Chocolate Salami is a delicious, no-bake holiday treat.
Fun to make, this candy/cookie confection is a great homemade holiday gift. Of course, if you make several to give away, you can always keep one in the back of the refrigerator for snacking.
If you still need convincing, here are my top three reasons to make a chocolate salami now:
- Quick & Easy – If you’ve procrastinated and the party is tomorrow, you still have time to make a chocolate salami. The process is simple and it doesn’t create a huge mess.
- Endlessly Variable – The recipient adores a particular flavor, a type of nut, or a special liqueur? Is she/he allergic to one ingredient typically put into the mix? No problem – switch ingredients in or out.
- It’s chocolate – Enough said.
I first noticed the Chocolate Salami concept last year. My introduction was a lovely version from Cooking the Globe. Making a salami-looking roll of cookies and nuts enrobed in chocolate may sound crazy, but it struck me as fun. Because I stumbled upon it in the dog days of winter (and it seemed especially appropriate for the holidays), I put it aside in my “to be continued” pile.
When I took it up again a few weeks ago, it turned out there were many versions and much to learn. So I devoted much of this past weekend to fantasizing about chocolate salami, making my own version, and figuring out how best to explain this no-bake treat. I considered it time well spent.
Many cultures claim the chocolate salami concept as their own, with names to match. It goes by salame di cioccolato in Italy, shokoladnya kalbaska in Russia, salame de chocolate in Portugal, and saucisson au chocolat in France. I even found a Brazilian version.
You can make this recipe your own with new flavors or ingredients. As long as the shape remains salami-like and it’s held together by chocolate, you’re making a chocolate salami in my book.
Tips on How to Make Chocolate Salami
- The overall effect – My version goes heavy on the biscuits and nuts. Feel free to use less or substitute another ingredient (candied fruit?) for part of the biscuits or nuts. A higher ratio of chocolate “body” to add-ins makes the salami more candy than cookie-like. Any dry, sweet and simple biscuit works as the cookie base. I used Maria biscuits, which are traditional in the Portuguese version. Biscotti, Biscoff cookies, petit beurre, or shortbread work well too. Avoid soft cookies or those with a strong flavor. Here are my ingredients (not pictured – confectioners’ or powdered sugar for the outside coating.
- Egg safety – If using eggs, I suggest either heating them in the chocolate-butter “base” to 160 degrees F or using pasteurized eggs. I used the first method. Others, such as Aube Girous on PBS.org and Rosemary of An Italian in My Kitchen, recommend using pasteurized ones in their uncooked egg recipes. Some do use raw, unpasteurized eggs, such as Manu, She Knows, Nigella Lawson, the Sorted Food guys, and Dorie Greenspan. Europeans seem less concerned with food borne illness from eggs judging by those recipes. I prefer to be cautious on this point.
- How to substitute liquid for eggs – You can use a few tablespoons of liquid in place of eggs. The idea is to give the chocolate body without making it too soft or runny. Here are a couple of examples of eggless chocolate salami recipes: from Manu’s Menu (rum or milk), from All That Jas (rum or liqueur), Giada de Lauentiis (brewed coffee.)
- Other ingredients – If you add another ingredient, think about how it will affect the texture and adjust the other ingredients accordingly. For example, a handful of coconut would be fine, but it’s dry. Maybe swap out some of the nuts or biscuits if you add it. On the other hand, grated orange rind adds taste but doesn’t affect texture.
- Rolling the salami – Pushing out the air bubbles is key. I found that refrigerating the log(s) for about 20-30 minutes after an initial roll and then rolling it again helped to eliminate telltale bubbles.
This no-bake cookie and nut filled chocolate log is a great holiday treat. Follow the basic template, then swap out ingredients and make it your own!
- 3/4 cup nuts, chopped (e.g. almonds, pistachios, pine or pignola, walnuts)
- 7 ounces cookies, broken into small chunks
- 1/4 cup white chocolate bits or chopped dried fruit
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon liqueur or cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Toast the chopped nuts at 300 degrees F for 5-8 minutes or until golden. (Watch carefully and turn them over occasionally so they don't burn.) Set aside the chopped nuts, cookie chunks, and white chocolate or dried fruit.
Melt the chocolate and butter together. Mix them well until combined, then add the vanilla and almond extracts, the white and brown sugars and the eggs. Whisk constantly over a low-medium heat on the stovetop for about 5-6 minutes until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Immediately take the mixture off the heat.
Add the nuts, cookie chunks, white chocolate/dried fruit and liqueur. Mix the ingredients until all the add-ins are covered in chocolate. This recipe makes either one large (about 1 pound 12 ounces) or two smaller (14 ounce) chocolate salamis.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap with the short side facing you. Spoon out half or all of the chocolate mixture onto the middle of the plastic wrap. Push or move the mixture roughly into a log shape roughly 10-12 inches long, then cover it tightly in the wrap and roll it several times to smooth it out. If you have the time, refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes, then roll it again to make sure all you have pushed out all the air bubbles.
Knot the ends of the plastic wrap and refrigerate the salami(s) for several hours, or preferably overnight.
- Remove the plastic wrap and dust with confectioners' sugar. I used a strainer, then rubbed the sugar in with my hands for an authentic "salami" look. You can also roll the log in the sugar.
Optional: Tie kitchen twine on the salami by knotting it at one end, then making a loop, folding it over and inserting it under the salami and tightening. Repeat several times, then knot at the end.
I microwave the chocolate and butter together on a low setting for a few minutes, stopping to stir every 45 seconds or so. You can also melt them in a double boiler.
Here's an amusing video from Sorted Food on how to string up a chocolate salami.
The number of servings listed above (24 slices) are approximate, and are based on two 14-ounce salamis.