Dress up your holidays with the most famous (and delicious) of French pastries by setting out a Buche de Noel, a traditional dessert born during the Middle Ages. Families, celebrating the winter solstice, burned a log as a symbol of the rebirth of the sun. Later, the log was replaced by a branch on the table surrounded by small sweets. Today, Doughmonkey in Snider Plaza creates a lavish Valrhona chocolate cake pastry log brushed with a layer of Kirsch cherry liqueur that is stuffed with Valrhona Manjari mousse surrounding a center of Morello cherry mousse and brandy-soaked cherries. Ooh, la la! 6708 Snider Plaza. 214-890-1300. —Nancy Nichols
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