Friday Favorites: Pie

I have a few questions for you.

  1. Have you watched Salt Fat Acid Heat yet? If not, get on it. Samin Nosrat is a freaking queen—a great chef, a delight to watch, and a woman who eats unapologetically and asks for seconds. If you are into food and feminism (and I hope you are!), you’re going to love this show.
  2. Do you love or hate Chris Kimball? I’ve been listening to the Milk Street podcast all week and I can’t decide how I feel about him. I mean, it’s not going to keep me from watching his show or making his recipes. He seems a little too…let’s say persnickety…these days.
  3. Have you started planning your Thanksgiving menu yet? The big day is only 27 days away! I’ve got a few new recipes coming your way (appetizers and sides included!), but aside from the turkey, we all know pie is the most important part 🙂 Here are a few holiday favorites from my archives to get you inspired before the biggest food holiday of the year.Friday Favorites: Pie

Cream Cheese Pie Dough

I started making this Cream Cheese Pie Dough in the spring of 2015 and haven’t looked back since. It’s made with two cold fats, cream cheese and butter, and has a little buttermilk for tenderness. This combination makes for an extra flaky crust—I’ve had friends compare this crust to having a pie wrapped in croissant dough. YUM.Friday Favorites: Pie
Pumpkin Pie

It’s just not Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie! My spin on this warmly-spiced classic involves folding whipped egg whites into the usual pumpkin custard. The resulting pie is lighter than most, but every bit as delicious.Friday Favorites: Pie
Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

If you are into soft, rich, dense chocolate things (and who isn’t?!), this is the pie for you. It’s super easy to put together and bakes up like a dream, and it’s so damn chocolaty it’s ridiculous. Put this one on the menu for sure. And vanilla ice cream. You’re going to want vanilla ice cream.Friday Favorites: Pie
Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pie

This is a pie I didn’t know I wanted. I’ve always been pretty strict about only eating sweet potatoes in savory applications, but I am here to tell you that I was wrong. So, so wrong.

This pie, made with fresh sweet potatoes and just a hint of spice, is a new favorite of mine. I can’t wait to make it again this year.Friday Favorites: Pie
Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie

This is one of my very favorite recipes on this site 🙂 Made by layering poached pears and homemade almond pastry cream over a puddle of dark chocolate ganache (AKA a “black bottom”), it’s absolutely delicious. This pie takes a little more work than the others on this list, but it is a guaranteed Thanksgiving Day showstopper.

Have you made any of these or any of my other Thanksgiving recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media! And don’t forget to check back for a few new pies before November 22nd 🙂
Friday Favorites: Pie

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Candy Corn Shortbread

Candy Corn ShortbreadI don’t like Halloween. There, I said it. I was ambivalent toward it as a kid and I straight-up don’t like it now.

There is a very slight chance I will be in a costume this weekend, but this will depend entirely on the state of the World Series (go Sox!), how social I am feeling, and my willingness to trade my pajamas for a costume. But I’m a childless, baseball-loving introvert who doesn’t drink and loves pajamas, so you do the math.Candy Corn ShortbreadOne Halloween-ish thing that I do love? Candy corn. For proof, see here and here. Contoversial opinion, I know, but give me allllllll the overly-sweet, chewy, “made with real honey” candy corn there is! Also, mallow pumpkins. Please.Candy Corn ShortbreadI know not everyone feels the way I do, but I think we can all get behind easy, festive, made-from-scratch treats. Exhibit A: Candy Corn Shortbread! How cute are these cookies, y’all?!Candy Corn ShortbreadThis recipe is made from very straightforward six-ingredient dough—literally just a vanilla shortbread with a little honey to reflect its “made with real honey” candy corn inspiration. After mixing (which takes all of five minutes) it’s divided into three sections, like so.Candy Corn ShortbreadThe smallest is set aside, while the medium piece is dyed yellow and the largest is dyed orange. I like to use gel food coloring here, but did have success testing with liquid.Candy Corn ShortbreadAfter the dough colors are to your liking, it’s time to assemble it all so that it can be sliced later. This process is really very simple: just shape the yellow portion into a rectangle…Candy Corn ShortbreadCandy Corn ShortbreadCandy Corn Shortbreadstack the orange on there…Candy Corn ShortbreadCandy Corn Shortbreadand top it with the white dough. Use your hands to press it into a triangle shape before chilling for a few hours.Candy Corn ShortbreadThen it’s just slicing and baking.Candy Corn ShortbreadOh, and fawning over how adorable these cookies are. That’s a big part of this process. Don’t forget to text pictures of them to everyone you know 🙂Candy Corn ShortbreadI love how these cookies are imperfect, but are absolutely still recognizable. I’m sure you have better motor skills than I do–maybe you could mold yours to look taller and narrower like the real deal. I like to think mine look authentic because they look a little busted, just like the candy corn I bought last week. Let’s not discuss how long it took to dig through the bag and find all these whole pieces. Anyway…Candy Corn ShortbreadCandy Corn Shortbread are as delicious as they are festive! When they are fresh, they have crisp edges and slightly chewy centers. They’ll soften a bit over time, but they’ll remain sweet, buttery, and totally delectable.Candy Corn ShortbreadI think these could turn even the most Halloween-averse among us. Who knows–maybe I’ll wear a costume after all.Candy Corn Shortbread

Candy Corn Shortbread
makes about 5 dozen

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons mild honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
red, yellow, and/or orange food coloring (preferably gel)*

In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in honey and vanilla, followed by flour and salt.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle. Slice in half. Set one half aside. Slice remaining half into one 2/3 portion and one 1/3 portion (see post for a photo).

Set the smallest piece aside; this is for the white tip of the candy corn. Knead yellow food coloring into the medium-sized piece of dough (I used about 1/8 teaspoon yellow gel). Knead orange gel into the largest piece (I used about 1/4 teaspoon orange gel).

Assemble the dough. Line a small baking sheet or cutting board with parchment. Shape yellow dough into a 10x3x1/2-inch rectangle. Place onto the parchment.

Top it with the orange dough I find this easiest to do by dividing the orange dough in half and arranging the two pieces in a straight line over the top of the yellow layer. Use your hands to start shaping the dough so it’s wider at the bottom and narrower at the top, with a flat top instead of a peak.

Top with the white dough. I find this easiest to do by slicing the white dough into four long, thin pieces. Arrange them end-to-end in a straight line on top of the orange layer and then use your hands to mold them together into one long piece. Use your hands to shape the dough so that it’s wide at the bottom and narrow at the peak. The log of dough may lengthen as much as two inches during this process. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 300F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator. Slice into 1/4-inch slices, placing them at least 2-inches apart on prepared pans. If dough gets too warm, freeze full pans for 5 minutes before baking. Chill dough between batches.

Bake cookies for 8 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake an additional 7-8 minutes, until no longer wet looking. Shortbread should not turn golden. Let cool on the pans for 7 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat slicing and baking processes with remaining dough. Let pans return to room temperature between batches.

Candy Corn Shortbread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week. They will soften slightly over time.

Note:

I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Egg Yellow and Orange.

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Peanut Butter Mousse Cake {Three Year Anniversary!}

E2 Bakes is turning three on Sunday!Peanut Butter Mousse CakeIn years past, I would take this time to go on about the number of posts/recipes I’ve written (332/322, if you care about that sort of thing) and how I had no idea that the blog would go on this long. I have a tendency toward sentimentality and I’m working on reining it in, but I’m not perfect yet…so, um, I’ll be brief. And then we’ll talk about Peanut Butter Mousse Cake.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeThis blog is the thing of which I am proudest. I spend more time and energy working on content for this site than basically anything else, but it has been worth every late night and working weekend. I hope to continue baking and writing here for years to come.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeI blog because I love it, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without y’all. Thank you for reading, commenting, providing encouragement and feedback, and making my recipes in your own kitchens!Peanut Butter Mousse CakeThis community has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year. For those of you who are new around here, welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

For those who have been here since the beginning, thank you for sticking with me. Sorry about all those bad photos in the early days 🙂 Peanut Butter Mousse CakeAs for the future, lot of exciting things are coming in year four! Recipes, of course, but also bigger, better, blog-altering things. I can’t say much now, but know that good things are happening and I’m psyched to share them with you soon ❤ Peanut Butter Mousse CakeFor now though, let’s talk about Peanut Butter Mousse Cake. It’s the peanut butteriest peanut butter cake I’ve ever had. So. freaking. good!Peanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakeIt starts with a flourless peanut butter cake. This super-easy cake comes together with just five ingredients, one bowl, and a whisk. It’s rich and dense—since it relies on peanut butter and eggs for texture and structure, it’s like a cross between a cake, cookie, and a blondie. YUM.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeAfter the cake is baked and cooled, it’s topped with a thick layer of creamy peanut butter mousse. If this recipe looks familiar, that’s because it is—it’s the filling from my No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie 🙂Peanut Butter Mousse CakeSpread the mousse layer on and chill the cake until everything is firm.Peanut Butter Mousse CakePeanut Butter Mousse CakeTop it with a thick layer of whipped cream. Yaaaaaaas.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeDon’t forget the peanut butter magic shell and honey roasted peanuts.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeHow gorgeous is that?! I love the triple-layered look.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeAnd the creamy, dreamy peanut butter flavor.Peanut Butter Mousse CakeThis cake is shockingly simple to make (don’t let the length of the recipe scare you away!) and perfect for nearly any occasion…Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
…including very silly ones like this blog’s anniversary.Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Peanut Butter Mousse Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Cake:
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Mousse:
3/4 cup heavy cream, very cold
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Peanut Butter Magic Shell*:
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
1-2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (preferably refined)
1 teaspoon honey

Garnish:
2 tablespoons honey roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the flourless peanut butter cake. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter 10 times to release any large air bubbles (there may be a lot).

Bake 25-27 minutes, or until puffy and no longer wet-looking. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a thin flexible knife around the edge, but do not remove from the pan.

Make the peanut butter mousse. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter, cream cheese, and confectioner’s sugar until combined and fluffy. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Working in 2 installments, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream until combined.

Pile the mousse on top of the cooled cake (still in the pan). Spread it into an even layer and tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Stick a layer of plastic wrap to the surface of the mousse. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or freeze for 1 hour).

Remove cake from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap. Run a thin, flexible knife dipped in warm water around the edge of the pan before removing the springform.

Make the whipped cream. Combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip the mixture on low for 30 seconds before whipping on high for 1-2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Pile whipped cream onto the cake before spreading it into an even layer. Use a knife dipped in warm water to smooth the outer edge of the cake. Refrigerate cake (uncovered) while you make the peanut butter magic shell.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together peanut butter, 1 or 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (based on your desired level of sweetness), coconut oil, and honey. Microwave on high in 20 second increments, whisking in between, until mixture is smooth and drizzle-able. Set aside.

Chop all or some of the honey roasted peanuts.

Remove cake from the refrigerator. Pour/drizzle some of the peanut butter magic shell over the top, as desired. Scatter on honey roasted peanuts. Let shell set for a few minutes.

Serve cake immediately or refrigerate. For clean slices, dip the knife in warm water and wipe dry between cuts.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

This will make more peanut butter magic shell than you need, but leftovers may be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator. This makes excellent ice cream topping. Reheat before using.
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Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesIt seems like I never make cookies anymore. I made them all the time when I started blogging, but they’re a little bit of a rarity these days. As it stands, I haven’t posted a cookie recipe since August 22nd!

Maybe it’s because I’ve developed more skills in the last three years or that I simply made so many cookies in this site’s early days that I’ve felt sort of “cookied out” lately.
Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesWhatever the reason, making these Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles has been a welcome change of pace. I’ve been preoccupied by complicated things lately—think work, politics, babka, travel, planning every blog post between now and 2019—so it’s been nice to spend time in the kitchen doing one of the things that made me fall in love with baking in the first place.Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesPumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesMaking cookies, y’all. It’s the most delicious self-care I know.Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesAlso delicious? These Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles. They’re an autumnal twist on a classic recipe: soft, puffy pumpkin cookies with a sugary, pumpkin-spiced outer crust. They are simple and straightforward—if you follow the directions as written, you will be rewarded with four dozen cookies.Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesPumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesNow, before you go clicking away because you don’t want to have 48 cookies in your house, know that:

  • You absolutely do want these cookies in your house. Permitting you like pumpkin, of course.
  • They’re small.

Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesEach cookie is made from a tablespoon of dough, making each one roughly half the size of most drop cookies in my archives. I made them this way because:

  • Small food just tastes better.
  • I’d rather eat two small cookies than one medium cookie. Personal preference.

(Um, sorry for all the bullet points today. Not sure where they came from/why I needed to use two separate sets, but I’m going with it.)
Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesI understand that not everyone may feel the same way I do; if you’re not into small cookies, you can scoop the dough in two-tablespoon increments and bake the batches for 11-12 minutes. You’ll end up with about two dozen medium cookies.Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesThat’s what I love about cookies like this—the most complicated part is deciding how big or small you’d like for them to be. I don’t know about you, but that’s the sort of “problem” I could stand to have more often.Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles
makes about four dozen small cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cream of tartar*
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Coating:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugars, followed by pumpkin and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in three installments, mixing until completely combined. Dough may look crumbly, but should hold together well when pinched with clean fingers.

Cover dough with plastic wrap, and chill for two hours, or up to three days.

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

Make the coating. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon, and roll into balls. Roll each dough ball in the coating mixture. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, until puffy and no longer raw-looking. Let cool on pans for 5-7 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat scooping, rolling, and baking with any remaining dough.

Cookies keep well covered at room temperature for up to a week. The pumpkin flavor will be stronger on the second day.

Notes:

There are no substitutions for cream of tartar. It is required for this recipe.

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Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel CornI’ve got maple syrup on my mind, y’all! Last week, it was in the form of a Maple Layer Cake. Today, it’s Salty Maple Caramel Corn!Salty Maple Caramel CornY’all—this stuff is phenomenal. Phe-nom-e-nal. Crispy, crunchy, sweet and salty. Oh, and easy. Salty Maple Caramel Corn comes together in four simple steps.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Pop some popcorn.

I pop my popcorn in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Just heat a tablespoon of oil with a few kernels in it over medium heat. When they start popping, add the rest of the kernels, put a lid on it and jostle until all your corn is popped!Salty Maple Caramel Corn

I used Pop-Secret Jumbo Popping Corn in all my testing. I found that 3/4 cup unpopped kernels usually yielded 12 cups of popcorn, but I know that other brands act differently. I’ve seen some that purport to make 16 cups from 1/2 cup kernels! Basically, what I’m saying is to measure your popped popcorn to make sure you have the necessary 12 cups for this recipe 🙂 Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Make the salty maple caramel.

This is one of the easiest caramels you will ever make. There is no pot-watching or streaming heavy cream into molten sugar. You don’t need a candy thermometer either!

Just put sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter, and water in a pot and boil for five minutes. Don’t stir, swirl, or otherwise agitate the pot in any way—this will lead to crystallization and sad, dull caramel corn. No, thank you! Just add the ingredients to the pot (without stirring) and turn on the heat. I promise you, the caramel will form properly on its own.

Once the boiling time is up, turn off the heat. Stir in some vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will bubble up once the baking soda dissolves.Salty Maple Caramel Corn
Two quick recipe notes:

  • I chose to use granulated sugar in this recipe, rather than the usual light brown sugar. While brown sugar is very delicious in caramel corn, I found that the molasses in it competed too much with the maple syrup. If I’m going to use pricey maple syrup in a recipe, I want to be able to taste it!
  • This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt. It will give the finished caramel corn a salty finish, but shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you think it’s too much for you, feel free to reduce it to 1-1 1/2 teaspoons.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Toss the salty maple caramel with the popcorn.

This sounds mindlessly easy, but I’m going to talk about it anyway.

This recipe calls for tossing the popcorn and caramel together in a large oiled bowl with oiled silicone spatulas before spreading it onto oiled rimmed sheet pans. Don’t be tempted to skip the bowl and do the tossing on the pans. Many recipes recommend this, but I burned the everliving crap out of my hand using that method. If you think hot oil burns are the worst, it’s only because you haven’t experienced the unrelenting torture of a molted sugar burn.Salty Maple Caramel CornFor the same reasons, don’t touch any pieces of coated popcorn that fly out of the bowl during mixing. Wait until they cool for a few minutes before picking them up.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Bake at a low temperature and stir occasionally.

This is the easiest of all the steps. Bake the coated caramel corn at 250F for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent burning. It’s a lot like making granola.Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornThe caramel corn will seem very wet at first, but will harden to a crispy, glossy finish. Once the hour is up, scatter the caramel corn onto a big piece of parchment and let it cool to room temperature. After that, snack away!Salty Maple Caramel CornYou’re going to love this Salty Maple Caramel Corn! It’s a great sweet & salty snack or dessert. I think it would make for a wonderful finishing touch on a bowl of ice cream. You could even pile it high as a finishing touch on a Maple Layer Cake!Salty Maple Caramel CornI highly recommend making a batch over the next couple of days. It’s a guaranteed way to upgrade your weekend ❤ Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel Corn
makes 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; mixture will bubble up.

Pour maple caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn among sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked popcorn on top. Let cool to room temperature. Serve

Leftover Salty Maple Caramel Corn will keep in a ziptop bag for up to 2 weeks. It may soften slightly on humid days.
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