Dec 23, 2007

Yule Log - Daring Bakers

I am officially a DARING BAKER!!! heehee =P I'm so excited! This is my first Daring Baker challenge, and I have to say it's a really complicated one. I have seen yule log recipes in my cookbooks, but I've never bothered making it because it just looks so complicated. There are basically three parts: the genoise, the buttercream and the meringue mushrooms. The recipes are from Perfect cakes by Nick Malgieri and The William-Sonoma collection: Dessert.

I made the buttercream the night before. This was a bit scary for me as I have never made buttercream before. I read my fellow daring bakers' problems with the buttercreams and it seems like a daunting task. I kept waiting for the buttercream to curdle, but IT NEVER DID! I have to say this must be beginners luck!! I put the buttercream and in the fridge and the next day I had to whip the buttercream again, but it was still really good the next day.

I made the genoise next. I must have either cooked it too long or cooled it for too long, because I had a hard time rolling the cake. It started to crack in some places. Overall though, the cake came out well. It was really fun putting the log together!!

This is a picture of my naked log. After I frosted the log with the coffee buttercream, I felt like the cake looked really naked and it didn't really look like a yule log. So I put a chocolate bark on it. All I did was melted some chocolate, spread it thin on a piece of parchment paper. I left it in the fridge for 10 minutes to let it harden, then broke it off into little pieces.

The last part was the mushrooms. The original recipe makes 48 mushrooms!!! I didn't think I could fill my yule log with so many mushrooms, so I only made a third of the recipe. I still ended up with about 12 mushrooms. This was really fun to make. They are just so darn cute!!! I had a hard time piping the stems and making them straight. They were kinda crooked, but I'm going to call them natural. heehee =P

Overall I'm happy with the end product. I ended up giving the yule log to my friend for her family christmas party. It was kinda hard to part with it. I don't think I've ever spent so much time decorating a cake before. To tell the truth, I thought about chickening out of this challenge, but I'm so glad I didn't. I don't think I would've made a yule log otherwise, and it was really fun to make!! Here are the recipes:

Coffee Buttercream

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp of unsalted butter, softened (168 g)
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp of warm water

  1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot (approximately 160 degrees).

  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Plain Genoise

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cornstarch

one (1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

2. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.

3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).

4. Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.

5. While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

6. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

8. Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.

9. While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

10. Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Meringue Mushroom
1 egg white

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

35 g sugar

14g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 1 baking sheet with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.

2. Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 12 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 12 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.

3. Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 35-40 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.

Dec 21, 2007


I have been wanting to make marshmallows for a long time, but it always seems so intimidating. Who in their right mind would spend the time to make marshmallows when they are 99 cents a bag?! Well, these marshmallows I have to say are different than the Jet puff variety. They don't have that funny after taste that the kraft stuff have. These were actually easier to make than I thought. The hardest part was definitely cutting them. These suckers are very sticky!! I will definitely make these again, maybe a different flavor next time!!


3 envelopes of Knox gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour boiling syrup into gelatin and mix at high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and incorporate into mixture.
  3. Scrape into a 9 x 9 inch pan lined with oiled plastic wrap and spread evenly. (Note: Lightly oil hands and spatula or bowl scraper). After pouring marshmallow mixture into the pan, take another piece of plastic wrap and press mixture into the pan.
  4. Let mixture sit for a few hours. Remove from pan, cover the marshmallow slab with confectioners' sugar and cut into 12-20 equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar.
  • I think next time I will use a 9x13 pan and make thinner and smaller pieces. I would also use less sugar, maybe 1 1/2 cups instead of the 2 cups recommended. It was a little too sweet for my taste after being covered with the confectioner's sugar.

Dec 11, 2007

Mini Turkey Burgers

I was having all these heavy meals and wanted something light for dinner. I made some mini turkey burgers from Everyday food magazine. I was worried that turkey burgers would be dry and won't taste very good. But these turkey burgers were not dry at all, I even used 99% lean meat instead of the 93% lean that the recipe called for. The burgers came out very juicy! I used taro bread for my buns, added some alfalfa sprouts, and tomatoes. Here's the recipe:

Mini Turkey Burgers
everyday food magazine

2 slices of white sandwich bread (about 1 oz each)
1 lb ground turkey
2 oz cheddar cheese (coarsely grated, about 1/2 cup)
1/2 small onion, coarsely grated
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tsp olive oil
12 party size potato rolls
lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard

  1. In a food processor, pulse bread until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl; add turkey, cheese and onion. Season with salt and pepper, and mix gently until just combined. Form twelve 2 inch patties (about 3 tbsp each)
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Cook patties until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Serve on rolls with lettuce, tomatoes, and mustard, if desired.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I'm back from a two month trip to Japan. I'm so glad to be back home to my kitchen. I was living in a hotel for the last two months and did not have access to any kitchen. This chicken tikka masala I made before I left to Japan. I wanted to post it before I left, but didn't get a chance to. It was my friend's birthday that night, and we had Indian night. I made chicken tikka masala, palak paneer (absolutely my favorite Indian dish), and naan. The picture does not do this dish justice, this was so good!!! Here's the recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala
Cook's illustrated

Chicken Tikka:
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 lbs chicken breasts
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

masala sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, dice fined
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garam masala
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Template by Best Web Hosting