Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chocolate Log Cabin Part 2

When I left you last week, we were just about to construct the cabin. If you need to read part 1 to refresh your memory, then feel free to do so; I'll wait, no worries.

You're back! Good, I was beginning to get worried and thought I might have to call Lassie.

First you need to make some glue to hold the logs. This is simple. Take a pound of dark cooking chocolate (or dark chocolate melts), break it into small pieces, put the peices in a bowl and nuke that sucker. 20 seconds in the microwave, then stir, then another twenty, etc. It won't take long before you have a bowl of dark chocolate liquid glue!

Start assembling by using one long wall log, one short wall log at 90 degrees, and one interior support. And lots of chocolate glue.
chocolate log cabin 12

BTW, if you aren't sure about the wall logs and such, reread part one.

You'll soon notice (as I did) that your logs need to be glued to the greaseproof paper otherwise they'll slide around. More dark chocolate glue to the rescue.
chocolate log cabin 13

You don't want to do only two walls at a time, so after two or three logs, start on the other two walls.
chocolate log cabin 14

Don't forget your other 3 interior braces and use lots and lots of the dark chocolate glue.
chocolate log cabin 15

A few things you make have noted by now...

One: You've had to reheat (nuke) the dark chocolate a time or two.

Two: You didn't use enough chocolate.

Three: You are very glad I had you put the semi-cooled logs in a sealed plastic bag overnight so they are somewhat flexible.

Four: You've noticed the short walls are about an inch inside the long walls. This gives a nice log cabin look.

Here's where you should be at:
chocolate log cabin 16

Next step is to plaster the exterior of the walls. The plaster is made of half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate. Melt it in the microwave as before and stir it to combine.

Now grab a rubber cake spatula and start slathering it on!
chocolate log cabin 17

After you slather all the sides with chocolate plaster, you can then glue your roof supports on --kinda like A-Frame cabin look:
chocolate log cabin 19

Use lots of dark chocolate to glue on those roof supports, and then let the whole thing set for a few hours (or overnight) to "cure" somewhere cool (and away from any kids or chocolate lovers).

Next up: Roofing!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chocolate Log Cabin Part 1



The above was the some from my tummy and the sound of the elastic on the waistband of my shorts. Ahem.

Before I give you any particulars or just how much chocolate and sugar was used, here's a pic of the finished cabin just before we started consuming it:
chocolate log cabin 01

There are several things I learned while making this sucker --this list is in no particular order of importance, BTW.

*Don't make this in the middle of a 2 week holiday feast/gluttony session

*Don't make this in the middle of a hot Aussie summer

*When asking for tips (thanks Gretchen), don't ask after you are already halfway through. I'll be using many of her tips NEXT time.

*Get a lot more chocolate than you think you'll need.

*Ditto for the cream.

*Same for the sugar.

Not including the dough for the logs, here is a brief list of the approximate amounts that went into the cabin:

Dark Chocolate: 2 pounds

Milk Chocolate: 1 and a half pounds

White Chocolate: 1 pound

Heavy Whipping Cream: 2 litres (half a gallon)

Sugar: Around a kilo (2 pounds)

Cocoa Powder: half a cup

Ummmmmmm, yeah... drool...

But before I put of pics of the construction and a description, you'll first need to make the logs. I used a variation of my pretzel dough for making the logs of the cabin. I didn't baste them in an egg wash, nor did I sprinkle salt on them cus I figured that would just interfere with all the chocolate flavour. I also used less baking powder as I wanted them to be a bit denser than a normal soft pretzel.

Oh yeah, instead of simmering the uncooked logs in water with baking soda (that's how you get the pretzel flavour, btw) I added extra baking soda to the dough.

Here's what you need for enough dough to make a cabin of around 13 inches by 6 inches.

3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 and 1/4 cups (310 mls) water.

What you do:

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water and mix it all together. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl till a nice, soft dough is formed, and add a bit more water (if it's really stiff) or a bit more flour (if it's really runny).

Grab a small piece of dough --a bit bigger than a golf ball, see:
chocolate log cabin 02

Roll it between your hands
chocolate log cabin 03

And then roll it out on a surface, starting from the middle and working your way to the ends:
chocolate log cabin 04

At this point you should have a dough string about 8 inches long. Now put your hands back in the middle and roll it out again
chocolate log cabin 05

And you'll now have a thin strand of dough around 14 inches (or so) long
chocolate log cabin 06

Make enough to fill a baking tray and lay them on it:
chocolate log cabin 07

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for ten minutes or so. Check them regularly as every oven is different. Here's what the batch of cooked "logs" looks like cooling on a rack:
chocolate log cabin 08

Let them cool, then put them in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and let them sit overnight. This it to keep them soft so that not only are they easy to cut and trim, but so that you can bend them if needed.

The next day...

Make your base. I used a piece of heavy cardboard about a foot and a half by 3 feet. Wrap the cardboard in cling wrap (saran wrap or whatever you want to call it) and then wrap it in some grease-proof paper.
chocolate log cabin 09

Time to start sorting your logs. Keep the longest ones for the roof (you want an overhang). I used 7 for each long wall (14 in total) and cut another 7 in half for the two short walls for a total of 21 logs for the walls.

One log was cut into 4 pieces for use as interior bracing, 9 long ones for the roof, and four left over for the roof supports and whatever else was needed.

chocolate log cabin 10

I then cut the tips off all 14 of the long wall logs so not only would they be equal length, but they'd look like logs too. Did the same for the pieces of the short wall. Make sure you keep the cut tips (about an inch long each) cus you'll need them to help brace the roofing logs.
chocolate log cabin 11

It's now time to assemble it! That'll have to wait till part 2,3,4 etc as it's now 90 f in the shade, 112 F in the sun, and the pool is singing her Siren's Song.