I took last week off to mountain bike in the Utah desert with my family (it was stellar, thanks for asking!), so I thought I’d ease back in to real life with an OT post. I like to cook, and I also like to combine creativity and cooking. Past off-topic posts on this theme have included:
- How to make Halloween sugar skulls
- How to make chocolate truffles for yourself or as a gift
- How to make this really incredible whole-grain walnut bread that, to my knowledge, is found only in certain bakeries in Switzerland
When we got back from vacation, I felt like doing some experimental holiday cooking, ahead of the real holiday cooking season where people outside my immediate family will be eating the results. Ever since we spent the summer of 2016 in Northern Italy, I’ve been lusting after chocolate salami. If you’ve never heard those two words used together, it’s a bit of a mindset shift. The thing looks very similar to a meat salami, but is actually a sweet confection. More fabulously, Italians eat this with breakfast–where has that idea been all my life?? No wonder Italians are so much less stressed-out than Americans.
In many of the hotels where we stayed on our bike tour, slices of chocolate salami appeared on the breakfast buffet. My family likes to joke that the evolution of one’s metabolism on a long-distance bike trip is:
- First, dessert after dinner every night
- Then, dessert before and after dinner
- Then, all of the above, plus dessert after lunch (i.e. get a sandwich from a bakery for lunch, and add a pastry)
- Then, all of the above, plus dessert after breakfast, in the form of chocolate salami
So I decided it was time to learn to make chocolate salami myself. If you’ve ever made truffles or anything truffle-like, it’s really not so hard. The matrix is like truffle filling, with chopped nuts and crushed biscotti as the “fat blobs” that appear in a meat sausage. You make the filling, allow it to cool until it is moldable, roll it into a log, and then dust the thing with powdered sugar to simulate the aged sausage casing. I used this Food Network recipe by Giada de Laurentiis and didn’t modify it at all. The result was quite pleasing, even for a beta version.
I had trouble getting the log perfectly round; first the matrix wasn’t chilled enough and mushed all over, then it was a little too hard and ended up a bit ridgy and oval rather than round. But for a first try, I was happy with the result. Here are some photos, and I apologize to every Italian chocolate sausage-maker for posing this one on a plate that says “Paris.”