The first time I saw a slice of chocolate salami, my heart skipped a beat. Imagine the consistency and richness of a chocolate truffle, but now imagine a whole roll of the stuff, peppered with tiny morsels of all your favorite things: candied ginger, pistachios, almonds, and crispy amaretti cookies…
Chocolate salami is a very easy ‘no-bake’ dessert (a lovely option if you’re not a fan of baking!) It also makes a great DIY gift to offer friends or family during the holiday season. (Wrap it up in kitchen twine to give it an authentic salami look and I can guarantee a few ooh’s and aah’s) The salami log can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week and brought out as needed, cut into slices, and served either as dessert after a meal, or on a tray alongside other holiday cookies.
An old Italian dessert, there are many variations of chocolate salami recipes floating around out there, so it’s one that you can adapt to suit your tastes. You can use nuts or dried fruit of your choice, your favorite crispy cookies, and whatever liqueur you’ve got on hand. You can also use whichever chocolate suits your fancy, though dark chocolate is definitely recommended. I like to use a very dark bittersweet chocolate. My version of this recipe differs somewhat from others in that it has no added sugar (I don’t like chocolate desserts when they are overly sweet). Personally, I love the flavors of orange zest, amaretto, and the zing of candied ginger but as I said, you can easily modify this to suit your tastes, just make sure you stick to the basic chocolate, butter, cream, and liqueur ratios, and you’re good to go! Happy salami making and happy holiday season everyone!
- 10 oz dark bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
- 1/2 cup almonds (can be slivered almonds if you wish)
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/4 candied ginger
- 1/2 cup crushed homemade or store-bought amaretti cookies (or any kind of crispy cookies - not chewy - will do the trick)
- 1 tbsp fresh grated organic orange rind
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp amaretto (or liqueur of choice)
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp confectioner's sugar (for rolling, if you don't have any, pulse regular sugar in a coffee grinder for 15 to 20 seconds)
- Place the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or a metal bowl nestled on top of a saucepan of hot water, making sure the bowl isn't touching the hot water) and place on low heat until melted. Keep a close eye on the chocolate so it doesn't burn. Once melted, remove from heat add the cocoa powder, mixing well to remove any lumps.
- In a small bowl, crack the eggs into the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Add this to the chocolate mixture. (If you are concerned about eating raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs - I use farm fresh eggs and wash the shells well before breaking them). Add the amaretto liqueur to the chocolate mixture and mix well.
- If you wish, toast the almonds to bring out their flavor. Place them on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven and toast for about 10 minutes (for whole almonds) and 5 minutes (for slivered almonds), checking them a few times to shake them around and make sure they aren't burning.
- Place the cookies between a clean folded tea towel and using a rolling pin or heavy object, mash them up gently until they are reduced to small bits and pieces, less than 1/2 inch in size (but don't shred them to the point of turning them into dust). You can also simply break up the cookies with your hands, especially if they are more delicate cookies, such as digestives or arrowroots.
- With a sharp knife and cutting board, chop the almonds, then the pistachios, and then the candied ginger. The nuts should be chopped quite finely, about the size of grains of rice, so the knife doesn't catch on any large chunks when slicing the salami.
- Once the chocolate mixture has cooled down a bit, add the chopped almonds, pistachios, candied ginger, crushed cookies, and grated orange rind. Mix everything together well so all the little bits are covered in chocolate. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 30 to 60 minutes. Check it after 30 minutes to see how hardened it is. It should be significantly hardened but still be malleable so you can shape it into a log. (If you leave it in the fridge too long, it will be too hard to shape).
- Place the chocolate mixture on a piece of plastic wrap (about 20 inches long) and using your hands, shape it roughly into a log that is approximately 2 1/2 inches thick in diameter, and about 12 inches long. Don't worry if it's a little messy looking. Alternately, you can divide the chocolate mixture into two parts to make two shorter salami logs (about 6 inches each). Now wrap the plastic tightly around the log, twisting the ends snuggly to squeeze the mixture in. Use twist ties to fasten the ends. Roll the log back and forth in the plastic wrap, to even it out and pack it together well. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap. Roll the log in confectioner's sugar and shake off any excess. If you are gifting it or wish to have the full "salami effect", wrap some kitchen twine around the log, salami-style (this video though in Italian, will visually show you how to do it). You can slice right through the twine when it comes time to serve. After removing from the fridge, allow the log sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing.Using a clean sharp serrated knife, carefully slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, if you're having trouble getting perfect slices, cut them a little bit thicker.
- If offering this as a gift, don't forget to let the recipient know that the salami must be kept in the fridge until ready to eat, and that it contains raw eggs, in case they have a lowered immune system.
Yield: Makes 1 x 12-inch salami log or 2 x 6-inch logs (about 48 slices in total)
Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.
Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series was nominated for a 2014 James Beard Award. In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.