This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. This French Yule Log is quite different from the buttercream and genoise version as it an entremet or a cream dessert. I had never heard of this version prior to this recipe and it sounded intriguing and like an impressive holiday dessert. My original plan was to have this ready for a day after Christmas/Hanukkah dinner at my in-laws…no such luck. Between having Christmas at our house and baking cookies into the wee hours of the night, I just never got around to it. So, this will be our New Year’s Yule Log, and I will update this post with pictures of it sliced tomorrow. I couldn’t resist cutting into it for a photo but after only five hours, it hadn’t fully set.
My log consists of a coconut dacquoise, raspberry mousse, vanilla crème brulee and a coconut dark chocolate feuillete (crisp). I flavored the raspberry mousse with freeze dried raspberries crushed into a powder to keep the texture smooth. The vanilla mousse called for a pastry cream to be added but I overcooked it into a horrific lumpy mess. Note to self: do not turn your back on pastry cream it will morph into sweet scrambled eggs. I didn’t want to sacrifice any more eggs to the cause and just made my whipped cream, raspberries, sugar and a bit of gelatin. Although, I haven’t tasted the finished product yet I am fairly confident that it will be a success. Despite, using two layers of dacquoise, I still had plenty left over, and I made myself mouthful sized mini- cakes with each element. They were delicious and the flavors paired really well.
Thanks so much to our hosts Hilda and Marion for a fun challenge and for providing tons of information! Check out all of the other Daring Bakers creations here!
Long Overdue Edit: Here is the picture of the inside of the log once it was frozen and set.
I make chocolate crackle cookies every year. They are probably the most requested thing that I bake. I have to say people seriously love them. Martha Stewart’s recipe is the best if you prefer a fudgey cookie over cakey. One year, I was making them for something and I was completely out of cocoa. I scanned the cabinet and decided Godiva Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa would have to do. Using it makes the cookies perfectly chewy every time. I also always freeze this dough rather than refrigerate it. I find that is easier to work with and crackles better when it is really cold.
Click here for the recipe
After a ton of baking, cooking and candy making, we are relaxing. I will be back soon with a recap of Christmas cookies. My brother and I made these chocolate covered caramels very late at night the day before Christmas Eve. I felt like I needed to make on more thing. He didn’t mind helping, and I find candy making is best as a two man operation. This recipe was very easy, and despite my candy thermometer breaking mid-process, they still came out great. The bittersweet chocolate helps keep them from being over the top sweet.
Chewy Caramel Candy from Allrecipes
with my notes added
1 cup butter or margarine (I used butter, of course)
1 pound light brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 2 teaspoons)
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
2. Meanwhile, butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. When the caramel is ready, pour into the buttered pan. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Remove from the pan and cut into squares using scissors. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper. (I allowed them to cool completely and dipped them in melted bittersweet chocolate. Cool them on a Silpat or parchment.)
Every year I make Christmas, I made a bunch of cookies for gifts. This year I wanted to include a few different things. I hadn’t made peanut brittle in ages despite the fact that it is pretty easy. You have to work really quickly to pour and spread the peanut brittle before it hardens. J actually helped me with this. I think he likes helping with candy because it is like a science experiment.
I used this recipe from Allrecipes. It is a pretty standard recipe, and the only thing I added was a teaspoon of vanilla to give the brittle a little flavor.
My holiday baking has officially started! I am about midway through my list. I wasn’t planning on making these but I am a sucker for anything coconut. I plan on dipping the bottom of these in bittersweet chocolate before I wrap them up for gifts. I think they will be just a bit improved by a counterpoint to the sweetness.
I used a Barefoot Contessa that came out perfectly, and I will definitely add them to my Christmas rotation. Up next…peanut brittle!
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.
It is really rainy and dreary outside right now, and that combined with a few extra minutes compelled me to bake something. I almost never have time to bake anything during the week, but these seriously took less than ten minutes to mix and get in the oven. Start to finish, they were done in half and hour.
I used this recipe from Allrecipes.com. I just added a teaspoon of vanilla, and because I can never resist adding a little something, I put half a spoonful of raspberry jam in each of these. You could probably pipe the jam in after these were baked, but I filled them halfway, added the jam and then the rest of the batter. So good.
Corn Muffins from Allrecipes.com
I love our little blue and silver tree. My grandmother had a blue and silver tree. As a kid, I loved it, and now a bunch of the ornaments are on my tree. I haven’t actually started making anything for Christmas yet, but I have been mulling over my cookie list for months. Thanks to the internet, I know I am not the only one. Every year I make a few tried and true recipes like chocolate crackle cookies. I always make something with lemon and something with jam because these are my favorites. This year I want to incorporate some savory things too. I think parmesan crackers would make perfect gifts. I also want to make some kind of candy. Here is my potential list so far:
Chocolate Crackle Cookies: I have tried a lot of recipes and I can say without hesitation that Martha Stewart’s is the best, especially if you replace the cocoa with Godiva Hot Chocolate mix. They come out perfectly chewy and melt in your mouth good.
Italian Knot Cookies: I lost this recipe years ago. My parents are moving, and it turned up under a floor to ceiling bookcase. Weird.
Crunchy Pretzels: I haven’t found a recipe for these yet. I just had this idea that pretzel nuggets in mason jars would make a cute gift.
Peanut Brittle and/ or caramels: I would prefer to make caramels but brittle is so easy to make. This will be a decision made based on time but I would love to make the optional caramels from last months Daring Bakers.
Sugar Cookies: I have no loyalty to sugar cookie recipes. I am looking for a new one to try thing year.
Lemon Cookies: I may actually make glazed mini cupcakes out of Ina Garten’s Lemon cake. I made something similar last year that turned out well.
Amaretti Cookies: I make these every year. They are super simple and have a great texture from finely ground almonds and egg whites.
I am leaving the door open to making a few more types of cookies. Maybe something with coconut? Or maybe jam drops of some kind? Or maybe I should just make some chocolate chip cookies and call it a day.
We try to live by the waste not want not code in our house. Things have been overwhelming lately and my mother-in-law has been very generous with making us food on the weekends. I used the last of some baked ham she made in these individually sized frittatas. I use these small casserole dishes all the time. They are the perfect size, and they were only $1.00 each at the Williams-Sonoma outlet. I love them so.
Frittatas are super easy to make, and this amount will serve two people. We had this some homemade (no knead) bread. Lately, we have been keeping our heat turned down so low that making bread has been a bit tricky. It turns out a few degree make quite a bit of difference.
1 onion, cut in half and sliced
1 potato (cut into ½ thick wedges)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp of diced baked ham
½ tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp half and half
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Set the oven to broil. On the stove top, over medium heat sauté onions until translucent. Add the potatoes, allowing them time to brown on each side. Add the ham and salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Divide the onions, ham and potatoes into two small dishes in an even layer. Whisk two eggs, half and half and salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture ¾ of the way up the dishes. Top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
These will cook very quickly (within a few minutes), remove from the oven when they the egg has set in the middle of the middle of the dish.
Thanks so much for all the well wishes for my dad on the last post. He is doing better and is in a (good) nursing home for now. He has been sick for a long time and seems to have cheated death yet again. When he was in the hospital, he brought my younger brother, and I into his room in the ICU for what we thought was going to be a touching moment. We came close to listen, and he said “I don’t know how much longer I am going to be here…I think they are going to be moving to a different room tomorrow.” That’s my dad.
I will be back soon with more recipes and food related posts. I leave you with this extreme close up of little Phoebe because she reminds me of everything that is right with the world.