On day four of our Twelve Days of Cookie Recipes, we bring you chocolate salami from Richard Ruskell, Executive Pastry Chef at the Montage Beverly Hills. As Ruskell points out, chocolate salami is a name that spells food trend disaster. “I don't usually like dessert imitations of savory items, like 'dessert sushi', but there's just something about chocolate salami,” he says. We agree.

Unlike dessert sushi and the like, chocolate salami is rooted in a multi-cultural traditional past. In Portugal, it's known as salame de chocolate. In Italy, it's salame di ciccolato; in Germany, süße (sweet) salami. The chubby logs of chocolate speckled with broken cookies, nuts and dried fruit are wrapped in parchment paper and sold in supermarkets to be gifted whole for holidays and birthdays, or sliced thinly for an afternoon shot of intense chocolate. And as salami, sweet or savory, will stay fresh a lot longer than your average cookie, they're great holiday make-ahead gifts (they freeze well, too). “And don't ask me why, but whenever I say chocolate salami or even think it, it makes me smile,” adds Ruskell. Reason enough to turn the page for his chocolate salami recipe.

The Best Gifts Arrive In Parchment Paper; Credit: Flickr user youngtatter

The Best Gifts Arrive In Parchment Paper; Credit: Flickr user youngtatter

Chocolate Salami

From: Richard Ruskell, Executive Pastry Chef at the Montage Beverly Hills

Note: You can make the salami as short or long (and as thick) as you want. Ruskell keeps them on the thin side, but for gifts you can heft them up to a 3-inch or more diameter if desired. Think of it as salami Play-dough.

Makes one 12-inch salami, or several smaller salamis.

12 ounce bittersweet chocolate, (66%), uniformly chopped

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon espresso powder

1 cup vanilla wafers, crumbled

½ cup whole almonds

¼ cup pistachios

1 cup dried figs, cut in half and stem removed

1. Place the figs in a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Add the almonds and pistachios and pulse until they're chopped, but still chunky. Set aside.

2. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together. When the chocolate has melted, add the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent them from scrambling. Add the honey and espresso powder and whisk well, then remove the chocolate mixture from the heat.

3. Add the crumbled vanilla wafers, nuts and figs and mix well with spoon or rubber spatula, then refrigerate the chocolate until firm enough roll out like a cookie dough.

4. Shape the dough into one 1 ½-inch thick log, or several smaller logs in whatever thickness you prefer. Wrap each log in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to serve.

5. To serve, dust the chocolate salami with powdered sugar, if desired, to look like salami casing. Thinly slice and serve immediately. For gifts, wrap each sugar-dusted log in parchment paper (include a note to keep refrigerated).

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