Hebrews 13:16 – And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

The winter wind was whipping around Emma’s buggy as she pulled up close to the fence at her sister-in-law’s Dry Good Store. Her husband Samuel had warned her that she needed to get to the store before the storm hit or she might not make it at all. It was only three days before Christmas, and if she wanted to get all her baking done, she needed supplies.

As she pulled her brown bonnet tighter around her face, she braced herself for the cold as she tied the buggy to the fence and walked through the gate that led to store. A bell over the door notified her sister-in-law Sarah that she had a customer.  From the top of the stairs, that led to the basement store, she heard Sarah holler down that she would be right there.

“Don’t hurry Sarah. It’s only me, Emma hollered back.”

“Oh thank goodness! The babies are not cooperating with me this morning. Please help yourself and then come up and have a cup of tea with me before you leave.”

Emma picked up one of the red baskets by the door and proceeded to fill it with everything she needed to make her famous sugar cookies and chocolate roll. Once she gathered everything, she left the basket on the counter, removed her boots and made her way up the stairs to the warmth of Sarah’s kitchen.

Sarah had already set two cups on the table and had the teapot simmering on the stove when Emma removed her coat and hung it on the hook by the back door.

“It is so good to see you. The girls could use a visit from their Aunt Emma. They were up half the night. I think they are teething and Matthew and I hardly got any sleep.  He had to get out and ready the stalls for another horse delivery and wasn’t able to help me get the girls breakfast like he usually can. I even hesitated about opening the store today, but with Christmas only a few days away I’m sure everyone would need some last minute items for Christmas dinner.”

“I’m certainly glad you did since I needed a few more things to finish up my baking.”

“Well you know you’re always welcome to my store even when I’m not open,” Sarah said as she poured the steaming water into the cups on the table.

Picking up one of the girls and bouncing her on her hip Emma dropped a tea bag in a cup and lifted the lid of the honeypot to add a teaspoon of the golden syrup to her tea. She looked around the kitchen and saw that the dishes had yet to be done and there was a basket of laundry waiting to be folded sitting on the chair next to her.

Sarah didn’t even have time to sip her tea before one of the girls started to cry, triggering a reaction from the other to do the same. Reaching to take the crying baby from Emma she said.

Amish Chocolate Roll

“I’m sorry I’m not sure I am going to have much time for visiting I think they both need their diaper changed and it’s time to nurse again.  Please stay and finish your tea and don’t worry about paying me right now we can settle up the next time you come.”

“You go take care of the girls, and I’ll just finish my tea and be on my way.”

As soon as Sarah left the room, Emma pulled the clothes basket off the chair and started folding the laundry.

I wonder what I can do to help; she thought as she planned to tackle the sink full of dishes next.

While washing the dishes, she could hear Sarah trying to calm both babies in the other room and could only imagine how difficult it was to have twins as well as trying to run the Dry Goods Store. Sarah never once complained, but Emma knew just by how tired she looked that she would welcome some extra help, especially during the holidays.

As she dried off her hands off on the towel on the door of the refrigerator, she noticed Sarah’s to-do-list noting everything she hoped to complete before Christmas. Reading over the list, she looked for anything she could do to help when she saw that “BAKING “ had a big line marked through it with the words “MAYBE NEXT YEAR.”  written in the margin.

That’s it! She grabbed her jacket and ran back down the stairs to add more supplies to her basket. She needed to get home quickly she had lot’s of baking to do, starting with a double batch of her favorite Chocolate Roll.

Emma’s Chocolate Roll for Christmas

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 7 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With parchment paper line a 13x17 rimmed baking sheet.
    Mix chocolate and brewed coffee in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Let chocolate cool completely. In a separate bowl beat together egg yolks and granulated sugar until pale and thick, about three minutes. Reduce speed to low and add cooled chocolate until well blended.
    In a separate bowl beat eggs whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold whites into chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula until combined, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
    Spread batter on lined baking sheet. Bake until cake is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan and turn out on lightly cocoa dusted kitchen towel and remove parchment paper. Carefully roll cake into a log. Let cool for one hour.
    Beat cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Un-roll cake and spread evenly over cake leaving a one-inch border around all edges. Tightly roll the cake up and refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing. Serve with whipped cream.