Author Archives: Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

About Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

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

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate SyrupMy dad is the kind of person who just *needs* something sweet at the end of each day, probably because he was raised by someone who always had a chocolate cake on her kitchen counter. Aside from brownies though, he’s not much of a baker and neither is my mother, so homemade desserts weren’t a huge part of my family life growing up. Still, we were a small-dessert-every-night sort of family. We always had something sweet in our weekly grocery haul–Oreos, pecan sandies, popsicles–but I think, if asked, we’d all agree that the best dessert was always vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Homemade Chocolate SyrupFast forward fifteen-ish years to me living the professional home baker life in New York in the middle of a pandemic. I can pretty much make whatever dessert I want, and maybe it’s because the weather is warming up or I’m feeling nostalgic or a little homesick, but all I really want right now is vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.Homemade Chocolate SyrupNow, I do not have much desire to begin making my own vanilla ice cream, but Homemade Chocolate Syrup? That, I need. Like many of us, I grew up with Hershey’s Syrup in the fridge, but now that I’ve started making my own chocolate syrup, I’m ruined for storebought forever. Deeply chocolaty, a little tangy, just thick enough, pourable even when it’s fridge-cold—this is the stuff my ice cream dreams are made of.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupAlso, my chocolate milk dreams. I generally cannot abide liquid dairy, but put some chocolate syrup in a glass of whole milk and I. am. interested.Homemade Chocolate Syrup beats the pants off of every storebought version I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn up my nose if someone offered me a scoop of ice cream with a drizzle of Hershey’s Syrup on top—I’m not a monster!—but it simply can’t compete with this stuff. Where the syrups you’ll find on shelves are cloyingly sweet, lacking in chocolate flavor and full of ingredients none of us can pronounce, this one is super chocolaty from cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, has a little depth from brown sugar, and requires six ingredients that you very well may have in your pantry right now. Oh, and it’s vegan.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort to make Homemade Chocolate Syrup, the answer is a resounding “yes.” This is essentially a souped-up simple syrup with a little chopped chocolate and vanilla extract stirred in at the end. We’re talking twelve minutes start-to-finish for a pint (that’s two cups!) of chocolate syrup. I haven’t done the math, but I’m fairly certain this is less expensive than storebought, too.Homemade Chocolate SyrupWith that, I rest my case…and also tiptoe into my kitchen at 2am for some ice cream and Homemade Chocolate Syrup. Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
makes about 2 cups

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small pot or saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cocoa and salt to remove any large lumps. Add water and whisk to combine.

Place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until it comes to a simmer, then constantly for 5 minutes while it simmers. Mixture will expand dramatically. Remove from heat.

Whisk in chopped chocolate, followed by vanilla. Let cool a bit in the pot before transferring to a jar (or other container) for storage.

Chocolate syrup will keep covered in the refrigerator. Stir before using.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate Syrup

S’mores Magic Bars

S’mores Magic BarsThis summer is going to be a little different, but one thing remains the same: its unofficial kick-off, Memorial Day, is coming up next week. While it’s highly unlikely that I’ll find myself around a campfire or even on a rooftop anytime soon, I will not let this year go by without a s’mores-centric treat.S’mores Magic BarsIs there anything that says “summer” quite like a s’more? I mean, what’s not to love about crisp graham cracker, milk chocolate (or lemon curd!) and toasted marshmallow stacked together while everything’s still gooey?S’mores Magic BarsThese S’mores Magic Bars aren’t your traditional summertime fare, but they have plenty of graham crackers (in the form of crust and crispy shards), chopped milk chocolate and toasted marshmallows. It straight-up doesn’t count as a s’mores dessert if the marshmallows aren’t toasted, am I right?!S’mores Magic BarsS’mores Magic BarsS’mores Magic BarsAs with all magic bars, these are held together with a can of sweetened condensed milk. It serves as the structural backbone of this whole operation (along with the graham crust), and caramelizes in the oven for a toffee undertone.

S’mores + toffee = basically everything I’ve ever wanted.S’mores Magic BarsThe sweetened condensed milk also gives these bars a slightly gooey finish, which is a good thing because while the marshmallows do get nice and golden brown, they also have to cool completely before you slice the bars. Like I said, we’re not going for tradition, we’re going for the most efficient way to get toasted marshmallow, graham cracker and milk chocolate into our faces in a less than ideal summer situation!S’mores Magic BarsAlso, unlike traditional s’mores, these sweet squares will stay good for days after baking. Days! That’s a very good thing, because I have a feeling I’m going to need a few batches between now and Labor Day.S’mores Magic Bars

S’mores Magic Bars
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan

Crust:
9 sheets graham crackers
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 cups mini marshmallows, divided
2 sheets graham crackers, broken into small pieces
4 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Place an oven rack in the center position. 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.

Make the crust. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until no large pieces remain. Add light brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Process until the mixture resembles wet sand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer the mixture to prepared pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup (or clean hands) to press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool it on a rack for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

Pour 1/2 cup of the sweetened condensed milk into a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.

Drizzle remaining sweetened condensed milk onto crust. Top with 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, followed by graham pieces and chopped milkchocolate.

Drizzle on reserved sweetened condensed milk and scatter on remaining mini marshmallows. Bake 30-32 minutes, until everything is golden brown and the center of the pan just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use parchment overhang to remove them to a cutting board before slicing with a large, sharp chef’s knife. For clean edges, carefully wipe the knife blade clean with a damp towel between cuts.

Layer leftovers with wax paper (or parchment) in an airtight container. Bars will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.S’mores Magic BarsS’mores Magic Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeI had the idea for this Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake after making Double Funfetti Crumb Cake last year and have just been waiting for the right occasion to make it. Why, you may wonder, is today the right day for this cake? Because May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day!Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeGenerally speaking, I’m not a big celebrator of food holidays, but I seem to always remember Pi Day, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, and Chocolate Chip Day. While these are all silly occasions, I feel like this is *the* time for silly occasions. After all, it’s the 64th day of lockdown here in NYC—Chocolate Chip Day and especially this Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake have never been more necessary.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeI mean, look at that pillowy soft chocolate chip cake! It’s buttery, tight-crumbed, and super moist thanks to half a cup of sour cream. It’s almost enough to restore my hope for the future.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeOh, and speaking of restoring hope in things, let’s discuss the crispy chocolate chip cookie crumb topping! It’s the real star of this show. Think streusel, but instead of cinnamon there’s a bunch of brown sugar and chocolate chips in the mix—it’s actual perfection.

If you want to get fancy, you could brown the butter in the crumb topping. I’m gonna do that next time as part of that hope in the future thing.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeIf you want perfectly clean slices and have slightly more patience than I do, you can wait til the cake has cooled completely before divvying it up. I ceased having extra patience 42 days ago, so the pictured slice is a little scraggly…but as a perk, the chocolate chips are still soft. I will choose melty chocolate over aesthetics any day, anytime. But, like, especially today and right now. The future can wait while I finish my slice of cake.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeHappy Chocolate Chip Day, dear readers.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10-12 servings

Chocolate Chip Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips

Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a springform pan. Set aside.

Make the crumb topping. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form. Stir in miniature chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg, sour cream and vanilla; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the milk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining milk. Use a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) to fold in miniature chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Use your fingers to evenly distribute crumb over the top. Tap full pan a few times on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Bake cake for 65-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. If you’d like, let the cake cool completely, invert it and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Slice and serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeChocolate Chip Cookie Crumb CakeChocolate Chip Cookie Crumb Cake

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk PancakesI want you to know that these took me a while—like 24 test batches, and also years of making subpar pancakes and wondering if there was something wrong with me or if I should give in to a lifetime of Bisquick.

How difficult could pancakes from scratch possibly be? Well, not difficult at all, it turns out. I just had to stop nitpicking and get out of my own damn way. Very good, very easy Buttermilk Pancakes happen when I stop nitpicking and get out of my own damn way.Buttermilk Pancakes These Buttermilk Pancakes are on the thick and fluffy side of things—perfect for piling high with butter and maple syrup. They are so soft and tender that I can’t get enough, which is a very good thing considering that I have 24 batches-worth triple-wrapped in plastic and stacked into columns in my freezer. I’d invite you all over for pancakes and Sahadi coffee if inviting blog friends over to eat reheated leftovers weren’t extra weird. Also, the whole pandemic thing.Buttermilk PancakesAnyway…I didn’t reinvent the wheel here. Flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, salt, buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla—those are the ingredients you’ll find in most buttermilk pancakes, including mine. You’ll notice that the volume of wet ingredients far surpasses the dry, so these are fluffy but not heavy or rubbery.Buttermilk PancakesI don’t have any magical tips for you except to rest the batter for a few minutes (it will change dramatically as the gluten develops), make sure your surface isn’t too hot, and don’t cook your batter in too much fat. That last bit of advice seems to be the secret to evenly-browned pancakes, at least when it comes to this recipe. I brush the pan with oil and then wipe out any excess with a paper towel before pouring batter.Buttermilk PancakesThese are buttermilk pancakes, so I tested them primarily with full- and low-fat buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use a vinegar/lemon juice + milk substitute. Your pancakes will be a little thinner than mine, but they will still be delicious. I also had pancake success with a mixture of 1 cup sour cream and 1 cup milk. Yogurt and milk would probably work just fine, too. We’re making pancakes, not doing rocket science–work with what you have.

Oh, and don’t worry about whisking out every last lump in your batter. In fact, you absolutely shouldn’t do that. Normally we’d want those bits of unincorporated flour and leaveners gone, but here they keep the gluten from overdeveloping and the baking powder and soda from all reacting at once. All of that is a very long way of saying that a few lumps keep our pancakes tender and fluffy instead of tough and chewy.Buttermilk PancakesYou may think this batter is particularly thick, or at least I do (maybe from my lifetime of Bisquick?), but it’s still pourable. I find that rotating my wrist/the measuring cup 90 degrees while pouring batter onto the pan helps to develop a good round shape…not that I’ve ever discriminated against a pancake based on its shape. Pancake positivity all the way.Buttermilk PancakesAs for when to make and eat Buttermilk Pancakes, I know the weekend is traditional, but days are just days now, and there’s never really a bad time for pancakes, now is there? Maybe, just this once, be like me–Stop nitpicking and get out of your own damn way. Very good, very easy pancakes happen when you stop nitpicking and get out of your own damn way.Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes
makes about 18 pancakes

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature*
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, cold or room temperature (both work)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola or vegetable oil, for cooking

For serving:
pats of butter
maple syrup

Preheat oven to 200F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until no streaks of flour remain—there will still be some lumps. Let batter rest 5-10 minutes.

Heat your griddle or pan (I used anodized non-stick and cast iron) over medium heat for a few minutes, until heated through. Brush with oil (or grease lightly), then wipe excess out with a folded paper towel or dish towel.

Stir rested batter one or two strokes. Pour 1/4 cup increments of batter on greased pan. Let cook 2-3 minutes, until bubbles are forming and they are turning golden. Flip with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes, or until the bottom is turning golden. Remove to prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until serving.

Continue making pancakes with remaining batter, greasing the pan only as necessary.

Serve immediately with pats of butter and maple syrup.

Leftover pancakes may be stacked in threes, triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for a couple of months. Discard plastic and microwave 2.5 to 3 minutes before serving.

Note:

I take the chill off my buttermilk by microwaving it for 35-45 seconds and giving it a stir with a fork before using.Buttermilk Pancakes Buttermilk PancakesButtermilk Pancakes

Friday Favorites: Bananas

Any guesses as to the number one thing I’ve been asked for this pandemic? Anyone? Bueller?

Okay, I’ll tell you—it’s things to do with ripe bananas! I feel like I’ve been passing out banana bread recipes right and left for the last two months. Here are a few favorite banana breads and muffins, and a few more things to do with brown bananas. I figured you might like to have some options for the duration.Friday Favorites: BananasWhole Wheat Banana Bread

This soft and tender loaf has a little extra depth from whole wheat flour. There’s also a little life hack in the post for getting bananas to ripen in minutes rather than days. The more you know…Friday Favorites: BananasChocolate Banana Bread

This double chocolate banana bread is somewhere between breakfast and dessert. Incidentally, that is the exact time of day I like to enjoy it—anywhere between breakfast and dessert!

Friday Favorites: BananasSmall Batch Banana Muffins

One banana, six muffins, accidentally vegan. Need I say more?Friday Favorites: BananasOne-Banana Banana Bread

…okay, I’ll say that you can use the same basic formula from above (plus an egg or vegan egg substitute) and make a teeny loaf of banana bread. Small batch baking for the win!Friday Favorites: BananasWhole Grain Banana Muffins

One last banana bread/muffin/what have you, because heaven knows you can never have too many. These whole grain banana muffins are made with a ton of oats in addition to whole wheat flour, toasted walnuts, and chocolate chips. Yum!Friday Favorites: BananasWhole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars

Reading through the post, It seems I sort of tried to pass these off as a healthier option back in 2016. Not so sure about that, but I do know that these bars—made with oats,whole wheat flour, chocolate chips and one very ripe banana—are super delicious.Friday Favorites: BananasCaramelized Banana Milkshakes

Bananas cooked in butter and brown sugar and then whirled into a vanilla milkshake? Sign me up!Friday Favorites: BananasBanana Pecan Sticky Buns

The best sort of weekend breakfast! Sliced ripe bananas are rolled into cinnamon buns, baked over a lake of sticky pecan caramel, and then inverted so it all runs together in a truly wonderful way.Friday Favorites: BananasBanana Snickerdoodles

These soft, cinnamon-spiked banana cookies are coated in a thin, crackling layer of cinnamon-sugar. So, so, sooooo good.Friday Favorites: BananasBanana Pudding Cookies

I have had many baking “Everests” in the last several years, but this was the first. These soft, chewy, white chocolate chip studded cookies taste exactly (*exactly*) like banana pudding. They don’t contain a box of pudding mix either, instead relying on a mixture of powdered milk and cornstarch. Oh, and they are absurdly delicious and you should make a batch as soon as possible.Friday Favorites: BananasNo-Churn Banana Pudding Ice Cream

I love a no-churn ice cream, especially when it’s scented with vanilla and studded with banana and crumbled vanilla wafers! This was the most popular recipe on my site in 2016–believe the hype!

Have you made any of these or any of my other banana recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: BananasFriday Favorites: Bananas