Chocolatey date log
Super easy, healthy and loved by kids!
When I dreamt of having a blog, I promised myself all recipes would be novel, game-changing and innovative. I felt only recipes truly unique to me, with specialty knowledge that I developed had a place on my blog.
But sometimes the best recipes happen to be simple, easy, novel only in a subtle way. It could be one ingredient, precision of flavour, technique details, etc.
This recipe is one of those. The recipe is not going to blow your mind, but hopefully, the result will (or just be damn delicious!).
This recipe has been requested by so many people who have tried it, so at least I feel like this is a sure public service :).
Chocolate salami; This was one of my favourite sweet treats as a child!
It is made with all the good stuff: crushed biscuits, sugar, butter, cocoa powder and rum flavoured extract and / or sweet red wine, I cannot begin to explain how perfect it tastes. It is very similar to the English rocky road, but a little simpler version.
It normally has no marshmallows, nuts, or dried fruit bits…. Although my grandma has been known to push the boat out on occasion and throw some in. Classically though, it is just the chocolatey mass marbled with bits of biscuits.
It is quite delicious.
The more decadent versions will have used real chocolate in the mix too, similarly to classic rocky road. Making it just a little harder (too hard) to resist that fifth slice (who am I kidding… eighth…).
Well, now that I have hyped up chocolate sausage and rocky road, let me tell ya, this recipe……. Nothing like those.
Just jokin’ with ya man!
I mean, those looking for an exact replica may be disappointed (you will have to let me know). The only reason I allow myself to assimilate these and raise your expectations is that; not only did I aim for these as a result when trying to make these, but also about half the feedback I receive about these is that they are reminiscent of those childhood sweets.
And these are objective comments! I do not normally call these ' chocolate sausages’ so as not to create a bias,be suggestive, or falsely advertise and create expectations.
So this is an objective opinion to me, for some people.
Another feedback I get is: “I cannot even taste the dates”.
To which I say - winner!
They make up about 75% of the chocolate mass, and are so good for you (more about my love for dates in a future post (my new years resolution to be succinct was terribly timed with me trying to get a blog going…).
And the best thing about these (apart from the result): They have minimal ingredients, most are easy to come by (or make) and they come together so quickly!!!.
The ingredients are:
Raw buckwheat (green)
Then there are some optional but highly recommended flavour boosters such as apple cider vinegar and a spot of brandy. If you are feeling adventurous, I like to add yellow raisins. They are delicious!
Why this works:
Medjool (or medjoul) dates: You must be familiar with Medjool dates. Their texture is less fibrous, and more fudgy. Their flavour is a bit less fruity than other dates, leaning towards caramel notes. These work fantastically with cocoa in my opinion.
Coconut butter: (which is just dried coconut meat pulverized into a fluid mass, like other nut butters, very easy to make at home in a high-powered blender) solidifies at low temperatures and stabilizes the mass a little bit in the fridge giving this the perfect texture. Also, surprisingly the coconut flavour is really mellow in this, and instead, the buttery lactones* in the coconut really shine through in the flavour profile
(*Lactones are flavour compounds naturally found in some foods like butter, cheese, fruits, etc. Coconuts and butter have some overlap in the types of lactones they contain).
Green buckwheat: Is the crunch maker in place of biscuits. It is roasted in the oven (I roast a large amount to use in different home made treats) to give it a slightly toasty flavour profile, corresponding to a baked cookie, and also making it crunchier and less floury than raw buckwheat. The flavour is still very buckwheat, but in the treat, it passes under most people’s radar.
Do not be tempted to buy ready roasted buckwheat, the flavour is harsher and different.
Finally, salt and apple cider vinegar: punch up the buttery flavours, and the brandy: just gives another wonderful dimension.
Let’s get to the recipe:
15 minutes hands on time (20 minutes if you count cutting into slices)
Makes: 200g chocolate salami
Equipment: small food processor. I find food processors where the motor is above the container work better. I explain some parameters in choosing food processor below in the note section.
150g pitted medjoul dates
25g coconut butter
15g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Optional: ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar
Optional: ¼ tsp brandy or rum essence or vanilla essence / extract
Optional: 30g yellow raisins
Preheat the oven to 190C
Toast buckwheat on a tray for about 12 minutes, giving them a stir about half way through, to promote even toasting. Place aside to cool. (If you are toasting only 30 g, be aware that the time needed may be a lot shorter! More like 7-8 minutes. You are looking for all groats to turn brown and develop a slightly too-toasty smell)
If you have a microwave, pop the dates into the microwave for 30 seconds at max temperature (this helps soften the dates).
Place the dates in the food processor. Pulse a few times and then keep pulverizing for about 20 seconds until the dates are somewhat broken down into a paste. Stop the food processor, use a knife / spatula to scrape the dates from the walls back into the sticky mass. Work the food processor again.
Once the dates are mostly broken into a paste, maneuver them back closer into the blades (this is just a tip to avoid a pool of coconut butter under the blades), add in the coconut butter, cocoa powder, pinch of salt, and apple cider vinegar and brandy (optional).
Run the food processor in long pulses until the whole mass is smooth and homogenous.
Allow to cool in food processor or in a bowl. Once cooled and is almost at room temperature, mix in toasted buckwheat groats by hand (kneading them in and folding the date mass over them).
Working carefully not to lose too many runaway buckwheat groats; halve the mass and roll into a sausage (if helps to first mould it between your palms into a long form then roll on a surface to make it smooth and pretty). I like to roll it in some baking / parchment paper and then cool the sausage in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours (preferably overnight).
Cut the sausage into discs or generous slices - whatever works for you!
Food processors suitable for this:
Some food processors are better suited to this than others. As a rule of thumb, the lower end food processors have worked better for me here. Usually, it is preferable that the motor is above the processing container. The closer the blades run to the sides, the finer the texture will be. And all food processors with a blade whose center is hollow and food can creep upwards in it whilst working are generally going to be a nightmare with dates.
Coconut butter substitutions:
I have not tried using coconut oil for this, but I assume it would work well, although it may be a bit oil so I would drop the amount of oil used to about 18g.
Another nut butter would be delicious, but its texture would be more fudgy and softer.
I hope you loved this! feel free to contact me for any questions or comments etc.!!