Chocolate Peanut Butter Buche de Noel with Salted Peanut Caramel

As promised I’m sharing the recipe for our Christmas dessert tradition. The chocolate peanut butter Bo\uche de Noel. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

The recipe comes from my book, Let’s Stay In. Our entire Christmas menu (Beef Wellington!) can also be found in that book.


The holidays are the perfect time for show stopping desserts. The Buche de Noel or Yule Log is a classic French dessert of a rolled up cake or roulade, with some sort of filling tucked inside and decorated with meringue mushrooms and frosting shaped as holly leaves in order to resemble log. My version, while lacking in sugar decorations (although there have been years where those were present too) is filled with a creamy peanut butter mousse and each slice is bathed in a salty peanut caramel. 

There are a number of steps here but each can be made in advance and even the finished cake itself can be kept in the fridge overnight if needed. The lengthy process and heaps of dishes is immediately erased when you see the delight on your friend’s and family’s faces when they watch you parade a giant chocolate log into the dining room. After that you there’s no way they’ll make you wash those dishes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Buche de Noel

Yield 10-12 Servings



1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

6 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Mousse:

1 pound 4 ounces (from 2 1/2 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups / 500 grams creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Ganache:

8 ounces heavy cream

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Pinch salt

Salted Peanut Caramel:

8 oz/ 1 cup sugar

6 oz/ 1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or corn syrup

1/4 cup water

8 oz/ 1 cup heavy cream

2 oz/ 4 tablespoons butter, soft

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)

6 ounces roasted and salted peanuts


For the cake:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 12x17-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl then set aside. Then whisk to combine.

Add the egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy and just starting to shift from lemon yellow to butter yellow. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar in a slow and steady stream. Continue to beat until thick and pale yellow, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the whipped egg yolks to a large bowl then clean the stand mixer bowl and whisk. Wipe dry then add the egg whites.

Beat starting on low then gradually build up the speed so as not to shock the eggs. Once frothy add the salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form then steadily stream in the remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the whipped yolks. Gingerly fold the dry ingredients into the whipped eggs. Continue to fold until no streaks remain.

Use an offset spatula to spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cake slowly springs back when pressed.

Lay a piece of parchment paper, as large as the cake, on a clean flat surface. Dust it generously with cocoa powder. In one swift action invert the cake onto the parchment. Peel off the still warm cake’s parchment layer then dust the cake itself with another generous flurry of cocoa powder.

While the cake is warm and pliable gingerly roll it up with the parchment. Let the cake cool in this position. While the cake cools make the mousse or once cooled, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap then save the next steps for tomorrow.

For the mousse:

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the cream cheese and peanut butter. Beat until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar, heavy cream and salt and mix until well combined.

This can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate then bring to room temperature when ready to use.

For the ganache:

Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Watch the pot carefully as cream tends to bubble up and over rather quickly. Add the chocolate to a large bowl then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let this sit for one minute then whisk to combine. Stir in the salt.

Let the ganache cool until it’s firm enough to easily spread on the cake, about 1 hour.

Ganache can be made up to 1 week in advance then rewarm gently in the microwave or in a saucepan on low heat.

For the caramel:

Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a large saucepan. Stir gently to combine then wash off the sides of the pan using water and your clean hands to feel if any sugar remains on the side. If stray bits of sugar fall into the caramel it can cause the caramel to crystallize so it’s important to make sure all the sugar is in the bottom of the pan mixed with the water.

Set the pan over high heat to bring the sugars to a rolling boil. Continue to cook until the caramel turns copper in color, about 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully add the cream, butter and vanilla bean, if using. The caramel will immediately seize but let it come back to a boil. Once the sugar is all melted stir in the peanuts.

Let the caramel cool before serving. This can be made up to three days in advance.

If the caramel is too stiff you can rewarm in a microwave or in a saucepan to serve. Store caramel in a sealable container.

To assemble the cake:

Carefully unroll the cake from the parchment paper. Add the mousse in an even layer then roll the cake again. Don’t worry about any cracking or tearing in the cake the ganache is there to cover all that up.

Cover the entire cake with plastic wrap tightly, like a giant piece of candy, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Place the cake on your serving platter.

Spread the ganache all over the cake. Cut off the ends at an angle and arrange in a way that resembles a log. Use a fork to create bark-like stiping in the ganache.

Serve straightaway or cover and refrigerate if you’ve made the cake in advance. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.

Serve with the salted peanut caramel.


  • Permalink

Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Gabe and I are back with our annual gift guide. It’s full of things that brighten our everyday, things we have on our own lists and things that make the world a little brighter. We think there is something for everyone

1. Portland Apron Co. Pinafore Apron  – I love this apron so much that I have two. There are no strings to mess with, there is full coverage for us messy cooks and it washes like a dream. Now I have my eye on the Japanese Smock.

2. Breville Espresso Machine – (We have model BES870XL) Okay, so yes this is a doozy of a gift (check out the refurbished models!) but after using this machine for eight months I still look forward to my coffee every morning. I can count on one hand the number of times I have spent money on a latte since owning this machine. Why buy it when I can make it better at home. Gabe got this for me/us for Mother’s Day and we’ve not regretted it for one minute. Also, our latte art skills are quite impressive. Well, we’re impressed anyway.

3. Braiding Sweetgrass If we have had a conversation for longer than five minutes in the past year or if you have been keeping up on the blog you have already heard me wax poetic about this book. It’s perfect for the outdoor lover, or the nature romantic in your life.

4. A tree!! Earlier this year I read an article about the power of trees to fight climate change. With such a huge and daunting issue facing our world today it’s hard to know what we can do to help. Plant a tree! We have given the gift of trees as wedding gifts and to friends who understand the impact. It’s perfect for the friend or family member who is not looking to add more things but wants to make a difference.

5. Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club Give the aspiring chef in your family the gift of weekly thoughtful and delicious recipes. Every week Sara will send a meal plan to your inbox complete with a shopping list. For those with young kids also check out their new ebook, Little Sprouts.

6. Incienso de Santa Fe – Piñon Incense Gabe and I recently spent a week camping in New Mexico and while we were there I picked up this piñon incense. Every morning I start my day with some quiet music, coffee and the scent of piñon.

7. Wanderlust Candle  Speaking of lovely smelling things this candle is my favorite for this season. For when you want to be in the woods but are cozied up at home instead this candle gives you the scent of a hike without the cold.

8. Kitchen Unnecessary Gift Guide If you’ve enjoyed following our outdoor adventures and have outdoor loving friends in your life be sure to check out our Kitchen Unnecessary gift guide (we also have an amazing giveaway happening!)

9. Cookies! For a very limited time our cookie mix is back. This is the last of them though. We’re closing down our shop and focusing on other things. So if you want to give the gift of cookies this holiday season do it quickly. As always our books are signed and in stock. If you want a personalized message just send me a note!

10. YesPlz Coffee Speaking of coffee we love these beans. Gabe loves the ‘zine that comes with the beans. The perfect accompaniment for the perfect brew. Great beans, good words, delivered right to your door.

11. Drifters Fish Smoked Salmon Canned Salmon has become and staple in our pantry. On those instances when dinner hour sneaks up on you and the kids are asking,  “What’s for dinner?” I’m happy to pull out a tin (or jar) of Salmon that I know was sustainably harvested by our friends Nelly and Michael in Alaska. What a treat to be able to enjoy this bounty and share it with the kids.
12. Sperry Slip-Ons  As we’ve gotten into spending more and more time on the water and at the beach, these slip-ons have come in handy. In addition to being great on the boat, I used them in the rivers as we fly fished our way through Idaho, Utah and Montana this past summer. They dry quickly and don’t take up nearly as much space in the car as my wading boot when the water isn’t too cold.

13. Miir Canister Who knew a canister could be sexy? Whether you’re a miniamlist or not, this canister will store your precious city roast beans with the utmost care. It boasts an accordian-style airtight seal that can be a little tricky when your stock is low, but is fun to fold down in an ASMR sort of way. It’s got some complexity yet smooth.

14. Basil Hayden Bourbon Do you love a whiskey lover? (Who doesn’t?) In a world where there are dozens of whiskeys to choose from on the shelf, Basil Hayden’s is one I like to pick up when camping and I know I’m going to be drinking it straight up (normally out of a flask, likely my Stanley or Filson flasks). If you’re into the whole flavor profile sort of thing, I get vanilla and some cinnamon. (We don’t have a link to online liquor sales, visit your favorite local spirits shop.)

15. Handkerchief  Pro-tip for Dads: always carry a handkerchief. I usually keep one tucked away in my back pocket and it comes in clutch all the time. Some recent uses include: running nose, sweaty hikes, snapping bees / mosquitos away, wiping dog barf, drying a seat, a pouch for carrying trail mix, cleaning up a wound, and as a flag for 2×4’s hanging over the tailgate. You never know when you might need it.

16. Lamy Tipo Ballpoint Pen If you’re in Seattle stop by Peter Miller Books. If you’re like me you’ll be drawn in to his well curated collection of pens and notebooks not to mention the shelves of design books. On a recent visit I picked up this beautiful Lamy Ballpoint Pen and it quickly became my daily writer. German design and craftsmanship make for smooth and precise penmanship. Takes Lamy rollerball refills.

17. Traveler’s Company Journal  I received this beautiful notebook as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. It was in the category of ‘too beautiful to use’ for a little while. Once I got the courage to put it to use, I learned that I could customize it in a million different ways. Pro Tip: I found many great paper and pen insert options at Tortoise General Store in Los Angeles. Love that place.

18. Nips (coffee flavour) great for fishing. You don’t have to be an old man to act like one. Grab your favorite grandpa sweater and fill the pockets with toffee’s. They help keep me warm when it’s cold outside and give a little boost of energy when needed (usually on the steep part of a hike).

19. Orvis Encounter Fly Rod Outfit (we like the 5wt, 9’0″, 4pc) This rod was recommended by guides both young and old out of Utah. Affordable, yet fishable. This rod and reel combo is a really great place to start if you’re considering getting into fly fishing. It’s also a respectable option if you’re looking to add a 5wt to your arsenal.

20. Adopt a dog We may have said it last year, but we feel it deserves another mention. Open your home to a new dog and your family will love you forever. If that sounds like too much responsibility, consider fostering a dog (or cat). Shelters and the humane society are often looking for loving homes to care for their animals in the interim before they’re adopted. It’s a win-win when these animals receive all the more lovin’ right up until they find their forever homes. Just beware, you may end up being that forever home.

I also have some of my favorite things on my Amazon Influencer Page. Please note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.

  • 1 Comment /
  • Permalink