Pecan Galette

Pecan Galette

Every Thanksgiving, I forget that I like making pie. I mean, I know I like it, but I forget that I like it more than eating pie (and I quite like eating pie). There’s something soothing about the whole lengthy process of lovingly rolling, crimping and otherwise helicopter parenting a large pastry that just does something for me.

Pecan Galette

But you know what I like even more than making pie? Making galettes, which is like making pie, but it takes half the time and it doesn’t matter what the final product looks like because it’s supposed to be rustic. Rustic is my middle name.

Just kidding, it’s Ann.

But I digress. Today, I’m taking my favorite pie—pecan, naturally—and folding it up into a rustic galette.

Pecan Galette

Yes! You can make non-fruit galettes! Here we have all the sticky, crunchy, flaky-crusted magic of traditional pecan pie, but made in a relative snap. No crimping, no endless chills, no waiting half a day for it to be cool enough to slice. This Pecan Galette is Pecan Pie’s low maintenance sister.

The major hurdle here (and in all custard pies) is containing the liquid. I tried assembling this one two different ways, first adding the complete filling before folding, then taking a note from pie queen Erin McDowell and adding the pecans, folding, then pouring in the liquid before baking. It will come as no surprised that that the pie queen’s method was much less frustrating. It will feel strange to assemble a galette in this order, but it actually makes perfect sense. And you can’t argue with the results.

One of my favorite things about making galettes is that they can be sliced up within a couple hours of baking. That said, if you’re looking to work ahead for Thanksgiving, you can bake this a day or two ahead of time and it will be divine.

Oh yes, I do love a galette.

Pecan Galette
makes 1 galette

1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or mild honey or light corn syrup)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, room temperature

For assembly:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Do not burn. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, nutmeg, salt, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Add melted butter, followed by egg. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim edges so that you have a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan. Mound toasted pecans in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the pecans to contain them. Slowly (!) pour liquid mixture over pecans, stopping frequently to tap the pan on the counter to help the liquid settle. Continue until all liquid is in the galette.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough in the Food Processor

For years, I have been telling you to mix your pie dough by hand. In fact, I have insisted.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

In the seven Thanksgiving seasons that this blog has seen, I have never put a food processor method for pie dough on here. I thought I was above it and that hand-mixed dough was far superior, but that was then, when I was young(er) and could still move after a full day of work. But now, at 36, I must admit that I was wrong (or at least wrong enough) and have discovered the joy of making batches of pie dough in five minutes in my food processor.

Of course, people have been making pie dough in the food processor for decades, so this is nothing new. My resistance is not because I’m a Luddite (which I am), but because I find most food processor pie doughs to lack flakiness, because people tend to process the butter too much. Visible butter is the sign of a future flaky crust; the water in the butter evaporates and creates buttery lil’ air pockets. When you mix dough by hand, it’s much easier to ensure that you get visible butter chunks, but that takes time and energy that I do not currently have, so I have figured a way to make the food processor method work for me. Here’s my method for All-Butter Pie Dough in the food processor.

First, blitz the dry ingredients together. This will evenly mix the sugar and salt into the flour. Also, it looks like freshly fallen snow and that delights me.

Next, add the COLD cubed butter and pulse it until the largest pieces are the size of marbles. This should take a maximum 5-10 pulses. Don’t let the butter get to the standard “large peas” phase or there will not have visible butter in the final product. If the butter is over-processed, the dry ingredients and butter may be transferred to a bowl where the liquid may be added by hand. Otherwise…

Pulse in the liquid ingredients. For my All-Butter Pie Dough, I use ice water and vinegar. Add liquid slowly through the food processor’s feed tube just until the dough gathers together. It should look clumpy.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

After that simply halve the dough, form it into disks, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or up to three days. For longer storage, triple wrap the pie dough in plastic and freeze it for up to six months.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

I could leave it at that, but I know pie dough freaks some people out, so I’m going to give you some tips for pie dough success. These aren’t secrets, just things I wish someone would have gently told me before I ever made my first crust. Years of hearing food personalities telling you that pie dough (and for that matter, yeasted anything) is difficult to make are not easily shaken, but I promise that this is way simpler than it’s been made out to be.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

Measure all the ingredients ahead of time and chill the ones that need to be chilled. This goes for any pie dough recipe you are making. Ideally, you should do this with every recipe, but I understand that you live in the real world. Nevertheless, doing it here will keep you from having soft butter and make everything accessible so you can be efficient.

Move quickly, but don’t rush! Resist the urge to add all the ingredients at the same time. There are three steps here: blitz the dry ingredients, pulse in the butter, pulse in the liquid ingredients. Each one has to be done just to a certain point because, as with hand-mixed pie dough, we want visible butter in our finished product. Visible butter = flaky pie crust.

The fridge is your friend. Getting overwhelmed or over-warmed? You have the option of throwing your entire food processor (minus the stand) in the refrigerator at anytime. A 15 minute chill can do your dough and your mental health a world of good.

Make multiple batches at once. Your food processor is already out and dirty after one batch and pie dough is very freezer-friendly. You can spend less than half an hour mixing dough and then be stocked for the holidays and beyond. Simply thaw disks of dough overnight in the fridge when you want to make pie.

Do not make pie dough if you do not enjoy it. I mean it! If you are indifferent to the flavor of homemade vs. store bought pie crust, or if making pie dough brings you more agony than joy, please please please do not waste your time making it. Baking should be fun, period. Full stop.

I, for one, find making pie dough very fun and look forward to making three new Thanksgiving pies for you every year. Here’s a sneak peek at the first! It’s coming Friday.

Still have questions? I made a video of this process last year. Click here to see how it’s done!

All-Butter Pie Dough in the Food Processor
makes 2 crusts

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
~2/3 cup water, very cold
ice cubes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Cut butter into cubes. Put it on a plate and freeze it while you prepare the other ingredients.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add cold water up to the 2/3 cup mark. Add a few ice cubes. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and salt until combined.

Add butter and pulse until the largest pieces are the size of marbles.

Slowly add 1/2 cup of the liquid through the feed tube of the food processor, pulsing occasionally, to combine. Continue to add more liquid and pulse just until the dough clumps.

Turn dough onto a surface and give it a couple of quick kneads to help it come together, if needed. Divide dough into two equal pieces and fork into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. For longer storage, triple wrap your disks in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unwrap one disk of dough. Use rolling pin to roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness (about 14 inches in diameter for a 9-inch pie plate). For easiest rolling, roll dough in one direction, turning it one quarter turn after each roll. Re-flour surface and rolling pin as needed.

To transfer to a pie plate, carefully fold dough into quarters. Place point in the center of the pie plate and carefully unfold. Fit it to the pan, trim any excess overhang to 1-inch and crimp.

Proceed with your pie recipe as written.

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Look away, candy corn haters! This recipe isn’t for you!

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Nope, these White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies are for me, a person with questionable taste in television and Halloween candy. Are you also a person with these interests? Hi, hello, let’s be friends. Would you like a cookie?

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

These are so simple to make. The base is a drop sugar cookie dough that I’ve used on here several times that bakes up chewy and perfect every time. But let’s be real, these cookies are all about the mix-ins. The white chocolate chips stay intact, but the candy corn melts into festive little puddles that retain their chew but are devoid of chalkiness. They’re so good!

Before you start mixing up dough, you should know a couple of things:

  • You need to roll your dough into balls before you chill it. Is this the opposite of literally every cookie recipe I’ve ever posted? Yep. But it’s necessary if you want to keep your candy corn intact, which I very much do, not only for the bigger pockets of melted candy but also because…
  • Any candy corn that’s on the bottom of the dough balls will burn after several minutes of contact with the pan. This means you want to make sure that the bottoms of all your dough balls are just dough (and maybe some white chocolate). The cookies will spread as they bake, causing some candy corn to inevitably meet the pan, but it won’t burn and become a big lacy mess. If any of the candy corn on the edges starts to spread, you can gently reshape the cookies with a glass or spoon after baking. Resist the urge to do this with your fingers though, as few things hurt like a molten sugar burn.
White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Other than those very doable adjustments to a traditional drop cookie routine, these cookies are business as usual (but make it spooky season). Make them for yourself or your fellow candy corn devotees, and have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies
White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping
1 cup candy corn + more for topping

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 cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in white chocolate chips, followed by candy corn.

Line a pan (or a couple of plates that will fit in your refrigerator) with parchment. Scoop dough into 2 tablespoons and roll into balls. Make sure there are no bits of exposed candy corn on the bottoms of any dough balls. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

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

Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until puffy. Decorate with more white chocolate chips and candy corn, if desired. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

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

Orange Cardamom Scones

Orange Cardamom Scones​

If you’ve never tried combining orange and cardamom, prepared to be wowed. Paired together in baked goods, they somehow walk the line between tea-like subtlety and stealing center stage, and are never, ever boring. In a season of pumpkin spices and apple ciders, this blend can sometimes get lost in the mix, but just like your favorite character actor, when it gets its moment, it’s all “pumpkin spice who?”

Orange Cardamom Scones​

Now, this is not the first time I’ve put Orange Cardamom on this site—far from it, in fact. If you’ve tried my tea cake, shortbread or morning buns, you know why I’m over here waxing poetic, but if you haven’t, I suggest you start simply by mixing some zest and spice into scones.

Orange Cardamom Scones​

Oh yes, these Orange Cardamom Scones may not look particularly exceptional, but they are. Tender, perfumed with citrus, and reminiscent of chai (that’s where you might recognize cardamom from!), they’re a perfect pastry for a weekend morning or lazy afternoon before it starts getting dark at 3pm and afternoons cease to exist.

Orange Cardamom Scones​

Scones themselves are pretty easy to make, and as they require cold butter, they’re a great way to practice some pie dough skills before all the holiday food-ing begins. But they’re also a great way to usher in some coziness as fall finally (finally) seems like it might be here to stay.

Orange Cardamom Scones​
Orange Cardamom Scones
makes 8 scones

Scones:
2/3 cup half-and-half, very cold + more for brushing
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
zest of 1 medium navel orange (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1-1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from about 1 medium navel orange)

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

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together half-and-half, maple syrup, and vanilla. Refrigerate.

In a small bowl, use your fingertips to rub together orange zest and sugar until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and orange sugar. 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 half-and-half mixture.

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 more half-and-half. Bake 16-18 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 confectioners sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon orange juice. Add more juice 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.

Chocolate Cupcakes {Six Year Anniversary!}

Chocolate Cupcakes

E2 Bakes turned six years old yesterday. While some things have stayed consistent over the last 634 posts—namely that I keep on posting—one of bigger changes in the last year is that I have finally started to appreciate the art of the cupcake.

Oh, I had cupcake recipes before this year—of course I did—but not many. Making cupcakes takes more time than making layer cakes (the dividing of batter alone…) and, contrary to popular belief, they’re not as simple as divvying up a layer cake recipe into a lot of little bits. Really great cupcakes are a bit more nuanced than that. But nuance doesn’t equal difficulty, and my best ever Chocolate Cupcakes are proof positive of that.

One surefire way to have great cupcakes every time? Don’t overfill the pans. Just don’t. Bigger is not better here—if you want bigger cake, make a layer cake. Lest I need to say it again: cupcakes are their own thing. Once your batter is prepared, fill each well 1/2-2/3 full and absolutely no more. You’ll think “this isn’t enough batter,” but it absolutely is. You can thank me when you pull 20+ soft, tender, perfectly domed little cakes from the oven. None with flat, spread-out tops for me, thanks!

The batter is a simple whisking situation, but there is a secret to getting the most chocolate flavor out of your ingredients: blooming the cocoa powder! Blooming is simply combining cocoa with a warm liquid ingredient to bring out its natural depth. I have bloomed cocoa many times on this blog, including my first post ever, wherein I melted butter, cocoa and sugar together for perfect chewy Cocoa Brownies. I’ve also done it by adding hot coffee to layer cakes and warming the butter and cocoa in my chocolate cookies. Here, the cocoa is stirred into warmed (not hot!) oil before being combined with dry ingredients and buttermilk.

Chocolate Cupcakes

While the recipe will still produce cupcakes if you skip the blooming, they will be oddly unremarkable. Not bad—nothing with a giant plume of chocolate buttercream on top could ever be bad. They just won’t be great. And I don’t know about you, but after six years of baking on here, I think we all deserve great cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes 
makes 20-22 cupcakes

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso granules (optional)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

For decorating:
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below)
chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 20-22 cups in muffin/cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.

Bloom the cocoa. Pour oil into a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave 20-25 seconds or until warm (but not hot). This step may also be done in a pot on the stove.

Add cocoa to oil and whisk with a fork to combine. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, espresso granules, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and brown sugar. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together vanilla and buttermilk.

Whisk half the bloomed cocoa into the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk. Add the remaining bloomed cocoa followed by the remaining buttermilk.

Divide batter among the liners, ensuring that they are only 1/2-2/3 full. Tap full pans on the counter 5 times to release large air bubbles, then bake cupcakes 18-19 minutes, or until slightly domed. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in their pans for 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.

Spread or pipe chocolate buttercream on cooled cupcakes. Finish with sprinkles. Serve.

Leftover cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Chocolate Buttercream
makes enough for 1 batch of cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner's sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Load into a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used a star tip here), or spread with an offset icing knife.