This has got to be one of the easiest sweet-toothed treats one can make, brought down to us from childhoods of long ago, when households had to make do with what was available in the pantry. I heard, and have no reason to doubt, from someone that the fabulous chocolate spread “Nutella” was actually the brainchild of poverty … meaning:
Real chocolate was expensive and affordable only by the rich. But hazelnuts were ‘free’, they were the gift of trees, and cocoa powder was ‘affordable’. So, by mixing hazelnuts, sugar and cocoa powder … Nutella was born (some time in the 1950s if I’m not mistaken).
‘Salame al cioccolato’ is made with biscuits (300g), butter (150g), sugar (150g) and cocoa powder (2 tablespoons)– again, ingredients that would have been easy to find in most households. A little liqueur would have been added too … like Marsala or Amaretto di Saronno or even a home-made liqueur made from cherries or bayleaves or green walnuts.
I placed a packet of cocoa powder in the photo as part of the ingredients. But I didn’t use it because I cut corners somewhat by making use of chocolate biscuits instead — very good ones at that! As you can see, I made life easier for me by melting the butter in a little saucepan.
And now for a little elbow grease. The biscuits need to be pulverised … but not too much otherwise it doesn’t work. So, unfortunately, this is one occasion where a food processor won’t do. Save on your electricity bill by placing the biscuits in a large bowl, covering them with a cloth or a sheet of paper (so that the crushed biscuits don’t spatter everywhere and make a terrible mess) …. and then think of someone you can’t stand and whack away at the biscuits with a meat tenderising tool (is that what they are called? “batticarne” is what they are called in Italian, it’s like a meat pounder). Alternatively, you can place the biscuits in a dish cloth/tea towel, roll it up, and whack away with a rolling pin.
If, like me, you are not very good at puddings and desserts, this is a great way of coping because you can make the chocolate salame well in advance and freeze it.
It’s good for a children’s snack time … it can be eaten as a dessert (especially with crema pasticcera spread over it) … and it brings out the ‘kid’ in all of us, young or old. Chocolate with crunch …. mmmmm.