Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Yule Log

Yesterday, we had our December meeting for our Inner Transitions book group based around Carolyn Baker’s “Navigating the Coming Chaos.” Winter Solstice seemed like the perfect time to discuss chapters related to Light and Shadow and the mythopoetic self. I was in charge of facilitating the group this time, and a Michigan friend hosted in her lovely renovated farmhouse. For some reason, I have been obsessed with preparing a yule log for Winter Solstice, and several weeks ago I discovered a recipe for a Paleo Yule Log.

I gathered roasted chestnuts from a local Amish farmer and fresh eggs from our Amish friends. This is not a vegan recipe; it contains both free range eggs and local, raw honey. Given our group’s focus on local and sustainable living, it seemed like a better fit than some of the nut and date heavy raw vegan recipes I could have tried. Many of the people in our reading group are actual farmers, and most of us do our best to eat as locally as possible. Obviously, the organic, fair trade chocolate in this recipe didn’t come from Michiana, but the bulk of the ingredients did. You can click here to find the recipe, but I’ll include a couple pictures below. It turned out great!

yule log

Making the yule log, however, was quite the comedy of errors. First of all, David is the kitchen gadget god, so despite my many weeks’ obsession, it never even occurred to me to check if we had the appropriate tools to make the log. I just assumed we did. Never mind that when we moved in here we still ate mostly raw and so never bothered to alert our landlord to the fact that our oven doesn’t work! After numerous guests wanted toast, which took twenty minutes in a full oven, we did buy a small convection oven. That’s what I planned to use for the recipe, not even considering that we needed something called a “Swiss roll pan” and not even wondering if a) we had that type of pan or b) if it would fit in the convection oven.

Even more amusing, I’m not sure I’ve ever baked anything non-vegan before. If I did, then it was probably 20 years ago. David and I had both been vegan for a long, long time, and we still only eat eggs as occasional, deliberate eggs. I sometimes blend a raw one in a smoothie, but even David doesn’t do that. Anyway, this recipe calls for separating eggs, which I didn’t know how to do, and it calls for an electric egg whisk, which it turns out we don’t have. We didn’t even have a good old fashioned egg whisk, because, hey, why would we???

David quickly realized that “my” yule log project was becoming his gift to the Inner Transitions group. Every attempt I made to help turned into a bit of a sitcom moment. For example, I decided to weigh out the cacao and in process, gave the uncracked eggs a major dusting of chocolate. Then, I thought an immersion blender would substitute well for the electric egg whisk. I started blending the eggs, but I couldn’t get the hang of it, so David blended, but those egg whites weren’t getting their stiff peaks. “How about our mini-latte jobby?” I asked. David did a great job with that, while I tried to clean the immersion blender. Um … can you say soap all over the kitchen walls? So David stopped using the latte maker and started correcting my mess, while I took over with the latte maker. How hard could this be? Well, what goes better with soapy walls than fluffy egg white splattered all over the soap?

I moved to clean-up duty, while David salvaged my attempts to help. At that point, I realized, ohhhh, the Swiss roll pan. What the heck is a Swiss roll pan? To which David replied that we really only had one pan that would fit in the convection oven. We hodge-podged together some parchment paper “walls” and stuck it in there for twenty minutes.

Bizarrely enough, everything worked out just right, and I even managed to roll the log without cracking it too much. I didn’t have any holly, but I found some old spruce I had foraged this August and left to chill in the fridge. I added goji berries instead of holly berries as garnish. David is my hero and was much appreciated by our small Solstice gathering. We even had some yumminess leftover for him to enjoy the benefits of all his hard and slightly exasperating work. πŸ™‚

yule log 2

On a not unrelated note, we have become huge fans of chestnuts! Roasted, boiled … these are some tasty little nuts. They’re not too fatty, and the Amish farmer who procured them for me has all sorts of recipes from rice, broth and chestnuts, to chestnuts roasted on an open fire … to soups. You name it, you’ll love it. Who knew?

6 responses to this post.

  1. So thrilled you found my recipe Laura – and glad to hear you enjoyed it! Fab job making it too! Happy Christmas!!!

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  2. Oh, thanks for stopping by. It’s a great recipe! Happy Christmas to you and yours. πŸ™‚

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  3. :-)-:)-:)-:)-:)-:)
    Looks good, sounds fun, and your cooking escades had me LOL!

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  4. Giggles! Who needs TV when it’s slapstick kitchen time? πŸ™‚

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  5. […] gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free Yule Log […]

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  6. […] I had not planned to make a glaze, but I needed a coconut based one to hold it together. I heated up coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla stevia and chocolate on a low burner, but quickly realized that would just dribble down the cake, not hold it together. It needed a little chilling; however, our fridge was full. Outside it went into 29 degree weather for enough time to turn firm enough to mold, but not so firm I couldn’t use if for yule log intervention. The final product turned out just right. You’d never know this one created almost as much mess as the one gluten-free-sugar-free-dairy-free yule log I made in 2013. […]

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