"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Chocolate Roll with Cognac Cream

For people who have ever been mystified by Buche de Noel, or what a jelly roll pan might be for, Chocolate Roll with Cognac Cream is a delicious, easy way to get an introduction to those things.

I don't know why these cakes have fallen out of favor with the public. You never see them anywhere, and they are so easy to make.

OK, when I say easy, I mean easy if you feel comfortable beating egg whites until they're stiff. That kind of easy. Not Betty Crocker easy.

Basically this is cake baked flat in a sheet pan. When it's cool, you spread flavored whipped cream on it and roll it up.

That's it.

The trick to rolled cake is you have to have the right size pan, and it's not your standard cookie sheet size. This calls for what's known as a jelly roll pan, and it's 15X10 inches, with kind of high sides--1/2 to 1 inch. Don't panic--I"m sure you've walked by these pans in the kitchen department of Bed, Bath and Beyond--you just didn't know what good they'd be.

The other nice thing about these cakes is that it absolutely doesn't matter if you f*ck them up. If they break, crack--don't stress, because you can just roll it up so those things are on the inside. And the outside is expected to crack, giving you the log-like appearance for your Buche de Noel. See how brilliant this is?

The recipe in the book is actually Chocolate Roll with Cappuccino Cream, but the end notes give you some options--Cognac Cream is one of them. And since we're big fans of booze at work, I opted for this one rather than the one that might keep my employers up all night.

How does it taste? The cake is remarkably fudgy tasting for something so light, and in my opinion you really can't go wrong with real whipped cream of any flavor. It's a winner.


Eve said...

is there any left?? I love chocolate rolls!

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Sorry Eve--all gone!!