By Bread (and Chocolate) Alone

As far as dietary sacrifices go, I can imagine far worse conditions than living by bread alone. Anyone who says otherwise must not know of the wonders of flour, water, and yeast, and the incredible range of flavors such a humble combination can produce. Of course, a smidgen of chocolate would turn the whole affair into a genuine treat rather than a trial, but the same could probably be said for any sort of cocoa-infused pairing.

Let’s keep this one short and to the point: If you like bread and/or chocolate, together or separately, this is a recipe you should take for a spin. Crunchy croutons take the place of bland wafer cookies in this classic no-bake bar cookie. Accented with chocolate and hazelnuts, the whole mixture is bound with a dark, toasty caramel. Finally, a touch of salt and pepper sets this unique treat apart.

Bread and Chocolate Slice

8 Ounces Fresh Baguette, Diced into Very Small Cubes (1/4 – 1/2 inch)
3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Flaxseeds, Finely Ground
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted
1 Cup Turbinado Sugar

5 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Melted
1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
Flaky Sea Salt, Optional

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and have a baking sheet at the ready.

Slice the baguette into very small cubes, between 1/4 – 1/2 inch, as long as they’re equally to ensure that they’ll bake evenly. Toss the pieces with the olive oil, salt, and pepper until full coated, and then spread the bread out in one even layer on your waiting baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until golden brown all over. Let cool completely.

While the oven is still hot, place the hazelnuts in a small baking dish and slide them into the oven for 5 – 10, until lightly toasted and aromatic. Let them cool for about 5 minutes before rubbing them in a kitchen towel to remove the papery skins.

Measure out 3 cups of croutons and set them aside. Place the rest of them in your food processor along with the cocoa powder, ground flaxseeds, and cornstarch, and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl along with the reserved whole croutons, skinned hazelnuts, and shredded coconut, stirring lightly to combine. Set aside.

Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil and lightly grease.

Combine the melted coconut oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over moderate heat on the stove. Resist the urge to stir again once the sugar has dissolved, swirling the pan gently instead to mix the contents. Bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color. Quickly pour the hot caramel into the bowl of dry ingredients, stir thoroughly to incorporate, and transfer the whole thing into your prepared pan, spreading it out into as flat a layer as possible.

Finally, mix together the chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in a small pitcher, and pour it all over the top of the bars while they’re still warm. Use a spatula to smooth it over and distribute it evenly across the whole pan. Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt if desired.

Let cool until the chocolate has set. Slice into bars and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Makes 12 – 16 Bars

Printable Recipe

13 thoughts on “By Bread (and Chocolate) Alone

  1. I love bread pudding! I love the traditional version and I can see myself being quite partial to your chocolate one too. If I had to live on bread alone, I wouldn’t mind too much if it could be turned into bread pudding and treacle tart.

  2. Such a great recipe! I’m a sucker for bread (sometimes it’s really hard to keep my bread cravings under control) and this brings me back good memories from my childhood when I loved to eat a big slice of fresh homemade baguette with a few squares of dark chocolate. Yummy!
    I love your blog Hannah, you’re such an inspiration! =)

  3. I think that I can live on bread alone.. For quite a while. I love bread.
    This sound so delicious and I can imagine it tasting really good! One very smart dessert! Oh yes..and bring on the sea salt. I think they work wonders with dark chocolate.

  4. Just when I think you can’t surprise me any more Ms Hannah, there you go again! Who woulda thunk of putting bread with chocolate? (Aside from nutella on fresh homemade white that is…ahem!) What a great idea! You are the ideameister Ms Hannah. Your creations are the stuff that legends are made of and this looks to me like a perfect way to couple Italian frugality with heady luxurious excess…you are killing me girl! ;)

  5. I love bread and chocolate together including hazelnuts…and of course I snack it on with vegan nutella (so dreamy good)! What a gorgeous slice, Hannah…I need this for my flight tomorrow morning!

  6. Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    Wow!! I love everything about this recipe. I will definatly give it a try. Sub the cornstarch for arrow root and maybe add extra cocoa. TY for the great post!

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