Author Archives: Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

About Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

I'm a blogger, freelance baker, and recipe developer in South Brooklyn.

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesThese Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies were the maiden voyage of my brand new sheet pans! If the results are any indicator, I think we’re off to an auspicious start.Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesReese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesWe’re talking thick, soft cookies with tons of peanut butter flavor and an extra peanut buttery crunch from the Reese’s Pieces strewn throughout! You could obviously swap in chocolate chips or M&Ms or any other add-in you like, but I am all about that double peanut butter life.This cookie dough is super fun and easy to make. It comes together in just a few minutes and doesn’t require a mixer or a chill—score! Just mix, scoop, roll and bake. If you were to turn on your oven right now, you could have puffy peanut butter cookies in half an hour. Half an hour!Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesPretty sure that’s the height of luxury on the fiftieth weekend of quarantine. Or at least it is around here.Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 23-24 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Reese’s Pieces candy

Set oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Combine butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. This may also be done in a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat.

Transfer butter/peanut butter to a medium mixing bowl and whisk in brown sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, stirring until combined. Fold in Reese’s Pieces (or other add-ins).

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Flatten cookies lightly with your palm. Bake 9-11 minutes, until puffed and no longer raw looking. Let cool on the pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let baking sheets return to room temperature before rolling and baking any remaining dough.

Serve cookies. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesReese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesReese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie BarsI’ve been thinking about Texas a lot lately, partially because I haven’t been to visit my family in 14 months and also because there was a devastating winter weather/energy crisis all over the state last week. Truly, I was consumed with horror listening to the news and compulsively checking in with friends and family to make sure they were alright.

Thankfully, all my loved ones seem to be “okay” (all things considered) and have handleable structural damage. I am obviously not personally affected as I haven’t lived in Texas for 13+ years, but I learned a few things about myself last week while I held my breath for everyone who does.

1) It doesn’t matter how far away I live or for how long, I will always hurt when Texas hurts.

2) If I am ever in a full-scale disaster, I’m calling my sister-in-law so she can tell me what to do. She thinks of everything and is the most prepared person I know. She ground coffee beans in her car, y’all.

3) Thinking about Texas makes me think about pecans, which make me think about pecan pie.

If you didn’t know, the pecan is the state nut of Texas (though we have a lot of men of note who might give it a run for its money). We call them “puh-cahns” in my neck of the woods and we put them in everything: chocolate chip cookies, sticky buns, Thanksgiving stuffing, you name it. The queen of all pecan desserts is obviously Pecan Pie, which (surprise!) happens to be the Texas state pie. It’s been declared by the Texas House of Representatives, so it’s legit.

I make a killer Maple Pecan Pie and have recipes for Pecan Pie Brownies and Pecan Pie Kolaches, but Pecan Pie Bars were missing from my culinary arsenal until last week. Rest assured, they were worth the wait.Pecan Pie BarsMy Pecan Pie Bars are thick and buttery, with equal layers of brown sugar shortbread and sweet pecan pie filling. While some pecan pie bar recipes have a single layer of pecans perched on top of approximately 100 feet of sugar goo that goes everywhere the second you take a bite, that’s just not my style. Nope! These babies are packed to the gills with toasted pecans and will not disintegrate before you finish them. Handheld desserts shouldn’t require a fork and three napkins, y’all.Pecan Pie BarsI prefer the pecans in my Pecan Pie (and adjacent desserts) to be chopped pretty thoroughly, but feel free to leave the pieces larger (or even whole) if that’s what makes you happy. You could also tile whole pecans on top of the filling before baking if a pretty topper is important to your Pecan Pie Bar enjoyment. As for me, I think these are pretty perfect as-is. They may not quite be the state pie of Texas, but they sure are delicious.Pecan Pie BarsIf you’d like to make a donation to help with hunger, housing or damage from the events in Texas last week, please consider supporting Funky Town Fridge, Austin Mutual Aid, or Lucha Dallas. I am seriously considering hosting a virtual baking class (either via Zoom or live on a social media platform) in the next few weeks to benefit continued relief down there. Would you be interested in participating or donating? Let me know in the comments!

Pecan Pie Bars
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
2/3 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Shortbread Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch rimmed square baking pan with butter. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Set aside.

Scatter pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It may be powdery, but should hold together when pinched.

Press shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using the flat bottom of a measuring cup (or the heel of your hand) to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Bake 10 minutes to set.

Make pecan pie filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk together maple syrup (or corn syrup), brown sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat, just until it’s just beginning to bubble at the edges (about 7 minutes). Mixture will barely thicken.

Set a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Pour filling mixture through to remove any bits of cooked egg. Fold pecans into filling.

Spoon pecan pie filling over par-baked shortbread. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the center barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill for 1-2 hours for cleanest slicing.

Use parchment overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into bars, wiping clean between cuts as necessary. Serve.

Leftovers will keep an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Pecan Pie BarsPecan Pie BarsPecan Pie Bars

One Big Oatmeal Cookie

One Big Oatmeal CookieIf you’re the sort of person who loves big cookies and hates sharing, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet. Over the last couple of years, I’ve posted three “One Big” cookie recipes: chocolate chip, chocolate M&M, and snickerdoodle. Each one is a super small-batch version of a classic that yields exactly one big cookie for one hungry person (or two people, if you’re nicer than me).One Big Oatmeal CookieYou’d think after posting three single-serve cookie recipes on this site, I’d be able to churn out a new one in my sleep, but you’d be wrong. This lone oatmeal cookie? It took 27 tries. Twenty. Seven. That’s the highest number of concentrated tests I’ve ever done for one recipe.

Despite the fact that all my single-serve cookies start with similar basic ingredients and proportions, formulating them is always an adventure. The simplest recipes always seem to be the most challenging for me. Everything has to fit together just right or it’s not worth the effort. It’s like my hero, Martin Scorsese said, “There’s no such thing as simple. Simple is hard.”One Big Oatmeal CookieThe good news about this recipe, though, is that while it was hard to get it exactly right, it is very simple. Oh, and it makes one kickass, golden brown, chewy as all get-out oatmeal cookie. Oh my goodness, it is so good. Trust me—I’ve bitten into 27 cookies to get this one exactly right. Quality control, you know?One Big Oatmeal CookieLike all my One Big cookies, the ingredients here are measured by the spoonful rather than in cups. Oats replace some of the usual flour (duh) and I’ve added a hint of cinnamon for that classic oatmeal cookie flavor. You’ll notice that there’s no egg in this dough, as I prefer to use water for such a tiny portion. As a bonus, no egg means this recipe can easily be made vegan! Just swap vegan butter for the dairy butter ☺️ One Big Oatmeal CookieOne Big Oatmeal CookieOne Big Oatmeal CookieThe big secrets to golden, chewy oatmeal cookie success? Before baking, press down on the dough ball to form a puck. This encourages a consistent shape, texture and browning pattern. Nothing terrible will happen if you don’t press down your dough ball, but your cookie likely won’t look like mine.

Also, let the dough rest for five minutes at room temperature before baking. This dough is sticky and might over-spread a bit if baked immediately after mixing. By letting it “set up” for five minutes before baking, we’re ensuring thicker, chewier results.One Big Oatmeal CookieAs far as mix-ins go, use whatever you like. I went for classic oatmeal raisin for photos, but rest assured that I made a few with chocolate chips, too. Nothing but the most thorough cookie testing here at E2 Bakes.One Big Oatmeal CookieHave a good weekend, y’all. Make yourself a cookie.

One Big Oatmeal Cookie
makes 1 large cookie

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon water (not cold)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

2 tablespoons raisins (or semisweet chocolate chips), plus more for optional topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Mix in water and vanilla. Add flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, and whisk until a dough forms. Use a silicone spatula or spoon to mix/fold in raisins (or chocolate chips).

Use your hands to form dough into a ball and place on parchment. Dot with additional raisins (for aesthetic purposes), if desired. Use the heel of your hand to press down gently on the dough, just so that the dough is a 1-inch thick puck.

Let dough puck rest on the parchment for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake for 13-14 minutes or until edges have darkened to a golden brown color and center is still a bit pale.

Let cookie cool on the pan for 5-7 minutes before using a spatula to remove it to a plate. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

One Big Oatmeal CookieOne Big Oatmeal Cookie

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Wherever you are this week, I hope you’re safe, warm, and have enough to eat!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsWhen I was a kid, I had a friend whose mom hated to cook except for Saturday breakfast. A lot of the meals I ate with this family were takeout, but come the weekend, there were eggs and bacon, orange juice, blueberry muffins, and cinnamon rolls from one of those cans you have to thwack against the edge of your countertop. Little me thought it was the best ever (Puff Pancakes obviously excepted).Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI had one complaint though, because of course I did. Every once in a while the cinnamon rolls would be the orange kind, and while everyone in that family loved them, I deeply did not. I kept my mouth shut—#manners—but I hated them. In fact, I still do, but only because I hate fake orange flavoring.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsTurns out, I love Orange Cinnamon Rolls made with real fresh oranges. Like really, really love them. I mean, what’s not to love about fluffy, buttery, orangey cinnamon rolls?!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI’m over the moon for these, y’all. There’s orange zest in the dough and cinnamon filling, and orange juice in the glaze and the icing! Yes, you read that correctly, these babies have a glaze *and* an icing! I did this on last year’s Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls for maximum citrus flavor, and it works just as well here. Fresh orange flavor alllll over the place.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsJust after you pull your rolls from the oven, paint them with the orange glaze so they get glossy and soak up all that sticky orange flavor. Let that absorb for a few minutes and then hit them with a simple orange icing. This goes without saying, but yes, you can double it.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsAnd then, well, you know what to do.Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

I recommend having 3 large (or 4-5 medium) oranges on hand before beginning this recipe. Better to have too many than too few.

Dough:
2 3/4-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
2 tablespoons orange zest (about 1 large navel orange)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large navel orange)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (most of 1 large navel orange)

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F. Stir in orange zest.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour a surface and your hands. Knead dough 5-6 minutes until smooth, then form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and butter, until completely combined. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or the back of a spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, keeping a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge closest to your body, tightly roll filled dough away from you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together orange juice and sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar has dissolved (45-60 seconds total).

Remove rolls from the oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes, then use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over all exposed pastry. Use all glaze. Let sit 5 minutes while you make the icing.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Add more juice by the teaspoon (up to 3 teaspoons) until icing is thick, but pourable.

Spoon/pour icing over the rolls and use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing over the rolls as desired. Serve.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls re best served the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for a day or so.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet

Friday Favorites: Red VelvetI professed my love for red velvet earlier this week, and this round-up is the proof! Whether it’s cake, cookies or cookie cake, I am all about this ruby red chocolate-vanilla flavor. Just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, here are a few of my red velvet favorites from the archives.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Marble Cupcakes

I posted these cupcakes two days ago, and I am not over them. The red velvet-swirled sour cream cupcake, the plume of two-tone cream cheese frosting—I love it all. These are positively dreamy.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cake

You can’t beat a classic, and my red velvet cake is just that. Super moist, springy and perfectly red, this is the best of the best…unlike the photos. Did I take them in the dark?! Yikes. Looks like I need to replace those immediately, if not sooner. Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookies

These chewy Red Velvet Cookies were one of my first posts ever! The cream cheese frosting is swapped for white chocolate chips, but please trust me when I say the flavor is all there.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Sandwich Cookies

I made these simple and stunning Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies a couple of Oscar Nights ago and haven’t stopped thinking about them since! They’re soft and chewy like the Red Velvet Cookies above, but instead of being studded with white chocolate chips, they’re sandwiched with a swipe of cream cheese frosting.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookie Cake

Here I’ve taken that Red Velvet Cookie recipe, baked it in a cake pan and crowned it with cream cheese frosting. It’s a little underdone in the center for maximum cookie cake goodness!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cut-Out Cookies

Heck yes I made little red velvet cookie Oscars! I celebrate every Oscar Night with a red velvet baked good. If you’re not a total awards show weirdo though, you can cut these into hearts for Valentine’s Day.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Sparkly red velvet cookies with little wells of cheesecake baked in the centers? Sign me up!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

And speaking of red velvet cheesecake things, I made these Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars for a bake sale a few years ago and they were the first things to go! With a chewy red velvet blondie base and a thick layer of creamy cheesecake, they’re absolutely irresistible.

What’s your favorite way to eat red velvet? Have you made these or any of my other red velvet recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet