I've wanted to try making a Buche de Noel for a while now, but haven't had the opportunity. Usually we spent Christmas in Portland with Paul's family, and when we've been home in DC we've had our friends over, and our French friend Bea always makes the Buche. I was excited when I realized that this year I was "required" to make one for the blog. We invited our friends over (including Bea and her parents who live in France but were in town visiting) the weekend before we left for Oregon, and told them that I'd be making the desserts this year. I was pretty nervous making a French dessert for people who were actually French, but Bea and her parents are such great people (and excellent dinner guests) that I knew it would be fine no matter what. Luckily, the dessert came out well. I'm not great at decorating, but the flavors were all there, and I got lots of compliments on my rolling. The ruler and paper method really did make a difference!
I'm not sure if I'll ever make this again, I have so few opportunities and there's another Buche recipe that I've been wanting to try, but I'm definitely glad I made this one. I also wanted to thank everybody for all of the advice on the rugelach. I defrosted the other two logs of dough and baked them to serve with the Buche, and they turned out much better. I followed your advice to let them warm up a bit before slicing and cut them more thickly, but the biggest change was that I actually read the recipe! For some reason the first time I made these I thought the recipe said to put the cut side down, so I turned these on their sides. The second time I realized it said to put them seam side down. It definitely made a big difference! I still want to get my mom's recipe, but I'm glad I was able to make these work the second time.