Russian Season


Russian, Eastern European and international cuisine brought to you by a mother and a daughter

Chocolate Butter

Chocolate Butter

Along with boiled condensed milk, chocolate butter is one of the simplest - and the most nostalgic - home-made sweet treats of the Soviet period. Under conditions of total deficiency*, you had to be thrifty and creative. You know what we sometimes did with chocolate sweets? We spread some butter on a piece of bread, then cut a chocolate sweet into slices and put it on top of the bread. Or sometimes it was just bread, butter, and sugar on top. These simple pleasures were not as miserable as you might have thought - as everything was organic and natural. You couldn’t store products in the fridge for weeks and weeks and weeks like now: they spoiled. Butter was extremely thick, rich and… yes, buttery: the quintessence of butter. Bread was always crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, somewhat similar to ciabatta; the crust was slightly salty and pale golden. Another thing is that sometimes you could notice dirty fingermarks on a loaf of bread, so a common practice was to quickly roast each loaf over a fire in order to disinfect it, hehe.

This morning I spread a spoonful of chocolate butter on a slice of a multigrain bun and meditated about my childhood and all the flavours that are gone for good. But back then, how could I think that I would ever try mascarpone, and wasabi, and arugula?.. And that I would discuss all that with people from all around the globe? All changes are to the good…

*A riddle I invented as a child: “It’s round, green, and grows in Moscow. What is it?” - the right answer is orange, hahaha.

Chocolate Butter

Chocolate Butter
150g butter, softened
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp powdered vanilla sugar

Mix all ingredients and beat with a fork until well-blended. To serve, spread on a slice of bread and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and chocolate shavings.


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Chocolate Butter with hazelnuts and chocolate shavings

Chocolate Butter

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14 Responses

  1. Simple and delicious. I suppose you can also use it as icing for cakes and muffins

  2. Carine says:

    Wow! this is the first time I see chocolate flavored butter! It’s kinda like chocolate icing without the large amount of icing sugar isn’t it?

    • Alina says:

      Carine, well yes, it doesn’t use a lot of sugar at all, although of course you can adjust the sweetness to your taste. I think this also depends on the quality of butter - you know, that butter you can buy on a farmer’s market is somewhat sweet by itself and it doesn’t need lots of sugar at all!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elizabeth Milton, Alina. Alina said: Chocolate butter is one of the simplest and the most nostalgic sweet treats of Soviet period [...]

  4. Now this is how one should eat butter. The simplicity of this is wonderful, great post.

  5. Lynne says:

    Oh, chocolate butter sounds divine!

  6. Gali says:

    Oh, the good old soviet times! As you said, one had to be creative and to be honest, some of the simpler things we had back then are still what I crave for from time to time. Is this butter what we called “cocoa butter”? I remember my aunt bringing us some from time to time.

    • Alina says:

      Hey Gali, let’s feel nostalgic together :)) what are your favourite Soviet foods? As for the butter, in our family we always called it Chocolate butter, but of course strictly speaking it’s cocoa butter :)

      • Gali says:

        I’m quite lucky that we have an Armenian shop around here that sells some essentials (condensed milk in those tins you can cook, wafers from which you can make that cake with the cooked condensed milk, etc.) What I miss most are the cheap ice cream “cups”, I remember walking around my grandpa and he would always buy those for us, they were something really cheap. I also kind of miss the old white bread that was shaped like a brick, in L’viv it wasn’t sold everywhere and we had to queue to get some. And obviously the candy, there used to be some amazing Ukrainian made candy but these days it’s the same brand but it tastes like… well… shit. Even the korovka doesn’t taste the same to me.

        Alas I wasn’t around during the time of the 1 or 3 kopek bread buns but apparently those were worth it. They were already way more expensive in the late 80s. Still, that’s the classic that always gets mentioned around our family dinners.

        • Alina says:

          Oh yeah, ice cream was completely different too! So buttery and thick! huh I know what you mean about that candy, same story here - the manufacturers admit they had to adjust their recipes to European standards. Which didn’t automatically make their chocolate taste like Swiss or Belgian of course. Now it just tastes like bad chocolate and smells of burnt oil.
          I miss a chocolate cake called “Luna”. It was a dark chocolate sponge cake soaked in some booze. It was somewhat bitter even. Yum!

  7. Pavel quantumcloud509 says:

    I remember eating homemade noodles with chocolate butter when I was a kid. Thanks mom!

  8. I used organic butter and this came out perfect. It definitely brought back memories to when I was a child. I used to LOVE chocolate butter and my parents used to buy it all the time back in Ukraine. Thanks so much for posting this recipe, I never thought I could make this at home!

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