My logs sold out faster than I could decorate them but I snapped a few quick pics to give you one idea for finishing work. Last year I stayed contemporary by doing a poured mirror glaze. This year, I wanted a contemporary inside but a more traditional outside. I started by added a cut limb.
To do this, simply take a molded cylinder of the mousse, freeze it, and then cut it in half on bias (angle).
Next, press it into the side of your log. On one of my loaf formed logs, I placed it on top.
You can sort of see the log coming together now. One more step. I could have used more mousse here, but I wanted another textural element so I made a cinnamon butter cream.
50 g Dark chocolate, melted and brought to room temp
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Water
12 Egg yolks
1 Pound butter, room temp
1 T. Cinnamon
Boil sugar and water to 242ºF. While bring the syrup to temp, place yolks in mixer and mix on low for just a few seconds to break up. When the syrup hits temp, carefully pour it down the sides of the mixer bowl with the mixer on low. Slowly bring the mixer up in speed until you get to high when you can let it run for 5-10 minutes. Feel the bottom of your bowl, when it is no longer hot, and has come to room temp, you're done.
My kitchen tends to run a little cold so whenver I make butter cream I also have a heat gun ready. I start by warming the bottom of the mixer bowl - not enough to cook the eggs on the inside, but enough that I feel the warmth. Then right before I pour the syrup I hit the inside of the bowl with the heat gun for about 30 seconds. The idea is that if your eggs or bowl are too cold the syrup will form a big lump and ruin the butter cream. I have had a large lump form before where I just keep the heat gun going and the speed on low until the lump finally dissolves. It may not be perfect, but it works. Similarly, I have placed my bowl upside down under a very hot tap water for five minutes prior to using it and that helps.
When the eggs and syrup get to room temp, sprinkle in the cinnamon and pour in the chocolate, and then on med-low speed add the butter a tablespoon at a time. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, run the mixer on high for another minute to really fluff it up.
I used the Ateco #48 to pipe the butter cream. I like it because it would give me a lot of little ridges and it would cover space quickly. Don't be too methodical about this - tree bark is not very uniform. I always suggest people go look at a tree before doing this step so they can see how bark forms around branches and such. Finally, I made a royal icing (1 C. powdered sugar and about 1/3 of one egg white) and piped snow onto the branches. Oddly enough we had 6" of snow yesterday which hasn't happened in three years. The royal icing is more than your chance to hide the flaws (which I don't worry too much about - remember my previous musings about customers not buying perfectly finished pastries). It is also your chance to provide some definition. These defining lines are what look like straight lines in the picture - think about snow being blown on a cold windy night and sticking on the ridges of the bark.
My last step is to use my finger to push down any edges that I just don't like and make any misaligned icesickles hang a little more straight. The cut stumps get a twirled fork for faux grain and then this project is done for another year.
I love making these because I know that they will bring lots of joy to the families who buy them, moreso than most pastries. They're not hard and contrary to the number of recipes, really do only take about 90 minutes of hands-on time.
(HERE is last year's demo)
Swiss Alps Bakery – Albuquerque, New Mexico
4 days ago