Author Archives: Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

About Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

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

Sour Cream French Toast

Sour Cream French Toast

There are pancake people and waffle people, but I am 200% French toast people. Do I like pancakes and waffles? Sure do! But when Sunday morning rolls around and I go to make myself a special breakfast, nine times out of ten, it’s French toast. I’ve made it so many times at this point that I can do it without having coffee first—a miracle. I always have some form of the basic ingredients (bread, eggs, milk, maple syrup) on hand…or at least almost always.

Sour Cream French Toast

You see, if I were a person who prepares, this recipe might not be here right now. One Sunday morning last month, I had run out of dairy milk, almond milk, and heavy cream, leaving me with few options to get my French toast fix. Just when I was preparing to pack it in and go get a bagel, I noticed a half-empty container of sour cream, thought “that might work,” and ten test batches later, here we are. Sour cream is the secret to my go-to waffles and now my current favorite French toast—you know it won’t be long before I’m making sour cream pancakes!

Sour Cream French Toast is super easy to make and incredibly delicious—buttery and eggy with the slightest sour cream tang. The method is the same as classic French toast: mix together a quick vanilla custard, dip day-old bread into it, then fry in butter until golden. Finish with maple syrup and fruit (and a sweetened sour cream topping) and call it breakfast. Like I said, it’s so easy I can make it before I’m caffeinated.

Sour Cream French Toast

I need to give a little disclaimer that the batch pictured is double the written recipe. I wasn’t having a party or anything—I just like cold leftover French toast. It gives me the same vibe as cold leftover macaroni & cheese, but without all the cheese and pasta. Does that make sense? Probably not. But the best things in life (and breakfast) don’t have to.

Sour Cream French Toast

Now, tell me. Are you pancake, waffle, or French toast people? Or do you have another go-to sweet brunch? Inquiring bakers want to know!

Sour Cream French Toast
Sour Cream French Toast
makes 8 slices (3-4 servings)

Sour Cream Topping (optional):
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

French toast:
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs
8 thick slices day-old brioche (or challah)
2-3 tablespoons butter, for cooking

For serving (optional):
pure maple syrup
fresh fruit of choice
sour cream topping (recipe above)
confectioner’s sugar

Make the sour cream topping, if using. Combine sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 200F. Set an ovenproof cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

Make the French toast. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.

Heat a large (10-12 inch) heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl to coat.

Working with 3-4 slices of day-old brioche at a time, dip them in the custard, coating on all sides. Let them soak for 20-30 seconds before placing them in the skillet, making sure not to crowd the pan. Let cook until a golden brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes. Flip slices and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove French toast to the prepared rack/sheet pan and place the entire contraption in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat soaking and cooking processes until all slices of brioche have been used. Add more butter to the pan as necessary.

When ready to serve, remove sour cream topping from the refrigerator and uncover.

Divide French toast over 3-4 plates. Top with sour cream topping, maple syrup, fresh fruit and/or confectioner’s sugar, as desired. Serve immediately.

Leftover French toast may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving (or eat cold if you’re weird like me).

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

I make almost every baked good I consume from scratch with the best ingredients available to me. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes down to it. Even at the height of the pandemic, I was inspecting different brands of flour to see their protein counts because I care that much.* That said, when it comes to store-bought baked goods, I have one glaring weakness: Costco croissants.

*4% or bust. King Arthur, Heckers & Trader Joe’s only.

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

I will go out of my way for a Costco croissant. They are shockingly delicious, especially when eaten like a wild animal mid-shopping trip, somewhere between produce and electronics. I was introduced to them by my friend and certified Costco enthusiast, David, and I’ve been ruined ever since. The finest French pastry they are not, but I defy you not to enjoy one while it’s still warm, as they almost always are when I sling them into my cart. For $6 (and a Costco membership) you too can have 12 big, buttery Costco croissants in a giant clamshell package. Twelve seems like a lot, but if you’re anything like me, that means one for now, one for later, two for tomorrow, and eight to sit out on my counter to get stale for Easy Almond Croissants.

You see, Almond Croissants, while a bakery favorite, are frequently just another way to use up leftover bread; think of them as the even more sophisticated cousins of French toast and Bostock. Imbued with almond flavor inside and out, they’re deceptively simple to make and even easier to eat.

Stale croissants are split and soaked in simple syrup, smeared with homemade frangipane, sandwiched together, and topped with sliced almonds before baking. They emerge from the oven fragrant and flaky with the best crisp almond edges and rich, dense centers. You may leave them plain—as if there’s a way for Almond Croissants to seem plain!—or you may dust them with a little confectioner’s sugar for flair. I like flair.

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

While I am a Costco croissant purist, these may be made with any pre-baked or store-bought croissants you may have on hand. Please keep in mind that your croissants may differ in size from mine, so you may end up with a larger or smaller quantity of Almond Croissants than I have. Not that I’ve ever found such a thing to be a problem. It is the summer of frangipane, after all.

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants
Easy Homemade Almond Croissants 
makes 8-12 (I made 8)

Simple Syrup:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water

Frangipane*:
2 cup blanched almond flour or 8 ounces blanched almonds
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

For Assembly & Garnish:
8-12 store-bought croissants (I used 8), preferably a little stale
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, optional

The simple syrup and frangipane may be made up to a day in advance. Just cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

Make the simple syrup. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool until you can comfortably hold your finger in it. Transfer to a bowl or dish (I used a pie plate) that is slightly larger than your croissants.

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in eggs and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste. Set aside.

Arrange oven racks in central positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment.

Assemble the almond croissants. Slice each croissant in half equatorially.

Working with one sliced croissant at a time, dip each half in the simple syrup, making sure to coat all sides. Place the bottom halves cut-sides-up on the prepared pans, and set the top halves on plates or another surface while assembly continues.

Use an offset icing spatula or the back of a spoon to spread about 2 heaping tablespoons of frangipane on the bottom half of each croissant. Top the frangipane with the top halves of the croissants, cut-sides-down. Press down lightly on each to adhere.

Spread about a tablespoon of frangipane on top of each filled croissant and sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. Bake croissants for 20-22 minutes, or until the frangipane is golden.

Let croissants cool on the pans for 15 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the tops, if desired. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Almond Croissants are best eaten the day they are made.

Note: You will have some leftover frangipane after making these. Refrigerate it and use it for these or this.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones​

If you’re on the hunt for impossibly tender scones, look no further. Beneath these nubbly exteriors lie the softest, most buttery interiors. The secret? A hefty spoonful of sour cream.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones​

Oh, yes. Where most scones are bound with heavy cream, half & half or just plain ol’ milk, these get their delicate decadence from thick, rich sour cream. Between its texture and natural acidity, its scone game simply cannot be beat.

For those concerned that sour cream’s tanginess might overwhelm the other flavors, rest assured that it does not. The acidity is neutralized with a bit of baking soda, ensuring that the end results have a smooth, buttery flavor to accompany their perfect texture.

You can bake this scone base by its lonesome, of course, but blueberries are at their best right now, so we’re tipping a full cup into the mix today. Blueberry Sour Cream Scones? Sign. me. up.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones start just how any other scone recipe might—cutting butter into dry ingredients—but where the next step is usually to add heavy cream or half & half, these are bound with an egg and 1/2 cup of sour cream. The dough may simultaneously seem both too wet and too dry during mixing (weird and true), but it will come together. Once mixed, it’s filled with blueberries, formed into a disk and sliced into wedges before baking.

These scones bake up craggy and golden with juicy burst blueberries throughout. You may serve them as soon as you can handle them, but you can also wait a few more minutes and give them a drizzle with a quick blueberry glaze. You know, if you’re the kind of person who needs your Blueberry Sour Cream Scones to have a vibrant purple drizzle…which I very much am.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones​
Blueberry Sour Cream Scones
makes 8 scones

1 large egg, cold
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, very cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons milk of choice, heavy cream, or half & half

Glaze:
1 tablespoon pulverized freeze dried blueberries (about 2 heaping tablespoons whole)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3-4 teaspoons milk of choice

Make the scones. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together cold egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Refrigerate.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add cold butter. Use a pastry blender or clean fingertips to cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in sour cream mixture. Add blueberries and fold them in as gently as you can. Some will break; that’s just the nature of this.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it to 1-inch thick circle. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice circle into 8 wedges. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Brush with milk, cream, or half-and-half. Bake 21-23 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Meanwhile, set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment paper. Let scones cool on the pan on a rack for a few minutes, before removing to the prepared rack.

When scones are cool enough to handle but still a little warm, make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together pulverized freeze dried blueberries, confectioners sugar, salt and 3 teaspoons milk. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing is thick, but pourable. Pour or drizzle icing over the scones as desired. Icing will set quickly, and eventually harden completely after a few hours.

Scones are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp

Our annual trip to Maine is coming up in just five weeks. In addition spending my days dreaming about what treasures I’m going to pick up at Iverstudio and tiptoeing into the ocean at Fine Sand Beach, I’m diving deep into menu planning.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp

I cook a primarily vegan, gluten-free menu up there to accommodate all of our various dietary needs. It works for us, and even the guests we’ve had who don’t regularly eat that way seem to enjoy it. We have a list of staple meals—vegan Everyday Cassoulet is always the #1 request—but I am constantly on the lookout for new things to add to our repertoire. Beyond three square meals a day (plus a lot of guacamole), I most look forward to making a vegan, gluten-free dessert for my friends and my blog.

Last year’s offering was an easy Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp. It was fall on the island, so going with apples made perfect sense. Now in the heat of summer, I’m giving that recipe a peachy berry spin!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp

I punched up the original recipe with loads of fresh peaches, brown sugar and lemon, and just a hint of spice—enough so you know it’s there, but not enough to overwhelm the fruit. Once the peaches are prepared and tossed with all that goodness, a cup of fresh blueberries are added to the mix. You could add any berry you like here and it would work, but keep in mind that some may leach color more easily than others.

The crisp topping is made primarily with almond flour, gluten-free rolled oats, brown sugar and vegan butter (or coconut oil). A thick layer is scattered over the filling, and then the whole thing is baked until golden, piping hot, and screaming for a scoop (or two or three) of your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream. I’m an oat milk vanilla girl myself.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp

Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp is super summery and wildly quick and simple to make. It’s perfect for cookouts and dinner parties, but if you can swing it, it’ll really hit the spot on vacation with two of your favorite people.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp
Vegan, Gluten-Free Peachy Berry Crisp
makes one 9-10 inch dish, about 6 servings

Filling:
5 cups sliced ripe peaches (about 7-8 medium peaches)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crisp Topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter (or refined coconut oil), melted

For serving:
dairy-free vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish or cast iron pan with vegan butter (or refined coconut oil). Set aside.

Place peach slices in a medium mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add blueberries and gently fold together. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl (I just wipe out the one I used for the fruit), whisk together oats, almond flour, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter (or coconut oil) and stir until everything is saturated. It may seem sandy; this is okay. Scatter topping onto the fruit.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and peaches are tender. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with dairy-free vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

When I don’t know what to make, I make magic bars. I have all sorts of recipes for them on this site—vanilla malt, peanut butter-Oreo, and s’mores are some of my favorites. As long as I have sweetened condensed milk in my pantry, nothing is safe from being turned into a magic bar.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

These layered bars are so easy to make and so good. I mean, how could a buttery crumb crust topped with chewy, caramelly filling possibly be bad?! There is barely any mixing involved; the majority of the ingredients are layered or scattered into the pan. Their titular “magic” comes from the way their sweetened condensed milk-based filling seems to assemble itself in the oven.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

Today’s variation involves sweet, chewy coconut, smooth white chocolate, and buttery spice from Biscoff cookies. These are a little unusual, but definitely still magical. Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars are super simple to make, containing just seven ingredients and taking under an hour to prepare. Simply mix together the Biscoff cookie crumb crust, bake it for a few minutes, then layer the filling ingredients on top and bake again. Make sure to let these bars cool completely so that the caramelized sweetened condensed milk will set up properly—we love clean slices!

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars

Now you might be wondering “why these flavors?” Well, as I alluded to above, magic bars are a great way to bake with the odds and ends in your pantry. I opened mine one day and saw the dregs of some coconut, the last of a bag of white chocolate chips, and a sleeve of Biscoff cookies—simple as that. The light spice of the Biscoff and the oven-toasted coconut compliment each other incredibly well, and the white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk add richness and texture.

If you’re not already sold, you’ll have to trust me that these bars are much more than the sum of their seven parts. Or, you know, you can dig into your own cabinets and make a weird and wonderful magic bar recipe of your own.

Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars
Coconut Biscoff Magic Bars
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

26 Biscoff cookies, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping
6 Biscoff cookies, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease again. Set aside.

Place 20 Biscoff cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add brown sugar and melted butter. Pulse until combined. Alternatively, cookies may be crushed in a bag and crust ingredients may be mixed in a bowl.

Transfer crust mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over crust. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to carefully spread into an even layer. Scatter coconut over the top, followed by white chocolate chips.

Break remaining 6 Biscoff cookies into pieces and scatter over the top. Use the palms of your hands to lightly press the toppings into the sweetened condensed milk. Bake for 30-32 minutes, tenting pan with foil if anything becomes too dark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled. The bars will set as they cool. Top with more white chocolate chips if desired.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

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