Russian Chocolate Butter

Necessity is the mother of invention... and when chocolate- deprived Soviets needed their favorite food, they had to make it stretch.

In general, regional cuisines arise from the ingredients locally available, as well as their quantity -- and in this sense, chocolate is no different from any other foodstuff. On this site, we celebrate the extremities to which people will go in order to get their RDA of the fifth major food group.

To steal a line from Star Trek's Vulcans, there really is infinite diversity in infinite combination. And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding... the chocolate pudding.

Like Buttah

Remember when there was such a thing as the Soviet Union? The Soviets liked to pretend they were on the way to building a perfect society, but the constant food shortages suggested otherwise.

Unless you were a high-ranking Party member or somehow got ahold of dollars, some foods were hard to come by; and even then you had to stand in line for hours to get them, and risk the providers running out before you got there. Chocolate was one such luxury.

An upside was that the products were fresh and often delicious, especially the rich, creamy butter. One favorite sweet was bread and butter with sugar on top -- pretty basic. When chocolate was available, you could add shavings or slices to make the treat even yummier.

Awesome Invention

At some point, someone had a brainstorm: Let's make chocolate butter! Guess what the two main ingredients are? (Probably not too hard a stretch). Apparently, it's excellent as dessert on thick, crusty Russian-style bread -- but I'll bet it tastes good on French, pumpernickel, rye...

Here's what you'll need for the choco-butter of your dreams:

5 ounces of softened butter
1 teaspoon of powdered vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons of regular powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of unsweetened powdered cocoa

Mix everything thoroughly, then beat it with a fork until it's smooth, creamy, and well-blended. Don't use a blender -- it's too hard to get all the choco-butter out, and it may overmix it. You'll end up with something that looks like slightly pale peanut butter, which you can store in a covered bowl or jar.

A Few Final Words

You can sprinkle your chocolate butter with chocolate shavings or chopped nuts after you spread it on your bread; then take a bite, and enjoy. Note that you may have to experiment with the proportions of the ingredients to get it just right, and you'll either need to make your own vanilla sugar or hunt it up somewhere.

But neither task should be too tough. And one more thing: just be sure to make it in small batches like this, so you can eat it all before it goes bad. As if that'll be a problem, given the chocolate content.

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