Mum’s Christmas Whiskey Logs

When I was 12 we moved to Australia.  We moved into a quiet suburban street where most of the neighbours kept to themselves.  They were civil if you bumped into them but nothing more friendly than that followed.  But my mother changed all of that.

She is a ‘people person’ and within days of moving into our new home she had met all of the neighbours, knew the names of their spouses, knew how many children they had and where they went to school and what their husbands did for a living.  That was the beginning of October and by December our first Aussie Christmas away from family and friends was approaching.

Christmas Whiskey Logs

My mother is an excellent cook and she always had a draw in the kitchen that was full of Christmas recipes.  That year she made batch after batch of Whiskey Logs that she decorated with holly made from glace cherries.  When they were finished she placed a couple of the logs on coloured card, wrapped them in clear cellophane, tied them with Christmas ribbon and attached a gift tag.  The kitchen bench would be full of pretty parcels and my sister and I would be called in and asked to deliver these gifts.  They were all for our new neighbours and Em and I would gather the parcels and head out the door to deliver them.  And they were all so surprised.  It was as if they’d never had a gift from a neighbour before.

Perfect gift for neighbours

And then came Christmas Day.  It started early with us being hurried into our ‘Sunday-best’ for church.  Everyone went to church including the neighbours.  The local church wasn’t far from where we lived so you would think we would be able turn up on time but alas, it seems getting seven people ready on time wasn’t exactly easy.  We could have walked to church but we were too late for that mode of transport and so we piled into the car only to arrive and find all parking spaces gone so we were lucky if we could park any closer than our departure point.

Gace cherries used to make ‘holly’

On walking into the church the congregation was already standing and singing the first Carol like ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and we looked along the rows of pews and saw there were no spare seats except for that spare pew right down the front under the nose of the pulpit where no one else wanted to sit.

But with no other option we took the long, long, long walk down the long, long, long aisle and had everyone turn and smile (or giggle) as they saw the unfortunate family having to do the walk of shame.

Cut into thin slices and serve with coffee

After the service everyone greeted the minister then headed for home because turkeys were in the oven and needed supervision.  We however, had our turkey still in the fridge because coming from the cooler climate of New Zealand and not yet acclimatised to the heat, we couldn’t face eating a hot roast meal in the heat of the day and so we had our Christmas dinner planned for the cool of the evening.

Planning ahead, this created a terrific opportunity for my mother because with no middle-of-the-day cooking scheduled she had earlier phoned the neighbours and invited them over for Christmas drinks.  And this was a novelty for all the neighbours who apparently had never had this much generosity extended to them.  So straight after church the neighbours descended on our house and champagne was poured and the beers were flowing and the record player was belting out carols from the Kings College Choir and all the food was handmade and lovingly prepared.

This was an outdoor event with everyone enjoying the peak of the summer sunshine and most of the us, the teenagers, would soon be in the pool swanning around on some new flotation device found earlier that day in a Christmas stocking.

We made friends that first Aussie Christmas with our neighbours who became lifelong friends who despite these days having all moved away from that very special street, are still very much in touch.

I like to think these Christmas Whiskey Logs bestowed as a loving gift, have something to do with it.

Homemade gifts are the best gifts

Christmas Whiskey Logs

Makes:  6

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Not a huge expense.  These are actually a great way to use up leftover dried fruits used to make Christmas cakes and puddings.

  • 400g plain biscuits
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 100gm chocolate chips
  • 100gm glace cherries, halved plus a few extra to make holly
  • 200gm dried fruit
  • 200gm dark chocolate

Crush biscuits and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy and mix in egg, whiskey, biscuits, chocolate, cherries and dried fruit.

Roll into 6 evenly sized logs, wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Melt dark chocolate using a double boiler and cover each log in chocolate.  Allow to cool and set in the fridge.  Note:  I find it easier to coat the top, sides and ends of the logs first, the place on baking paper, put in the fridge until the chocolate has set, then remove from the fridge and turn upside down to coat the under-side of the logs. 

To serve, cut into slices with a hot knife.

For a gift, wrap in clear cellophane and tie with ribbon.

 

Comments

  1. Mmm these look lovely and perfect just in time for christmas :)

  2. These look as wonderful as your story reads, Charlie! I know I’d be thrilled to have a neighbor bring me some of these whisky logs, and they are so pretty. Perfect for gifts. And I’ll bet everyone wanted to come to your house for Christmas!

  3. Well now everything makes so much sense Charlie, the apple certainly did not fall far from the tree! Those Christmas logs would sure make me want to be your friend too. I still can’t get over that you have Christmas in the summer; I have known for ever but it only really sank in since I’ve been reading your blog.
    When we moved into our second house, our Neighbour threw us a BBQ so we could meet all the neighbours! We didn’t get any kind if reception on our present street!

  4. Charlie, those logs would definitely warm any soul on a cold (or warm) Christmas night, or any holiday for that matter. We have something similar but then we put cocoa powder in the mix, so it’s all chocolaty. I like the idea of covering it in chocolate, will definitely make it.

  5. Lovely story, Charlie. And a lovely recipe to go with it. Thanks.

  6. These are gorgeous, Charlie :-)

  7. What a beautiful story of neighborliness. Makes me think I ought to reach out in my neighborhood as I have not done so to the new neighbors. Even the long-time ones rather keep to themselves.

  8. Ah, you are original a kiwi! Ha! I didn’t know that!
    What tasty looking whiskey logs! They look so Christmassy & appetizing too! Great to give as a special food gift too! :) Lovely to look at! :) xxx

  9. Another great story and delicious looking logs. I’m not a whiskey drinker though there’s a bottle in the pantry but I do wonder how rum would work. :)

    Your parents (mum) were so sociable and they raised you the same way. I envy you your experiences growing up although I’m sure there were some less than fun experiences as well.

  10. These logs look fantastic my friend – I can definitely imagine your mum being the belle of the… Street ;)
    Great post!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  11. How lovely that you are still in contact with a family from so many years ago and your mom sounds like a darling and her Christmas Whiskey logs are a must make!
    :-) Mandy xo

  12. I am intrigued by these – they look so delicious. What fun memories…thanks for sharing :)

  13. What a lovely way to bring the neighborhood together! It sounds like Celia’s street too :) Can I move next door to you? My neighbors on one side homeschool their children and keep to themselves totally- you never even hear them, the other side is a guy who told us not to step foot on his fxxxxing property after we nicely asked him to turn down his music (Meatloaf, Highway to Hell) one morning at 2am. I do drop Christmas cards in their letterboxes, and have dropped off cakes before, but no bonding has occurred :(

  14. You’ve just inspired me to throw a party for my new neighbours at Christmas-time. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a surprised reaction, too.

  15. Aw such a sweet story. These modern times mean many people don’t even get to know their neighbors. But perhaps showing up with a few of these might changed things like in your neighborhood. The logs look delicious! Thanks for sharing:)

  16. Oh I am so making this recipe for my father, he is going to love this recipe! They look fun to make, YUM! Hugs, Terra

  17. And now we know where you get your kind heart and culinary love!

  18. Sounds like my neighbourhood – people are polite and thats it. But then I never make effort so I shouldn’t complain.
    Awesome sounding whisky log.

  19. I love making friends with my neighbours :) I’ve made friends with the girl across the corridor and she’s lovely, she’s always complaining that I bake too much HAHAHA ~ These whisky logs are perfect as gifts! I think I’m gonna try making it! :) Thank you Charlie!

  20. What a lovely story Charlie!

    Every year since I move in here I’ve left a little parcel of baked goods on our neighbours door steps for Christmas but never once have we gotten so much as a thank you in return. I’m not doing it this year!

    Reading the bit about floating on new pool toys I could instantly smell that new plastic smell!

  21. Such a lovely story! My parents’ street do Christmas Street Parties every year, and it’s such a nice way to build community. Friendship and food!

  22. Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman – I suspect your neighbours really had never received a gift from neighbours, but I am sure the street was a much more enjoyable place to live after you arrived! What a great first Christmas you had, and these whiskey logs look lovely.

  23. Whiskey? Why not!

  24. Your Mum and family would have fit in with our old neighborhood. I considerate myself very fortunate to have had that experience, of neighbors who were also friends. That is becoming quite rare over here now. Every block needs a woman like your Mum to break down the invisible walls that separate us.

  25. That’s such a sinfully gorgeous log. Your mother sounds like a fabulous person and what a great childhood you must have had.

  26. Charlie, your post made me feel warm and fuzzy and motivated to share some Christmas spirit (or spirits…) Loved the memories of your Mom’s generous heart. And yours. xo

  27. I love that idea. I would totally do it if my neighbours weren’t so shit. Maybe I’ll make them for the people I work with. Love that your Mum is so sweet. My Mum is the same :)

  28. This sounds like such a great recipe. My mother and I are just getting ourselves set up to make Christmas cakes; maybe I can pilfer a few cherries and get down to some whiskey log business… The neighbors would be ever so grateful!

  29. Yum – I think you better bring me some so I can officially sample them for you. Not sure what the kids might think of Old Mrs B with whiskey on her breath though!

  30. Magnolia Verandah says:

    I would have loved one of those logs to arrive at my house. They are just perfect for christmas, I must add this to my repertoire of Christmas cooking. Thanks your mum is a gem.

  31. love how the logs look. i make a christmas pudding every year – maybe these are worth throwing into the mix. how good are family recipes? i just posted an entry with some of my nana’s recipes. makes cooking so much more special when there is tradition behind it, don’t you think? x

  32. I’d love your mother! You have coated these logs brilliantly!

  33. What a great story! Of course it’s quite hard for me to think of Christmas in the summer. Growing up in the southern US, I do remember having to turn on the air conditioner during the day because of all of the people and the the cooking, but it wasn’t really hot outside. The Christmas logs remind me of little fruit cakes wrapped in chocolate. I love these!!!!

  34. Oh, gosh, I LOVE your mom…what a marvelous woman and role model! And her (and your) Christmas logs are beautiful!!!

  35. Sounds like the warmth that your mother showed towards the neighbors has lasted a lifetime. Your mother’s recipe sounds perfect for the dessert table at my Christmas party this year.

  36. These are beautiful! Do you think a person could use a different liquid that whiskey? I try to stay away from alcohol – the two of us don’t do well together!

  37. Oh, my gosh.. these look seriously yummy.. I wish I had been your neighbor. I haven’t seen a sweet like this before, I could see myself slicing a little off each time I walked by:)

  38. Your mom sounds like an incredible woman: how did she do it with so many kids?? I love these logs, I think I will give them a try.

  39. I am pretty sure that I have not tried those before and I have certainly not seen them being sold anywhere I was. that must have been weird, christmas in australia in summer. We have tropical climate here for christmas as well but its winter. =)

  40. Silly me, I’m reading along and took me a minute to shift to Christmas in summer! :-) You must take after your mother? I’ve marveled at how outgoing and social you are–you are very patient with people! And your mother’s baking skill along with generosity has apparently come down to you, too! These little logs are very special and such a personal gift. How very lovely!

  41. I encourage the the incorporate of whiskey into any food. :-)

  42. These look wonderful! And so cheep to make too! I think these will definitely have to be made!

  43. How lovely…but I am surprised. Most Australians I have known have been incredibly friendly; no, gregarious. Good for your mother!

  44. Made these with some changes, loved them, posted about them and linked back to you. Thanks!

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