This Sandwich Yule Log is a festive, make ahead winner for your holiday buffet table or luncheon. It is certain to draw oohs and ahhs from your family and guests.
You will need a couple of special decorating tips and a decorator's bag to garnish the Sandwich Yule Log with the cream cheese 'frosting' but if that is too daunting you could just 'ice' the log with the cream cheese mixture and decorate it with washable Christmas themed ornaments or prefabricated Christmas decorations from the cake decorating or party section of the store. Just remove the non-edible decorations or prefab icons if they are sweet and meant for cakes or cupcakes.
Here are the tips I used.
I get my supplies at Bulk Barn, including the Wilton decorator tips and the powdered food colouring.
I used a Wilton tip #67 for the leaves and trim, and 2 flower nozzles also from Wilton. See the photo above. The food colouring I used was Green Powder and Red Powder Food Colouring from LorAnn Oils. You could use liquid food colouring with no problem as well because I had to actually thin the cream cheese mixture a bit to get it to pipe better. Just start with a TINY bit and add until you get the tone you want. If you add too much at the beginning it is almost impossible to go back. You could try adding more cream cheese mixture to lighten it but you are going to end up with an awful lot of coloured icing.
How to Make the Sandwich Yule Log
- If you are fortunate you may find Tramezzini, an Italian crustless white bread cut horizontally into perfect rectangles. I have bought it before at Food Basics and Loblaws. You may also be able to order some if you have a good bakery in your areas. If not then you can McGiver your own! I started with thin, white sandwich bread and removed the crust. I cut about 4 slices at a time into rectangles about 3" X 4". You may end up with squares if your sandwich bread is nicely square to start with. Try to make them as uniform as possible. You will see from the assembly photos I had one set of 4 that were not as uniform. I put them on an outside edge. The loaf is actually fairly forgiving by the time you roll it tightly with plastic wrap to mold it. Just put the 'misfits' on the outside edge and start rolling with that side.
- Next, I laid out three rows of four slices, overlapping. I crimped the edges together and then I rolled the whole thing with a rolling pin. The rolling helps to reduce the 'fluffiness' of the bread and it will help it hold its shape better.
- Then I mixed up the filling. Make sure the chicken is finely minced in your food processor so the spread is not chunky, or it will make your roll difficult to hold together and to eat. The cranberries add a bit of flavour and sweetness and the pomegranate arils add sweetness and a welcome pop of juiciness. You can use all cranberries or all pomegranate if you prefer.
- Spread it uniformly over the 'bed of bread'! Leave about ¼" - ½" from what will be the outside edge because the filling may kind of 'bull doze' along a bit as you roll.
- Roll it up from the longest edge. Roll as tightly as you can. Have a sheet of plastic wrap ready to tightly wrap the roll in. Use the plastic wrap to help mold and contain the loaf.
- As you can see below I had some seams that wanted to break apart. If you roll and wrap as tightly as you can the loaf is actually quite forgiving. By the time it sits overnight in the fridge it becomes fairly sturdy.
- Then you hide any blemishes when you are icing it with the cream cheese mixture.
- Prepare the cream cheese 'icing'.
- Place your log on a piece of parchment paper that is slightly more narrow than the log but slightly longer. Use a knife or spatula to 'ice' the log with the plain white cream cheese. Use a spatula for support and the parchment ends to help move the log to your serving platter after the initial 'icing' and before the final decorations.
- Gently nudge the log off the parchment, repair any blemishes in the white frosting and clean the edge of your platter if necessary.
- After you have completely covered the log with white cream cheese you will want to test piping the cream cheese mixture with the piping nozzles you will be using. You may need to make the mixture more supple to get it to pipe nicely. If this is the case you can add either more mayonnaise or sour cream.
- When the textures is good for piping divide the remaining mixture in half and colour one half green and the other red.
- Then go ahead and decorate as you like. You can trim the lower edge with the #67 tip to make a nice seam between the log and the platter and for the leaves. Add flowers, leaves or whatever seasonal decorations you choose.
- Here is a link to various piping techniques from Wilton. (Obviously I am still learning!)
- Keep refrigerated until ready to slice and serve.
The log keeps quite well. If you have a plastic container big enough to hold it covered that is great. If not wrap loosely with plastic wrap and try to keep the wrap off the cream cheese decorations.
You can substitute other fillings that would go well with a cream cheese/sour cream/mayonnaise 'icing'. Salmon or egg salad would work as well- just use only enough mayonnaise to have the filling hold together without being 'wet'. If it is too wet the bread will be soggy and unappealing. Since you eat these slices with a fork the 'icing' makes up for the drier spread mixture.
Don't have time to make a Yule Log? How about these cute Christmas Tea Sandwiches you can a whip up using cookie cutters?
- 12 slices thin white sandwich bread crust removed and cut into about uniform rectangles
- 12 oz cooked skinless chicken breasts
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 Tbsps mayonnaise
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils retain a few to use as a center for white flowers
Cream Cheese Icing
- 16 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 4 Tbsps sour cream Or just use 4 more Tbsps mayonnaise if desired)
- 4-6 Tbsps mayonnaise may need additional to thin cream cheese mixture for piping
- Carefully remove crusts from bread. Try to make slices as uniform as possible. On a flat surface lay 4 slices of bread end to end with about ¼" overlap. Pinch down the overlap to secure the pieces together. Add 2 more rows to the width, overlapping about ¼" to make a rectangle about 12" or 9" X 16" (depending on the size of your trimmed bread). Crimp the edges to make as solid a rectangle as you can. Then roll the rectangle with a rolling pin to flatten the bread slices.
- Add the chicken breasts in chunks to the food processor with the dried cranberries. Process until you have a fine mixture. Add the salt, pepper, mayonnaise and pomegranate and stir until evenly mixed. Reserve a few pomegranate arils to use a centers for white flowers if desired. Mixture should just hold together without being 'wet'.
- Lay the bread rectangle on a sheet of plastic wrap that is longer than the loaf and will wrap the circumference a couple of times.
- Carefully spread the filling evenly over the bread leaving about ¼" from the furthest long edge. Start rolling the long edge of the bread as tightly and uniformly as you can. If the bread separates a bit it is ok- the wrap will help mold the roll in the fridge.
- Lay the sandwich roll long edge along the long edge of the plastic and wrap it up tightly with the plastic wrap. Plastic wrap should make a couple of rounds around the log. Twirl the ends to make it airtight.
- Refrigerate overnight before icing.
- Beat cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until well blended and fluffy. Mixture should be stiff enough to hold its shape but loose enough to spread over the log.
- Remove the log from the fridge and remove plastic.
- Place your log on a piece of parchment paper that is slightly more narrow than the log but slightly longer. You will use a spatula for support and the ends to help move the log to your serving platter after the initial 'icing' and before the final decorations.
- Cover the sandwich log with the cream cheese so it is well covered and any flaws are covered. (Do not colour the remaining cream cheese yet in case you need more to thickly cover the log). Transfer the log to the platter you will eventually serve it on.
- Gently roll the log off the parchment, repair any blemishes in the white frosting and clean the edge of your platter if necessary.
- After you have completely covered the log with white cream cheese you will want to test piping the remaining cream cheese mixture with the nozzles you will be using. You may need to make the mixture more supple to get it to pipe nicely. If this is the case you can add either more mayonnaise or sour cream.
- Once you are satisfied with the texture, divide the remaining cream cheese into halves. Colour one part red and one part green. Start with just a small amount of colouring and add bit by bit until you get the tone you want. If you add too much to start it is almost impossible to lighten it.
- Decorate the top with flowers and leaves, trim the edge of the log where it meets the platter. Or decorate as you like with prefabricated decorations, edible or otherwise. Just remove any sweet or inedible decorations before slicing that portion.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Slice into 1" slices and serve. Keeps for a day or so refrigerated.