Friday, December 23, 2011

Chocolate Roll with Peppermint Whipped Cream





Finally.  Finals are over.  Yessss.

I can't even tell you how nice it feels to actually be finished.  Winter break is always such a good time of the year, because there's actually no work to be done!  Unless it involves butter and sugar, of course.  I have so much free time on my hands now, access to a real kitchen, and lots of pretty plates and such.  It feels so nice to be back!!! I have tons of ideas to share with all of you, so I'm obviously going to keep myself busy in the kitchen baking, taking pretty pictures, and writing.  Sounds perfect.


Chocolate and peppermint is such a fantastic flavor combination, and I can never get enough it it during this time of year.  While I may not be a huge fan of hot drinks, peppermint hot chocolate is definitely one of my favorite things to indulge on during the holidays.  I just love peppermint...in decent quantities of course.  When I was making the peppermint whipped cream for the cake, I had, for lack of a better word, a really dumb moment, and decided that it would be a good idea to smell the bottle of peppermint extract.  I may or may not have taken too big of a whiff of peppermint extract, and my entire face may or may not have been tingling for the three hours immediately after that.  Imagine putting the contents of an entire container of Vicks vapor rub...all over your face...and having a really intense minty flavor permanently stuck in your mouth...for three hours.  It was weird, and not fun.  Don't be dumb like I was in that moment please.  Don't go around smelling peppermint extract.





The recipe for this chocolate peppermint roll is a total improvisation from one of my mom's recipes for a plain roll with whipped cream and strawberries.  My mom has been making that cake for so many years; the pages from the cookbook the recipe is from have even started to turn yellow!  It's definitely one of the cakes that is most requested by my family, and with good reason.  It's incredibly simple to make, has very few ingredients, and is the perfect way to finish off a meal, because the cake itself is so light and airy.  This is my "wintery" spin on it.





Chocolate Roll with Peppermint Whipped Cream
adapted from my mom's recipe

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Roll

6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided in two
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Peppermint Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar (add the sugar in gradually, and adjust to your liking)
2-3 drops peppermint extract (it's very concentrated, so be careful!)
crushed peppermint candies

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly spray a medium sized sheet pan (I used one that measured 15 by 10 inches) with baking spray, and line with waxed paper that has been cut to size.

In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff white peaks form.  Fold in the egg yolks, one at a time, with a rubber spatula.  Stir in the sugar in two additions, and then gently add in the flour, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.  Stir gently to combine.  The batter will be thick! 

Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan, and with a spatula, spread it evenly across the pan and smooth over the top.  Firmly tap the baking sheet on your counter to eliminate any air bubbles that may have formed. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. While the cake bakes, have ready a damp dish cloth, and place it over a flat surface. 


After 15 minutes, remove the cake from the oven, and with a knife or small offset spatula, go around the edges of the sheet pan do loosen the sides of the cake from the pan.  Sprinkle the whole surface of the cake with powdered sugar, and immediately invert onto the damp dish cloth, and peel off the waxed paper.  Gently roll the cake onto itself, along with the dish cloth. Set the cake aside and allow to cool completely. 






While the cake cools, make the peppermint whipped cream.  In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, begin to whip the heavy cream until it becomes stiff (here's a useful tip, always chill your bowl in the freezer before making whipped cream, it makes such a difference!).  As the cream is being whipped, gradually add the sugar the peppermint extract. When the cream is ready, gently fold in the crushed peppermint candies with a rubber spatula. 





Once the cake is completely cool, unroll the cake, and add the peppermint whipped cream. Roll the cake once more, and keep covered with wax paper until the roll is ready to be served, so that it doesn't dry out. 



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