8 Mouthwatering Chocolate Treats From Around the World
Can't get enough chocolate? That's a good sign your priorities are straight.
Tired of the humble-but-mighty chocolate chip cookie? Sick of s’mores, bored with brownies, done with donuts? Then grab some international inspiration for your chocolate addiction, and sample these sweet chocolate treats from around the world. From a world of pastries and confections, we have found the most kid-friendly, chocolate-heavy, gooey-finger-y, sugar-rush-inducing chocolate desserts from all four corners of this happily-eating Earth. (With apologies in advance to your dentist.)
1. Brigadeiro (Brazil)
If you’re going to a birthday party in Brazil, you’re nearly guaranteed to be served brigadeiro. They’re fudgy truffle balls made with sweetened condensed milk and covered in chocolate sprinkles. The treats are named for Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, a presidential candidate in Brazil’s 1945 presidential election. Women (who had recently won the right to vote in Brazil) found him quite the looker, and would bring treats to political rallies and events to show their support. This five-ingredient brigadeiro recipe is simple to make. Serve them in mini-sized paper baking cups to your guests — but you can also eat the brigadeiro batter straight from the bowl.
2. Nanaimo Bars (Canada)
The Nanaimo Bar, named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada, is the favorite dessert of that region, and it might soon become yours. This three-layer bar starts with a crust made from coconut, almonds, and graham crackers. The crust is topped with yellow custard and then a layer of chocolate ganache. Though this treat started showing up in cookbooks in the 1950s, the traditional recipe is by Joyce Hardcastle, who won a 1986 contest to find the best Nanaimo recipe in all of British Columbia. There’s even a Nanaimo Bar Trail tour where travelers get to try all the variations, from gluten-free to deep-fried.
3. Chocolate-Covered Digestive Biscuits (U.K.)
How could a cookie with such a terrible name taste so good? Must be the chocolate. Digestive biscuits, made from whole wheat flour and malt extract, originated in Scotland as an aid to digestion. Word on the street was that because the cookies were made with baking soda, they would act as an antacid — but I’m not convinced gobbling a pack of graham cracker-like cookies will cure your heartburn. What I do know is that the McVities Bakery had the brilliant idea to coat the biscuits in chocolate, and when you buy a tube of these cookies, you cannot eat just one.
4. Rugelach (Israel)
One of Israel’s most popular desserts is perfect for little people who have a big sweet tooth. Rugelach are triangles of dough, slathered with a chocolate (or sometimes fruit) filling, and rolled into a crescent shape. You only need a few bites to polish off a perfect rugelach. This style of rolled-and-filled pastry has roots in many cultures, but rugelach (meaning little twist or little horn) as we know them harken back to the Jewish communities of Poland. After WWII, bakers in Israel and America put their own spin on the chocolate treats, and the Israeli version now uses a yeasted dough similar to croissant pastry and adds some Middle Eastern flair to the filling (such as adding a hint of cinnamon to the chocolate). For a multicultural spin, bake your rugelach with a Nutella filling.
5. Pan Con Chocolate (Spain)
As an exchange student in Madrid, I first discovered the joy of eating bread spread with chocolate at a birthday party for the youngest sister in my host family. Little did I know that pan con chocolate is a Catalonian recipe, in which country-style bread or baguette slices are topped with melted chocolate, olive oil and sea salt for an afternoon treat beloved by kids and even celebrity chefs such as Jose Andres. The Spanish snack might even give Nutella sandwiches a run for their money!
6. Tim Tams (Australia)
When my Australian friend goes home to visit, she always returns with a stash of Tim Tams in her suitcase. These triple-chocolate cookies feature a light chocolate cream sandwiched between two chocolate-malted biscuits and the whole shebang coated again in chocolate. They are quite the international little cookie: The manufacturer Arnott’s was inspired by a similar British cookie called the Penguin and named their treat after a winning Kentucky Derby horse in America. But if you want to be extra-Australian when you eat one, try the Tim Tim Slam — biting off the corners and using the Tim Tam as a straw to drink your coffee, hot chocolate, or warm Milo (an Aussie malted milk drink). If you don’t have an Australian source for these chocolate delights, you’ll need to learn to make your own.
7. Chocotorta (Argentina)
If you’re celebrating your birthday in Argentina, you will likely be indulging in a chocotorta, the country’s most popular chocolate cake. To make the gooey treat, soak Argentinian Chocolinas cookies in milk or coffee, then layer them with cream cheese and dulce de leche (a staple of many Argentinian desserts). The fancier versions are topped with chocolate ganache or melted chocolate for even more chocolatey goodness.
8. Pain au Chocolate (France)
You may know them as chocolate croissants. Folks in southwest France call these pastries chocolatines, and the Austrians who came up with the original idea referred to the treats as schokoladencroissant. But Parisians call them by their most well-known name: pain au chocolate. If you don’t know them at all — and you have my heartfelt sympathies if that’s true — pain au chocolate is a sweet pastry made with flaky croissant dough and filled with pieces of chocolate. They’re a staple in French cafes and on breakfast menus, caused culture wars in France’s parliament, and have taken the world by storm. That’s a big impact from a little pastry.
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