Category Archives: Chocolate

Friday Favorites: The Last Five Years

Leading up to this site’s five year anniversary earlier this week, I spent some time scrolling through my archives in search of my absolute favorite E2 Bakes recipes. I stand by them all, of course, but there are over 500. I have favorites. There, I said it.

For context, these favorites are the ones I return to time and time again, or those that are simply the best I’ve ever had in various categories. After going through the recipe index, this list was 50 recipes long! I could absolutely write a little blurb about each of them, but I didn’t want to subject you or myself to that. I’ve painstakingly pared it down to ten twelve fifteen. So here they are: fifteen recipes to encompass the last five years.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsCocoa Brownies

Of all the brownie recipes I’ve made I’m the last five years, these are my favorites. Even with a cocoa base, they’re fudgy as can be. Oh, and they’re easy too—you can mix the batter right in the pot you use to melt the butter, sugar and cocoa! These were my first post (and my 544th!), and I can guarantee you that I’ll still be obsessed with them when I hit a thousand posts and beyond.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsOvernight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
I grew up near a truly excellent doughnut shop, and have been surprisingly disappointed in the quality of doughnuts in New York City. (For your safety and mine, let’s never discuss The Doughnut Plant.) I’ve found one (!) doughnut that I like in thirteen years of residency. One! That’s unacceptable. Long story short, I started making my own yeast-raised doughnuts and never looked back. These are legitimately the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. Ever. In my life. And I know, because I have used this recipe over and over to make twists and cinnamon roll doughnuts and…again, they are *the* best doughnuts I’ve ever had in my life.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsBanana Pudding Cookies

These cookies were my first baking Everest. Inspired by the phenomenal Banana Pudding Pudgies at Evelyn’s Kitchen in East Harlem, these took me a year to perfect, but it was entirely worth it. These soft, chewy cookies are beyond delicious, and they taste *exactly* like banana pudding. Exactly.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Cookie cake is probably one of my top five favorite desserts ever. I mean, who wouldn’t love a giant, sliceable soft-centered cookie with a buttercream border? It’s the dream.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsSour Cream Waffles

These are the best waffles I’ve ever had. Period. Every time I have leftover egg whites or sour cream, these are the first things that get made. This means I have an ample freezer stash for waffle emergencies, of which there are many. Many many many.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsNeapolitan Cake

Confession: I have never worked with fondant and am actually kind of afraid of it.

Another Confession: I don’t quite get the obsession with super tall cakes with an absurd amount of buttercream and drips and all that. Just give me the cake! I don’t need all the stuff.

All that said, this Neapolitan Cake is probably as close as I’ll get to any intricate layer cakes. Checkerboard inside, heavily piped outside, and not a drop of food coloring—that strawberry pink is the real deal. This one is super fun to make, even if it is a labor of love.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsPretzel Shortbread

Last fall, I heard about Lost Bread Co.’s pretzel shortbread, and instead of being a normal person and ordering some, I made my own. That sort of stubbornness is kind of my thing, and how I got into this whole baking racket in the first place! Made with crushed up pretzels in the dough and then pretzeled themselves (much easier than it sounds), these little cookies are salty, sweet and fabulous, just like me.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsWedding Cake Trilogy {I, II & III}

There is no single recipe for this wedding cake. Instead, it was made with my go-to vanilla cake, filled with alternating mocha and caramel puddings, and frosted with creamy Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Oh yeah, and it was served to hundreds at the Central Park Boat House back when we used to go do things inside together and the idea of attending a wedding didn’t give me heart palpitations. But for real, this is one of the proudest accomplishments of my baking journey, and I was honored to have the opportunity.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsSweet Cherry Rhubarb Galette

While Cocoa Brownies were the first recipe to appear on this site, a tiny Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Galette was the first baked good to be pictured. Three years later, I still loved it and posted the recipe. Fast forward two more years and I’m looking forward to spring so I can make this simple sweet-tart galette again!
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsHot Fudge

This is a warning that if you start making your own Hot Fudge, you will be ruined for all other hot fudges forever. This stuff is dark and glossy and sooo much better than anything you’ll find in stores.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsPumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies

Making these Pumpkin Oatmeal Creme Pies was the first instance in which I didn’t feel like a food blogging impostor. I knew what I wanted, I knew how to make it, I knew how I wanted it to look, and then I freaking did it. Five years later, I’m still over the moon for these soft pumpkin oatmeal cookies and their perfect marshmallow filling. Little Debbie who?

(If pumpkin isn’t your thing, I’ve got a regular version too.)
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsSlow-Roasted Pulled Pork

I get so overwhelmed by holiday baking every year that I’ve taken to mostly posting weeknight meals every January. I’ve never publicized it this way, but I personally refer to this time of the blogging year as “Savory January,” because by that point, I can barely stand to look at dessert. There are lots of meals in my archives (scroll to the Savory section at the bottom!), but this Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork is probably my favorite. It’s perfectly seasoned throughout, and where some slow cooker pulled porks get soggy, this version has crispy cracklings and is moist but never wet. Seriously, it’s the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. And while it takes time and preparation, it’s shockingly easy and makes enough to freeze for later. You know, for when you feel an enchilada craving coming on.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsButtermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate…gravy?! You better believe it. My grandma made this classic southern combo for my sisters and me every chance she got. Super flaky, savory biscuits and sweet chocolate gravy are a match made in breakfast heaven.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsToasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

If you had told me five years ago that I’d have a startling number of vegan, gluten-free recipes on this site, I wouldn’t have believed you. I previously saw leaving out dairy, eggs and flour as near-impossible limitations, but now I look forward to the challenge of developing these recipes…and the dessert. Especially when it’s s’mores made with these delicious Toasted Oat Graham Crackers.
Friday Favorites: The Last Five YearsChocolate Mousse Pie {No-Bake}

This is one of the easiest pie recipes on this site, and also maybe ever…? It’s deeply chocolaty with a smooth, light texture and an Oreo crust—oh, and it’s no bake. So, like, best pie ever? You tell me.

What are your favorite E2 Bakes recipes? Tell me in the comments or on social media! I want to know what you love to bake!Friday Favorites: The Last Five Years

Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}

Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}E2 Bakes Brooklyn is five years old today! Yep, this little blog is exactly half a decade and 544 posts old. I can’t believe it.

This post, lucky number 544, has the distinction of being my very first repeat. I mean, I’ve used the same chocolate cake in a few different recipes and I have repurposed the same sugar cookie dough at least five times, but this is my first straight-up repeat recipe.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Today, I’m remaking the Cocoa Brownies that I posted on day one: October 21, 2015. They are a twist on Alice Medrich’s stellar recipe, and though I have made many more brownies in the intervening years, these are still my favorites. They’re dark, dense and fudgy, and so chocolaty, you’d never guess that all their flavor comes from cocoa powder.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}But still, do they warrant a repeat? Even on an anniversary? Well, call me nostalgic, but yes. And for the record, I’m not just revisiting my first post for nostalgia’s sake. As my favorite writer/comedian/Deranged Millionaire/actor/podcaster/celebrity crush, John Hodgman, likes to say, “Nostalgia is the most toxic impulse.” What that means is that you need to live in the present. And in my present, I’ve got unfinished business with my Cocoa Brownies.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}I mean, I like my first post and the recipe, but the photos? Yikes. They’re not my worst ever, but they’re not great. I’ve gone back and re-done the photos on a few posts in the last couple of years, but it seems wrong somehow to mess with the first post, even with its weird formatting and stilted instructions. 2015 Liz was super proud and excited about finally starting this blog, and I don’t want to diminish that in any way. It was a moment in (my) food blogging time.

That said, today is another a moment in (my) food blogging time—a moment in which Cocoa Brownies finally get the photoshoot they deserve. While I am not a pro food photographer or stylist, I have learned a lot while photographing 544 posts, all on iPhones and nearly all with the same Carrara marble pie board as backdrop.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}And baking? I’ve learned ten times as much about baking in the last five years as I have about photography. Still, these Cocoa Brownies didn’t need much of an update recipe-wise. In remaking them, I only made one major adjustment: I mixed them right in the pot where I bloomed (melted together) the butter, cocoa, and sugars. You can, of course, just mix the batter in a bowl, but why add more dishes if you don’t have to, am I right?! I simply waited for the cocoa mixture to cool a few minutes so I could add the eggs without scrambling them, then stirred in the dry ingredients. Then I just transferred the batter into an 8-inch square pan. Et voila!Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}I decided to top this pan of goodness off with a pecan mosaic. My dad, the primary brownie baker in my family, always uses pecans to write something on his brownies—initials, greetings, silly words–and I like to as well. I think today warrants a “5,” don’t you?Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies bake in 30 minutes and cool in about an hour, making them the perfect simple treat for celebrating one of my biggest accomplishments to date—one that I couldn’t have done without you. This blog has helped me make new friends, reconnect with old ones, strengthen existing relationships, and interact with so many people that I truly would never have met if it weren’t for this compulsive home-baking and over-sharing habit of mine. Thank you for the kind notes, laughs, likes, questions, comments, and social media posts—for just being a part of this community. It means the world.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}

Cocoa Brownies
adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
pecan halves for decorating, optional

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter again. Set aside.

In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter, granulated and brown sugars, and cocoa powder together, stirring frequently, until a thick, grainy mixture forms. Remove from heat and let mixture cool 5-7 minutes.

Add vanilla and eggs to the pot, and stir/whisk to combine. Add flour and salt and stir/whisk to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread to the edges. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Top with pecans, if desired.

Bake brownies 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (not wet batter).

Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan before using parchment overhang to lift brownies onto a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice brownies into 16 or 25 pieces. 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. These may also be layered with wax paper or parchment and frozen.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}

Mini Mason Jar Chocolate Cheesecakes

Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesIt has been documented on here that I fear making cheesecakes, but that’s not exactly true. I don’t fear cheesecake, I fear a leaking springform pan in a water bath (bain marie). Yes, I know you are supposed to wrap it in foil, but I’ve never seen anyone explain in exacting, painstaking, borderline-dull detail how you should do that so that there is absolutely no risk of leakage. And so, I have still (!!!) never made a traditional baked-in-a-springform cheesecake.

I have, however, made cheescake bars, cheesecake thumbprints, cheesecake brownies, cheesecake blondies, vegan cheesecakes, and now two different kinds of Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes, because while I may not be super brave, I am nothing if not a problem solver.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesThese Mini Mason Jar Chocolate Cheesecakes are SO good, y’all. So. Good. And they come in very cute, water tight, social distancing-approved serving vessels. Super rich, chocolaty filling, Oreo crust *and* no fiddling with a springform pan? Sign me up!Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesThe crusts for these little cheesecakes are just Oreos and melted butter blitzed together in a food processor. Spoon a couple tablespoons into each of your mason jars and give them a few minutes in the oven before adding your filling.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesThis chocolate cheesecake filling is super chocolaty from melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and has a little extra depth from light brown sugar (though granulated works too). The rest of the ingredients are standard cheesecake fare: cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and an egg.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesBy far, the most important advice I can give you about making cheesecake is to make absolutely sure that your ingredients are at room temperature. If you’re more organized than I am, you can set your cream cheese out the night before. If you’re like me, just let it hang out (in its packaging) in a bowl of lukewarm tap water for 15 minutes. Throw your egg in there for maximum efficiency.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesMini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesYou can make the filling in your food processor (just wipe it out) or use a mixer. Either way, make sure to give the bowl some taps on the counter and let it rest a few minutes to release any large air bubbles before baking. Then spoon it onto your crusts and bake for about 25 minutes. Let the baked cheesecakes hang out in their water bath for five more minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. This brief step helps them transition from the hot oven to your cooler counters more seamlessly. Cheesecakes are divas, in case you couldn’t already tell.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesOnce your chocolate cheesecakes hit room temperature, throw them in the fridge for a few hours to get nice and cold. This will seem endless, but will give you plenty of time to dream up toppings. I went for my new favorite Chocolate Whipped Cream and chocolate sprinkles, but you could do chocolate shell, chopped candy bars, fresh fruit or anything else your heart desires.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesI won’t lie to you, Mini Mason Jar Chocolate Cheesecakes are a commitment, but take one bite and I promise you’ll agree that theyre entirely worth the effort. They’re super smooth and tangy with a big hit of chocolate, and that Oreo crust…well, I think we can all agree that Oreo crust should probably run for president.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesAnd on that note, enjoy this unofficial last weird weekend of this extremely weird summer. It’ll be two more weeks before I break out the pumpkin, and while that seems like eternity, I hope these chocolate cheesecakes soften the blow.Mini Mason Jar Chocolate Cheesecakes

Mini Mason Jar Chocolate Cheesecakes
makes 6 small cheesecakes

Crust:
12 Oreos
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:
1 8 ounce brick full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream (or Greek yogurt), room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2.5 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 large egg, room temperature

For Garnish:
Chocolate Whipped Cream
chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag)
Homemade Chocolate Shell

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 6 4-ounce mason jars.

Make the crust. Place Oreos and melted butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles wet sand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the crust mixture into eat prepared mason jar. Press down to form a crust. Place mason jar crusts in a high-rimmed dish. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Make cheesecake filling. You have two options:

If using a food processor: Wipe out any errant crust pieces. Add cream cheese, brown sugar and cocoa powder to the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary. Add sour cream and vanilla and process until smooth. Whirl in melted chocolate. Add egg and process just until combined. Tap bowl on the counter 10 times and let batter rest 10 minutes.

If using a mixer: In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in brown sugar and cocoa powder, followed by sour cream and vanilla, until mixture is smooth. Mix in chocolate. Add egg and mix just until combined. Tap bowl on the counter 10 times and let batter rest 10 minutes.

Once your batter is rested, divide the cheesecake mixture into the mason jars, about 1/4 cup each. Use the back of a spoon to lightly smooth out the tops, then tap each one on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Return jars to the high-rimmed pan, and place the pan on a counter near the oven.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Carefully pour water into the baking pan until it is halfway up the sides of the cheesecakes. Do not get water in the mason jars. Carefully move pan into the oven. Bake 25 minutes, or until puffed and *barely* jiggly in the centers. Let cheesecakes stay in their water bath for 5 more minutes.

Use tongs to carefully remove mason jar cheesecakes to a rack. Do not get water in the mason jars.

Let cheesecakes cool completely on a rack; the centers will collapse a bit. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap. Garnish with chocolate whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, homemade chocolate shell, or other desired topping before serving.

Store leftover cheesecakes in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To freeze, press plastic wrap to the surfaces of the cheesecakes and screw on mason jar lids. Freeze for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in a dish of lukewarm water at room temperature for an hour.

Mini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesMini Mason Jar Chocolate CheesecakesMini Mason Jar Chocolate Cheesecakes

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped CreamFor most of my 35 years, I’ve been under the impression that whipped cream is a perfect food. At it’s simplest, it’s just cream and air, and it goes on pretty much everything. Truly, it’s a one ingredient recipe (or two if you add sugar, or three with vanilla) to rule them all. I literally cannot think of a dessert that isn’t improved by the addition of whipped cream. It’s as perfect as a garnish gets…Chocolate Whipped Cream…or so I thought before I whipped cocoa powder into it. Chocolate Whipped Cream is a more perfect food. Beyond perfect, really. And I say this as an outspoken vanilla person. *clutches pearls*Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamLike classic whipped cream, Chocolate Whipped Cream is a snap to make. Simply whip cold heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Alternatively, small batches take well to my beloved jar method.Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped Cream is every bit as airy and smooth as it’s classic counterpart, and has a deep chocolate flavor to boot. I prefer mine on the bittersweet side, but feel free to bump up the confectioner’s sugar if you prefer yours sweeter. Oh, and if you don’t have confectioner’s sugar on hand, the granulated stuff will work just as well, although your final product may not be quite as stable.Chocolate Whipped CreamAs for ways to use Chocolate Whipped Cream, follow your dessert-loving little heart. Use it as a fruit dip or as a topper on homemade sundaes, sandwich it between cookies, triple the batch and frost a cake, whatever. You can’t go wrong. Here, it’s topping a bunch of little chocolate cheesecakes. Recipe coming at you Friday…Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped Cream
makes enough for 6-8 desserts

1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2-4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, depending on preference

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip or scoop with a spoon and use as desired.

Leftover Chocolate Whipped Cream should be covered and refrigerated. It may need to be lightly re-whipped before serving.Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped Cream

Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on here a few times over the years, but always as a part of another recipe. I’ve used it to finish an ice cream cake, as a dip for truffles, and just as a drizzle, but we all know chocolate shell shines brightest on a scoop of ice cream. It’s high time that it gets its own post.Homemade Chocolate ShellChocolate shell is both entertainment and dessert. It goes on ice cream (or anything cold) like chocolate syrup and then magically transforms into a hard edible shell right in front of your eyes! It’s no wonder the popular store brand is marketed as Magic Shell.Homemade Chocolate ShellThe “magic” of chocolate shell was a mystery to me for years—how did they do that?! Turns out, mostly with ingredients and preservatives that I’d rather not ingest whenever I get a hankering for a bowl of ice cream with a snappy chocolate topping. Imagine my utter delight when I discovered Homemade Chocolate Shell could be made with just two easy-to-find, vegan ingredients!Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellYes, all you need to make Homemade Chocolate Shell are four ounces of bittersweet chocolate and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt them together, stir until smooth, and then drizzle—or let’s be real, pour—it over a scoop (or three) of ice cream. Then watch as the glossy sauce magically turns into a matte shell in a matter of seconds! It works because coconut oil solidifies at 76F, but that’s way less fun than calling it magic.Homemade Chocolate ShellNot only is Homemade Chocolate Shell made of less-terrifying ingredients than the store bought stuff, it’s more delicious, too. You control the quality of ingredients here, and that goes double since there are only two of them. This batch was made with Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate and refined coconut oil because those are things that I like and keep on hand.

You may wonder, why refined coconut oil? The answer is simple: because it doesn’t taste like coconut. I like my Homemade Chocolate Shell to taste only of chocolate. That said, if you only have extra virgin coconut oil and don’t mind a little coconut flavor in your chocolate shell, it will work just fine.Homemade Chocolate ShellHands down, my second favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell is thwacking through it with the side of a spoon. There’s nothing quite like that satisfying snap and the shards of cold chocolate that melt in your mouth.

My first favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell? Actually eating it. Duh.Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate Shell
makes about 3/4 cup

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined/high heat)

Combine chopped chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool 8-10 minutes for optimal pouring consistency (so it doesn’t melt off whatever it’s coating). Pour or drizzle over ice cream or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover chocolate shell will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell