Posts tagged chocolate
hot cocoa season is here again

I have been working like crazy to get through the many works in progress I have going on here.  I'm hoping to finish up another quilt top this afternoon and then start basting.  I think I have at least 5 tops and bottoms waiting to be sandwiched right now.  One for us, one for someone special, the rest I'm hoping will find homes in the new shop I have been working on as well. When Monday brought our first snowfall of the season, I knew I better take a break from stitching get a batch of cocoa mixed up, sooner rather than later.  Andy likes to drink it in the evenings when the weather turns and it has definitely turned.

hot cocoa mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup dutch processed cocoa

2 1/2 cups powdered milk (I use organic valley because it gives the cocoa an extra creamy texture)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup powdered creamer (flavor of your choice - I used hazelnut for this batch)

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Mix well in large bowl.  Store in airtight container.

To use, place 2-4 spoonfuls in cup.  The amount depends on how chocolaty you like your cocoa.  Add a small amount of almost boiling water and stir to dissolve the mix then fill cup the rest of the way.

Personally I like with some fresh whipped cream, but marshmallows are great too.

cocoa with fresh whipped cream


sewing retreat with a side of iced mocha cheesecake

At the end of June, I had the chance to spend some quality sewing time with friends.  Holly, Jeni, Jacey, Anna, Faith and I met up in Wisconsin at the most amazing vacation house. view from the loft of the chalet

charley harper poster

table in loft at chalet

We talked about everything, we ate giant pretzels and amazing belgian frites, we checked out Madison (including a chance to meet George), we dyed fabric, we even managed to fit in a whole lot of stitching.

I finished up a new york beauty that will soon be shipped off to someone special.

new york beauty quilt

I tried fabric dying for the first time.  We used an indigo kit and learned a lot about what works well and what doesn't.  These are my pieces before the dye bath.

ready to dye

Here's the top piece after dying.  I will most definitely be doing more with this technique.


It was fun to see what everyone was working on.  There were a lot of secret projects that I'm sure you will see popping up soon.

jeni's basket of strips

I brought along a cheesecake.  I didn't want us to go without sweets while we were sewing in the middle of nowhere.

iced mocha cheesecake on plate

iced mocha cheesecake


1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 stick butter (softened at room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cheesecake filling

3 bricks (8oz. each) of cream cheese at room temp

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon coffee extract


1 1/4  cup heavy cream

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

Mix crust ingredients in bowl of food processor until combined.  Use a straight sided glass or measuring cup to press crumb mixture along the bottom and up the side of a springform pan.  Chill crust while preparing the filling.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in bowl of food processor or mixer until creamy and smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.  Add heavy cream, vanilla, and coffee extract and blend until smooth and creamy.

Wrap pan tightly in multiple layers of aluminum foil to make water tight for water bath.  Pour batter into prepared crust.  Place pan in larger pan (I use an oversized skillet) and pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake 45-55 minutes,until almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together , but still have a lot of jiggle in the center.  You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage.  Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let it rest in the cooling oven for one hour.  This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently and reduce chances of it cracking on the top.  After one hour, removed the cheesecake from the oven and lift it carefully out of the water bath.  Let it finish cooling off on a rack on the counter.

Once cooled, cover with ganache.

To make the ganache, mix the espresso powder and cream and bring to a boil.. Pour cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sift for 45 seconds then begin to mix.  It will become creamy when fully incorporated.  Pour in center of cheesecake.  Allow ganache to cool, then cover and put in refrigerator to cool overnight.

top of iced mocha cheese cake on plateI was thrilled when Jeni mentioned she could bring along some of her homemade salted caramel sauce because this cheesecake is extra delicious topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

It was a blast of a weekend that flew by so quickly, so I can't wait to do it again!

hashtag chalet sewing rock

our springtime

We've been busy doing things like sneaking over to the neighbors to cut lilacs.

There have been treats for parties.

We've been walking under the blooms.

I found the most amazing button card.

Someone got to make a wish.

I lost my will power in the Easter clearance aisle.

Today I'm working on basting  a lap quilt that I'm hoping to have done by the end of the week.

linda's cookies

My mom is the oldest of four and when she was growing up these were one of her specialties.  I was told they named them after her because no one else in the family could make them as well as she could.

We always called them chocolate oaties, instead of Linda's cookies.  Why limit your mom to one special cookie when she could be making all sorts of great ones?

There are the thing to make, when you don't know what else to make, especially when the weather turns hot and you don't want the oven heating up the kitchen.  Basically, they are quick, simple, and everyone likes them.

The trick is in the boil, not too hot, you want the sugar to melt before it starts to boil so the cookies have smooth texture.  Also, wait to start your three minute count until after you reach a rolling boil (that's when the mixture continues to boil even while stirring it).  These are really more of a candy than a cookie, so it also helps to have a heavy bottomed pan like you would use for candy making.  It helps heat the mixture at a more even rate and keep it from scorching.  Sometimes even when you think you've followed all the rules, they still don't set up and the only way to eat them is to scrape them off the tin foil with a spoon.  Don't worry, just call them spoon oaties and enjoy!


linda's cookies (chocolate oaties)

2 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 stick butter

5 ounces evaporated milk (one small can)

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use crunchy, unless you are making them for cj)

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Lay a sheet of aluminum foil (or as we call it tin foil), about 18" long on your counter.  In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir the sugar and cocoa powder together (this keeps the cocoa from clumping together).  Add the stick of butter and stir in the evaporated milk.

Place over medium heat and stir constantly.  Once the mixture reaches a rolling boil (still boiling even when stirring) cook stirring continuing to stir constantly for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in oats, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Drop by spoonfuls on the foil and allow to cool.


my apparently famous brownies

It's the last day of teacher appreciation week.  Our assignment for today was to send in something to pamper the teachers. hmmm...

well I think sitting down with a big old chocolate chunk brownie can be a bit pampering.

Cj usually does a little tour of the school as part of his morning routine, so I put him in charge of deliveries.  I'm told that as he handed them out he said, "here is one of my mom's famous brownies."

I don't know that I would throw around the word famous, but they are pretty good.

I also have to add that I don't have nine kids.  I sent along treats for each of the kid's classroom teachers, cj's two associates, along with his resource teacher and speech therapist, and their art, music, and P.E. teachers.

mybricole brownies

6 1/2 ounces chocolate chips

1 1/2 stick butter

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

pinch salt

3 eggs

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped into big pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment.  Set aside.

In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter together over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Add sugar and stir with rubber spatula until well blended.  Stir in espresso powder and vanilla.

Add flour and salt.  Stir gently until well incorporated.

Add eggs.  Stir until thick and smooth.

Gently stir in chocolate chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.  Bake 30-35 minutes.

it's all in the name

I join in with a group of moms at my church who meet up fairly regularly for some fellowship.  Fellowship is a really nice way of saying eat lots of yummy treats, play games and laugh until the late hours of the night.  Our group has a name, but it never stuck in the spouse's head.  We are Methodists, so I started calling it, Meth Moms.  When I say Meth Moms he knows exactly what I'm talking about.  The same goes for this cake.  It's a chocolate stout cake, but we call it beer cake.  What do these two things have to do with each other...

I made beer cake for tonight's Meth moms.  It's sound like we have a terrible problem.  We don't.  Unless you count chocolate as a problem.

beer cake

for the cake

2 cups Guinness

4 sticks butter cut into cubes

1 1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon vanilla

4 cups flour

4 cups sugar

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cup sour cream

for the ganache

3 cups whipping cream

1 1/2 pounds bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep three 8" x 2" cake pans by greasing and lightly flouring.  It is important to use a pan at least that size, these cakes are very thick.  If you use a smaller pan they WILL boil over and make a huge mess.  Trust me on this one.

In a saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to simmer over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter.  Once the butter melts, add cocoa and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Set aside to cool slightly.

In a very large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sour cream until just combined.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture, folding until completely blended.  Divide batter among the three prepared pans.  Bake 40 - 45 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then removed from pan and cool on rack.

Once the cake is cool, bring cream and vanilla to simmer in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate, let set for up to a minute, then whisk until smooth.  Chill, checking and stirring frequently to see if it's of a spreadable consistency.  This can take up to an hour, but depends on a lot of factors so be sure to keep an eye on it.  You want it to be spreadable but not so much that it will slide off the cake.  I topped mine with store bought sugar flowers.

I will also warn you this makes a very large cake.  When I ice all three layers it is too tall for my cake carrier.  The cake in this picture is made up of just two layers.  I iced the third layer separately so the family could enjoy some cake too.

This cake ages well so you can make it a day or two before you need it.  It's also great with vanilla ice cream.

where i've been hiding

A yarn shop opened about 3 blocks from my house.  Honestly if my little town would get a quilt shop I would never have to leave the city limits again. At my first stop, I found the yarn.  Then came home to start knitting and realized I didn't have a size 2 needle.  No problem.  All I had to do was walk back up the hill.  At this point, I knew I had to switch to a size 6 for the crown, but did I check to see if I had a 6 - of course not.  A couple of days later the brim was done, I was digging for 6 but only came up with 8 and 9.  No problem.  I really like having a yarn shop in town.

The pattern is "aloof" from hattitude, a book of knitted hats that a friend gave me for the birthday.

I've also been working on a quilt.

I've have definitely been eating far too many of these.

I've been patching jeans.

I've also discovered that iLs takes a serious commitment.  I didn't really think an hour a day, 5 times a week would really bite into a schedule, but it does.

The other thing I didn't expect was to see a such change in him, but that's a story for another day.

There has also been play dough.  This time it's blue.

play dough

1 cup flour

1/3 cup salt

1 Tablespoon cream of tartar

1 cup of water

1 Tablespoon oil

liquid food coloring

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, and oil.  Place over low heat.  Stirring constantly until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Remove from heat.  Add food coloring.  Stir until color is blended.  Knead dough until smooth.


I know what you are thinking... is she really posting a recipe for these?

Here's the thing, most of the time when I'm writing these posts, especially the baking ones, I have lulu in mind.  Someday she's going to want to know how to make all of her favorite things and these are definitely one of her favorite things.  It's also spring break this week so I'm making life easy for myself.

So I give you...


1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups corn flakes

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 oz. dark chocolate chips

5 oz. butterscotch chips


Butter the bottom and sides of an 8" x 11" (or similar size) pan.

In a large saucepan, heat sugar and syrup, stirring gently until sugar dissolves and just bubbles at the edges of the pan.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Add the cornflakes and stir to coat them.  Use a rubber spatula to press mixture into the prepared pan.

Using a pyrex measuring cup or other microwave safe dish, heat chips for one minute and stir well to melt the chips.  Spread over the cornflake mixture.  Let set on counter to cool because if they sit in the fridge too long they become too hard to eat.

girls night out

We met up at the wine bar, sharing fancy meat & cheese trays and our fave fries along with lots of laughs and a love of hats. I made some sweets.

There were meringues

and truffles

and little cakes

iced almond cakes

for the cake

1 1/2 sticks butter (at room temperature)

2 1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup almond paste

6 eggs (separated)

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep rimmed 17" x 12" pan by buttering, lining bottom with parchment and then buttering and dusting parchment with flour.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside

Using an electric mixer, meat almond paste and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar until well blended.  Add butter and beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add flour mixture in three parts alternating with milk.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until frothy.  While mixer is running, add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently.  Fold in remaining whites gently.

Spread batter evenly onto baking sheet.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, turning pan half way through cooking time.  Transfer pan to rack to cool completely.  When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

for the glaze

1 cup apricot jam

In a small saucepan, heat apricot jam to thin it and then push through sieve.  Brush a thin layer of the jam over the top of the chilled cake.  Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set.

for the icing

8 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

gel food coloring of choice

Turn out cake and cut into 1 1/4" squares.  Place cakes on rack resting in baking sheet to catch icing drips.

Mix all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.   Pour icing over cakes and decorate as desired. Allow icing to set a bit before placing in paper cups for serving.

appreciation week

It's teacher appreciation week at our school this week.  I don't know what says thank you better than an eclair filled with a white chocolate pasty cream, topped with a bittersweet chocolate glaze. Now I must figure out how to attach a clown hat to a clown wig.

Tomorrow is the circus, you know.

one step ahead

Well, I'm doing my best to stay one step ahead, but lately there has been a lot of playing catch up as well. I'm working on a picnic quilt, while also trying to make several tote bags. I did manage to sneak in an impromptu trip to Chicago with some friends. Closely followed by the spouse heading out for some hunting with friends. Now the little ones are battling colds/allergies. I was also asked to put together some desserts for a meeting at friend's house. I made double chocolate cookies, meringue shells filled with lemon curd, and raspberry linzer bars with a hazelnut crust. After spending Monday at the stove I was really looking forward to getting the house in order, but cj's cough kept him home. He and I tackled a little project of our own that was a blast, but we have to wait until after Mother's Day to talk about that.

I'm hopeful it will warm up enough that I can get the rest of my herbs into their summer homes this week. I'm also beyond excited to have some friends visit this weekend for one my little town's greatest events.

pb & chocolate

These are my go to cookies.  When I'm in a pinch and need cookies fast, which is more often than you might think, I make these. For this recipe, I use the White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co.

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

(adapted from The Greyston Bakery Cookbook)

1 cup white chocolate peanut butter

1/4 cup softened butter

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use an electric mixer to cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar.  Add egg and vanilla.  In separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda.  At a low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  When combined, stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Roll into balls and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pour glass of milk and enjoy.

daring bakers served with extra daring this month

It's the season for little things.  Little things hidden in the branches, to remind you what it felt like to be a child at this time of year.  Little things in boxes with bows to remind you that it's not so bad to grow up.  And this year, little things hidden away in layers of dark chocolate mousse to make you wish you had been born in France. 


Another month has come to a close and that means it's Daring Bakers time.  

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron & Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.  They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.  Not just any Yule Log, an entremets, a creamy frozen yule log filled with layers of various textures and flavors.

While all working from the same basic recipes, we were given flavoring options.  After whittling down the recipe to the exact layers I would make, I was able to get the recipe down to 6 pages.  Honestly it sounds so much more complicated than it actually is.  I have reorganized my recipe to follow the order in which I made the elements, rather than the order it was place in the mold.  I made most of the elements the day before assembly.  The finished dessert looks like a great feat of engineering with the layers suspended in frozen chocolate mousse.  In reality, the key was organization. 

entremets- French Yule Log

Here is the order of elements for the frozen yule log, followed by the recipes and assembly instructions.

praline paste (this isn't an element, but an ingredient for the praline feuillete)

Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Creme Brulee Insert

Hazelnut Dacquoise Biscuit

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Dark Chocolate Icing

I used a 9 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 2 3/4" loaf pan as my mold for assembling the log.

praline paste

1 cup hazelnuts toasted and skinless

2/3 cup sugar

line a jellyroll with lightly buttered parchment

Put sugar in 10" skillet.  Heat on low 10-12 minutes until it melts around the edges.  Do NOT stir, only swirl if necessary to prevent from burning.  Brush sides with water to also prevent from burning.

For me, this took about 20 minutes.  I had to do it twice.  I found it worked a million times better if I heated it on a small burner.  My large burner would burn the edges, without melting the center.

When melted and caramel in color, remove from heat and stir in nuts with wooden spoon.  Return to low heat and stir to coat nuts.  Cook until mixture starts to bubble.  It is very hot.  Carefully pour onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible.  As it cools, it will harden to brittle. 

Break into pieces and place in food processor. 


 Pulse to powder then process to a paste (several minutes).  It will be similar in texture to almond paste.  Store in a cool dry place.  Do NOT refrigerate.

praline feuillete (crisp) insert

3.5 oz. milk chocolate

1 2/3 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons praline paste

30 grams rice krispie cereal (you could also use a homemade lace crepe [gavottes], but I opted out this time)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.  Add praline and cereal.  Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with chocolate.  Spread (with rolling pin) between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape.  Refrigerate until hard.  This can be made ahead a couple of days and wrapped in plastic wrap.

vanilla creme brulee insert

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

4 egg yolks

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 vanilla bean

Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling.  Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour.  In separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks.  Pour the cream mixture into the yolk mixture and mix well.  Pour into mold and bake for 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.  I tried this with a water bath and it took over two hours.  I would vote no water bath for this.  I would also skip the parchment lining next time.  It wouldn't stick to the foil so some of the cream ran underneath it.  I used aluminum foil to make a mold slightly smaller than the loaf pan I would be using for the log.  You could also make it any size and cut to fit the mold when assembling. 


Let cool and put in freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.  If well wrapped, it can keep in the freezer for a day or two.

hazelnut dacquoise biscuit

I used this for the bottom layer only, but you can use this to line the top of the mold as well. 

3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon hazelnut meal

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

3 medium egg whites (3.5 oz.)

4 Tablespoons granular sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the hazelnut meal and confectioner's sugar together.  Sift in flour.  In separate bowl, beat egg whites, gradually adding granular sugar until stiff.  Pour hazelnut meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.  Line a jellyroll pan with a piece of buttered parchment.  Spread batter onto paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape and to a height of 1/3 inches.


Bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden.  Let cool and cut to desired shape.


It's best to make the dacquoise the same day you will be assembling the log.

dark chocolate mousse

You will see that a Pate a Bombe is mentioned in this recipe.  A Pate a Bombe is a term used for egg yolks beaten with a  sugar syrup, then aerated.  It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes.  It makes mousses and buttercreams more stable, particularly if they are to be frozen, so that they do not melt as quickly or collapse under the weight of heavier items such as the creme brulee insert.

1 + 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin

3 Tablespoons granular sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1/2 oz. water

3 medium egg yolks (50g)

6.2 oz. coarsely chopped dark chocolate

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Soften the gelatin in water. 


So hidden away in this recipe, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I didn't know what "soften the gelatin" meant for powdered gelatin.  Once, years ago, I special ordered sheet gelatin that I used for a mirror gilding project, but other than that, I have NO gelatin experience.   Our recipe said "If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package".  My box had no directions for softening.  I turned to Ask. com.  The first site I looked said there was no reason to explain softening/blooming gelatin to the American housewife because they all make so much jell-o.  Oops, guess I'm a bad housewife.  I finally found out that all you are doing is sprinkling the powder over water.  I also found out  this works best in a shallow dish that allows for more surface area for the gelatin to work with. 

 Make a Pate a Bombe

Beat egg yolks until very light in color (about 5 min.)  In a small saucepan, cook the sugar, corn syrup, and water on medium hear for about 3 minutes (to 244 degrees).  Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks.  This is best done with an electric mixer.  Continue beating until cool (about 5 min.).  the batter should become thick and foamy.


In a double boiler, heat 2 Tablespoons of the heavy cream to boiling.  Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Whip the remaining cream until stiff.

Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well.  Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in 1/2 cup of cream to temper.  Add the Pate a Bombe.

Add in the rest of the cream, mixing gently with a spatula.

Best made the day of assembly.

dark chocolate ganache

Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate assembly.  Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream.  It WILL splatter and bubble.

4 Tablespoons granular sugar

2/3 cup - 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (4.5 oz)

5 oz. dark chocolate chopped

3 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon softened butter

Make a caramel:  Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides.  Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt.  Never stir the mixture.  As the sugar starts to melt, you can swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly.  I had better luck if I didn't stir it.  Cook to dark amber color.  While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling.  Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly careful.  Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate.  wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.  Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (or use an immersion blender).  The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.


dark chocolate icing

Because the icing gels quickly, you should make it at the last minute.

1 Tablespoon powdered gelatin (the original recipe said 1/2, but this would not gel for me)

1/4 cup heavy cream

5 Tablespoons granular sugar

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.  Boil heavy cream, granular sugar, water, and cocoa together and cook an additional 3 minutes after reaching the boiling point.  Add gelatin and mix well.


Let cool while checking the texture regularly.  As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gel), use immediately.

assembling the yule log

Line your mold with parchment.  I cut mine into a cross shape so the corner wouldn't be bunched up (because there's nothing worse than a bunched up corner on your entremets, right??)  You could pipe the mousse, but I simply scooped 1/3 of the mousse into the bottom of the pan and and evened it out with an offset spatula.  Take the creme brulee insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse.  Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.  Scoop another 1/3 of the mousse around and on top of the creme brulee insert.  Cut the praline crisp insert to a size slightly smaller than the mold so it can be surrounded by mousse.  Lay it on top of the mousse.  Put the last third of the mousse on top of the praline.  Freeze for a few hours to set.  Remove from freezer.  Spread the ganache insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edges so that the ganache doesn't seep out when you set the dacquoise on top.  Close with the dacquoise. 


the next day

Unmold the dessert and set it on a wire rack over a shallow pan.


As you can see, I should have squished my dacquoise a bit more to get the ganache all the way to the edges.


Cover cake with icing.  I didn't have a lot of extra icing, so I set up a system with two different racks and cookie sheets.  Alternating one for the log to rest on and using to other to pour the runoff icing on the edge of the cake.

The icing gels quickly when it hits the cold mousse.  Once the icing is set, return the cake to the freezer.  This is best eaten the day it is assembled.  Transfer to the refrigerator 1/2 hour before serving.  I warmed my knife under hot running water and then wiped it dry before cutting.