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Monday, December 10, 2012

Whisky Christmas log with chocolate chips, cranberries and marron glacés



The holidays are right around the corner and there are just no more free slots in your calendar for yet another social engagement: there's the office party, the elementary school fundraiser, the pre-K recital and party, the last minute Christmas drinks with old colleagues, the dinner with close friends, the cocktail with your pilates buddies and the afterdinner toast with those other friends you only see once a year in December. No to mention lunch with the girls and the charity bake sale you agreed to help out with.
As if Christmas in itself does not involve enough binging, we stuff our faces all the way through December and suffer a hang over or two in the process.

 


What is it about the holiday season that makes everyone act like they will never be seeing each other again? Most of us live in the same city, perhaps just blocks away from each other, and we will probably bump into each other at the supermarket in our yoga pants at least a few more times before the year is over. Ok, so this year may be an exception if the Mayas have any say, but it is just the exception that confirms the rule: life will pretty much be the same as the day before when you wake up on the 26th or next January 1st, so why all the craziness?


In Italy the holiday season is all about eating dry, mass produced pandoro and picking out the candied peel from panettone while balancing a glass of bad quality, often too sweet spumante with a smile stamped on your face. The good part is the homemade crema al mascarpone that at least one member of each family is usually famous for.
I also remember many a Christmas holiday in Sweden during which the initally greatly anticipated and delicious Julbord became the fodder of nightmares as the days passed. By the fifteenth Julsbord I ate in seven days I was dreaming of bowls herring and ris a la malta hunting me down in the snow.
I know that wherever you are, you are being tormented by something spicy or sweet, just in a different guise. Stale stollen? Sorry sorrel? Boring bunuelos? Terrible turron? I want to know more!
  



Here is something you can make to bring to a party or to wrap up as a gift. I guarantee, it is anything but bland, dull or plain. It is right up there with chewy dark gingerbread, spicy and warming mulled wine and the most wonderfully studded Christmas pudding you can conjure up in your mind.

I tweaked the original recipe (from this blog, which is full of great recipes and stories) using marrons glacées and dried cranberries because cherries are not a favorite (to say the least) in our home but I still thought red was essential for the Christmas feeling. You can mix in figs, dates, apricots or any kind of nut. It is a great way to use up odds and ends in your pantry, a more traditional version of a Monster cookie or an Everything bagel. The end result was delicious, truly addictive and it took me under two hours to make, from beginning to end (cooling and setting included because I used the freezer). The recipe makes six logs: I brought three to a dinner party and pretty much ended up eating the other three myself, when no one was looking.

Ingredients (makes 6 logs)
400 gr plain biscuits
125 gr butter, chopped
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup whisky
100 gr chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
100 gr cranberries
200 gr marrons glacés (or dried fruit), chopped
200 gr dark chocolate

Crush the biscuits using a food processor or by hand (the good old rolling pin and plastic bag method) and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and then mix in the egg, whisky, biscuit crumbs, chocolate, cranberries and marrons glacés.
Wet your hands and shape into six logs, then wrap them in Saran wrap. Cool in the fridge for a few hours or in the freezer if you are in a rush.
Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler and cover the logs. This can get a little messy. If you have time, let the top cool and then cover the bottom. Otherwise, just drizzle the chocolate over the top, placing the logs on a cooling rack. Let set and then place in fridge to cool. When you are ready to serve them, use a hot knife to cut into slices.




12 comments:

  1. Interesting recipe...perfect for the holiday season:) yummy

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  2. I'm so glad you tried this recipe. Your whiskey logs look like they've turned out really well. It's definitely okay to play around with adding different kinds of dried fruits to these logs. Thanks for the link! xx

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    1. Thank you for inspiring these, they were delicious and I love how adaptable they are to the ingredients you have on hand. Couldn't help thinking of your Mom while I was making them.

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  3. "In Italy the holiday season is all about eating dry, mass produced pandoro and picking out the candied peel from panettone" ha ha ha ha so true!!!! And funny thing, now that we live in France my sons still have fond memories of that boxed Pandoro and even ask me to buy one. But you know now how much I love chocolate and chestnut together! And this is quite a change from what I have been making... and now I need to try it!

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    1. The pandoro has actually grown on me over the years too, but the panettone just doesn't do it for me... probably because I do not like candied fruit and zest.

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  4. Oh I can't wait to give this a try. Chocolate and chestnuts is a killer combination. I love it!

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  5. I'm actually pretty lucky when it comes to holiday season - my Mum's an amazing cook and always makes delicious treats. But there's always one or two events with soggy or stale mince pies, cheap mulled wine and other nasty baked goods so I know what you mean! I love the look of this - like chocolate biscuit cake but heavy on the biscuits and laced with booze, yum!

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    1. When it comes to homecooked/baked holiday goodies I am pretty lucky too... but there is always one too many sad buffets at holiday social gatherings.

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  6. We were just talking about the crazy busy calendars that we all seem to have lately! Now, when you're turning up with something this delicious, I think the invitations would flow! :D

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  7. i am getting inspired looking at this!

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  8. This looks amazing. I think, in London, if I don't see another mince pie, I'll be ok. Though to be honest, I just made another 6 last night. Oof (buon natale!)

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