Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

*Buche du Noel Yule cake * Marshmallow Mushrooms *

*Sugared Branches and Berries* 

A walk in the woods can be truly inspiring- or I suppose if you are a fairy tale character, terrifying, but no doubt Hansel and Gretel or Little Red would appreciate these woodland inspired holiday ideas.

I thought I would celebrate a Joyeux Noel and attempt a Buche du Noel, or Yule log dessert.  Although a fungus covered log doesn’t sound like an appetizing culinary inspiration, these delightful desserts, so popular in France, have gained worldwide appeal and are created in endless varieties, usually done in chocolate accompanied by mushrooms, branches, or even elves.
My previous attempts at rolled cake desserts have not gone well and as a trip to the Culinary Institute isn’t in my immediate future, I thought I’d come up with an easy DIY “semi-scratch” (very light on the scratch part) version this year. I added some super easy marshmallow mushrooms and sugared rosemary sprigs and cranberries.
I used a less traditional Pumpkin roll from Giant bakery ($3.99) as I love that type and it was the only rolled cake they had. I also used a vanilla frosting as chocolate and pumpkin didn't really work for me.
 Helpful tip: (probably Martha) slide wax paper under a cake before frosting, then remove with any spills or misses to keep platter perfect.
       The log pre-makeover 
I used Pillsbury Easy Frost- and wow it was! 
The tip is ideal for creating a bark like effect.
I tried to stagger rows of icing for an organic texture 
That took all of five minutes 
 almost done, you could stop here
to create extra stump, on a diagonal, carefully slice off a thin section
now time to embellish

Marshmallow Mushrooms

While delicate meringue mushrooms usually accompany a Buche du Noel, an easy quick version is this marshmallow+ cookie concoction
 I chose these for their shape- 
they are store brand but I'm sure the elves in the hollow tree make a version too
Large marshmallows
Candy Melts
melt candy according to package 
 carefully dip tops of cookies in white chocolate
spoon any chocolate over missed areas and let harden
 with a skewer or toothpick etch in mushroom gills
with melted chocolate attach mushroom stem
I cut marshmallows in half lengthwise and rolled into slimmer shape

These would be a fun treat alone or nice accent for a storybook tea or kid's bug themed party

Sugared Rosemary and Cranberries
Usually sugared fruit or in this case, rosemary and cranberries, involves raw egg white, which makes me a bit squeamish so I used agave nectar thinned with a little water as my sugar "glue"
Dip the rosemary sprigs and cranberries in the nectar and spoon extra over for a generous coating and roll or sprinkle in white sugar for a frosty look.
The rosemary adds a lovely fragrance as well!


  1. This is darling! You did a fabulous job! Love the mushrooms.


    1. Thanks Sandi!
      It's turned into a bit of Christmas tradition!
      So glad you stopped by for a visit! :)


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