immediately caught my eye mainly because of the name. Well, after all, Anni is a very common Finnish female name, and this funny phrase caught my attention. After studying more about this dessert, I was very delighted to notice it has nothing to do with tofu.
I’m not a big fan of tofu since I avoid eating soy, and I simply don’t like the peculiar texture and the bland taste of tofu, no matter how silky or sturdy the texture is.
I was fascinated by the simple Annin Tofu aka Almond Jelly recipe and thought it’s easy to convert into keto. I wrote down the idea to my list.
However, a few years passed before I took the time to develop the keto version of the Annin Tofu recipe. This week, I was finally ready to develop and experiment with the recipe. Actually, in the end, I did only two experiments.
After some careful pondering and calculations, I decided to go for a creamy Annin Tofu. Traditional recipes often use milk, but it’s a relatively high-carb ingredient, so I didn’t want to use it.
I did an experiment with 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, 1/2 cup (120 ml) water, 1 tablespoon gelatin powder, 1 teaspoon bitter almond flavoring, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) powdered erythritol.
The jelly turned out fantastic! It was unexpectedly easy to remove from the dish and cut into pieces. I also loved the creamy mouthfeel.
However, the dessert wasn’t very sweet. Indeed, the sweetness was hardly perceivable. I thought doubling the sweetener would solve the problem and lend enough sweetness. On the other hand, the bitter almond flavoring was overpowering, so I needed to cut it in half, I concluded.
I was also thinking of an even simpler version with just almond milk instead of cream and water. Would it make too ”diluted” dessert? I’ve never tasted real Annin Tofu, so I’ve got no idea how it tastes and feels, I can make only an educated guess.
I replaced the heavy cream and water with an equal amount of almond milk. Now, I used 1/2 cup (120 ml) powdered erythritol to lend enough sweetness. I also reduced the bitter almond flavoring. When heating the ingredients, my kitchen smelled like marzipan!
I was pretty sure the dessert would turn out bland or somewhat diluted with pure almond milk. You know, I love rich and creamy desserts, and this version used almost calorie-free almond milk.
However, I was immensely positively surprised when the jelly turned really delicious! The creamy version was indeed nice, but I totally loved the almond milk-based Keto Almond Jelly! It was pretty funny to eat, too. Especially with sugar-free syrup and edible flowers, the experience was something really special!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 1 1/2 cups = 360 ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml powdered erythritol
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) bitter almond flavoring or 1 teaspoon almond extract
1. Place 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the almond milk and the gelatin into a small cup. Set aside to bloom.
2. Combine the rest (1 1/4 cup = 300 ml) of the almond milk, sweetener, and the flavoring in a small saucepan.
3. Heat over high heat, all the time mixing, until boiling.
4. Once boiling, remove from the heat.
5. Add the bloomed gelatin mixture and mix until dissolved.
6. Pour the mixture into an 8 × 5 inch (20 × 12.5 cm) ceramic or glass dish.
7. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until completely set, about 4 hours.
8. Dip the dish into hot water and carefully remove the jelly.
9. Place the jelly on a cutting board and cut into 8—12 pieces.
10. Serve the jelly on serving plates or bowls, decorated with mint or edible flowers. You can also pour naturally-sweetened sugar-free syrup on top.
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Swerve Sweetener, Confectioners (Pack of 2)
NOW Natural Foods, Organic Confectioner's Erythritol Powder, Replacement for Powdered Sugar, Zero Calories, 1-Pound (Packaging May Vary)
Anthony's Confectioner's Erythritol, 2 lb, Non GMO, Natural Sweetener, Zero Calorie, Keto & Paleo Friendly
Great Lakes, Beef Gelatin, 16 Oz 4-Pack, Kosher, Paleo-Friendly, Keto Certified, Gluten Free, Non-GMO
365 Everyday Value, Organic Almondmilk Unsweetened, 64 fl oz
Kirkland Signature Organic Almond Unswtd Beverage, 192 fl. oz.
Califia Farms - Shelf Stable Almond Milk, Unsweetened, 32 Oz (Pack of 6) | Non Dairy | Nut Milk | Vegan | Plant Based | Sugar Free | Keto Friendly | Whole30 | Non-GMO
|Nutrition information (butter included)||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total|
|Protein||10.4 g||2.6 g|
|Fat||3.7 g||0.9 g|
|Net carbs||0.5 g||0.1 g|
|kcal||77 kcal||19 kcal|
Tips for variations
This version is not very rich, thanks to low-calorie almond milk. If you want it richer, I suggest making the creamy version which was my first experiment. So, instead of almond milk, use 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream and 1/2 cup (120 ml) water. You can let the gelatin bloom in 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water. Otherwise, proceed as directed.
Even though almond milk is the best plant-based milk for this dessert by flying colors, you can try drinkable type coconut milk instead of almond milk. In that case, be prepared for coconutty taste.
If you can find apricot kernels, by all means, use them instead of bitter almond flavoring to make an even more authentic version. Soak the kernels for a few hours and ground them into a paste in a mortar. If you use apricot kernels, be sure not to consume more than 2—3 per day as they are high in amygdalin, also known as vitamin B17. Amygdalin is considered to have cancer-fighting properties, but it’s too natural and cheap stuff, so that’s why the medical industry has given it a bad rap. All in all, pregnant or nursing women shouldn’t use apricot kernels, so the safest option for them is bitter almond flavoring or almond extract that doesn’t contain amygdalin. Notice that bitter almonds as such are also high in amygdalin. Amygdalin gives the characteristic taste for both apricot kernels and bitter almonds.
And, if you hate bitter almond flavoring (or almond extract), you can use any natural flavoring you prefer. Try lemon, orange, cherry, or raspberry flavoring or extract. Flavored stevias also create a fabulous twist. Try lemon stevia, toffee stevia, blueberry pomegranate stevia, or orange stevia.
Simple vanilla extract is another excellent choice for elegant flavor. You can also use unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk.
This week has been pretty exciting. First of all, I submitted my Finnish keto book manuscript on Tuesday (yay!). The book will be out in August. Here is one photo of the book, recipe for Keto Raspberry Licorice Panna Cotta:
Other than that, I’ve been planning a whole new concept with my Ketokamu colleagues, and I’m thrilled about that. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal it yet as it’s still in the planning phase, but something big should happen during the spring. I’m excited!