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So Jelly

Start spreading the news: These offbeat toast-toppers combine the flavors of summer in the sweetest ways.

Strawberry Jam
Strawberry jams tend toward the super sweet side, but this version from 4 Birds Bakery has a nice, tart balance. “I don’t like jams that taste like liquid sugar,” says owner Jenna Gatchell. What does she recommend you pair it with? A 4 Birds English muffin, of course.

Monkey Butter
Don’t let the words “banana jam” scare you. This topper from Mother Noble tastes better than your favorite banana bread recipe and involves no dirty dishes. Lemon juice adds flavor brightness, and the texture is creamy and smooth. Maker Delana Mann likes it swirled through peanut butter on toasted wheat bread.

Vanilla Chai Tea Jelly
This mash-up from Tina’s Traditional Tea Room (30 N. Rangeline Rd., Carmel, 317-565-9716) applies the flavors of the warm drink to a jelly that England-born owner Tina Jesson likes to pair with imported Devonshire clotted cream on a sweet scone.

Black Raspberry Jam
It’s hard to find black raspberry jam because black raspberries are more elusive than their red counterparts, so Laura Karr grows them herself at KG Acres Farm. Rich and vegetal in flavor, black raspberries have the sweetness of red ones, minus the pucker-inducing tartness. Mix a dollop with olive oil and champagne vinegar for a tasty homemade salad dressing.

Balsamic Stout Onion Jelly
The slightly sweet, mostly savory spread from farmers market fave Home Ec has a hint of stout flavor from the beer, mild tang from the balsamic vinegar, and unexpected texture from the cooked onions. Jam-maker Jessica Sowls suggests pairing it with a hard aged cheese, like sharp cheddar.

Raspberry Chocolate Jam
Raspberries are too delicate to dip in chocolate, but who needs to when Cindy Hawkins of Circle City Sweets (City Market, 317-632-3644) can pull off this magic trick? Hawkins uses the jam as a filling in her macarons, but you can slather it on toast or make it the centerpiece of homemade thumbprint cookies.

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