As you’ll discover next week, my upcoming cookbook post will be a little bit on the . . . snoozy side (good and tasty results, just a bit repetitious in the recipe try-out arena). So I decided to bring you a special bonus holiday dispatch to tell you about a more exciting cooking adventure! Here goes . . .

Erin and Keith, in an attempt to travel “easier” this past holiday season, decided to come for Christmas . . . after Christmas. (Which turned out to be a very fortuitous decision, since everything here was shut down for the Christmas blizzard, and flights were disrupted for days.) Anyway, we had long been planning a belated family Christmas celebration/dinner . . . and Erin was excited to be able to do a little baking here in my kitchen. (She loves to bake, but has a very teeny kitchen in her apartment in California. She takes advantage of my bigger kitchen whenever she visits.)

What did she want to bake? Why . . . a yule log . . . as dessert for our family Christmas dinner! (She was very keen on “rolling” a cake.)

We decided on the Gingerbread Yule Log from Smitten Kitchen . . . and Erin got to work!

It was a fabulous experience/baking adventure. (If Paul Hollywood had been here, Erin would have gotten a handshake!) Yeah . . . it was a bit futzy to make. But Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen recipe (link here) includes helpful, detailed instructions and loads of photos. And . . . best of all. . . there is a YouTube video (link here) with Deb demonstrating her entire Yule Log recipe/process (in only 13 minutes). (We did watch the video before beginning.) Deb Perelman makes cooking and baking accessible and do-able, thanks to her easy-breezy vibe and her you-can-do-this-too attitude. She inspires confidence . . . even when you’ve never rolled a cake before!

Final result? Great fun to make. Looked awesome. And . . . tasted fabulous! This was a GREAT holiday dessert — and it may become a new tradition around here.