Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bûche de Noël 2012

I've been meaning to try the flour-less chocolate cake roll from Smitten Kitchen since I spotted it on Deb's blog, then I decided that it would be perfect for our annual Bûche de Noël. We've been doing them for about five years now, and the kids love to help (especially with the candy decorating...) 

The verdict? This "Heavenly Chocolate Roll" is divine – rich chocolate that's light as air, delicious cream filling with just the right amount of sweetness. Really nice, much less rich than other recipes from year's past, and it turned out looking like a pretty log without any frosting at all! 

Heavenly Chocolate Roll 
(adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs. hot water
6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Spray parchment-lined jelly-roll pan with baking spray, preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Melt the chips in the microwave on 1/2-power for about 90 seconds, stir, 30 seconds more with hot water, stir and let sit to cool slightly. Beat egg yolks until pale and creamy, then slowly add in sugar and keep beating until "pale and ribbony." Eventually, add the melted, cooled chocolate. 

Meanwhile, beat the 6 egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form, then add 1/4 into the yolk/chocolate mixture. When combined, fold the rest of the whites into the yolk/chocolate mixture, then pour into prepared pan. Bake for 15-17 mins. until soft and dry, but pick comes out clean. May seem undercooked. 

Remove from oven to cooling rack (in pan) and cover with a damp towel (I sprinkled mine with 360-degree Double Chocolate vodka), and let cool 10 mins. Remove towel and sprinkle with:

1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder (sift over the cake), cover with towel and flip over, then sift another 

1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa over the other side 

Then, use the towel (re-sprinkled with water or vanilla or... Double Chocolate vodka) to roll the cake up. I rolled it lengthwise to get a longer, thinner roll, but rolling from the short side would be excellent with this recipe). Let cool (rolled up in the towel) until you're ready to fill.  


1 c. whipping cream
3-4 Tbs. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. Double Chocolate vodka

Beat all ingredients until it holds stiff peaks.

Carefully transfer the cooled roll to a serving plate, fill with cream and decorate festively! Happy New Year!! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's For Dinner?

An amazing recipe from Joy, and I only changed it a little... added a little more oil and brown sugar since I was adding more chicken than she uses, and I used chicken thighs instead of breasts. My mom recently used this marinade on pork and says it was fantastic!

Joy's (slightly altered) Rosemary Grilled Chicken

2 Tbs  stone ground, whole grain or Dijon mustard (preferably Plochman's) 
1/4 c. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
10 chicken thighs

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mustard, chopped rosemary, lemon juice, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss the chicken pieces in this marinade until thoroughly coated. Refrigerate covered for 1 to 2 hours. Grill or bake the chicken in the marinade (baked lends more juiciness and extra sauce for rice or potatoes - or bread-mopping). Cook 10 to 15 minutes per side.

Servings: 6-8

Preparation Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Of Mice and Men...

*Nearly wordless... I tinted the dough for the mice to be light brown this year, tinted the crowns gold and rolled yellow colored-sugar into them before cutting out. We did white cotton-candy (strawberry flavored) or white & pink non-pareils for the Santa beards since Joy is allergic to coconut, and most of the kids don't like it anyway.


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