Author Archives: Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

About Liz {E2 Bakes Brooklyn}

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

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsUntil a few weeks ago, I hadn’t put a muffin recipe on here in about 2.5 years—it’s been even longer for cupcakes. If you had asked why, I would have said it’s because I hate cleaning muffin pans, which is the absolute truth. Too many corners for stuff to get stuck.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsAnd while muffin/cupcake liners are the obvious solution to that problem, there was another to contend with: I was not terribly confident in my base muffin recipe. But then I went and tested the crap out of my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and found a formula that works every time and can be adjusted easily without disaster and, well, I made you some Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins. You’re welcome.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsYou read that right: Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins. Basically every good thing in the world in a handheld treat that is somehow suitable for consumption at breakfast.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsThe recipe for these muffins has a few adjustments from the Lemon Poppy Seed version, but not many. Besides the obvious flavor difference, there’s a little more flour and I swapped some of the milk for sour cream, making the batter a little thicker so the Nutella swirls don’t sink.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsAnd speaking of Nutella swirls, they are applied in two phases. Basically, you add half the batter to the muffin cups, then swirl in some Nutella, then top with the remaining batter and swirl in remaining Nutella.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsY’all, these are so good. The interiors are feather soft and the Nutella swirls make every bite extra decadent, as all things with Nutella should be. Also, there’s a little variance in each bite—you could have a little Nutella or you could have a lot! The brown butter is subtle, as it is in my Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes and Chocolate Chip Scones, but brings a little nuance that you wouldn’t get with regular melted butter. Not that making these will regular melted butter would ever be a bad idea.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small-medium mixing bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together brown butter, eggs, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until combined—no more than 15-20 strokes.

Add 2 tablespoons batter to each muffin cup. Drop 1 teaspoon Nutella into each muffin cup and use a toothpick (or thin knife) to swirl it around. Divide remaining batter among muffin cups (about 1 1/2-2 more tablespoons each). Top each with another teaspoon of Nutella and swirl again. Muffin cups will be very full.

Carefully tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-15 minutes.

Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to prepared rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsBrown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsBrown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake BarsAfter declaring that I was going to tackle my fear of cheesecakes (more accurately, the water bath/bain marie) last summer…well, I didn’t do that. I made you a bunch of other stuff though, so I’m not that sorry about it.

Perhaps this will be the year I make a real, mile-high, baked in a water bath, dreamy, creamy, wonderful cheesecake. But perhaps not. I’m going get my cheesecake fix either way though with these Oreo Cheesecake Bars.Oreo Cheesecake BarsNot only are they freaking delicious—Oreos + cheesecake, duh—but they are waaaaay easier to make than a traditional cheesecake. They bake in just 30 minutes and cool in 3 hours (seems like nothing when you remember that most cheesecakes require 8-24!) and require exactly seven ingredients. That’s right, all you need to make a batch of these of these bars are Oreos, melted butter, cream cheese, sugar, an egg, sour cream, and vanilla. And time. And a functioning oven. And a refrigerator.

But like, ten things isn’t much to ask when cheesecake is involved.Oreo Cheesecake BarsThese are incredibly simple to make and they’re the perfect treat to have in the fridge all weekend. Crumbly Oreo crust and a thin layer of tangy cheesecake studded with more Oreos and you didn’t have to use a water bath? Is this real life?!

Yes. Yes, it is. And it is delicious.Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake Bars
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

Crust:
24 whole Oreos
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 whole Oreos, cut/broken into shards

This recipe requires a 3 hour chill after baking. Plan accordingly.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil. Grease well. Set aside.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into in even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes to set. Let cool a few minutes while you prepare the cheesecake.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg, sour cream, and vanilla, until mixture is smooth. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in Oreo pieces, holding back a few for the top, if desired.

Spoon cheesecake mixture over the crust and carefully spread to the edges of the pan. Dot the top with reserved Oreo pieces, if desired. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until the center just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool to room temperature on a rack. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before slicing and serving. For cleanest slices, wipe your knife’s blade clean between cuts.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For best storage, layer bars with sheets of wax paper. They may also be frozen for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Oreo Cheesecake BarsOreo Cheesecake Bars

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsOne of the great things about yeast doughs—aside from the fact that they’re way easier than they’re made out to be—is that they all seem to have multiple uses. My Kolache dough makes kickass Cinnamon Rolls, my Babka dough is really just a filled brioche, and my quickest sweet roll dough can be used for King Cake, Monkey Bread and these Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts!Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsLove a multitasker ❤ ❤ ❤ Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsIf you’ve never heard of pull-aparts, they’re basically a loaf of bread made of individual pieces layered with a filling (sweet or savory) and baked so that the whole can be pulled apart with your fingers instead of sliced with a knife.Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsAchieving this is really simple. The process begins like you’re going to make cinnamon rolls. Make a dough, make a cinnamon-brown sugar filling. Roll that dough out and top it with the filling. Nothing you haven’t (probably) done before.Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsThen, though, things get a little wacky. Instead of rolling the filled dough into a cylinder, it’s sliced into 36 squares, which are then piled into six stacks of six and arranged in a line(-ish thing) down the center of a loaf pan. The assembled loaf is allowed to rise for about an hour and then baked for 40 minutes, until deeply browned on top and cooked through in the center.Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsLet your pull-aparts cool for 20 minutes or so before removing them from the pan. Put the loaf on a serving platter and then blow it a kiss goodbye because it’s going to be quite literally pulled apart in front of your eyes. And it will be glooooorious.Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsI mean, it’s basically the center of a cinnamon roll’s swirl cut into squares and baked into a loaf shape so that it’s soft and gooey on the inside and crisp and brown on the outside and how could that be anything but glooooorious?Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts
makes one 9×5” loaf

Dough:
2 2/3-3 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
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the long sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 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.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients , followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming 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).

Prepare the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×14-inch square. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Brush exposed dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll floured rolling pin lightly over filling to adhere.

Use a pizza cutter or sharp chef’s knife to cut square in 6 strips. Then slice it in 6 strips in the opposite direction, resulting in 36 squares. Pile squares, filling-side-up, in stacks of 6 (you’ll have six stacks of six).

To assemble, take one stack and place in the pan with the plain side (the bottom of the stack) against one of the small ends of the pan. Place 4 more of the stacks in the same position against each other. Turn the remaining stack in the opposite direction so that its plain side (bottom of the stack) is against the remaining small end of the pan.

Cover pan with a clean, dry tea towel (not terrycloth) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes, until doubled in bulk. You know it’s ready when you poke it with your finger and it doesn’t “bounce back.”

Preheat oven to 350F. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until well-browned. If you are concerned about it being done in the center, a thermometer should register at 190F.

Let cool 15-20 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan to release, then use the parchment to lift the loaf onto a surface. Peel off parchment, set on a serving platter and enjoy.

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts are best served warm or room temperature on the day they are made. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-ApartsCinnamon-Sugar Pull-Aparts

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies Oh y’all, I have winter citrus on my mind. Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls, Orange Cardamom Cake, Key Lime Linzers, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins—if you can throw zest or juice into it, I. am. interested.

That goes double for these Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies, which contain plenty of fresh grapefruit zest and juice, and even have some extra zip from a lemon! They’re a little on the soft side with huge citrus flavor—perfect for a party, late night dessert, or pairing with a cup of tea. If you are looking for a recipe to drag you out of the winter doldrums, this is it.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich Cookies are exactly what they sound like. The cookies themselves are a variation on my favorite sugar cookie dough. I nixed the cream cheese in favor of more butter, reduced the baking powder and threw in some grapefruit zest for obvious reasons. They’re baked until they’re just barely done, about 6 minutes.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesThe filling is the completely stellar Grapefruit Curd that I made for kolaches a couple of years ago. It takes some zesting, juicing and whisking, but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. Just make sure to make it ahead so it’s fully chilled by the time you want to assemble.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesPipe it almost to the edges. You want the curd to peek out the sides.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesYou may certainly eat these cookies right after assembly, but I highly recommend refrigerating them for about 6 hours before doing so. This allows the curd to set and the cookies to soften slightly so that everything stays in place when you bite in. You know, instead of falling apart in your hands. Not that that’s a bad thing.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesYou’ll notice that the batch makes 8(-ish) dozen cookies. Don’t let this scare you off! The cookies are teeny, made with a 1 1/2-inch cutter, and will keep for approximately eternity (…or a week) in the fridge. If you want to make fewer larger cookies, feel free to use a 2 1/2-inch cutter and maybe give them an extra minute in the oven. I’m pretty fond of these little gems though. Anything that allows me to eat five cookies in one sitting is okay by me.Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
makes 8-ish dozen very small cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit zest (from about 1 1/2 grapefruits)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:
1 recipe Grapefruit Curd, made ahead & chilled (recipe below)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
cookie cutters

Read through this recipe before beginning. The grapefruit curd will need to be made ahead of time and the assembled cookies are best after a 4-6 hour chill.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub grapefruit zest into sugar. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters.

Working with one quarter at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.

While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Place them at least 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.

Bake cookies 6-7 minutes, until no longer raw looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

To assemble sandwich cookies, place half the baked cookies on a surface bottom-side-up. Load grapefruit curd into a piping bag and snip a small corner. Pipe filling almost to the edge (1/8-1/4-inch blank border on all sides) on each cookie before gently topping with another cookie, bottom-side-down. Repeat until all cookies have been filled.

Place filled cookies on a rimmed baking sheet (or other large-ish pan) and chill for 4-6 hours or overnight before serving. This will slightly soften the cookies and keep the curd from squishing out when you take a bite.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Grapefruit Curd
makes about 1 1/3 cups

1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, from about 2 large grapefruits
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest, from about 2 large grapefruits
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 medium lemon
1 large egg + 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 24 small cubes

Pour grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together grapefruit zest, sugar, warm grapefruit reduction, lemon juice, and eggs. Set bowl over the pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens slightly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Add butter 1-2 cubes at a time, whisking until melted. Continue until all butter is used. This should take 11-15 minutes total.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium mixing bowl. Push curd through sieve to remove zest. Transfer curd to a jar (or other container) and press a piece of plastic wrap to the top. Chill well.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}I would have been content to make and eat only one Boterkoek for the rest of my life, but then my friend, David, had to go and one-up himself on New Year’s Eve by adding a bunch of almond paste.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions, but that night I absolutely resolved to make Almond Boterkoek happen on this blog. It took exactly eight weeks.

Me: 1
2020: 0Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Anyway…David’s go-to Boterkoek (“bow-ter-kook”) already has a hint of almond to complement all the glorious butter, but this one…whoa. It’s super soft in the middle with crispy & buttery edges on the top and bottom, so it’s almost like biting into a piece of marzipan that is coated in a thin layer of butter cake.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Does that make it sound gross? I promise it’s anything but.

Am I making sense? I don’t even know. What I do know is that adding almond paste to Boterkoek is the closest one can get to having a spiritual experience* with a baked good.

*maybe exaggerating…but also, maybe not.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}As with David’s O.G. Boterkoek, this one is no big deal to whip up. You will need to break out your mixer, but I promise that’s the fussiest part of the whole process. Well, except for the part where you have to remove a teaspoon of egg from a beaten egg, but that’s not too annoying. I even found time (30 whole seconds!) to make a crackly almond topping, which I used it to decorate the cake in a way that is much more flattering when it’s all sliced up.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Texture-wise, this dessert is fairly dense–more like a blondie than an American-style cake. This is because it contains no leaveners, therefore depending on the egg and the air that’s whipped into the butter for its minimal lift. If you want a cakier almond cake, try this one.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}I, however, am more than content with a wedge of this buttery-edged, soft-centered almond cake (or whatever) anytime, anywhere, especially right-this-minute as I simultaneously write a blog post and watch Netflix. Yep.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}
makes 1 8-inch cake, about 12 servings

1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon water (not hot)
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces almond paste, pinched into small pieces
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract, according to your preference
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Topping:
1 large egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch pie plate with butter. Set aside.

Crack egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon to remove 1 teaspoon of the egg to a separate bowl. Whisk 1 teaspoon water with the 1 teaspoon of egg to make an egg wash. Set both bowls aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, an electric mixer (or wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease) to beat sugar and almond paste together until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Add butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the larger amount of egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and beat to combine. Add flour and salt and mix until a thick dough forms.

Press dough into prepared pan. Brush egg wash over the top. Use the tines of a fork or edge of a knife to create a crosshatch pattern on top.

Make topping. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg white and sugar. Stir in almonds. Arrange topping on top of cake as desired.

Bake cake 35-40 minutes, or until golden and glossy on top. Cake will slice cleanly when completely cooled, but may be slices and served warm from the pan after 45 minutes.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4. Individual slices may be double-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months.Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}