I've always wanted to make some sort of holiday log looking dessert and this one looked like the perfect one to try. It requires no baking...just some mixing and assembling. It can be made the day before serving. It has a light and fluffy taste with a hint of coffee. (I'm attaching a lot of photos in case the instructions are confusing!)
1/2 C. powdered sugar, plus more for garnish
1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee
2 C. chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (9 oz.) package chocolate wafer cookies
Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa and coffee in a small bowl. Beat cream and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add cocoa mixture and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread 1 side of 1 chocolate wafer with about a tsp. of mocha cream. Top with another wafer. Repeat until you have a stack of 5 cookies. Make 8 stacks of 5. Then connect (using the cream) 2 stacks of 5 together so that you now have 4 stacks of 10. Using a long platter, place one stack on its side, so that the cookies are standing up on their edge. Use some cream on stick another stack behind that one and so on. (Sounds confusing but you are basically making a big rectangle of cookies, standing on their edge with the cream acting as 'glue'. ) Then cover the entire outside with cream so that no cookies are showing. You will have plenty of cream. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to a day ahead. Before serving, use a toothpick or fork and make etchings in the chocolate to make it look like a log. Sift powdered sugar over the log & platter to look like snow. Arrange meringue mushrooms along the sides.
bon appetit, December 2009
Tips: Espresso powder is expensive and at specialty stores from what I can tell. So I just used instant coffee granules. If you do this, you will want to use a spoon and grind it/mash it into a finer powder. You don't want anyone to crunch down on a thick coffee granule. In the magazine, they stacked the sets of 5 end to end to make a really long and skinny log. I thought that looked kind of dippy which is why I put 2 sets of 5 together. But you can play with this based on what your serving platter looks like. Also, the chocolate wafers, come in a yellow box and are made by nabisco. They were surprisingly hard to find. They have them at Piggly Wiggly for those of you in Birmingham. Some stores have them near the ice cream sundae toppings rather than with the cookies. You could probably use another cookie but these wafers are great because they get soft and will make people think you baked a cake and sliced it thinly rather than simply stacked cookies.
2 large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
8 T. superfine sigar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 250. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silipat if you have one. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Add sugar, 1 T. at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is stiff and glossy. Beat in vanilla. Transfer to a large pastry bag with a plain tip on the end. To form mushrooms, pipe out circles about the size of a quarter. (tip: start by making the outer part of the circle and fill it in going around and around to make a mound in the middle so it resembles the top of a mushroom.) Next make the steams. Just make vertical lines about an inch high. (You'll get a feel for how thick you can make them without them falling over.) I had plenty to make 16-18 tops and stems. Bake until dry to touch and still white (about 45 minutes). Let them cool on the baking sheet. To attach, melt a few chocolate chips in a bowl. Dip the pointy tip of the stem in the chocolate and attach to the mushroom top. The tip of the stem will go slightly up inside the cap and the chocolate will harden to keep it together. Can be made a day ahead and stored in a single layer in an airtight container.
Tips: I even put the mushrooms around the log in the fridge the morning of our party. They get softer but I found that mine even got soft sitting out on the counter in a container. The website recommends using leftover meringue mixture to attach them but I really recommend the chocolate idea. It gives it a nice crunch texture in the middle when you eat it. I know this sounds like a total pain in the rear but it is fun to try and play with/ be creative. The log is not super sweet so putting one of these next to each slice when you serve it, adds a nice bite of sweetness. Also, if you don't have a pastry bag, use a ziplock bag and clip a small hole in the corner of the bag to pipe the meringue through. It will work just fine unless you are using a cheap bag and squeeze really hard and the whole seam busts open, which I have learned from experience! :)