Make Your Own Brown Sugar

 We’ve all been there.

The butter’s softened, the eggs are room temperature. You’ve got everything ready to make an incredible batch of cookies.

And then you go for the brown sugar, and you’re totally out 😭😭😭😭😭 

You just bought a new bag last week (or three new bags, if you’re me). Do you really have to go to the store *right now*?!

Well, no. All you need are two ingredients and a food processor! 

Place one cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of the food processor, along with a tablespoon of unsulphered molasses. Then, let it go for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

At first, it might look a little clumpy and weird, but then, suddenly… 

 You’ve got light brown sugar! 

If you need dark brown sugar, just whirl in an extra tablespoon of molasses! 

You can use your homemade brown sugar to make these

Or these.

Or this rockin’ banana bread. Or pretty much any recipe that asks for the stuff.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container or zip-top bag with all the excess air pressed out. Easy.

So the next time you’re out of brown sugar, don’t grab your car keys or subway pass. Just grab the food processor 😊 

 

Friday Favorites

I love anniversaries. Yes, I’m one of those people. If something happened once and warrants commemorating for any reason, I’m the one planning the party.

April 22nd is a big day for me. Today is my parents’ 33rd wedding anniversary, and I have another anniversary going on, too. It’s Earth Day. Heck, it’s my dog’s half-birthday 😜

All of that is great, but I’m writing today because this little blog began exactly six months ago!

Yes, I know six months does not technically constitute an anniversary, but for me, it means a lot. I talked about starting a food blog for six years before actually clicking “Publish.” Since October 22, 2015, I’ve posted 75 recipes. SEVENTY FIVE. Just…how?

I so appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read my posts, leave comments, follow me on social media, and make the recipes! Every time someone tells me they made something from my blog and enjoyed it, it brings me immeasurable joy. The idea that anyone would ever make and like a recipe that I created blows my mind. So, thank you.

And now that I’m done being sappy, let’s celebrate! Here are six of my favorite recipes from the archives to bring you into Spring! 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies are crunchy, buttery little cookies with all the flavors of a great chocolate chip cookie. They are super simple to make, and absolutely perfect with coffee or tea. I highly recommend using them for ice cream sandwiches 😊 

Spring is here, and that means we have four months of fantastic seasonal fruit ahead of us. More importantly, it means there will be pie! Make sure to use my Cream Cheese Pie Dough–it couldn’t be easier, and it makes the flakiest crust I’ve ever had. 

My grandmother’s Buttermilk Biscuits are one of my best memories of my childhood. Her recipe went with her when she passed many years ago, but I know she’d love mine. These biscuits are the perfect easy breakfast, and they are wonderful with a bowl of soup at dinner. 

It’s the beginning of picnic season, so you’ll need food that’s easy to make, transport, and share with your friends and family. My favorite thing to bring to an outdoor get-together? My Restaurant-Style Salsa! It takes just five minutes to whip up, and it puts prepared salsas to shame. 

And what’s warm weather without ice cream? No-Churn Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream doesn’t require an ice cream maker, and is the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream I’ve made so far! And those little bits of edible cookie dough are everything. 

Springtime just demands carrot cake. But taking the time to make a whole layer cake when the weather is just begging for you to go outside is torture! Save yourself some time and make these Carrot Cake Blondies! They’re every bit as good as traditional carrot cake, and half the work!

Have you made any of these recipes? Let me know in the comments section below, or on Instagram @e2bakesbrooklyn!

Enjoy your weekend 😊

Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls

 Cinnamon rolls are amazing. (Duh.) Gooey cinnamon filling rolled into soft pastry and covered in frosting–what’s not to love?!

Well…the time commitment. Even supposedly “quick and easy” recipes take three hours. The problem is the yeast. It takes a while. Like multiple-long-rises a while. Add to that the fact that working with yeast strikes fear into the hearts of many casual bakers. I’ve learned that yeast is nothing to fear, but still. When I want cinnamon rolls, I want them *now.* Not in three or six or eight hours–NOW.

I clearly have some pretty serious breakfast pastry needs. 

What if I told you that you could have some seriously good cinnamon rolls on your table in less than 90 minutes? And that you didn’t have to proof any yeast or let anything rise? Would you be interested?

Yeah, I thought so.

Enter Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls. All the sweet cinnamon goodness of classic cinnamon rolls, wrapped up in a delightfully easy cream biscuit dough and positively smothered in cream cheese frosting. Oh my word, are these good. And they’re miniature, because tiny food just tastes better somehow. 

The dough base is the same as the one I used in my Scratch Biscuit Monkey Bread. It’s super easy: mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder, and stir in 2 cups of cream (I said quick and easy, not healthy). That’s it. Seriously easy. I do not recommend using a regular buttermilk biscuit dough here–the butter in that dough must be kept cold, or your results will be bricks. No, thank you. This simple cream biscuit dough has no butter, so it doesn’t need to be kept absolutely frigid to bake up properly. Using this base, you can roll and flip and handle the dough as much as you want! 

    Once the dough is made, divide it in half. Take one half and roll it into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Then, take some butter that’s been spiked with granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and spread it over the whole thing, leaving only a thin border. Gently roll the long edge of the dough toward your body until you have a tight cylinder. 

 Cut the rolled dough into 1-inch rolls and place them close together in a buttered pan. Repeat that process with the other half of the dough, and then bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes at 400F.  
 Make a half-batch of my cream cheese frosting, and spread it over the warm rolls. Yes, this is a lot of frosting, but that’s how I roll. <–Ha! Roll. 

Seriously, look at that.

If a metric ton of frosting isn’t your thing, you may halve the recipe. The frosting will melt into every nook and cranny of the cinnamon rolls and make everything super gooey and delicious. In fact, the frosting is so thick, I had a hard time seeing while cutting out individual rolls–but when they’re this good, I don’t care if they’re totally gorgeous. The tang of the frosting with the fluffy biscuit base and sweet cinnamon filling is just…everything. 

So, the next time you have a craving for cinnamon rolls, make these Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls. In less than 90 minutes, you’ll be tucking into a full pan of amazingness, and you won’t have fretted over yeast or waited an eternity! These are perfect for any weekend morning or brunch party. Nobody can resist these sweet little rolls 😊 

 Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
makes about two dozen miniature rolls

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, cold

Frosting:
4-ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Set aside.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together softened unsalted butter, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Make the biscuit dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in heavy cream, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough will be shaggy. Divide dough in halves.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a 14×8-inch rectangle. Use an offset knife (or butter knife) to spread half the filling onto the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border at the edge. Starting at the long edge furthest away from your body, tightly roll the dough toward you until you have one large cylinder. Slice into 1-inch pieces, and place close together in the prepared pan. Repeat process with the second half of the dough.

Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, until light golden and fully cooked. Let cool ten minutes while you make the frosting.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt, followed by vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Drop frosting in dollops over the top of the warm rolls. Spread with an offset knife to cover the entire top of the rolls. Let set for ten minutes before serving.

Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are best served the day they are made, but may be kept covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix

 I love to bake. I mean, I *really* love it. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do, no questions asked. Yes, really. What can I say? I’m no daredevil.

But some days, the idea of turning on the oven or washing four sheet pans is just too much to bear. I work a lot both in and out of my kitchen, and as much as I love to bake, sometimes I just need a break. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need dessert. Oh, no. I always need dessert. And this week, I needed chocolate and peanut butter. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and today, my necessity is bringing you the Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix! 

You guys, this recipe is going to be your new favorite thing. Crispy chocolate-peanut butter cereal and miniature peanut butter cups are coated in melted chocolate and peanut butter, tossed with confectioner’s sugar, and dotted with Reese’s Pieces. If you’re keeping count, that’s three hits of chocolate and four of peanut butter! I wasn’t kidding around when I said this stuff was “ultimate.”

Plus, it’s no-bake. In fact, the only kitchen appliance you’ll need is a microwave (or one burner on your stove) for melting together chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, and butter. Aside from that, this recipe is just stirring and shaking. 

Pour the melted chocolate-peanut butter mixture over Reese’s Puffs cereal, and fold it all together. 

Stir in some miniature peanut butter cups. 

Divide that magical mixture into two gallon size ziptop bags, add in some confectioner’s sugar, and shake the heck out of it. The coated cereal and miniature peanut butter cups will go from being gooey to being finger food. There will be plenty of both individually coated pieces and clumps (particularly around the peanut butter cups)–a texture lover’s dream. And, as if it could get any better, Reese’s Pieces are stirred into everything. 

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix is everything you could want in a sweet snack. It’s crunchy, creamy, sweet, a little salty, and so ridiculously easy. If you’re in need of a fun snack this weekend, this is the one. And if you have kids at home, this is a great way to get them involved in the kitchen–there’s no worrying about them being around a hot oven, and they’ll love shaking the cereal and confectioner’s sugar together! And since the recipe takes less than half an hour start to finish, there’s immediate satisfaction.

So, take thirty minutes to make this snack mix this weekend, and then take the rest of the day off. You’ve earned it. 

 Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Snack Mix
makes about 12 cups

1 13-ounce box Reese’s Puffs cereal (about 9 cups)
1 1/2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8-ounces miniature peanut butter cups
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 cup Reese’s Pieces candy

Place Reese’s Puffs in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, and butter. Microwave on high* in 30 second increments, until melted and smooth. Pour mixture over cereal and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold to combine. Add miniature peanut butter cups to cereal mixture and fold in.

Divide cereal-peanut butter cup mixture into two gallon size ziptop bags. Add 1 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar to each. Seal bags and shake until all cereal is coated. Some pieces may clump.

Pour coated mixture into a clean large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in Reese’s Pieces. Enjoy!

Snack mix will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

If you do not have or do not want to use a microwave, you may melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Proceed with recipe as written.

Marzipan Bundt Cake

 I have so much baking stuff, it’s kind of insane. Sure, there are the pans and bowls and spatulas, but those are necessary in my line of work. The mix-in cabinet, however, is not. Yes, I have an entire cabinet that is just chocolate chips (nine pounds of them!), candy, nuts, and dried fruit. What can I say? I like to have options.

The problem is, I often forget about what I have. That’s how I ended up with three pounds of raisins. I really should keep an Excel spreadsheet. 

Long story short, I was looking for some granola mix-ins on Sunday night and ran across a leftover can of marzipan. I had bought it when I made Marzipan Cookies six weeks ago, and then put it in the cabinet to be forgotten about forever. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it except that it was leaning precariously on top of the package of dates that I needed. 

That got me thinking…what am I ever going to do with a can of marzipan? Make more cookies? I rarely repeat a recipe once it’s done testing. I could make little marzipan fruits? My motor skills leave something to be desired. And then, it came to me. Cake. 

After last week’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Oreo Buttercream, I really didn’t need anymore cake right that minute, but I grabbed my mixer anyway and got to work. I beat together butter, marzipan, and sugar. Next came some sugar a bunch of eggs, some vanilla and almond extracts, and a mixture of milk and sour cream, just to keep everything moist. I sifted in some flour, cornstarch, leaveners, and salt, beat it all together, and poured it into a bundt pan.

Forty-five minutes later, I removed the most beautiful, golden cake from the oven, and not being one to leave well enough alone, I mixed up a quick vanilla glaze and toasted some almonds. Not long after, I was eating cake in my pajamas and wondering why I don’t keep more marzipan on-hand because OMG this cake is everything.

 

 Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this Marzipan Bundt Cake. It’s easy enough to be whipped up on the fly on a Sunday night. The batter is so gorgeous, I can’t even describe it. The word “luscious” comes to mind, but that doesn’t do it justice. Let’s just say that if I had the capability on here, there would be a looping video of it being poured into the pan. #bakingnerd 

And the flavor. Oh my word. If you are a fan of marzipan at all, make this cake. The sweet almond flavor is amazing, and the moist, dense-crumbed texture is just delightful. Oh, and the glaze. I love a good glaze, and this vanilla one perfectly offsets the intense almond flavor. The toasted slivered almonds are totally optional, of course, but their crunchiness contrasts very well with the softness of the cake.

Just…make this cake. And be sure to grab an extra can of marzipan at the store–this recipe is one you’ll want to repeat. 

 Marzipan Bundt Cake
makes one 12.5 cup capacity bundt pan*

For the Pan:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Cake:
1/2 cup sour cream (not fat free), room temperature
1/2 cup milk (not skim or fat free), room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces marzipan (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract*

Garnish and Glaze:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare the pan. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour and neutral-flavored oil. Use a pastry brush to paint the mixture onto the entire inside of a bundt pan. Make sure to cover every crevice. Pour out any excess. Set pan aside.

Make the batter. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together sour cream and milk. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together butter and marzipan until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts, followed by sour cream/milk. Add dry ingredients in three installments, mixing on low after each addition. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter ten times. Bake for 40-50 minutes, covering the top with foil at the 25 minute mark. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for fifteen minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the outer edges of the pan. Place a cooling rack upside-down on top of the pan. Holding onto both the rack and the pan, carefully flip the cake onto the cooling rack. Allow cake to cool completely. 

Make the garnish. Preheat oven to 400F. Place slivered almonds on a baking sheet. Toast for five minutes, or just until fragrant. Do not let them burn. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add four tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla, and whisk until combined. Add more cream by the tablespoon until the desired consistency has been reached.

Drizzle cooled cake with glaze, and scatter with toasted slivered almonds. Glaze will begin to set within 20 minutes, and will set completely after a few hours.

Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note:

This recipe may also be split into two 9×5″ loaf pans, although I am unsure of the bake time.

Marzipan Bundt Cake