Friday, January 23, 2015

FFWD ~ Spice Crusted Tuna

FFWD ~ Spice Crusted Tuna
One more fish dish for French Friday…this has been one heck of a fishy month! This week it’s Spice Crusted Tuna!  As luck would have it, I was on Long Island last weekend for my twin grandsons' birthday! Long Island, home to wonderfully fresh seafood! I was able to secure two absolutely gorgeous sushi grade tuna steaks, from a fabulous seafood store. They were not cheap, at 24.99 a pound, I was glad I only needed two steaks. Cor J’s is well known on the Island!  They are a wholesale seafood supplier to many of the high-end restaurants! They are also extremely accommodating and helpful!  These fishmongers know their stuff!

A delightful dinner 
The recipe is simple, and super quick to prepare! Mixing the spice mixture was pretty straightforward. I cut the amount in half because I was only doing two steaks. Smash the seeds from about six cardamom pods, a teaspoon of white peppercorns, a teaspoon of coriander seeds, two thin slices of fresh ginger, chopped, and fleur de sel in a mortar. Press the mixture onto the lightly oiled tuna steaks, and sear in a very hot fry pan for two minutes on each side. Since my husband and I are not fond of very heavily spiced dishes, I chose to go lightly on the amount of spice I sprinkled onto the fish.  These were absolutely wonderful!! Another five star meal at home! Happy Friday everyone!!

Although this is pretty much a non-recipe, it can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table”. To see what the other Doristas thought of this one, check it out here.

Spicing up the flavor of this amazing fish!
Fresh beautiful tuna
Smashing the spices
Searing the tuna
A five star meal served in my kitchen
This was fabulous! 
Love this place
Michelle, my very helpful fishmonger
Shellfish a-plenty
It can’t get any fresher!

Friday, January 16, 2015

FFWD ~ Curried Mussels sans Curry

FFWD ~ Curried Mussels with Paprika
This is another fishy week for French Fridays, and the fishy weeks are far from over! Getting behind this weeks recipe was easy, except of course for the Curry! We don’t do curry in our house! It’s just a given! Like you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t add curry to anything for Bill! I know it doesn’t rhyme but, you get the point!

However, Bill does enjoy his mussels! Several years ago, while we were in Holland, we ate dinner at a cute little bistro in Rotterdam! The name escapes me, but the memory of this charming place will live in my mind forever! It was a cool summers evening, we sat at an outdoor table, and there were heat lamps warming us. Twinkling lights, a glass of wine, and mussels! A huge bucket of mussels! Now I enjoy a few mussels once in awhile, I can usually manage to eat five or six, but this bucket must have had four dozen mussels in it! Bill ate every last one!!

These mussels were scrumptious…and although you can’t see it, the sauce was creamy and delicious! 
Although Bill doesn’t eat anything with curry, I knew I could turn this recipe into a dish that he would enjoy! After some thought, I was able to substitute Paprika for the Curry, and with very good results! I love the flavor of Paprika, and it’s substitution did not disappoint! The creamy wine sauce was delectable, and perfect for bread dipping! My biggest problem was trying to get a few decent photos in the dark of evening!

Tomorrow we will be driving to Long Island for a very special birthday! Our twin grandsons turn seven! They are the babies in the family! Where did the time go?
Happy Friday everyone!!


I’m pretty sure this is the last of the mussel recipes…Bill will be disappointed!


Curried Mussels (or for me Mussels with Paprika)
By Dorie Greenspan from Around My French Table


Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder (2 teaspoons paprika)
a pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and ground pepper
¾ cup dry white wine
1 thyme sprig
1 parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
⅔  cup heavy cream
French Bread, sliced for dipping in the creamy sauce
How To Clean Mussels
Discard any open mussels, they're dead. Just before cooking soak mussels in cold water for about 15-20 minutes, this will help release some of the salt and sand that is in the mussels. Mussels often have beards, to remove these yank the beard toward the hinge of the mussel. If you tear it away from the hinge, you can kill the mussel. Remove the beards, and use a brush to brush off sand or anything else that decided to attach itself in the ocean, and place mussels into another bowl of cold water (the first bowl is all sandy and salty by now) until they are cooked.
Directions
Melt butter on stove in a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat. Add sliced onions and garlic, stirring to coat onions with butter. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add curry powder, red pepper flakes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for about 3-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium and add wine, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, cook for 3 more minutes.
Add the mussels to the pot, and stir around in the liquid, coating the mussels. Increase the heat to high and cover with lid. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring once. Take a peak and see if the mussels have opened, if there are still some to open remove the pot from heat (keeping lid on) and let sit for 1-2 more minutes.
Remove the mussels from the broth and place in a bowl, cover the bowl to keep mussels warm. Bring the sauce back to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, add a little more pepper and cook on high heat for another 3 minutes. Return the mussels to the pot, stirring around to coat them in the wonderful creamy sauce and then serve. Enjoy the mussels and don't forget to use french bread to sop up the sauce.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TWD ~ Baking Chez Moi ~ Granola Energy Bars

TWD ~ BCM Granola Energy Bars

My daughter is the granola maker in our family! Since she had her children, she has always tried to control the amount of junk food they eat, always providing them with home made and healthy snacks! She even made homemade teething biscuits for them, when they were infants. I on the other hand, have never tried to concoct a batch of granola! I’ve thought about it a few times, but it always seemed too time consuming, and not worth the effort! After all, there are so many varieties available at the grocery store.  Boy was I wrong!!  I can thank TWD~BCM for my change of heart!
This week Granola Energy Bars were on the schedule. Dorie claims these bars are better than store-bought, and she is absolutely right! For me, it was all about controlling the amount of sugar and add-ins, that made them so tasty! However, it didn’t come easy!

Second time was a charm
These bars are fairly effortless! Roasting the oatmeal, and almonds for five minutes. Then adding pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, then baking for another 3 to 5 minutes. Pour this mixture into a large bowl and mix in whatever fruit mixture you are using (apricots, and cranberries for me)! Sounds easy enough so far, doesn’t it? Ok, this is where I got into trouble! I had never heard of Brown-Rice syrup. I decided it probably wouldn’t make a difference if I substituted another syrup, that I already had in my pantry.  I Googled granola bar recipes, to see what I could substitute.  I read that Barley Malt syrup would work fine…so that’s what I did. The taste was strong and not sweet enough. I also let it boil a bit too long, I don’t know if that mattered, but the resulting granola bars were terrible! The lack of flavor and sweetness was dreadful! My husband took one first…go figure! He just said “good”!  That didn’t sound like a resounding endorsement! After I ate one, I looked at him and said “these are terrible”…and he said, “I was waiting for you to say that”!  Let me just say that the squirrels and birds are enjoying those bars this morning!
I called my daughter, and asked if she had ever heard of Brown-rice syrup. "Of course", she said, “That’s what I use for my Granola bars”.
I knew, with my anal-retentive perfectionist personality, I wasn’t going to let this one slide! Again, I turned to Google and found several recipes that used a honey, brown sugar syrup.  So early this morning, I started the Granola Energy Bars one more time! This time I used the honey-brown sugar syrup that I found at the Barefoot Contessa. It worked wonderfully, and the granola was fabulous! However, since I will be making these wonderful snack bars again, I will be buying a bottle of Brown Rice Syrup! By the way…my hubby loved these (too bad for the squirrels and birds)!  
These Energy Granola Bars can be found in Dorie Greenspans new cookbook, “Baking Chez Moi”. To see what the other bakers thought of these bars check it out at the TWD site.


These were utterly delicious…so much better than store bought
A winner in my house!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Easy Sea Salt Caramel Fudge

Creamy, sweet-salty Caramel Fudge

I have finally put away all my Christmas decorations! The tree is down, the ornaments boxed up for next year, and the roping has been removed from the fireplace. It feels so good to clean and de-clutter! I am always so anxious to decorate, and yet by January 1st., I’m even more anxious to take it all down!

The other thing, I’m happy to clear out of my house, are all the sweets that have inundated us for Christmas! Finally, the cookies have been eaten or given away! The breads are gone, and they were so good! But January is a birthday month for our family! My grandsons turn seven this week! You can’t have a birthday party without some sweets…can you?

Wonderfully delicious!! 

This is where my fudge comes in! I made a batch this morning! So, just in case you haven’t had your share of sweets over the holidays, here’s one more recipe you’re going to love! The recipe is easy! I mean the easiest fudge you’ll ever make and so, so yummy! You won’t need a candy thermometer, and there will be no pouring of hot liquids into your mixer while it’s running. Just two ingredients, that’s it!  You will have a salty caramel fudge, you won’t believe! If you can melt chocolate and stir, you’ve got this one made!

So easy and so very melt-in-your-mouth yummy

My inspiration for this luscious fudge was my daughter-in-law! Last year, she told me about a Salted Caramel Fudge she made for Christmas. She knows I have a thing for Sea Salt Caramel anything! Have you seen my Sea Salt Caramel Biscotti? She told me she found the recipe on-line! I did several searches, and found a few recipes that appealed to me.  After all the baking and cooking I did over the holidays, I picked this one for its ease of preparation! It was a great choice…totally delicious and so easy to make!   

So how about a batch of Easy Sea Salt Caramel Fudge
Yum!!


Easy Sea Salt Caramel Fudge
adapted by bakeawaywithme 

Yield: about 24 pieces

Ingredients:
14 ounce can Dulce de Leche*
3 cups white chocolate
a pinch of coarse sea salt and more for sprinkling

Instructions:
Prepare a 9x9 or 8x8 baking dish by lining it with foil or parchment paper. Lightly oil or spray the lining.
Over low heat, melt the white chocolate, stirring constantly. Once the white chocolate is completely melted and smooth, mix in the dulce de leche and a pinch of sea salt until completely incorporated. This mixture is quite thick.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer with a rubber spatula.
Sprinkle with a bit of course sea salt to taste.
Let cool completely at room temperature for 3-4 hours or place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Cut into 1 inch pieces to serve.


*Usually this can be found in the Hispanic food aisle. Or you could make your own…the easiest way to do this is boil a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours. The can has to be completely covered by water during the boiling process, or it could explode. I make mine in a large soup pot, to make sure the can is always completely covered with water! I keep an eye on it during the cooking process to make sure the water does not evaporate. After three hours, let it cool completely. You can do this in advance, once boiled it will last unopened, in your pantry for quite awhile. Once it is opened keep it tightly covered in the fridge, it will last for up to 3 weeks. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

FFWD ~ Champagne Aspic with Currents, Blackberries and Raspberries

Champagne Aspic with Currents, Blackberries and Raspberries

Did you know that gelatin is something people have very strong opinions about? I never knew that! When I was growing up, there was always a bowl of red or orange Jello gelatin in the fridge. Sometimes, there was fruit or grated carrots folded in!  But jello was always there! It was our after school snack, or dessert after dinner, usually with a squirt of whipped cream! I always liked it fine…it was an ok snack! Not my favorite, but ok!  

This week, for French Fridays we’re making a very grown up version of gelatin called Aspic. Our pick was for Arman’s Caviar Aspic.  Like I said, I like gelatin just fine…but fishy gelatin isn't for me! Sorry Arman!

This is my week to go rogue!  The Aspic was something I wanted to prepare, simply for the technique and learning. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the seafood flavor. Champagne Aspic was my compromise! 
As I contemplated flavor options, Champagne kept popping into my head! Would it work? It sounded great to me…but what do I know, I like Jello with fruit! Aspic made with Champagne! Definitely an adult flavor! And who doesn’t love Champagne? Elegant, bubbly and perfect for the New Year! 
 
This was quite pretty and tasted delightful.
I wasn’t sure how it would work. As I looked through binders of recipes, I came across an old article, cut from a newspaper years ago. It was for Champagne Aspic! Quite different than what I finally came up with, but the basic idea was from the article…and so were the proportions of gelatin to Champagne! Although, I think caviar would be interesting with champagne, I thought fruit would be lovelier! I had some blackberries in my fridge, but they seemed rather large. In my freezer, I found a few bags of red raspberries, and red currents that I froze last summer. I bought the currents while in NYC with my Dorista friends Cher, Betsy and Diane! When I got home I threw them in the freezer. I knew they would come in handy!  

It does look rather sparkly, doesn’t it?
I was actually getting excited about making the Aspic with Champagne.  I was envisioning something sparkly, with bubbles! That didn’t happen! Still the end result was wonderful! 
The gelatin gets softened in ½ cup of Champagne. Then the rest of the Champagne is brought to a boil, to which the softened gelatin, sugar, raspberry liqueur, and flavored vinegar is added. I decided to add some of the liquid to molds. I placed some berries into each mold and poured in the liquid gelatin. I poured the rest into a loaf pan, as Dorie suggested. 

This was a French Friday I seriously thought of skipping! I’m so glad I didn’t! Sometimes going rogue is a good thing!! My version of the Aspic was delicious and quite pretty! I loved the taste of Champagne that came through! Even Bill enjoyed this one!  Happy Friday everyone!


This was a good alternative, for someone who doesn’t do fishy gelatin.
 Perfectly lovely to serve for any elegant occasion. 



CHAMPAGNE ASPIC
 Recipe adapted by Bakeawaywithme 

2 tablespoons (2 envelopes) gelatin
2 1/2 cups champagne
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Raspberry Liqueur
1 tablespoon flavored vinegar…I used Pear Chardonnay vinegar, but Raspberry would be quite good.
Blackberries, Raspberries and Currents

Add the gelatin to a half cup of the champagne. Stir to moisten the gelatin evenly, and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes to soften.
Bring the rest of the champagne to a boil. Add the softened gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Add the sugar, raspberry liqueur, and flavored vinegar. Place a few berries into each small mold. I used cannele molds. Pour the gelatin over the fruit, or pour into 9x5 loaf pan chill until set. Then cut the gelatin into squares, scoop a tiny bit of the gelatin out from the middle of each square (I did this using a grapefruit spoon, as Dorie suggests in her aspic recipe) and then I placed a berry into each. I thought the flavor of the raspberries worked best for this recipe. The currents were a bit tart. Or experiment! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

FFWD ~ Simplest Breton Fish Soup


FFWD ~ Simplest Breton Fish Soup
Happy New Year everyone!! Welcome 2015! We are entering the final stretch of our French Fridays project! The culmination of more than four years of an incredible labor of love! A project that has taken us to so many wonderful places! The perks have always been the adventure of learning new techniques, stretching our limits of likes and dislikes, and forging new virtual friendships. Friendships that have become genuine and real!

Hard to believe the end is in sight! When I started this journey I had no idea what I was doing. Seriously? I hardly understood the Internet! Was I crazy? My writing was never something I felt particularly confident about! And photography…I was taking photos with a point and shoot, and had no idea about lighting and composition. Truth is, photography is becoming a passion!  A few years ago I acquired a semi-new DSLR, bought several books and have even taken classes. And this year for Christmas (even though I still don’t have it in my grasp) my hubby bought me a macro lens! My blog has given me gratification! French Fridays has given me a wonderful sense of joy, satisfaction, and belonging!

This was a delightful way to welcome in the New Year
What will I do when FF culminates? The thought of no more French Fridays leaves me sad and wanting! Even though I am a member of TWD, along with many of my French Friday sisters, so many of my friends won’t be baking along! How will I get through a week without reading a post by Cher, who brings humor into my life and a smile to my face? Her take on the most benign thing leaves me laughing! How will I get through a bad week without Mary to help me keep things in perspective! Or Betsy’s calm and sweet demeanor! Adriana…my lovely FF daughter! And Ro (Nana), of the Trish and Nana blog….she is my inspiration! Let me not forget Trish, Lizzy, Guyla, Rose, Diane, Gaye, Christy, Andrea, Alice, Mardi, Karen, Teresa and new friends like, Diane, Katie and Emily! We span the world! People that I just couldn’t bear not reading every-week! And I’d be remiss not to mention Trevor…who’s been MIA lately! His blog always leaves me LOL! He’s the one who coined the phrase “Dorista”!  
I don’t know what French Fridays will morph into, but I’m sure of one thing...we will always continue to be blogging buddies and friends!


Fish Soup….who would think it would be so delicious?
Well, it’s time to get down to the business of French Fridays! This week our pick was for a fish soup…the Simplest Breton Fish Soup! The soup was straightforward and easy to prepare. Sautéing chopped onions, shallots, garlic, celery and leeks in a few tablespoons of butter.  The broth is added to this mixture, along with a bouquet garni filled with parsley, thyme, celery leaves, and a piece of leek. This mixture is then brought to a boil. Sliced potatoes, and carrots are then added and simmered for about 10 minutes. When the veggies are softened, the fish is added to the soup. I opted to use fish I had in my freezer, which happened to be tuna and salmon. I didn’t like the texture of the tuna, it was tough after being poached in the soup. It wasn’t the best choice for this type of cooking. If I were to make this again, I would choose a more flaky fish like cod. I also added about ½ cup of white wine to the soup! I just couldn’t help myself!  Now for the best part…2 pounds of mussels are added to the pot at the end. Cook until the mussels open. 

The thought of this soup didn’t thrill me…however my hubby loves mussels! Why not make it for New Years Eve? As per Dorie’s serving suggestions, I served mine over a piece of toasted rustic bread. This was an absolutely superb New Years Eve treat! We both loved it! The only thing I would change is my choice of fish. The mussels were fantastic and cooked perfectly! A perfect dish to end the year with! Happy 2015 Everyone! Happy Friday!! Here’s to new beginnings! 

This recipe is from Dorie Greenspans cookbook, “Around My French Table”, it can also be found here. To see what the other Dorista’s thought of this soup, check it out here.


This was an easy, delicious meal
A lovely meal for an ordinary day….a great meal to welcome in the New Year


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chocolate Brioche Flower

Beautiful Chocolate Brioche Flower….just out of the oven
I have such enthusiasm for baking special breads during the holidays! There is something special about setting a beautiful brunch table, and then placing a gorgeous sweet bread upon it! I have several delectable breads that I make for the Easter and Christmas seasons! The one I’m sharing today starts with Brioche dough from Peter Reinhart.  It’s then filled with a chopped chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. The real magic starts when it's cut into a beautiful brioche flower! Pretty special for any occasion, this one graced our Christmas table! 

The only photo I was able to get after the bread was plated…I noticed there was a piece missing as I pulled it out to serve…Christmas mice, hmmmm?

Although this bread looks quite fancy, it would be perfect for any gathering of family or friends. You could fill it with a simple sugar-cinnamon mixture, or fancy it up with Nutella or jam. It’s all up to you!
I did solicit some assistance in making this bread from my daughter and granddaughter.  It was our Christmas Eve project! Getting everyone involved made for such an enjoyable afternoon, and hopefully created wonderful memories!

The disk cut into sixteen pieces
My daughter twisting and my granddaughter sealing them
Teamwork!! 


Early in the day, I made the sponge for the brioche. It consists of ½ cup of flour, 1¼ tsps. instant yeast, ½ cup lukewarm whole milk. Whisk it all together, and let rise for 30-40 minutes, or until the sponge rises and then falls. As it rises it will become bubbly.


Once the sponge was ready I prepared the dough. I did this in my stand-mixer with a paddle attachment. Knead and let rise until doubled in size.  Now for the fun part! 

I cut the dough into four equal parts and formed balls. I then rolled out each ball into a 10-inch circle. My granddaughter brushed each circle with softened butter, and then sprinkled each with the chocolate mixture, except the last, which is left plain. This is where my daughter came in. She has an artistic inclination for being precise…so we gave her the job of cutting and twisting! We had a really fun time working together, and my granddaughter even took some of the photos! 
This bread was delicious and a big hit on Christmas morning! Receiving many Oooohs, Aaahs, and Yumms! Go ahead and give it a try…you know you want to…it’s much easier than it looks!

Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!! 

Ready for the egg wash and oven
Just out of the oven the aroma was so alluring….
Great shot by my granddaughter…she’s ten!


Chocolate Brioche Flower
Makes: 1 large Chocolate Brioche Flower
Adapted from:
  • Watch how the bread is formed with this Video Brioche Flower @ thebreadkitchen.com 
  • Poor Man’s Brioche from The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
For the sponge:
  • 1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) whole milk, lukewarm (90-100 degrees F.)
For the dough:
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups (13.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk, if necessary to form a smooth dough
For the filling 
  •  about ½ cup of finely chopped dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • softened butter for brushing
Egg wash, 1 beaten egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk, brush on just before the bread goes into the oven.

To make the sponge, stir together the flour and yeast in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Pour in the milk and whisk the ingredients together until all of the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the sponge rises and falls when you tap the bowl.

To make the dough, add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue mixing with the paddle on low speed for about 2 minutes) until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to begin to develop the gluten.  Then mix in the melted butter by hand, using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk or with the mixer on medium speed using the dough hook. Add in a couple of teaspoons of milk if the dough is too dry.
Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  It shouldn't be too sticky too handle.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl.  It doesn't need to be oiled.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Let the dough rise in a warm place (70- 75 degrees F.) for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, cut out a circle of Parchment paper about 12″ in diameter. Place the paper on your baking sheet.

To shape the flower, once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down and knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal size pieces and form each piece into a ball.
Roll each ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 10″ in diameter. The dough should be about 1/8″  thick.
Place the dough onto the baking paper, brush with the butter, and sprinkle with the chocolate mixture. Leave about an inch border all around the edge.  Be sure to evenly cover the dough.
Roll out the second ball of dough, place it on the first layer, brush with the butter and sprinkle the chocolate mixture. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough, but do NOT butter or sprinkle anything on the final layer.
Cut the brioche into 16 segments but leave a small 1½” area in the center of the dough uncut. I used a small round object…so that I would not cut too far into the dough.
First cut the circles into quarters, then eighths, and finally into sixteenths. Take two parts in both hands and delicately twist them in opposite directions. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat with all pairs.

Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for another 2 hours to rise.
Brush with the egg wash, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  
Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust lightly with confectioners sugar. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

TWD ~ Gingerbread Bûche de Noël

TWD ~ Gingerbread Bûche de Noël

Happy holidays everyone! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday celebrations! Tuesdays with Dorie picked the very appropriate...Gingerbread Bûche de Noël, for this week.
Roulades and I go way back! My mom was the Jelly Roll Queen! I remember watching her bake those wonderful confections as I stood by her side, amazed at how she took that flat cake, filled it with her homemade jam, then rolled it seamlessly without a crack to be found! Since I’m my mother’s daughter, baking has always been a passion! My mom taught me an abundance of life’s lessons. She also taught me how to be quite competent in the kitchen! Christmas always brings up such bittersweet memories. My mom passed away a few years ago, and there has not been a Christmas since, where my heart doesn’t experience emptiness. Even at my mom’s most confused state, we would still bake together. Interesting how life takes us through a series of cycles…. I now bake with my daughter and granddaughter! Hopefully creating some lovely memories!


A perfect dessert for Christmas…or even New Years…enjoy!
I was delighted to tackle the Bûche de Noël.  It certainly was a show-stopper! This Bûche had several steps, so being organized would be a good thing! I decided to make the pecan praline filling, the day before I baked the cake. The most challenging thing at that point, was trying to keep my hubby from eating the pecan praline. It was yummy! I also made the cream cheese filling the day before. The next day, I tackled the geniose style gingerbread sponge cake. The cake was a bit more complex, then other sponge cakes I’ve made. When I poured the batter into the pan it seemed to deflate a bit, but it turned out lovely despite that.  Rolling the cake, after it comes out of the oven was easy. If you have never done this before, make sure you roll it while it’s still quite warm. Check out Dorie’s video with Melissa Clark. 
I loved the marshmallow frosting. It was a stunning, snow white frosting, that looked beautiful when spread on the cake. Just like freshly fallen snow! However, I found this recipe makes way too much, leaving a lot left over. Calling for four egg whites, I might try to cut the frosting in half next time.  
Wishing all my TWD friends a fabulous New Year! Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!

You can find the recipe in Dorie’s new cookbook "Baking Chez Moi”.  The perfect gift for any baker you know.  It has also been published 
herealong with a video. Check out what the rest of the TWD bloggers did with this one, here.   


Cake rolled inside a towel after removed from pan
Unrolled from the towel, filled with the cream cheese filling, and rerolled
This was a show-stopper dessert and enjoyed by all on Christmas Eve! 
Luscious! Happy Holidays everyone!