Salty Pretzel Carmelitas

Salty Pretzel CarmelitasI’m on the first of two back-to-back trips to Maine, but I’m popping in to tell you something important:Salty Pretzel CarmelitasYou should make these Salty Pretzel Carmelitas ASAP. Like tomorrow. Or tonight. Or right now. Call in sick, go get yourself some pretzels and a bag of caramels, and get ready to fall in love.Salty Pretzel CarmelitasOkay, maybe don’t skip work, but definitely do make some time for these. Salty Pretzel CarmelitasSalty Pretzel Carmelitas are everything. I’m not exaggerating. They’re sweet and salty…Salty Pretzel Carmelitascrispy, crunchy…Salty Pretzel Carmelitaschewy, gooey…Salty Pretzel Carmelitaseasy peasy bites of magic. Magic, I tell you.Salty Pretzel CarmelitasSalty Pretzel CarmelitasI really feel like I could just leave it at that, but perhaps you need a more convincing argument as to why you absolutely should make these this weekend.Salty Pretzel CarmelitasBut if two layers of salted, brown sugary, pretzel- and chocolate chip-studded cookie…Salty Pretzel Carmelitasand stretchy, glossy caramel don’t have you running to the kitchen, I don’t know what will.Salty Pretzel Carmelitas

Salty Pretzel Carmelitas
makes one 8-inch square pan, about 9-16 bars

3 cups salted pretzels
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for sprinkling (optional)
1 11-ounce bag caramel candies, unwrapped
6 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter. Set aside.

Place pretzels in a large zip-top bag. Seal bag and place on a counter or other hard, durable surface. Use a rolling pin or heavy pan to crush pretzels until the largest pieces are no more than 1/2-inch in length. This should yield about 1-1 1/3 cups crushed pretzels.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and crushed pretzels. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in melted butter—mixture may be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched. Ensure that the dough is not too warm before folding in chocolate chips. Set aside.

Combine caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Firmly press half the dough (about 2 cups) into an even layer at the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour caramel over the top and smooth to the edges. Scatter remaining dough mixture over the top. Use the palms of your hands to gently pack it into a even layer, covering the caramel.

Bake full pan for 23 minutes, or until turning golden at the edges. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack (you can speed this up in the refrigerator).

Slice bars with a lightly greased chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Do not try to slice bars until they are completely room temperature. If you cooled them in the refrigerator, let them return to room temperature before slicing.

Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Layer them with wax paper to keep them from sticking together.

Salty Pretzel Carmelitas

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Butterscotch Cream Pie {Two Year Anniversary!}

Butterscotch Cream PieThis blog is going to turn two this weekend. Two!

When I posted my first recipe in October of 2015, I didn’t know if I’d make it two months as a blogger, let alone two years!

Butterscotch Cream PieFor those keeping count, that’s 220 recipes, 230 total posts, and about 2,147 cans of LaCroix 😊

Thank you for reading my posts, following me on social media, sharing my work, and most importantly, making my recipes! Your support makes running this little site more fun than work–I can’t wait to see what we bake up in year three 💗 But before we get to that, let’s finish out this second year with Butterscotch Cream Pie.

Butterscotch Cream PieSomething happens around this time every year where I totally lose my ability to think about anything but pie. It’s fall in New York City, y’all–the light is golden, the leaves are turning, it’s…77 degrees.

Butterscotch Cream PieI’ve got plenty of traditional pastry crust pies coming your way next month (because Thanksgiving!), but on what is probably, hopefully one of the last warmish days we’ll have for a while (please, please, please let it be so), I’m sharing a pie that is nearly-no-bake, bursting with caramelized brown sugar flavor, and best served ice cold.

Butterscotch. Cream. Pie.

Butterscotch Cream PieLet’s talk pie crust. I love a traditional graham cracker crust. I’m just crazy about the crumbly texture, the honey graham flavor, and the butter–it’s a combination that simply can’t be beat…

Butterscotch Cream PieButterscotch Cream PieButterscotch Cream Pie…unless you cut it with jagged pieces of saltine cracker. And then mix that combination with dark brown sugar and melted butter. And press it into a pie plate. And bake it ‘til it gets a little toasty. This is definitely one for the sweet & salty obsessed 🙋

Butterscotch Cream PieButterscotch Cream PieIt gets better. We’re going to fill that crust with homemade butterscotch pudding! I took the liberty of testing eight different iterations of butterscotch pudding, and this version is everything I hoped for and more. It’s smooth and creamy and straightforward and you don’t need a candy thermometer to make it. Oh, and it tastes like butterscotch and not just brown sugar…which wouldn’t be anything to complain about, but that’s not what we’re going for today.

Butterscotch Cream PieMaking butterscotch pudding is super simple, but it’s a little different from the pudding fillings you’ll find in my Chocolate and Coconut Cream Pies. One thing it definitely has in common with them? It cannot be left alone. Do not step away. Do not stop whisking. Make sure all your ingredients are prepared and within arm’s reach because once you start making pudding, you’re in it for the long haul. Or like fifteen minutes.

My butterscotch pudding starts with bringing dark brown sugar, light corn syrup (not the same as high fructose corn syrup!), water, and lemon juice to a bubble. This melts the sugar, keeping the finished pudding from being grainy, and gives us that caramelized brown sugar flavor that makes butterscotch so dang good.

Butterscotch Cream PieLet it boil for a minute, whisking constantly all the time, before turning the heat to low and adding some cornstarch and a teaspoon of salt. Then slowly and carefully whisk in three cups of whole milk. This will cause the molten sugar to bubble up somewhat dramatically, but don’t panic! Just keep whisking. Just keep whisking.

From there, the pudding is pretty straightforward. Bring the milk mixture to a boil, whisk half of it into some beaten egg yolks, bring that to a boil, and then remove everything from the heat and stir in some butter and vanilla. For whatever reason, this pudding is more prone to lumps that any others I’ve made. I highly recommend passing it through a sieve (or a clean wire mesh colander) before pouring the filling into the pie crust.

Butterscotch Cream PieOh my.

Press plastic wrap to the top of the pudding and then chill the pie for a few hours. You want it super cold. Remove the plastic wrap, whip some cream, and spread it all over the surface of the pie.

Butterscotch Cream PieButterscotch Cream PieButterscotch Cream PieButterscotch Cream PieMmhmm.

Butterscotch Cream PieY’all, it doesn’t get much better than this. Butterscotch Cream Pie is cold, creamy, sweet, full of buttery, dark brown sugary butterscotch flavor, and has a salty punch from that graham and saltine crust. Aside from a dog, a good man, and a job where I can wear stretchy pants everyday, it’s basically everything I want in life.

Butterscotch Cream PieHappy Friday, y’all. Happy two years, E2 Bakes.

Butterscotch Cream PieLooking for more butterscotch? Or more pie? Try my Salted Butterscotch Pie–it’s the best of both worlds.

Butterscotch Cream Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie

Crust:
3 ounces saltine crackers (about 30 crackers/most of a sleeve)
5 full sheets honey graham crackers
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Butterscotch Filling:
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.

Place saltines and graham crackers in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Close the bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into small pieces. Pour saltine/graham cracker mix to a medium mixing bowl and stir in dark brown sugar. Add melted butter and fold to coat. Press mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Use a measuring cup to help pack the mixture down. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Combine dark brown sugar, light corn syrup, water, and lemon juice in a 4-quart saucepan. Whisking constantly, bring to a bubble over medium-high heat. Let boil one minute before turning heat to low. Do not burn. Whisk in cornstarch and salt. Stir in milk–mixture may boil up violently, but just keep whisking. Return heat to medium-high and continue whisking until mixture thickens and boils for one minute. Remove from heat.

Temper the egg yolks. Whisking the yolks constantly, slowly pour in half of the molten mixture until completely combined. Add egg yolk mixture to the pot and turn heat back up to medium-high. Continue to whisk until mixture boils for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla. Mixture should coat the back of a spoon.

Push filling through a sieve to remove any lumps. Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and chill for at least six hours or overnight.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream.

Serve immediately. Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Butterscotch Cream Pie

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Today’s post is the third new cookie recipe in as many weeks…except that it’s not new at all. These Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies are made with the gluten-free cookie base of my Lindor Truffle Peanut Butter Blossoms and the marshmallow filling from my homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies. Put ‘em together, and you’ve got a sandwich cookie that is stupid easy and crazy delicious.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}This cookie recipe is based on the Fluffernutter Sandwich, which is a perfect food as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t get much better than peanut butter and marshmallow fluff! That rich, creamy, sweet and salty combination is one of the greatest lunch treats out there. And make no mistake, it is a treat. While peanut butter (the natural kind, anyway) is pretty good for you, marshmallow fluff definitely isn’t! Good thing this is a dessert blog–this magical combination is much more suited to a cookie than a main course.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies come together quickly and easily. The cookies are my spin on the classic three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe. My version has six ingredients; aside from the usual peanut butter, egg, and brown sugar, this recipe has vanilla for flavor and cornstarch and baking powder to give the cookies a chewy texture. There’s no flour or butter in this dough or in the filling, so this recipe is free of gluten and dairy 😍

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Scoop the dough by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), roll it into balls, and flatten slightly. They may crack slightly, but that’s sort of a necessary evil here. This dough doesn’t spread much, so the flattening helps the cookies to bake into a shape that lends itself to sandwiching. 

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}And speaking of sandwiching…once the cookies are baked and cooled, make the filling. Cream together marshmallow fluff and shortening. Beat in some confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and hot water until a smooth, sticky filling forms. Load it into a zip-top plastic bag and snip off a corner.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Pipe dime-sized dollops of marshmallow filling onto half of the cookies and top them with the rest of the cookies.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Y’all. Y’ALL. These Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies are SO GOOD. The cookies are chewy and peanut buttery and the filling is marshmallow magic. Together, they are rich, sweet, salty, gluten- and dairy-free, and irresistible!

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}
makes about 2.5 dozen very small sandwich cookies

Cookies:
1 1/2 cups creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/8 teaspoon baking powder

Filling:
4 oz marshmallow fluff (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup shortening,* room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon hot water (from the tap is fine)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter and light brown sugar until combined. Mix in egg and yolk, followed by vanilla. Beat in cornstarch and baking powder.

Scoop dough in 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoon) increments and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least 1.5 inches apart on prepared pans and flatten lightly with your fingertips. Bake 6 minutes, until no longer shiny. Let cool ten minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, cream the marshmallow fluff and shortening with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add in vanilla and hot water and mix on high until the filling is very fluffy.

Assemble sandwich cookies. Load filling into a piping bag or zip-top freezer bag and snip off a small corner. Pipe a dime-sized dollop onto the middle of the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat with all remaining cookies.

Cookies will keep very well covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

You may use an equal volume of softened butter in place of shortening. This will mean that your cookies are no longer dairy-free.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesIn five days, I will post a pumpkin recipe. I promise.

For some reason, this year I’m insisting on holding out on all the pumpkin until it’s “officially” fall. It’s getting silly. I have had absolutely zero recipe ideas this week that don’t involve cracking open a can of the orange stuff. Not a one. But I’m stubborn, and so I am holding out for exactly five more days. If, however, you are not as ridiculous as I am, you can get your pumpkin fix here and here.

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesThank goodness I have an ever-growing list of recipe ideas on my phone. When I feel stuck on an ingredient, or if I have had too many fails in a row and don’t feel up to baking, that list always helps me to get excited about being in the kitchen again. Without it, I may have put off sharing these Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies until after Christmas, and that’d be a real shame because they are fabulous.

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesCaramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesCaramel-Stuffed Potato Chip CookiesThese cookies, y’all. They’re super chewy, studded with crispy crushed potato chips, and stuffed with gooey caramel. Top that fantastic mix of textures with an addictive sweet and salty flavor combination, and they’re absolutely irresistible! Trust me, these cookies make holding out for pumpkin season just a little bit easier.

Have a great weekend!Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies

Caramel-Stuffed Potato Chip Cookies
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups crushed ruffled potato chips*
20 caramel candies,* sliced in quarters

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

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Add in crushed potato chips, mixing just until dispersed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 90 minutes or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Flatten the balls. Place a quarter-caramel in the middle of each dough ball and wrap the dough around it, using your fingers to smooth any seams. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 8-10 minutes, until they look just slightly underbaked.

Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Serve cookies warm or at room temperature.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

1.  Use sturdy chips–if they can’t scoop up dip without breaking, don’t use them here. Thin, flimsy chips will basically “melt” into the dough. Use ruffled or kettle-cooked potato chips.

2.  I use Kraft caramels.

Friday Favorites

Hello!

How are you? Got any April Fools Day pranks up your sleeves? Any good plans this weekend?

I’ve got a day of work at my day job and then I’m making cake for 300 because I’m insane. Maybe I’ll get a nap next weekend…but probably not since I’m catering a party.

So I’m taking a break from the kitchen today, but that doesn’t mean I’m taking a break from the blog! No way. I spend way too many of my waking hours (and sometimes my sleeping hours…) thinking about making cookies and cupcakes and pie. Also, how to obtain Oreos right now without leaving my apartment.

Anyway, I dug through my archives so you could spend all weekend thinking about frosting, just like me. Thank me later 😜 

Why not start the weekend off with some Glazed Cream Cheese Cake Doughnuts? They’re super tender and the homemade glaze is the stuff of dreams. Mmhmm. Oh, and they’re shockingly easy, too. The batch makes a little more than 1 1/2 dozen, so they’re an excellent excuse to have friends over for a little Saturday morning doughnut party! 

But if frying doughnuts first thing on a Saturday morning sounds like a hazard, why not make a Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}? It’s my go-to “special” breakfast. The way it puffs up in the oven is really amazing, and the recipe is easily adjustable, so you can make anywhere from 1-4 servings. 

Weekends and homemade cookies just go together. Check out these M&Ms Potato Chip Cookies! I made these for Christmas, but you could use regular M&Ms, or the pastel Easter variety. These sweet and salty little cookies always hit the spot 😊 

Oh, and the Katharine Hepburn Brownies I made this week. They’re grain- and gluten-free without any unusual ingredients! They’re sure to please all the chewy brownie lovers in your life. 

It’s supposed to get cold here this weekend, so soup has to be on the menu! This Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup totally fits the bill. It’s full of southwestern flavors–it even has salsa in the broth! The best parts? It takes an hour start-to-finish and makes enough for a few lunches next week! 

Are you always rushing on weekday mornings? If you’re anything like me, you never have time to make breakfast. And I am one of those who absolutely *can’t* go without breakfast. My solution? I make a huge batch of granola over the weekend and then eat it with fruit and yogurt all week long. I’m obsessed with this Peanut Butter Granola

And because I said there would be frosting, here’s my favorite Red Velvet Cake. It’s super simple, ridiculously good, and my light and fluffy cream cheese frosting is just…well, make the cake. You’ll see.

Let me know if you have made (or are planning to make ) these or any of my other recipes! Leave me a comment below or find me on Instagram @e2bakesbrooklyn! I’ll be back next week with new recipes 😊 Enjoy your weekend!