Cinnamon oak leaves and marzipan acorns
When I designed my ultimate yule log recipe, I wanted to go all-out on the edible decorations. These finishing touches not only give the the roulade some wow-factor; they give your guests a great choice of flavours and textures for their Christmas lunch finale.
These are super easy to make. The only difficult thing was restraining myself from eating half a packet of marzipan whilst making them!
- 100 g white marzipan
- 50 g milk chocolate
- Roll the marzipan into 20 acorn shapes and leave to dry out a little, uncovered at room temperature.
- Melt the chocolate and put about a third of it in a small piping bag. Pipe 20 small ‘twigs’ onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
- Dip one end of each marzipan acorn in chocolate, then sit them dipped-end-down on top of the piped twigs.
- Leave to set completely before peeling away the paper, then store in a cool dry place until needed.
Cinnamon oak leaves
I’m not going to lie; these are a bit of a pickle to make! They taste delicious though and really contribute to the overall effect of the cake. I tried a few different methods to see which was easiest, but I think the stencil is the best way to go. To get a good outline, make sure the back of the stencil stays clean. You also have to be quite speedy to transfer the pliable tuiles to the rolling pin before they harden, though any failures can be broken into little bits to create a leaf litter effect on the forest floor.
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 50 g plain flour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 50 g butter, melted
- Cut an oak leaf shape out of the centre of a piece of plastic, ensuring there is at least 2 cm left around the outside (I used the flat side of a large Greek yoghurt tub). The piece of plastic with the oak leaf shaped hole will be your stencil.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170 fan), gas 5 and oil and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Whisk the sugar into the egg whites until frothy, then whisk in the flour and cinnamon. Gradually incorporate the butter to make a smooth batter.
- Place your oak leaf stencil on the baking tray and top with a spoonful of batter. Use the back of a dessert spoon or a bread scraper to spread the batter evenly over the stencil, then carefully lift it off. Repeat until your baking tray is filled with well-spaced leaves.
- Bake for 6 minutes or until the biscuits are brown round the outside, but still pale in the centre. Let them cool for a few seconds, then lift each biscuit carefully with a palette knife and drape over a rolling pin to cool and crisp.
- Repeat until all the mixture has been used. When they have cooled completely, store in an airtight tin.
Although the leaves and acorns are modest on their own, when combined with the honey gingerbread ‘porcini’, pistachio ‘moss’ and flaked almond ‘oyster mushrooms’, they make the ultimate yule log accessories!