Enjoy your breakfast as Europeans do — slathered in butter and showered in chocolate

Salted butter and chocolate sprinkles bread is the Dutch treat you won't want to share

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published September 8, 2022 4:30PM (EDT)

Chocolate bread (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Chocolate bread (Mary Elizabeth Williams)

In "Quick & Dirty," Salon Food's Mary Elizabeth Williams serves up simplified recipes and shortcuts for exhausted cooks just like you — because quick and dirty should still be delicious.

One of the best things about Europe is the absolute unabashed acceptance of breakfast as an important meal and an important meal which should usually involve chocolate.

Americans, as nearly every movie and television show ever made will attest, like to half-heartedly take a sip of orange juice while rushing out the door muttering something about already being late. But in the old world, it's fine to luxuriate with an espresso and a slice of bread slapped with high quality chocolate. These are the people who gave us Nutella, after all. I thank them for that.

While they have not had the same kind of transatlantic success as their hazelnut spread cousin, the Dutch brand De Ruijter's chocolate sprinkles deserve an equal place of fond esteem in your cupboard. Because you know what makes buttered toast better? Chocolate sprinkles. The Dutch call it hagelslag. Oh, and they invented the sprinkle back in 1913, so I think they know what they're doing. The word hagelslag, by the way, comes from the pellets' resemblance to hail, which probably means they're good for you.

The key to hagelslag's charm is that it is not like our flavorless domestic sprinkles that, in my opinion, ruin a lot of perfectly good ice cream cones. (You can find other brands of hagelslag out there, but like Nutella, De Ruijter is king.) De Ruijter's sprinkles are real, perfect little nibs of real, perfect chocolate. The Dutch, who reportedly consume over 30 million pounds of hagelslag a year, also happen to be the fifth happiest people in the world. Coincidence? I don't think so.

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Dutch supermarket aisles groan with different varieties of hagelslag— milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, fruity (Sprinkles don't have to be chocolate to be sprinkles!), even a mixed chocolate blend charmingly called "flake party." And this is not kid food; oh no. When I asked a Dutch colleague recently what her favorite Dutch meal was, her eyes seemed to mist over when she described peanut butter on toast, topped with De Ruijter. Who could argue with a choice like that? Certainly no one from Australia or New Zealand, where the sprinkles are multicolored and the treat called fairy bread is similarly beloved.

You don't need to go to the Netherlands, or even get some De Ruijter imported to your home (although you wouldn't be sad if you did either), to experience the pleasure of sprinkle bread. All you need to make any morning a hagelslag morning is freshly buttered bread and a generous grating of your best chocolate. I make mine by grilling the bread in salted butter to give everything an irresistible, near-melted vibe. You can of course leave the bread untoasted, which does help the sprinkles stick better to the butter. Regardless of your method, you will drop a bunch of sprinkles while you eat this exquisite delicacy, and it will be completely worth the flake party that breaks out on your shirt. It might just make you the feel like the fifth happiest person in the world.


Inspired by Global Table Adventure

Salted Butter and Chocolate Sprinkles Toast (Hagelslag)
Prep Time
 5 minutes
Cook Time
 5 minutes


  • 2 slices of white bread 
  • De Ruijter chocolate sprinkles or a bar of your favorite good chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter, softened



  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
  2. Add the bread and toast in the pan for a minute until lightly browned. 
  3. Flip the bread and toast the other side. (You may need to do the slices one at a time.)
  4. Remove bread from pan and cover generously with chocolate sprinkles, or use a vegetable peeler or microplane to create chocolate slivers on top. Eat immediately.

Cook's Notes

You want real chocolate here, not some waxy decorative stuff, so either seek out European chocolate sprinkles or simply grate your own favorite brand. Regular supermarket sprinkles won't cut it. 

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By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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