Orange Chocolate Dessert Salami (Saucisson Au Chocolat)

In the mood for a bit of fun today? Let's make chocolate salami!

This recipe is based on a pretty classic Christmas treat that's popular throughout Europe. Despite appearances, this "sausage" doesn't contain any meat; it's made out of dark chocolate and studded with bits of nuts, cookies, and white chocolate. A dessert sausage!

When you slice into it, the fillings give the appearance of a classic salami. It's a fun conversation piece to serve with coffee or after dinner drinks at a holiday party. It also makes for a fantastic (and super clever) edible Christmas gift.

I flavored my chocolate salami with orange liqueur because I'm crazy about the combination of orange and chocolate together, but one of the best things about this recipe is that it's really flexible.

You can replace the dark chocolate with milk chocolate or even white chocolate. You can use different types of nuts--I love almonds and walnuts, but try pistachios, hazelnuts, or salted peanuts for a different flavor! Add things like mini marshmallows, chopped marzipan, dried fruit, bits of blondies or brownies, leftover stale cake...really anything sweet will work! 

The liqueur can be replaced with amaretto or Frangelico--I bet peppermint schnappes would be fun, too. For a non-alcoholic version, you can use black coffee or heavy cream. Spices like cayenne, cardamom, or black pepper would also be an interesting addition.

(Obviously, do not add ALL of these things together--that would be disgusting.)

The fun part is the outside. Once the chocolate sets, you rub powdered sugar to mimic the look of the rind on a real saucisson (so fun to say--I've been running around the house shouting "Saucisson!!!" in a terrible French accent all week).

If you're *really* motivated, you can tie the salami up with twine in a proper chain hitch just like a real one. Here are pretty good directions on how to do that.

This keeps well for a while, so you can make a few of them to give as gifts or serve throughout the holiday. It also freezes very well.  Oh and this recipe is crazy easy--really just some melting and mixing, so if you've got kids definitely get them involved.

Saucisson for everyone!

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Orange Chocolate Dessert Salami Recipe

1 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts (or mix of both)
1/2 cup crushed cookies (such as amaretti, shortbread, biscotti, etc.)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup orange liqueur such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds or walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until nuts are lightly toasted--about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Combine chopped butter and chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave and melt at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. (Can also be done in a pot over very low heat.) Stir in the orange liqueur and mix until combined and smooth. Add the toasted nuts, crushed cookies, kosher salt, and orange zest, mixing until evenly combined. Gently fold in the white chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate about 1 1/2 hours, or until mixture has firmed up a bit and is moldable. (Don't chill too long or you won't be able to get it out of the bowl--if that happens, pop in the microwave for 30 seconds until you can mold it.)

Spread a sheet of plastic wrap on your counter and turn the mixture out onto it (you can divide it into two for 2 smaller sausages or just make one big, thick one). Use your hands to form the mixture into a  log-like shape and then wrap up in the plastic wrap, twisting the ends to form a tight seal. Gently place in the fridge (I like to place it on something soft like a bag with mixed greens to help it keep the round shape, but it's not necessary). Let chill until firm--about 4 hours.

Remove from fridge, unwrap and use your hands to rub the outside with powdered sugar, just like a real sausage! Let sit at room temperature about 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serve sliced along with coffee and after-dinner drinks.

To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Will keep in the fridge about 2 weeks. Can also be frozen indefinitely.

You can feel free to substitute any kind of nuts--pistachios, pecans, peanuts, etc. You can also use dried fruit, mini marshmallows, pieces of stale cake or chopped brownies/blondies, etc. To change the flavor, swap the orange liqueur for amaretto, Kahlua, or Frangelico--even a peppermint shnappes would be fun! You can use black coffee or heavy cream for a non-alcoholic version.

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