We Made a Butterscotch Yule Log from the ’60s—and This Vintage Dessert Needs to Make a Comeback

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This vintage Yule log is a no-bake, one-bowl treat that's sure to impress during the holidays.

While a Yule log once was an actual log that was burned in the hearth throughout the 12 days of Christmas, in modern times, a Yule log refers to log-shaped Christmas dessert. Instead of making a cake roll and decorating it to look like a log, this vintage Yule log recipe is an easy, no-bake confection akin to a homemade candy.

Back in 1967, this recipe appeared in an ad for Nestle butterscotch morsels. The morsels were melted over a double boiler and combined with sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and chopped pecans. Then, after chilling, it was formed into a log and brushed with a beaten egg white and decorated with whole pecans.

I made the recipe almost exactly the same, but with a few modern updates. Instead of using a double boiler, I melted the butterscotch in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. And instead of using raw egg whites to adhere the pecan decoration, I brushed the Yule log with an equally sticky but safer alternative: pure maple syrup. Finally, instead of decorating with whole pecans (they are cumbersome when it comes time to slice), I finished off this vintage Yule log with more chopped pecans pressed into the surface.

How to Make a Butterscotch Yule Log

Butterscotch Yule Log IngredientsEric Kleinberg and Kristina Vänni for Taste of Home

Ingredients

For the log:

  • 1 cup butterscotch-flavored morsels
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

For rolling:

  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

This recipe makes about 2 dozen slices.

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Melt the morsels

melting the morsels for Butterscotch Yule LogEric Kleinberg and Kristina Vänni for Taste of Home

In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, melt the butterscotch-flavored morsels in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. The morsels should be smooth after about 90 seconds. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla extract. Stir until smooth and combined.

Step 2: Mix and chill

mixing the morsels and nuts for Butterscotch Yule LogEric Kleinberg and Kristina Vänni for Taste of Home

Add the 1/3 cup chopped pecans and stir to combine. Chill for 30 minutes until the mixture is firm enough to handle.

Step 3: Roll and coat

rolling and coating the Butterscotch Yule LogEric Kleinberg and Kristina Vänni for Taste of Home

Form into a 12-inch roll on waxed paper. Roll tightly in the waxed paper to shape evenly. Unroll and brush the entire surface of the Yule log with maple syrup. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup chopped pecans and press into the surface to cover.

Step 4: Chill and Slice

chilling the Butterscotch Yule LogEric Kleinberg and Kristina Vänni for Taste of Home

Wrap tightly in waxed paper and chill for at least 1 hour, or until firm enough to slice. When ready to serve, cut into 1/2-inch slices using a sharp knife.

Here’s What I Thought

Butterscotch Yule Log finishedEric Kleinberg and Kristina Vänni for Taste of Home

After tasting one of these butterscotch pecan slices, I knew this recipe would be a wonderful addition to a Christmas dessert spread! The vintage Yule log is easy to make and would even be a great activity for baking with kids. It looks beautiful on a holiday table and is a unique way to offer variety among all the other Christmas cookies.

Each slice of the butterscotch Yule log is quite rich, so it’s the perfect two-bite treat when you want a little something sweet to end a hearty holiday meal. It tastes great with a cup of espresso or your favorite after-dinner drink.

Food styling by Kristina Vänni.

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Kristina Vänni
Internationally recognized culinary authority Kristina Vänni is a well-known food writer, engaging TV host, award-winning recipe developer, and food stylist. In addition to writing for industry-leading food publications, she is a frequent featured expert on national media outlets and has served as a spokesperson and recipe developer for numerous national brands. Kristina is currently writing her first cookbook, an exploration of the traditional and seasonal cuisine from her family's dairy farm in Finland.