Key Lime & Coconut

My adventures in the world of food & wine

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Daring Bakers Do X-Mas

This month was Round 3 for me in the Daring Bakers challenge, and it was by far the hardest one yet, involving not one but multiple snafus and do-overs. The Daring Bakers are a group of over 300 food bloggers who prepare the same elaborate recipe each month and post about it on the same day. This month, our recipe was holiday-themed: a beautiful Bûche de Noël, or Yule Log. A Yule Log is a genoise sheet cake rolled up with a buttercream frosting filling into the shape of a log. I baked mine this afternoon in preparation for a little holiday gathering I'm hosting later tonight.

The Yule Log involves three steps. First, you bake a thin sheet genoise cake, whose batter has lots of eggs and is made fluffy by beating air into it. Second, you make a coffee buttercream frosting (potentially the most difficult step - at least for me). Third, after assembling the cake, you make little "mushrooms" out of marzipan to decorate the log.

The cake was easy (dare I say - it was a piece of cake). The hard part was the frosting. This frosting is not the healthiest thing in the world. I'll be straight with you and tell you that it involves three sticks of butter. The first time I attempted to make it, I got a little overzealous with the "softening" of the butter that the recipe calls for. I wasn't thinking, and I didn't realize that if I softened it too much, the frosting would be too liquidy. That first batch had to go down the drain. The second batch I didn't soften the butter at all, and it was solid enough, but it kind of ... curdled. Like, the butter just was kind of lumpy and not incorporating fully into the frosting. Fortunately, I kept beating it until it started to look like normal frosting, and all was well. The marzipan mushrooms were a breeze to make.

To see hundreds of other takes on this Buche de Noel, mosey on over to the Daring Bakers Blog Roll starting today. Some of them probably have the recipe posted, which I'm too lazy to do ;) Happy holidays, everybody!

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Catching Up

Holy crap, it's been forever. I have a good excuse, though. I've been in the midst of final exams for weeks and really just have not had time for blogging. Fortunately, I have had time to do a tiny bit of cooking, so now that I'm home for the holidays and have all the blogging time in the world, here's a recap of some highlights from the last month or so.

This was one of those times when watching Food Network on the treadmill inspired me. I never watch Barefoot Contessa, but she happened to be making this chicken dish that looked yum. She marinated chicken in rosemary, lemon, and garlic, and then grilled it. I decided to bake it instead, but still, it was quite good. She also made broccolini in a balsamic vinaigrette. I replicated that as well, and I liked it even better than the chicken.

These cookies got me through studying for my Corporations final. Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe to share with you all because it's in a cookbook that I left at school (Mark Bittman's
How to Cook Everything). They were your basic oatmeal-raisin cookies with a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips thrown in for good measure.

This pasta dish was seriously the best thing I've made in a long time. I made a HUGE batch of it and then ate it for like five days in a row during finals. The sauce on this pasta was so yummy - a light cream sauce with ground turkey, sausage, spinach, and nutmeg, with lots of parmesan cheese melted in.

Oh, I also made a Moroccan chicken pot pie, but forgot to take a picture of it. Lately I've been obsessed with the raisins-olives combination. It's so salty-sweet and addictive. This pot pie was delicious and extremely fast to make.

Coming very soon: my December Daring Bakers post!

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