Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bûche de Noël (Yuletide log) with Meringue Mushrooms

Happy New Years!  
I sat down this morning - ready to get working in the kitchen on my annual Yuletide Log, and almost felt betrayed that I've never posted this recipe.  It just doesn't seem possible since this is such a tradition for our family and friends on New Year's Eve. .
I found this many years ago in a Betty Crocker's Best of Baking cookbook someone gave us for our wedding.  We call it the log because it looks just like a tree stump, complete with little meringue mushrooms.  Keep in mind that it takes some time to put together.  
Bûche de Noël

The Log
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. water
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. heavy cream
2 T. sugar
1.5 t. cocoa powder
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (below)
Meringue Mushrooms (below)

Heat oven to 375*.  Line jelly roll pan (15.5 x 10.5 x 1) with foil or waxed paper; grease.  Beat eggs in small bowl on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored.
Pour eggs into large bowl; gradually beat in 1 c. sugar.
Beat in water and vanilla on low speed.  Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth.
Pour into pan, spreading batter to corners.

Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Carefully remove foil/waxed paper.
Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary.
While hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end.
Cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes.

Beat whipping cream, 2 T. sugar and cocoa powder in chilled medium bowl until stiff.
Unroll cake; remove towel.  Spread whipped cream mixture over cake.
Roll up cake.
For tree stump, cut off a 2-inch diagonal slice from one end.  Attach stump to one long side using 1 T. frosting.  Frost with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.  Make strokes in frosting to resemble tree bark, using tines of fork.
Garnish with Meringue Mushrooms.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/3 c. cocoa
1/3 c. margarine or butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1.5 t. vanilla
1-2 T. hot water

Thoroughly mix cocoa and butter in medium bowl.
Beat in powdered sugar on low speed.
Stir in vanilla and hot water.
Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Meringue Mushrooms
2 egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/2 c. sugar
Chocolate Decorator's Frosting (below)

Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or heavy brown paper.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in small bowl on medium speed until foamy.
Beat in sugar on high speed, 1 T. at a time; continue beating about 5 minutes or until stiff and glossy.  Do not underbeat.
Heat oven to 200*.  Place meringue in decorating bag with plain tip with 1/4 inch opening (#10 or #11).  Or place meringue in strong plastic bag, cut off a tiny tip from one corner of bag.
Peipe meringue in about 55 mushroom-cap shapes, each 1-1.25 inches in diameter, onto 1 cookie sheet.
Sift cocoa over mushroom caps.
Pipe about 55 3/4 inch upright cone shapes onto second cookie sheet for mushroom stems.
Bake both pans for 45-50 minutes or until firm.
Immediately turn mushroom caps upside down and make an indentation in bottom of each caps.  Brush off excess cocoa with soft bristled brush.
Prepare Chocolate Decorator's Frosting.
To assemble mushrooms, spread small amount of frosting in indentation of each mushroom cap; insert peak end of stem into frosting.  Place upside down to dry.
Store uncovered at room temperature.

Chocolate Decorator's Frosting
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 t. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 T. hot water
Heat chocolate and butter until melted; remove from heat.  Beat in powdered sugar and hot water until smooth and of spreading consistency.  If necessary, stir in additional hot water, 1 t. at a time.

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