Last weekend our neighbors invited us to go on a hike in the mountains near our home. The night before our adventures (including fording a large, ice-cold stream), I flipped through O Taste & See Some More! trying to find something I could take along to share during our picnic lunch. I wanted something:

  • quick and easy
  • that didn’t have to bake in the oven (remember, this is summer, and we don’t have air conditioning!)
  • that used ingredients I already had in the house
  • that could “travel” in my backpack during our hike

What I decided to make was Chocolate Salami (p. 218 in O Taste & See Some More!) Our neighbors love chocolate…and since I describe this in the cookbook as “what chocoholics will eat in heaven” it seemed a good choice.

An Italian friend in Rome gave me the original recipe for Chocolate Salami, a unique treat that gives the appearance of salami with little specks of white cookies or nuts tucked into the dark chocolate slices. As with many Italian recipes, Paola didn’t measure precisely and this is one of those very flexible recipes that you can make without too much precision. The dry ingredients are moistened with the wet ingredients-according to your taste preference-until the mixture is moist enough to be formed into a log. Then it’s chilled and sliced-looking so much like salami that you can’t believe it!

To make the salami, I begin with chocolate cookie crumbs. You can really use any amount of cookie crumbs…just adjust your wet ingredients accordingly. In the States you can purchase chocolate cookies crumbs already crushed and ready to go. If you use those, you want about 3 1/2-4 cups of crumbs. When I lived in the States, I usually used Nabisco Famous Wafers and made my own crumbs… I’m quite a fan of their deep chocolate flavor.

When I’m not in the States, I buy the deepest, darkest chocolate cookies I can find…and crush them in my food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, just put them in a large bag…

…and crush them with a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a bottle…

Keep processing or rolling until the cookies become fine crumbs…

Now I put the crumbs into a bowl, along with 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and a few tablespoons of sugar.

That’s all of the dry ingredients…cookie crumbs, unsweetened cocoa and sugar.

After living in Europe for 12 years, I have become accustomed to desserts not being too sweet, so I only used about 3 T. of sugar. I also prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate. If you like sweeter things, add a bit more sugar. Since there are no “raw” ingredients in this salami, you can taste a pinch as you go to see if you want it sweeter or not.

Almost every recipe I found on the Internet for Chocolate Salami called for lots of butter…and Paola’s original recipe called for quite a lot as well. The butter-once it’s chilled-helps to hold the mixture together so you can slice it, so I don’t think I’d make the Chocolate Salami without ANY butter. I experimented with using less butter and the salami still sliced up nicely, so I now use only about 1/4 cup (55 gr) of butter, melted.

Next I add the remaining wet ingredients…and like the sugar, these can vary according to your likes and dislikes. You will need about 1/2 cup (125 ml) total liquid ingredients. Some or all of this 1/2 cup can be some espresso or VERY STRONG coffee…

I’m pouring it into a spoon here just to be sure of not adding too much. Don’t just dump in 1/2 cup of coffee and stir it up. Add a bit at a time so you don’t get a soggy mess.

Some, or all, of your wet ingredients can be Bailey’s Irish Cream, or another liquor of choice…  Rum might be nice. Or Kahlua could add a different flavor.

Or you can add some milk…

Stir the mixture together, checking to see if you need to add a bit more liquid or not…

I think it’s better to have the mixture a bit too dry rather than too wet.  When the mixture is about how I want it, I add either finely chopped almonds, or simple, white cookies/biscuits such as Petit Beurre, which I’ve just broken up by hand. You may prefer to chop them with a knife, especially if you use almonds.

A final stir to incorporate the small white flecks-otherwise it wouldn’t look like salami, and what would we call it? Chocolate Log Slices? Much less interesting name. Now I place spoonfuls of the mixture down the center of a piece of plastic wrap…

…and press the mixture roughly into a log…

Then, I wrap the plastic wrap around the log…

Next I roll it back and forth a bit to squeeze the mixture more tightly into the log shape…

…and twist the ends closed…

Voila!

I really like knowing that this is chocolate, not fatty meat, shaped into a salami. And I like knowing it’s in plastic wrap, not in animal intestines. My apologies to all of you organic salami makers out there. You’ll need to chill this several hours, or overnight. Then, slice it up and enjoy! I took half of the salami with us on the hike and our neighbors enjoyed every slice!

By the way, on our hike we really did ford this stream. As my husband took this photo I think I was saying, “Stai scerzando!” (“You’ve got to be kidding!”) But we lived to tell about it…and ate the salami to renew our energy.

Ciao!

Debbie

Chocolate Salami

Serving Size: Makes 1 log; enough for several chocoholics

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C. (55 g) butter, melted
  • 12 oz./3 1/2-4 C. (350 g) chocolate cookies crushed (such as Nabisco Famous Wafers)
  • 3/4 C. (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Several spoonfuls of sugar
  • Approximately 1/2 C. liquids: strong coffee, milk, Bailey’s Irish Cream (or other liquor of choice)
  • Some almonds, graham crackers or Petit Beurre-type cookies, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Crush chocolate cookies and place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add unsweetened cocoa and sugar; stir to combine.
  3. Pour in melted butter; add the liquids of your choice a bit at a time. Stir after each addition and add just enough to bind the dry ingredients together.
  4. Add finely chopped almonds or cookie pieces and stir gently so the pieces are distributed evenly.
  5. Place spoonfuls of the mixture down the center of a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log. Wrap the plastic wrap around the log; twist the ends closed and roll it back and forth if necessary to give it a uniform shape.
  6. Chill for at least 4 hours; then cut into 1/4-inch (.5 cm) slices and serve. The slices will be dark brown with little specks of white almonds, giving the appearance of salami.
http://ciaofromdebbie.com/blog/step-by-step-cooking/chocolate-salami/

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