Yule Logs are Not Easy to Roll. Or Decorate. Or Take Pictures of, TBH…

I REALLY wanted to make a Buche de Noel for Christmas this year. We did not travel anywhere and it seemed like the perfect time to create a dessert with a stupid amount of steps and processes. I am going to share the broad strokes with you here! There’s a full video if you want to watch this go down- including me rolling the video and seeing my cake crack… thrice.

First, I wanted to make meringue mushrooms for this adorbs cake. I did… and were they the most adorable things I’ve created, then eaten? Yes.

Will I make them to top any dessert I create when we eventually entertain again? Also yes. SO. CUTE.

Next, I made the roll cake. My husband is not a huge cake person. He isn’t even a small cake person. He’s a human person who doesn’t love cake. So I asked him to choose the cake/icing flavors hoping this would entice him to eat a slice or two (it did!) He opted for red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting (in the same recipe link).

I thought about making a chocolate buttercream or chocolate cream cheese frosting for the cake, but my man is a PURIST and would be super sad there was another flavor sneaking into his VIP party in Flavortown. So I just made the cream cheese frosting brown with food coloring. Problem solved!

I also chopped off the roll on the front piece pictured below (have no fear- we ate it). It was not the blunt shape of the other ends and I wanted continuity. Next time I’ll attach it on that side, to not need this step (This is a lie- I will do the same thing so I can eat cake sooner).

I also wanted to cover the roll cake with rolled pieces of chocolate so it looked like real bark. This became an EXCELLENT idea because my roll cake had one three cracks in it when I rolled it up. I glued the cake back together with the brown colored cream cheese frosting, then covered it with the chocolate bark.

The last few steps were putting ground pistachios around as moss and placing the mushrooms (once again using brown cream cheese frosting as glue). The green sticks are matcha pocky. So cute, no?

The last step? Making my husband take pictures of me as I added powdered sugar snow:

Awe.

We ate most of this and I froze two slices for a rainy day. You can watch a video of the whole process here.

XO,

Snail Mail Cookies

I did not go home last year for Christmas. I was working in Montana and flights out of there on a normal day were astronomical. I did not dare book one with holiday markups! The plan was to have a chill Christmas at the apartment, then travel to visit family on Spring Break or at summer break. Then Covid happened and stopped those plans.

So, for the second Christmas, my partner and I are chillin at home. This one, though during Covid times, has to be INFINITELY better than last year. We had the flu and I made a pancake with chocolate chips and watched Susperia hopped up on cold meds. Do not recommend.

I mailed gifts to friends and family last year. This year I mailed cookies because baking is my love language. It is how I show people I appreciate them. I also craft, but I only finished two of my planned projects. Any crafter will tell you this is a yearly ordeal where we say “next year I’ll start earlier.” Then we don’t. This cycle continues until we die and our family/partners stare in horror at the stash of craft supplies we never used. I don’t make the rules- this is just what happens.

I digress.

Cookies! Here’s a fun video of the cookies I made. There were three items I mailed: holiday scones, roll out cookies, and iced sugar cookies. Generally I make a few iced sugar cookies, but this year was summed up with one large cookie. You’ll see.

Holiday Scones

My holiday scones were a modified version of the funfetti scones from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I use her recipes a lot, as they are user friendly and from scratch. The mods in this recipe were pretty straight forward: I replaced half of the white chocolate chips with peppermint chips and regular sprinkles with holiday sprinkles. I also did not put much glaze on the top because the peppermint sprinkles were very sweet. These were great with coffee. I finally got to use my mini scone pan and will mos def be making another version of these for my next mail call.

Butter Cookies

I bought this sweet rolling pin on etsy! It actually embosses nordic designs onto cookie dough! It worked well, though it took me a bit to figure out the best pressure to use when rolling and dough temperature. I assumed the butter cookie dough* had to be SUPER cold to roll out, but it turned out it worked better mostly cold so it had some give when the rolling pin did its thing. Here is a shot of some of the all-star cookies:

After this photo shoot I let them cool, then dipped them in chocolate and sprinkled them with ground pistachios or red jimmies. I had leftover chocolate and pistachio, so I made some pistachio bark. And by “make pistachio bark” I mean I used a spatula to pour the chocolate on top of the pistachios and waited for it to harden. It looked fancy though:

*I did not add all spice to this recipe as suggested. I wanted the buttery flavor to be the star. Just an aside in case you were really invested in this…

Dumpster Fire Sugar Cookies

The last cookie is my iced sugar cookie. I have used the cut out cookie recipe from Make it Sweet since I first started perfecting my sugar cookies. If you follow the steps and chill the dough as suggested, the shapes hold up PERFECTLY in the oven. You could put the cutter over the cookie and then faint at the accuracy. Make sure you put some pillows down first or have a fainting couch at the ready.

This cutter is from etsy and had an embossed piece with it. I used it, but I iced them so you cannot actually see the embossing on the finished products. It was nice though because it acted as a guide for the flames and the dumpster outline.

2020 Snail Mail

As with all USPS packages, some have arrived to family and friends and some are hiding in piles waiting to be delivered. I am glad I heat seal the bags. Hopefully these bad boys hold up. If not, it is the thought that counts? Do we get a re-do next year? Asking for a friend.

Shout out to the USPS and all of the people busting ass this holiday season. It has been a weird one and we appreciate you.

xo,