Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log)

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Wow your Christmas dinner guests with this showstopper of a dessert.

Yield/Serving: 12-14
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming when decorating if this is your first time decorating

Ingredients
Sponge

• 4 large free–range eggs
• ½ cup confectioners’ sugar , plus extra for dusting
• ½ cup self-raising flour
• 2 tablespoons quality unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
• 2 tablespoons sugar
Filling
• 8oz tin of sweetened chestnut purée
• 1 pinch ground cinnamon
• ¾ cup + 5 tsp heavy cream
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 1 Crunchie bar, or 1 ½ oz honey comb
Buttercream
• 5 oz quality dark chocolate (70%)
• 11 tbsp unsalted butter , (at room temperature)
• 1 heaping cup icing sugar

Assembly
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. For the sponge, line a 12” x 10” baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Separate the eggs.
4. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of sea salt.
5. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar, then, one-by-one, whisk in the egg yolks until really pale and light.
6. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, add the vanilla bean paste, then fold everything together with a large metal spoon so you keep in as much air as possible.
7. Spoon the mixture into the lined baking sheet, gently and evenly spread it out, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just cooked through and springy to the touch.
8. Place a large sheet of parchment paper (18” x 12”) on a flat surface and evenly sprinkle over the sugar from a height.
9. While it’s still hot and flexible, turn the sponge out on to the paper.
10. Peel off and discard the baked piece of parchment paper
11. With one of the longest sides in front of you, fold up the excess paper, then roll up the sponge with the paper inside (as it cools, this will set the shape but prevent the sponge from cracking).
12. Leave to cool.
13. For the filling, mix the chestnut purée and cinnamon together.
14. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the honey.
15. To assemble, unroll the sponge so it’s flat, removing the paper.
16. Spread all over with the chestnut purée, followed by the cream, then smash and sprinkle over the Crunchie bar or honeycomb.
17. Re-roll and pop into the fridge.
18. Meanwhile, make your buttercream.
19. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then remove and leave to cool.
20. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until pale, then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cooled melted chocolate.
21. Take the log out of the fridge, chop off a quarter at an angle – that’s the branch – and position it on your serving board like in the picture, using a splodge of buttercream to keep it in place.
22. Evenly cover the whole log with buttercream, then use a fork to decorate it.
23. Dust with extra confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of sea salt, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, plastic Bambi figures, whatever you like – go to town!

Tips
• Just have fun and don’t worry about the time.
• Make honey comb from scratch or use a crunchie bar. Jamie has a honeycomb recipe also which I haven’t included in this post.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I used Jamie’s recipe for the Yule log portion; but then I felt like I wanted to add a Christmas winter scene and went my own way on the topping (White chocolate hand-decorated bark) and adding the snow laden houses and tree cakes. I have been running ideas and concepts for this yule log through my head for a couple weeks now and I wanted to at least have a non-chocolate top, so I could have some if I wanted. I have officially made the best thing visually baking wise and I’m smiling ear to ear as I type this. I could almost cry at how happy I am with how this turned out; however weird that sounds. I feel like all of a sudden I have hit a next gear in my baking. I got to practice some techniques and enjoy my most favourite holiday. This is going to my God-Kids and their family for Christmas Eve tomorrow when I see them at church. I hope this makes up for the Elf on the Shelf sugar cookies they didn’t get; but saw on my blog and further questioned me as to “where are ours” and “can you make us some too”. I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor of the Buche de Noel. I had the most terrible time finding chestnuts, and I had to go the route of water chestnuts and puree them myself. I’m not entirely sure if that’s the exact same taste; but I enjoyed it and I absolutely hate water chestnuts or so I thought. It will be very interesting to see if the God-kids like that or next time I need to put jam in instead. The water chestnuts added a crunch as the honeycomb melted into the whipping cream. I found the instructions a little hard to grasp when it came to the assembly of the log; but I had an idea and it worked out well as I made that failure cake roll a few months back. The amount of batter in the recipe I think wouldn’t have filled the pan size listed, as it didn’t for me. Other than that this is a wonderful end to a Christmas dinner with the family or with friends and it can be put in the fridge, so you don’t have to be baking this on Christmas day. I showed a few friends and they were thoroughly impressed as was I.

***Update. this was a smash with the God-Kids and the parents. I didn’t have to worry about the chestnuts and the flavour at all. The kids loved the crunch and ate away. They even ate the decorative fondant holly’s and poinsettias. A total winner all around and I was told if this is my Christmas present every year I will be more than happy. Will do. I think “Auntie” will be providing Christmas dinner dessert going forward.

Merry Chistmas

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

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Christmas Candy Cane White Chocolate Skillet Cookie

Christmas Candy Cane White Chocolate Skillet Cookie - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Candy Cane White Chocolate Skillet Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

I have wanted to make a skillet cookie for a long time now; I mean I even bought a smaller 10” cast iron skillet just for this recipe… 8 months later and I’m finally here and just in time for this perfect Christmas recipe.

Yield/Serving: 6 – 8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 18 – 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
• ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup golden brown sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 egg, room temperature
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 cup peppermint white chocolate chips

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Butter skillet with 1 tbsp unsalted butter.
3. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugars together for 1 to 2 minutes at a medium speed.
4. Add vanilla extract and egg until incorporated.
5. In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda and salt together.
6. Decrease speed to slow and add the flour mixture, and don’t overmix.
7. Using a spatula fold in the peppermint white chocolate chips.
8. Pour cookie dough into the prepared cast-iron skillet.
9. Smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 18 – 20 minutes.

Tips
• Add 2 – 3 minutes if you want a crispier cookie.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Once again I found this to be extremely sweet, but my taste tester thought the sugar level was fine. Another taste tester thought it was sweet also; so this recipe has mixed reviews on the sugar level. I have halved the sugar to my liking as the chocolate chips are sweet also. I found the skillet cookie very hard to remove from the skillet, even though it was well greased. The next time I think I will try adding a layer of parchment paper and test the result.

Fruity & Nutty Milk Chocolate Bark

Paleo Fruity Nutty Chocolate Bark - Candy Coated Culinista

Paleo Fruity Nutty Chocolate Bark – Candy Coated Culinista

Prep Time: 15 min.
Set Time: 30 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 ½ cups milk chocolate
• ¼ cup shredded coconut
• ¼ cup mini white chocolate chips
• ¼ cup almonds
• ¼ cup dark chocolate bits
• ¼ cup walnuts
• ¼ cup cranberries
• ¼ cup goji berries

Assembly
1. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or non-stick silicone sheet.
2. Rough chop all the chocolate and put into a microwave safe bowl.
3. Heat in thirty second intervals until all the chocolate has melted.
4. Pour chocolate onto the silpat and spread evenly with a spatula.
5. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
6. Sprinkle the nuts, dried fruits onto the chocolate and tap the pan once again on the counter.
7. Let the chocolate set in the fridge for thirty minutes.
8. Break the chocolate bark into pieces.
9. Serve

Tips
• Set the chocolate in the fridge or freezer. I left the chocolate out to set in the kitchen and it just wouldn’t set for me until I chilled it.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Even though I am not a fan of chocolate and then incorporating fruits and nuts into said chocolate seems like a horrible idea to me. This was quite tasty and no two bites were the same which added a nice dimension to the bark. It also feels healthier than having a regular chocolate bar.

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd - Candy Coated Culinista

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd – Candy Coated Culinista

I first made this recipe in November of 2012 when the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook just came out as I am a huge fan of Deb Perleman’s. This was one of the first few cookbooks I ever bought and even managed to be second in line for her booking signing and interview session at George Brown Colleges Culinary School. I know now 2 ½ years later (hindsight being 20:20) that this recipe was probably too much for someone who has barely stepped foot into the cooking world. Yet this recipe grabbed my attention and I just had to make it. I tried this recipe two different times that first year re-visiting this recipe and seeing if time and experience would produce better results. Well it didn’t so here is my many attempts below dating back from 2012 to now 2015. My third time may not look exactly like the picture; but everything set and I didn’t give up on this one I am very happy to say.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 25 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

This is the first recipe I am trying from the book I’ve been waiting to be released. I’m talking about the Smitten Kitchen, a food blogger I have been following since before I ever even considered blogging myself. Her blog is a great read and Deb’s photos are top notch.

Attempt #1
Ingredients
White Chocolate Pudding

• 3 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 tsp sugar
• ¼ tsp table salt
• 2 ¼ cups whole milk
• 4 ½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
Quick Blackberry Curd
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 large egg
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly
Pudding

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan.
2. Before turning on the heat, slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
3. Place over gently simmering water, and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.
4. Use a whisk as necessary, should lumps begin to form.
5. After 15-20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.
6. Continue stirring for about 2 – 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
8. For perfectly silken texture, you can strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you don’t mind a lump or two) into a bowl with a spout, and pour into individual serving dishes.
9. Chill in fridge.
Blackberry Curd
1. Puree berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible.
2. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.
3. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of puree.
4. Whisk together the blackberry puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan.
5. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat. Whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk and until the first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer again if you want a perfect texture (again she doesn’t usually bother).
6. Divide curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces.

Tips
• Just make sure you don’t make scramble eggs while making the curd. Slow and low is the key.

My Thoughts
There’s no use crying over spilt milk, but I wasted all that milk and I had such high hopes for my first recipe out of this cookbook, and not to mention the blackberries. The curd tasted great; the perfect combination of sweet, sour and tart. I was unsure if I was to use a double boiler or cook in one pot; but I decided to use the double boiler and it did thicken but not like I thought it would.

Most of my fails until now all have a common factor; it’s moving the recipe to the fridge to chill or set. Every time my recipes need to make this move 9 out of 10 times I’m left with a fail. I am starting to wonder if I need to do recipes that just stay out of the fridge. My brulee has turned out so well and it gave me hope that I could make pudding. I have decided that I will try this recipe again but with another pudding recipe and add the curd on top, and if it doesn’t work I’m moving on and possibly staying away from these types of recipes.

Attempt #2
I have adapted a Chocolate pudding recipe from Smitten Kitchen Blog in hope that using this different pudding recipe will result in a firmer pudding.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup cornstarch
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 3 cups whole milk
• 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Blackberry Curd
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 large egg
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly
Pudding

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
2. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form.
3. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.
4. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
6. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you’re a slacker like me who is absolutely certain that there is nary a lump her puddin’) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.
7. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating.
8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).
Blackberry Curd
1. Puree berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible.
2. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.
3. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of puree.
4. Whisk together the blackberry puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan.
5. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat. Whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk and until the first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer again if you want a perfect texture (again she doesn’t usually bother).
6. Divide curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces.

My thoughts
I used white chocolate instead of the semi-sweet & dark chocolate that was called for in this recipe as my goal was to accomplish this as close to the cookbook as possible. It’s funny how two recipes from the same person can have different basic ingredients. Surprise surprise this attempt was also a fail for me. It had lumps at the bottom this time; which I didn’t last time, so I knew it was thickening more. However, it still never thickened enough and I kept it on the burner longer hoping it would thicken up more. When it finally coated the spoon to my liking I poured it and set it in the fridge overnight. In the morning the pudding was slightly thicker, but still a soup. I don’t know what is going wrong, but I checked online and others seem to have this issue too. I didn’t make the curd this time as I didn’t want to waste the blackberries if the pudding didn’t set. Day 2 in the fridge and the pudding still is a liquid, so I’m calling it a fail when it hits 3 days in the fridge.

Attempt #3
I think after getting my ice cream down I have a confidence that I just didn’t have 3 years ago and this probably wasn’t a great idea to be one of my first recipes; but the picture drew me in those years ago when I had no cooking experience besides a handful of recipes and no deserts. Time, growth and my skills have got me here; sure it took awhile but I made it out the other side happier and undefeated. I may even try another pudding recipe sometime.

Yield/Serving: 3
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Smitten Kitchen – batched down

Ingredients
White Chocolate Pudding

• 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
• ½ tsp sugar
• ¼ tsp table salt
• 1 ¼ cups whole milk
• 2 ½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
Blackberry Curd
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 large egg
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly/Method
Pudding

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan.
2. Before turning on the heat, slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
3. Place over gently simmering water, and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.
4. Use a whisk as necessary, should lumps begin to form.
5. After 15-20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.
6. Continue stirring for about 2 – 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
8. For perfectly silken texture, you can strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you don’t mind a lump or two) into a bowl with a spout, and pour into individual serving dishes.
9. Chill in fridge.
Blackberry topping
1. Puree berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible.
2. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.
3. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of puree.
4. Whisk together the blackberry puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan.
5. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat. Whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk and until the first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer again if you want a perfect texture (again she doesn’t usually bother).
6. Divide curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces.

Tips
• Just make sure you don’t make scramble eggs while making the curd. Slow and low is the key.

My Thoughts
This actually tasted like pudding which is a good thing; but not for me. I have never been a fan of pudding and this hasn’t changed my mind. It tasted like it sound and had the right consistency with the distinct taste of white chocolate and vanilla. I really didn’t taste the blackberries though and I would probably use less sugar. I am still very happy that after all this time I have conquered the white chocolate pudding with blackberry curd. For the first time 3rd times a charm. Everything set and setting and I don’t get along. I managed to make this recipe in one night and not have to give extended setting times. I wish the blackberry curd was more like the picture and a dark purple vs this lilac but everything came together and I will rejoice.

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze – Candy Coated Culinista

Pinkies up. I think I may have a loose leaf tea addiction! I have one whole shelf dedicated to teas and I really think I need to start finding a way to incorporate teas into my baking and cooking even. My absolute favourite loose leaf teas come from Tealish Fine Teas on Queen St West in Toronto. I saw them at the One of a Kind show a few years back, and ever since a huge portion of my teas come from them. They have such tasty, interesting and inventive flavours – particularly the dessert line of teas, that whenever I am in the area I always make sure I stop in and try a flavour I don’t have a home. As I’m always up to trying something new and fun I tried to add tea into my scones.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 – 25 min
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Scones
• ¾ cups 2% milk
• 2 tbsp lemon meringue rooibos tea, to steep in the milk
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 tbsp lemon meringue rooibos tea, finely ground
• ½ tsp sea salt
• Lemon zest from one large lemon
• ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup frozen cranberries
• 1/3 cup mini white chocolate chips
• 2% milk for brushing
Glaze
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• ½ tsp tbsp lemon meringue rooibos tea, finely ground
• 4 tbsp lemon juice

Assembly
Scones
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a small saucepan boil milk and let the lemon meringue tea steep in milk until needed for the recipe.
4. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon meringue rooibos tea and salt.
5. Whisk in lemon zest.
6. Add in cubed butter and mix by hand, or use a pastry blender or food processor if you have them.
7. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together tea infused milk, egg and vanilla extract together.
8. Add in the milk mixture into the flour slowly and bring the dough together.
9. Flour countertop and lightly and knead dough until a ball is formed.
10. By hand flatten the dough out and push in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
11. Fold dough over again a few times and let all the ingredients incorporate.
12. Shape dough into a 9” circle and cut into 8 wedges and place on cookie sheet leaving a space between each piece.
13. Brush with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
14. Let cool completely before adding the glaze.
Glaze
15. In a bowl whisk confectioners’ sugar, tea and lemon juice together and drizzle over cooled scones with a fork.
16. Let glaze set and serve.

Tips
• Use a food processor to mix the dough or a pastry blender. I bought a pastry blender for this recipe and it is the best ten dollars I ever spent. Now when I have to mix by hand I will be using a pastry blender and save my hands.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never tasted or made a scone before, but if they taste like mine tasted I think I will have more. It was flavourful and complex with the sweet & tartness in the scone. This was a perfect treat with my afternoon tea.

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemon Meringue Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Scones with Lemon Glaze – Candy Coated Culinista

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