Celebrate the season of giving by baking festive treats

As the holiday season approaches, a simple way to showcase appreciation is through the baking of classic holiday desserts.


Madison Stine

Fab‘yule’ous…Adding finishing touches to her dessert, junior Claudia Elwell prepares a yule log. The yule log was based on a recipe from Great British Baking judge Prue Leith.

Some may be turned away from the idea of not only baking, but gifting baked goods.
They may fear that their baking skills are not up to par to be a monumental present.
However, it is really not as hard as it looks and the act of service will not go unnoticed.
Baking is a science. Ingredients are guides.
Assembling the correct ingredients is the simplest part of the homemade baking process and many of the necessary ingredients can probably already be found in the kitchen pantry.
Although the overall cost of the ingredients may seem miniscule when compared to the price tag of other gifts, the thought behind the gift will not go underappreciated.
Anyone can purchase a gift from Walmart or browse Amazon for hours searching, but not everyone will go a step beyond to truly show their adoration.
When thinking about the holidays, many recall with fondness the delicious desserts made by their loved ones.
The effort put into the signature family recipes is highly admired.
This same feeling can be replicated through the gift of a warm dessert made with love.
We decided to kick off the holiday season with a baked good of our own from the “Great British Bake Off’s” very own Prue Leith.
To stay in tune with the holiday spirit, we made Leith’s Chocolate Yule Log, a chocolate Swiss roll.
Not only does baking a homemade treat show your adoration for the person you’re baking for, it also is an engaging activity where you’re sure to build memories from.
When it comes to baking, everything is a science.
So, to make sure we were prepared, we began our Yule log-journey by making a quick stop at Henning’s to gather our ingredients.
Back in the kitchen, we began carefully following the recipe in hopes that our amateur baking skills would prove enough to craft a tasty and festive Swiss roll.
A key part in making a fluffy and malleable sponge is by not overmixing the delicate batter and therefore not letting out air.
In our cautious attempts to maintain an airy batter, we accidentally neglected some dry ingredients at the bottom of our mixing bowl, which of course comically revealed itself as we were pouring it into our baking tin.
We quickly tried to mix in the omitted dry ingredients while the batter was in the tin. To what degree this was successful is questionable, as the baked sponge had visible white spots of dry flour.
After pre-rolling the sponge to make sure it stays malleable even after it cools, making the filling with only heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract (instead of Irish liqueur) and making the chocolate icing from scratch, it was time to do the daunting task of assembling the Swiss roll.
This step is always what trips up the bakers on GBBO, as they will struggle to get the right texture of the sponge and while rolling it finds that it cracks.
To no surprise, our half-normal-half-dry sponge did not prove to roll perfectly, leaving some cracks in our yule log. However, it was nothing a thick layer of chocolate icing couldn’t hide.
Overall, our somewhat grainy and super sweet chocolate yule log may not have been a perfect rendition of Leith’s original recipe, but it certainly was a fun way to kick off the holiday season and make some festive memories.
When baking, it’s important to not overthink this activity and strive for perfection only. The appeal and enjoyment of baking is getting to create a sweet treat made from scratch and share it with the ones you love.
Baking is a means of getting in the holiday spirit by bonding with friends and family and experimenting with new recipes.