Mary Anne here. Coming off of EIGHT weeks of denying myself chocolate, I was smitten by La Cucina Italiana’s June ’11 issue, featuring an incredible selection of indulgent cocoa-loaded recipes. The following recipe was inspired by their version of a chocolate “loaf” studded with a variety of nuts and crumbled butter cookies.
As I eagerly planned my impending re-entry into the world of gustatory gluttony, I fantasized daily about creating my own big brick of nuts and chocolate, imagining all of the possibilities that would culminate in something akin to an enormous “Chunky” candy bar. Soft, rich chocolate with the sweet chew of golden raisins and the delightful crunch of walnuts, toffee and almonds – and ta-da! – Compost Fudge was born. The perfect ending to a perfectly painful Lenten fast.
While at first glance, this is a total splurge on oh-so-many levels, I figured out how to justify it several ways. Firstly, it serves at least 12, and if you add any of the listed garnishes and flourishes suggested below, I’d bet you could stretch the serving amount and still satisfy up to 18. Secondly, I was pup-sitting for Mariel and her husband, and since they were returning the day after Easter, they absolutely HAD to have a chocolate treat hidden in the recesses of their fridge, right? I mean, what kind of Easter Bunny doesn’t remember the kids? Thirdly, this brick is brimming with all that is decadent yet it’s totally novice-friendly, it whips up in under 25 minutes, and is made the day before. And last but not least, after eight weeks of deprivation sans a support group, I needed a chocolate fix and I needed it badly. In the end, that’s really all the justification I needed.
Compost Fudge: A Chocolate Brick Brimming with Walnuts, Raisins, Toffee and Butter Cookies
Notes: You will need a 10” bread loaf pan and either waxed or parchment paper.
Plan to remove from fridge about 1 ½ hours before slicing and serving
Serve with raspberries, sliced mango, strawberries, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream…the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Of course, this big, very bad boy is fantastic all on its own.
26 oz. baking chocolate (I used ½ semi-sweet morsels and ½ bittersweet morsels) – $6.29
1½ sticks butter – stock
3 Tablespoons strong coffee – stock
1 Tablespoon Kahlua (optional) – stock
1 cup unsalted, roasted almonds, coarsely chopped – $3.99
½ cup walnut pieces – stock
½ cup raisins – stock
1 cup Heath Toffee Pieces – $3.99
2 cups butter cookies, crumbled – $3.49
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $17.76
Total Per Serving: $1.48
1. Line a 10” bread pan with wax or parchment paper. Be sure to leave at least a 1-2 inch over hang on all 4 sides, as you’ll use these to lift the big candy bar out of the tin before serving.
2. Combine the Heath Toffee, nuts, cookies, and raisins in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water (remember, the top pan with the chocolate should never touch the actual hot water), melt the chocolate with the butter, hot coffee and a dash of Kosher or sea salt. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the Kahlua, if desired.
4. Immediately pour the melted chocolate mixture over the nut/cookie mix, stirring well to combine.
5. Transfer to the prepared pan, sprinkle with a bit more sea salt, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
6. About an hour and 15 minutes before serving, bring the candy loaf back to room temperature, unwrapped, on the counter top. (If it’s super cold in your abode, give it 2 hours.)
7. Serve solo or with any of the accompaniments listed above.