Bûche de Noël
I made my first Bûche De Noël (or Yule Log) ten years ago. It seemed like a fun and creative project with kids — all those cute meringue mushrooms — and I had offered to make a dessert for a holiday gathering. So I searched for a recipe and dove in. Twenty-four hours later I was covered in chocolate and powdered sugar and egg whites. The result was declared delicious by all but I wondered if there was an easier way.
The first recipe I used was this one, from Saveur magazine, inspired by the bûche de noël at the Ladurée pastry shop in Paris. It's good. Really good. I highly recommend it, especially if you are a skilled baker and like BIG projects in the kitchen.
But I also recommend this recipe, which is more streamlined and has worked well for me the last few years, though with plain chocolate whipped cream inside, rather than hazelnut. I recommend making the meringue mushrooms a day or two ahead, so you can just focus on the cake and filling. Make a lot because you'll break some during assembly. There are lots of wonderful variations out there now, white chocolate and gingerbread and such. Every year I suggest that we switch it up but my house always goes for chocolate and really, why mess with something so perfect?