Monday, December 24, 2007

Daring Baker Challenge. . .A New Christmas Tradition!!!

HO. . .HO. . .HO. . .
New Christmas Tradition. . .The Yule LOG =D

Well, I have to say that Ivonne and Lisa are wonderful and both deserve a *huge* hug for picking this wonderful recipe as our daring baker challenge! I have been working 10 hour days, seven days a week for the last month and I needed a pick-me-up for being totally bummed because I have had no time for blogging. . .baking my favorite cookies OR deciding what I wanted for dinners! I am all done with the work schedule and the baking is ON! baby. This was the perfect start to my families holiday celebrating so here is a big THANK YOU!!!

We put the water on the stove and I had two teenage helpers. . .my daughter and step-son. . .Ashley and Dustin. We took our time and I had everyone (including me =D) read the recipe twice to make sure we understood it and we had all the ingredients. I was worried because we had just the one day (Sunday the 23rd) to make this delicious dessert so we jumped in and had a blast. Dustin put on the hot water to boil and simmer and Ashley whisked the Genoise to get the mixture to luke warm. The batter whipped up fluffy and we were high-fiving each other when we got to the point of spreading the batter into the jellyroll pan! =D

We had to reread the recipe twice to make sure we understood that the baking time was only 10 minutes because that seemed pretty fast but sure enough. . .after 10 minutes the Genoise looked perfect. . .Now, the frosting and filling. . .we stuck to the recipe because none of us had a problem with the coffee flavor and we all decided that we would make the recipe per letter the first time and if we wanted to change it when we made it the second time. . .then we would decide then. So, here we are with the espresso and rum flavoring and whipping up the creamy frosting =0D

The kids took turns stirring the egg whites and the sugar over simmering water to get the egg whites hot before whipping them up. There was some complaints of arm aches but if this was a video game. . .well, they would have been all over it for several hours (making sure there were refreshments of course =) ) So far, looking great. . .but we didn't want to get ahead of ourselves because there was still time for us to have some catastrophe happen.
We fill the cake with frosting and I rolled it tightly and set it into the refrigerator while we whipped up the meringue for the mushrooms. We took turns piping mushroom stems and caps and then I sprinkled Cocoa powder on the caps before setting them into the oven. Now frosting the log and making bark markings was in order.

The merigue turned out really well, and I think that our advanced preparation along with three sets of eyes really helped this recipe run smoothly!

We took turns piping mushroom stems and caps and I sprinkled the caps with cocoa powder be setting them into the oven. Now frosting the log and making the bark markings was in order! I had to admit that this was allot of fun for me and the kids let me do this part since I must have seemed like I was really enjoying myself. . .by the way. . .I was! =D

I must say this was a proud moment for all of us! We made a log that looked like a log. . .YES!

Now for assembling the mushrooms and setting them onto the log. . .well, we seemed to have more mushrooms then log space so we snuck a few. . .you know. . .the cooks reaaallllyyyy need to taste test along the way.

Pictures were taken and we actually made it to dinner. . .since we were have steamed dungeness crab and ribeye steaks. . .before we cut the Yule log. It was a beautiful thing and almost to pretty to eat. . .ALMOST! =D

HUGS to Ivonne and Lisa again. . .you have started something that brought great joy and a happy memory to those closest to me. . .Thank you.

Plain Genoise:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)
¼ cup cornstarch

one (1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

2.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.

3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).

4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.

5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

6.Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.

9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Coffee Buttercream:

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy

1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Meringue Mushrooms:

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1.Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.

2.Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.

3.Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.

Marzipan Mushrooms:

8 ounces almond paste
2 cups icing sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
Cocoa powder

1.To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.

2.Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

3.Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.

4.Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.

5.Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.

6.Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms.

7.Smudge with cocoa powder

Assembling the Yule Log:

1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.

2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.

3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.

4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).

5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.

6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.

7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.

8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.

9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.

10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.

11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.


Peter M said...

Another fantastic Yule Log....Merry Christmas Shandi.

Lunch Buckets said...

You guys did a great job, that's a beautiful log!

Aamena said...

Wow the log looks so pretty! Those mushrooms look lovely!
Merry Christmas!

Claire said...

You should be did a great job. Merry Christmas!

Baking Soda said...

This post is exuding fun and sharing! The three of you did a great job and yes, you definitely have a beautiful log there!

Elle said...

Great joy and good memories of cooking with the kids...what a great Christmas present. Your Yule log is super and log like, and the mushrooms very well done, too.
Merry Christmas (a day late) and Happy New Year, too.

Deborah said...

What a fun time!! Your yule log looks wonderful!

Kelly said...

Your Yule Log was beautiful! and the best part was the kids had fun making it with you. Happy New Year!

Quellia said...

Yes, it does indeed look like a log! A very edible log! Good work Daring Baker and team.

Jen Yu said...

That is simply beautiful. What a great job on your yule log. Happy new year!

jen at use real butter

Dolores said...

ooohh... a *copper* kitchen aid! :) How neat that you did this one with your kids; there's no better holiday tradition than baking together.

I'm also sorry it's taken me so long to wander this direction... as the group grows, it just gets more challenging.

Happy New Year!