What do elite triathletes eat around the holidays? Katie Zaferes, Lindsey Jerdonek and Sarah True share three sweet and savory family favorites: Hershey Kiss surprises, cranberry horseradish sauce and Bûche de Noël.
"These are my favorite types of cookie that my mom always makes around Christmas time. They are delicious, and I just look forward to them every year! Also, they remind me of snow, so they make every Christmas a white Christmas!"
HERSEY KISS SURPRISES
1/2 pound butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
Mix first four ingredients. Form ball around a Hershey Kiss. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until set, not brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
"My Aunt Laurie started the tradition of making cranberry horseradish sauce on Thanksgiving, and it's become a staple of our Christmas meal, too — it's a great complement to a holiday roast. I love bringing this dish to holiday meals with friends because it's an unexpected crowd-pleaser."
CRANBERRY HORSERADISH SAUCE
1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 4-6-ounce jar prepared horseradish, including juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Rinse the cranberries in a colander and discard the soft ones. Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon and gently mash the berries to help them break down. Let cool and refrigerate. It tastes better made a day ahead of time.
"There’s something really special about a showstopper cake like this. It’s a decadent labor of love, but isn’t that what the holidays are about? My nieces and nephews seem to like it and that’s the ultimate reward for me."
BÛCHE DE NOËL (YULE LOG)
Ingredients for the Roulade Cake and Filling
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
7 egg whites
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons dark rum
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 egg yolks
Ingredients for the Chocolate Ganache Icing and Decoration
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2⁄3 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar
1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 16 1⁄2" × 12" heavy baking pan with buttered parchment paper; cut large enough to hang over sides of the pan by about 1". Put bittersweet chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Bring cream just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, then pour over bittersweet chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk on medium speed until frothy; increase speed to medium-high and gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating constantly, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 30-40 seconds more. (Don't over-beat.) Mix one-third of the whites into chocolate using a rubber spatula, then gently fold in remaining whites in two batches, taking care not to deflate batter. Spread in prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 10–12 minutes. Set aside to cool in the pan.
2. For the Filling: Melt semisweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons water in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water over medium heat. Stir to combine, then set aside to cool. Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small heavy saucepan; cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling pan several times until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Uncover and continue to boil until syrup reaches the softball stage or 236° on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk on high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and gradually pour in hot syrup. Beat constantly until mixture cools to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Beat 12 tablespoons butter into egg mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until completely incorporated before adding more; continue beating until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes total. Stir in cooled semisweet chocolate and set aside.
3. For the Icing: Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water over medium-low heat, whisking often. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in cream. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until icing thickens, about 4 hours. (Don't refrigerate; it makes icing hard to spread.)
4. To assemble the bûche: Transfer cake with parchment to a clean work surface, sprinkle with rum, then spread filling evenly over top using a metal spatula. Grab the long edge of the parchment paper with two hands and gently roll roulade onto itself, pulling off paper as you roll. To make stumps, diagonally cut a 2" length from each end of bûche; then, to make the stumps thinner than the bûche, partially unroll each piece, trim off flap, and discard. Set stumps aside.
5. Using two long metal spatulas, carefully transfer bûche to a serving platter lined with strips of waxed paper. "Glue" stumps onto bûche with some of the Icing. Melt 1⁄4 cup of icing in a saucepan over low heat, then spoon it over stumps to coat completely. Spread remaining icing on bûche, dragging spatula along Icing to simulate tree bark. Remove waxed-paper strips. Decorate with Meringue Mushrooms, then sift confectioners' sugar over mushrooms and bûche.