Friday, December 16, 2016

Dashing Through A Winter Wonderland: Yule Log Recipe

Good Afternoon and hello to you!!

Thank you so very much reading
 the blog and visiting my posts... 
If I haven't told you how much I 
appreciate you and your readership...
I do.

I am so grateful and beyond thrilled
 that you are loving
the recipes and finding
 little bits of inspiration
 for your own home
here on the
Blue Ribbon Kitchen blog.

I'm touched and overjoyed
you are here... truly.

(It used to be only my mom reading all these posts...thanks mom)
(My sweet husband was quizzed regularly to see if he was actually reading
--not skimming, every word I lovingly typed —sorry honey)


This week...

Dashing through a winter wonderland...
It snowed... which was wonderful...
It was bitterly cold, which was not so wonderful...
and I'm finding, the faster I go...the further behind I seem to be.

After a busy few days with the very exciting, 
and very live, Hometalk Home Tour on Facebook,
with a whopping
 122k visitors...
Yes, that's right...
(I did a double take too...)
One hundred twenty-two thousand views...and counting.

How does someone make sure to have 
enough appetizers for a crowd like that?!
Luckily it was online... so we had enough of everything!!

The Hometalk Video is in this post!!
 If you want to watch... it's all here!

As far as the rest of the week...
I had hoped things would start to slow down...

Well, they have not...

If you missed the HomeTalk LIVE FB home tour and
 ornament demo... No worries friends, you can catch it here:

We had winners of ornament kits: If you are:

Patti Coach 
Cheryl Youngbar 
you were the winners.
Please send your mailing information to:
I will get those kits to you right away.  
Thank you to everyone that entered!!

We made these ornaments together...

We talked about Christmas trees...

Including my very favorite Santa photo tree.
I LOVE putting this tree together every year.

We chatted about adding a little holiday cheer to kitchen spaces...
I made this sweet tree planted in a bright Christmas red
colander with barns and
vintage kitchen tools.

It was so much fun!!

 Just as I tried to settle in for a long winter's nap,
...because I really needed a nap...
 It occurred to me:

 I have not sent our gifts
 ...or mailed or addressed even
one single Christmas card... 

...not a single one.

When so much is on my plate,
home tours, baking classes, 
unfinished holiday cards,
 and a million other things...

I try very hard not to think about what
 might go wrong and 
focus on making things as 
"right as possible"...not perfect... just right.

Last week, before the home tour, before the
decorations and trees went up, before it snowed...
before my family brought home a juicy cold... 
before all of that...

I had the pleasure of teaching a baking class
 bûche de Noël or Yule Log
at The Dorothy Lane Market Culinary Center
 in Dayton, Ohio.
The class... it was a smashing success... 

The lead up to the class...not so much.  

I had difficulty with a tried and true recipe and 
ended up re-working the recipe, and the technique
 ... finally getting it as right as possible
 for all the wonderful students.

I baked 30 cakes in 48 hours... 

Yes, 30 cakes...

Because sometimes getting it "right" takes 30 cakes.

I think it's important to remind myself 
during this often hectic, 
albeit beautiful and lovely time of year... 

Getting something "right" sometimes means 
going the extra mile
for others...  and also for ourselves.

For me, the extra little things, 
and even the great big meaningful things are
  an expression of love and care for those around me.
Hopefully, all the fuss and chaos that is sometimes part
of the holiday season results in so much
 more than simply being a 'busy time of year'.

Creating warm cozy spaces, preparing delicious foods...
It's worth the extra effort when those moments, 
both big and small
   become lasting holiday memories.

I know that my most cherished memories are 
of spending time with family and friends.
As an adult looking back on my childhood,
 I can more deeply appreciate all the 
care and effort that my 
mother and grandmother's put into
making special holiday celebrations,
baking family recipes and wrapping all those gifts...

I am sharing some photos form our family 
Christmas from last year...
Including the yule log we enjoyed.

I know that making a yule log might seem like 
a daunting task...
Taking it one step at a time... 
much like life...and
working ahead on some parts helps to make 
everything seem more manageable.

(Baking has so many transferable life just does...)
I can assure you ... making this dessert was a labor of love and added to
the fun and excitement of celebrating Christmas together.

No matter how you celebrate the season,
 I hope you take time to enjoy all the magic that is around you... 
May all your efforts, both great and small,
 be appreciated and felt by those you cherish most.

The recipe is below.

Bûche De Noël
Karri Perry-Blue Ribbon Kitchen 2016
Sponge Cake
·         Parchment paper ONLY for this cake
·         ¼ cup all-purpose flour
·         3 tablespoons cornstarch
·         1/3 cup unsweetened Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
·         ¼ cup whole milk
·         3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
·         1 tablespoon vegetable oil
·         1 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         ½  teaspoon instant espresso powder
·         ¼  teaspoon fine salt
·         5 large eggs, room temperature
·         ¾ cup sugar

Sponge Cake
Heat oven to 375°. Set the oven middle rack for baking this cake.  Using a 18x13" rimmed baking line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides. Do not use any vegetable spray or butter to grease the pan--parchment paper only for this type of cake, baked in this pan.

Whisk flour, cornstarch, salt and 1/3 cup cocoa powder in a small bowl Sift once. Set aside.

Heat the milk, butter until just melted in the microwave. Add the oil, vanilla, and espresso powder.  Stir gently and set the warm mixture aside.

Meanwhile, beat the 5 eggs with an electric mixer on low speed and stream in the sugar.— Mix until just combined. 20 seconds.

Place the mixing bowl with the eggs and sugar over a large pot of simmering water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water.  Heat the egg and sugar mixture to 100 degrees, while whisking constantly.

Once egg mixture has reached 100 degrees, immediately remove and begin to whip the eggs on medium speed for 1 minute, then on high for a total for 4-6 minutes or until the batter is light fluffy and holds a ribbon shape.

Reserve one cup of the foamy batter in a medium bowl, set aside.

In the main bowl, Sift in three batches of the flour/cornstarch/salt/cocoa mix.
Combine with a light touch, using the least amount of folds to incorporate the dry ingredients.  Remember to go all the way to the bottom of the bowl to look for dry pockets.

Add the vanilla/oil/milk espresso powder mixture to the reserved foamy batter.

Mix together gently but create a uniform batter…this will be a little runny… just make sure it is not watery.

Add the reserved batter mixture back into the main bowl in two parts.  Be sure to gently incorporate.  Adding this will loosen the chocolate batter…The overall batter should still remain light and foamy, but will not be quite as thick after adding the mixture.

Quickly (as in don’t wait too long, the foamy eggs will begin to deflate)  Pour batter into a prepared baking sheet.

Using an off-set spatula, spread batter to all corners, making the cake even.
Bake on middle rack of a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cake is set.

Remove cake from oven and let rest for 2 minutes.

Use a paring knife, loosen all the edges.
Sprinkle cake to with cocoa powder—lightly.

Place a sheet of parchment on to and invert cake onto a cooling rack. 

Remove original parchment backing.—let cool for 5 minutes.  Dust with cocoa powder and while the cake is still warm… Roll the cake into a log.  Rolling the cake will only work while the cake is still warm from the oven.  Use the new parchment the cake was just inverted onto, to help lift the cake gently into shape.

Rest cake log seam side down and let cool completely.

 Once cool, fill log and decorate.

Make-Ahead fillings, frosting & décor
Meringue Mushrooms
·         3 large egg whites
·         2/3 cups granulated sugar
·         1/8  teaspoon cream of tartar
·         1/8 teaspoon fine salt
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         ¼ cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
·         ¼ cup Wilton red candy melts-melted
·         1 teaspoon white-small nonpareils
·         Toothpicks
Meringue Mushrooms
Preheat oven to 200°. Whisk egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water) until egg whites are very liquid (mixture will be warm to the touch) and sugar is dissolved (rub between your fingers to check), about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and beat with an electric mixer until stiff, glossy peaks form (bowl will feel cool), about 5 minutes.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Fill a large piping bad with a 2A tip.  Fill bag with meringue and pipe button caps –tops to the mushrooms. Make mushroom tops about 1-2 inches in diameter. Pipe stems of varying heights.  If desired, use a wet fingertip to remove any peaks or to smooth surfaces.
Bake meringues for 1-2 hours or until dry to the touch –but not browned (meringue will be soft when it first comes out of the oven but will dry and crisp as it cools).
To Make Ahead:  Store mushrooms in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

To Assemble Mushrooms:  Using a serrated knife trim a flat plane onto one end of each stem.  Melt ¼ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dip the bottom of a mushroom cap into the melted chocolate, or use an off-set spatula to spread chocolate onto the bottom of the cap.  Add the flat/cut end of the stem to the chocolate.  Hold the two pieces together, using the melted chocolate like a glue.

If desired, add detail with a toothpick-mimicking the underneath side of a mushroom. Let mushrooms set up.  Once mushrooms are made, dust very lightly with cocoa powder for an earthy look, or dip caps into melted red candy melts adding a sprinkling of small white nonpareils for a whimsical look.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
·         ¾ cup heavy cream
·         ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips-Ghirardelli
·         ½ cup milk chocolate chips
·         ¼ tsp instant espresso powder
·         Pinch of fine salt
Heat cream on low until very warm, just below a simmer.  In a medium heat proof bowl, add chocolate chips, espresso powder and salt.  Pour the warm cream over the chocolate/espresso mixture.  Let the warm cream melt the chocolate.  Stir until smooth.  Let cool.  Ganache will thicken and become glossy as it cools.  Once cool, whip for 1 minute to fluff ganache.  Do not over mix.
To Make Ahead: Ganache can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Mascarpone Filling
  • 1 cup mascarpone, room temperature
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar


Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat mascarpone and salt in a large bowl. With motor running, gradually pour in cream. Increase speed to medium and beat in powdered sugar. Continue beating until mixture forms medium peaks.
To Make Ahead: Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Frosting for the outside of the log)
·         3 Tablespoons Heavy cream
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         Pinch of fine salt
·         2 ½ sticks unsalted butter-softened
·         2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
Mix the vanilla, salt, and cream together.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed, until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add the confectioner’s sugar.  Beat for 2-5 minutes on medium until light and creamy.  Add the cream mixture, beat on high an additional 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  To Make Ahead: refrigerate up to two days-tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.  Let come to room temperature and lightly whisk to fluff frosting before using

Chocolate Covered Cherry Mice
·         10 maraschino cherries- with stems - drained and patted dry
·         ½ cup chocolate Wilton candy melts or ½ cup milk chocolate chips
·         10 unwrapped milk-chocolate Hershey kisses
·         Slivered almonds- 20 ( 2 ears each mouse)

Drain and pat dry the cherries with the stems attached.  Melt chocolate.  Dip each cherry into the melted chocolate holding the cherry by the stem.  Place chocolate- covered cherry onto a parchment lined try.  While chocolate is still liquid and not set, affix a candy kiss to the cherry—opposite of the stem, creating the mouse head.  Add two slivered almonds for ears and let set up.  To Make Ahead: refrigerate mice in an airtight container, being careful to not jostle-the ears become extra fragile when chilled.

Almond Pine Cones
·         Marzipan 1/8  of a standard tube as sold in stores –or about  2 ounces
·         Sliced almonds ¼ cup
·         ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

Mold marzipan into a small log shape about 1 ½- 2 inches long..  In a repeating pattern, add sliced almonds to the marzipan, creating a pine cone look.  Dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar to create the look of snow.  To Make Ahead:  Cover in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature-pine cones will be firm-but still edible.
Assembly: Gently unroll cooled cake.  Spread a layer of ganache, followed by a layer of mascarpone filling across cake leaving about 1-2 inches around the edges.  Roll the log, resting seam side down. Place log on a serving platter or cake round.  Cover and chill for 1 hour.  Frost cake, covering completely with buttercream frosting.  Using melted chocolates in a piping bag with a tiny snip at the pointed end, drizzle melted chocolate to mimic a birch log.  Refrigerate frosted and filled log up to two days, well covered.  Remove cake from refrigerator 90 minutes before serving.  Just before serving add candy mice, pine cones and meringue mushrooms.  
·         Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (snow)
·         1/8 cup Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips –melted in a piping bag using a fine tip-- for birch log details.

1 comment:

  1. It's really nice. The cake make me hungry. The ribbon used add the style.