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Sugar High Friday: Scharffen Berger and Sourdough

January 12, 2007

Scharffen Berger Sourdough

I have been missing San Francisco like crazy lately. More than usual, in a fierce, more yearning kind of way. What, you wonder, could that possibly have to do with Sugar High Friday?

I’ve never before entered any of the many food blogger contests, and it seems unusual, even to me, that my first would be one centered around sweets, seeing as I’m not such a sweets kind of person. But when I saw this month’s theme, Chocolate by Brand, I instantly thought of Sharffen Berger, and San Francisco, and that sense of longing that comes upon whenever I think of San Francisco this time generated something like an idea.

When I was in college one of my favorite indulgences was dunking buttery pieces of sourdough toast into hot chocolate. It sounds weird, I know, but holy crap it tastes awesome. The butter and the chocolate are a perfect complement, and set off by the tang of the sourdough bread….uhhnnnhhh, you don’t even know.

So my idea? Capturing San Francisco and that awesome combination into a sweet and savory snack. What do people think of when they think of San Francisco (besides its total awesomeness)? Sourdough bread and chocolate.

Of course, most people would think of Ghirardelli, the quintessential San Francisco chocolatier for over 150 years. Ghirardelli Square is a constant attraction for tourists, and everyone knows: San Francisco chocolate = Ghirardelli. But the thing is, Ghirardelli isn’t just San Francisco now, its pervasive. You can get Ghirardelli in any grocery store anywhere in the country. Nothing about it anymore speaks to me of San Francisco. But Scharffen Berger?

Scharffen Berger doesn’t have quite the illustrious history of Ghirardelli, but, like many things, its relative anonymity gives it a special kind of lustre. Of course, its anonymity may be short lived, but its tastiness I’m sure will not be. This is some pretty superb chocolate.

But combined with sourdough? All I can say is don’t judge until you’ve tried.

Scharffen Berger

I wish I could say that I’d bought this chocolate in San Francisco, and had been holding on to it, just waiting to put it to some noble purpose, but alas, I picked up at Trader Joe’s. The minute I saw it, sitting innocently on the shelf, I was like a greedy choco-crazed monster, and snatched up a few bars.

And it is a small secret that the only place I’ve found here in Boston that sells sourdough that even approximates San Francisco’s reknowned sourness is Trader Joe’s, and so the Sharffen Berger Sourdough was born, and quickly scarfed down by me.

Scharffen Berger Sourdough

  • about 6 slices of San Francisco-style sourdough from a large boule
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet Scharffen Berger chocolate
  • butter, and lots of it (actually, probably only about 1 tablespoon)

This was actually remarkably easy, and looks pretty impressive, so I think this would be a great party snack.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice the sourdough into pieces about 2-3 inches long, and 1 inch wide. Butter each piece heavily. Do not skimp on the butter. This is important. Go crazy. Toast the pieces on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. You want them a little crusty, but still dense and chewy on the inside.

While the bread is toasting, melt the chocolate in an improvised double boiler, like so:

Melting chocolate yum…

When it’s melted and very liquidy, pour the chocolate into a short, narrow glass. You want something that will enable you to coat each piece of bread about halfway up. I actually used those 7-ounce beer tasting glasses I got at the Sam Adams Brewery, and was happy to have finally found another use for such tiny glasses.

Take the toasted bread out of the oven, and dip each piece into the chocolate, covering about half of each piece of bread. Lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can stick them in the fridge to harden the chocolate more quickly, or just let them sit out to harden. If you do put them in the fridge, I would recommend leaving them for only about an hour, to prevent the bread from getting soggy.

Chocolate Sourdough all in a row

Voila. You now have a very simple, very unique, and incredibly tasty snack to impress your friends with. The combination is surprising, and I am instantly transported back to college, and back to San Francisco, with every bite. Homesickness averted through food, at least temporarily.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2007 5:51 am

    Yum! What a delicious looking entry for SHF. Thanks for your participation…and I’m homesick for ScharffenBerger chocolate myself too…

  2. January 22, 2007 9:54 pm

    Wow.. I can’t say I’ve ever entertained the thought of dipping my toast into chocolate. Now that I’ve read your story and looked at your pictures, I wonder why have I never thought about dunking my toast into chocolate?? It looks wonderful, sounds wonderful.. I’ve got the ScharffenBerger, now I need the sour dough and I’ll be set.

    I’m glad you decided to post this, thanks =)

  3. January 22, 2007 11:17 pm

    This looks like something so simple, yet something I wouldn’t have thought to do. Now, I’ll have to give it a try! Sounds fantastic!

  4. Barbara permalink
    January 23, 2007 11:28 pm

    Gee, here I thought dipping buttered toast in hot chocolate was a southern thing cause my yankee husband used to make fun at me for doing it. Now I am going to try this way too. When I was younger back in the good old days, I used to make chocolate sandwiches out of Wonder bread and Nabisco’s chocolate syrup. Just pour the syrup on the bread and fold and enjoy.

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