Since I started baking my own bread I had been looking to make my own chocolate spread. As much as I loathe sugar-laden Nutella (amended to clarify that it’s not Nutella per se I despise but the fact that something that tastes so good has to be full of sugar and fake ingredients), I must admit that chocolate pairs incredibly well with freshly baked toasted bread. Nonetheless, I was keen to come up with a recipe that was low in sugar, had a short list of recognisable ingredients I knew how to pronounce and spell and that could be put together in a cinch.
It is probably time for an important disclaimer, the recipe copied below is no step-by-step guide to making your own Nutella at home. Firstly, although perfectly adequate for making various nutbutters (walnut being my current favourite), my food processor is nowhere near good enough to make hazelnut paste smooth enough to satisfy my perfectionist tendencies and hazelnut paste costs an arm and a leg where I live. Secondly, I was actually keen for an unadulterated chocolate spread, where each additional ingredient merely serves to emphasise the flavour of the chocolate. As such, the recipe below contains four ingredients only.
Good quality chocolate. I went with dark chocolate as I am starting to find milk chocolate sickly sweet at times.
A fruity olive oil. Because it is high in unsaturated fats, thanks to a colleague’s olive grove in Puglia I now have ample supplies of olive oil and, most importantly, olive oil has a much much longer shelf life than other fats such as cream or butter (or even ground nuts) and given my slightly erratic working hours and frequent travels I was keen to come up with a recipe that would allow me to slowly make my way through a jar of chocolate spread without worrying about any use by dates.
Valrhona cocoa powder. Because sometimes even chocolate with a 70% cocoa content needs some more chocolate. Valrhona cocoa powder because it is simply the best cocoa powder I have ever cooked or baked with. Yes, it comes with a high price tag, but, if you can afford it, it is so worth it.
Sea salt. Well, the addition of sea salt to dark chocolate warrants no explanation. It simply rounds out the flavour, emphasises the subtle sweetness of the dark chocolate and teases you to have a second spoon of this Pate a Tartiner.
Ingredients, makes 1 small jar
100g dark chocolate (I used organic chocolate with a 70% cocoa content)
45g olive oil
15g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1. Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie.
2. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the olive oil, the cocoa powder and the sea salt, making sure everything is well combined and there are no lumps.
3. Pour the mix into an empty mason jar and let cool at room temperature until set.
Best served with fresh baked bread, in this case, a slice of my mum’s latest batch of rye bread. Or, in my dad’s case, simply served with spoon large enough to fit through the neck of the jar but big enough so that you don’t constantly have to dig into the glass for another spoonful. For hot summer days, I would recommend melting a small amount in the microwave and pouring it over homemade banana soft-serve and topping it with some chopped salted peanuts.