CHOCOLATE MINT SHAMROCK LOG
3 oz. Semi-Sweet chocolate or Dark chocolate
6 TB butter……………………………………......... 1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs……………………………………………..........1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda…………………………...... 2/3 cup water
1 TB dark unsweetened cocoa powder
Powdered sugar (enough to generously cover dish towel)
CRÈME de MENTHE BUTTERCREAM FILLING:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp…………1 lb. powdered sugar (about 3-1/2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract (clear is best)……………1/4 cup (green) Creme de Menthe
pinch kosher salt
Heat oven to 350°F. ** Spray the inside edges of a 15x10x1” pan with non-stick baking spray. Line with parchment paper and set aside. (TIP: do NOT spray the parchment paper or your cake will release too quickly as you turn it over later. You want it to stay in the pan until you turn it all the way over.)
Microwave 3 oz. chocolate and butter in medium microwaveable bowl on High about 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add granulated sugar and mix well.
Beat eggs in large bowl with mixer on high speed 3 min. or until thickened. Reduce speed to low & blend in chocolate mixture. Gradually add 1/4 cup flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and baking soda; beat just until blended. Add remaining flour alternately with water, beating well after each addition. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Bake 15 min. or until top of cake springs back when touched. MEANWHILE, lay a clean dish towel on your counter and very liberally sprinkle it with powdered sugar. (TIP: I keep powdered sugar in a shaker can, in a pint baggie in my pantry.) When the cake is done, flip it over onto the powdered sugar dish towel. Carefully peel off the parchment paper. Roll up the cake (with the towel) and let it cool on the counter. (NOTE: If you roll from the short end, it will be thicker but shorter ~ if you roll it lengthwise, it will be much smaller but longer).
While the cake is cooling, make your decorations: (If you don't do anything else, at least do the chocolate bark)
I used a 10 oz. package of GHIRADELLI DARK CHOCOLATE MELTING WAFERS instead of ganache for the top ~ although you could use 10 oz. of dark chocolate chips or squares of dark chocolate ~ melted for about 1 minute in the microwave.
When the cake is cooled completely, carefully unroll it from the towel (if it cracks, don't worry. It won't show when it's filled and rolled back up). Cut about a 3" section from 1 end (for the small knot). Then spread the mint filling over the entire cake. Carefully roll up both pieces of the cake roll and set them on the platter, seam-side down (I put the small knot at a slight angle to the larger log).
Put pieces of waxed paper under all sides and edges of both logs (to catch any drips when you put the melted chocolate on top). Melt the melting wafers (or chocolate chips) and pour/spread them over all exposed tops, sides and edges of the log and knot. (Don't worry if it isn't even. You're doing a log, which is supposed to be rough.)
2 egg whites, room temperature ………............... about 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
6-8 TB sugar………….....…..................................... 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish
Powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 250. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks ~ add sugar, 1 TB at a time, beating well after each addition, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is stiff and glossy ~ beat in vanilla. (This may take 5 minutes or so). (NOTE: A 7-qt Kitchenaid mixer bowl is too large and the paddle can't find the egg whites) Transfer meringue to large pastry bag fitted with 1/2” plain pastry tip (or put into freezer zip-lock bag, seal and carefully cut the point off one corner).
For the caps: pipe 12 mounds (about 1-1/2” diameter) onto baking sheet. For the stems, position pastry bag tip/end about 1/4” above baking sheet and pipe out 12 stems (about 1”), pulling straight up while squeezing pastry bag. ** Bake meringues until dry to touch and still white (30-45 min). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. DO AHEAD (can be done 1 day ahead ~ store airtight at room temp). …
Melt chocolate chips in microwave; spread a little on bottom of each cap and “glue” stems to caps (may have to trim end of stem). When chocolate is set, dust mushrooms with powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder ~ or use canned chocolate frosting.
This is my new FAVORITE DECORATION! Just melt any type of chocolate that you want! Chocolate chips are easiest (semi-sweet or dark are good) ~ about 1 minute in the microwave. Stir until completed melted; then thinly spread over a big sheet of parchment paper. Roll the parchment up tightly and stick it into the refrigerator. When you're ready to use it, just unroll. The chocolate will crack into long "bark" slivers that you can just "glue" onto your log with melted chocolate (or adhere before the top of the log hardens). (TIP: Think of the possibilities here! You can use white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips when you make pumpkin or spice cake in the Fall!) ** (TIP: I always keep a covered glass bowl of chocolate ganache in the refrigerator, to heat for 1 minute in the microwave for an instant drizzle on cake and cookies. If I have leftover melted chocolate, I add it to my bowl of ganache to use another day.)
Use GREEN MELTING WAFERS (or white chocolate chips or almond melting bark, melted in the microwave with a few drops of green food coloring)Pipe out GREEN CHOCOLATE SHAMROCKS onto waxed paper and let them harden. I actually just used the tip of a somewhat pointed spoon. Stick them onto the log. Prop up a leprechaun.