Christmas Treats: Yule Log Cake and Chocolate Pecan Fudge

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(photos from here and here)

I know some people will get cranky that I’m doing a Christmas post before Thanksgiving, but I just need you guys to calm down for a second.  Christmas music keeps me in a happy mood during the stress of finals and huge projects this time of year, so I thought it’d be perfect to do a post on two of my favorite chocolate-related Christmas desserts.

My mom and I have made Christmas cookies and desserts an event for as long as I can remember.  I used to put on my red and blue striped pajamas as a kid and carefully sprinkle sprinkles onto the thin layer of white icing my mom carefully spread onto each gingerbread cookie.

While I won’t be talking about gingerbread cookies in this post, I will be talking about two desserts I didn’t get to help with until I was a little bit older-chocolate fudge and our Yule Log cake.  They were a little more finicky for a little kid to help with, but man, it was such an exciting day when I was finally old enough to help her.

Here are two of my family recipes that you can try out and have time to perfect before this holiday season rolls around.  The fudge can be easily customizable if you don’t like nuts or if you want to throw in other chunky things like crushed up candy canes or raisins.  The Yule Log cake is delicious as well, and the best part is that even if it cracks a little when you’re rolling it up, a nice coating of frosting will disguise it.  Good luck!

Chocolate Butter Pecan Fudge

-3 Cups Sugar

-7 Ounces Marshmallow Crème

-¾ Cup Butter

-1 Cup Pecans

-2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk

-1 Teaspoon Vanilla

-12 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine sugar, butter, and milk in a heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat; stir in chips until melted.  Add marshmallow crème, nuts and vanilla; beat until well blended.  Pour into greased 9 inch x 13 inch pan. Cool at room temperature, cut into squares. Yield 3 pounds.

Yule Log Cake

-1 cup walnuts, grated very fine

-¼ cup sifted flour

-¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

-5 eggs, separated

-½ teaspoon salt

-¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

-2/3 cup sugar

-½ teaspoon vanilla

-Sweetened whipped cream*

-Cocoa Glaze**

Line 10 x 15 x 1 pan with greased, waxed paper.

Mix ground walnuts with flour and cocoa.  Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until barely stiff.  Gradually beat in 1/3 cup of sugar.  In separate bowl, beat yolks, remaining sugar, and vanilla until thick.  Pour yolk mixture over egg whites and gently fold together.  Gently fold walnut mixture into egg mixture.

Turn batter into 10 x 15 x 1 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until top springs back.

Sprinkle dishcloth thickly with powdered sugar.  Turn out hot cake onto cloth.

Roll up loosely in cloth and leave to cool.

Gently unroll and spread with sweetened whipped cream.

Reroll and frost top and sides with cocoa glaze

* Beat 1 cup heavy cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Fold in ¼ cup chopped candied cherries.

** Mix 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa, 2 teaspoons melted butter, and 1 ½ teaspoons of boiling water.  Stir in 1 tablespoon light corn syrup and ¾ cup of sifted powdered sugar.

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