Tag Archives: holiday baking

Eggnog Scones

Eggnog SconesI had something a bit more complicated planned for today’s post, but due to circumstances beyond my control (number of hours in a day, number of days in a week), I had to take the easy way out.Eggnog SconesLucky for all of us, the easy way out is through a warm batch of Eggnog Scones.Eggnog SconesY’all, these are goooood. We’re talking 8 springy, nubbly-edged breakfast treats made with eggnog and then topped with eggnog glaze—what’s not to love.?! I am not a fan of eggnog in its liquid state, but mix it into dough or whirl it into glaze and add warming spices, and I’m suddenly *very* interested.Eggnog SconesAs with nearly all scones, these are a breeze to make. The dough comes together in ten minutes and bakes in fifteen. The glaze is technically optional, but it’s a snap to whisk up while the scones are cooling, and it’s delicious, of course. Creamy and lightly spiced, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the not-too-sweet scones. And that’s to say nothing of how satisfying it is to drizzle over the tops!Eggnog Scones Speaking of satisfying, eating one…or one and a half…or two…of these with a big cup of coffee is, like, the best way to start a holiday morning. I’ve been so busy since I returned home from Thanksgiving that I keep forgetting that Christmas is almost here. When I’m eating an Eggnog Scone though, the holiday cheer is real. Real delicious, that is.Eggnog Scones

Eggnog Scones
makes 8 scones

3/4 cup eggnog + more for brushing, very cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces

Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
small pinch of ground cinnamon + more for garnish
small pinch of ground nutmeg + more for garnish
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons eggnog

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Use a fork to whisk together 3/4 cup eggnog and vanilla. Set the mixture in the refrigerator.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Use a pastry blender (or two forks or your fingertips) to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. Remove the eggnog from the refrigerator and pour it into the bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a very well-floured surface. Using floured fingertips, press dough into a large 1-inch thick disc. Use a floured chef’s knife to cut the circle into 8 wedges. Remove wedges to prepared pan, setting them at least two inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with additional eggnog. Bake for 15-16 minutes, until they “bounce back” when pressed with your finger. Let cool on their pan for about 10 minutes, or until you can handle them.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set a cooling rack over the top. Place Scones on cooling rack.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and eggnog. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. Drizzle glaze over scones. Top each with small pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg, if desired.

Serve scones immediately, or once the glaze sets (20 minutes or so). Scones are best the day they’re made, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.Eggnog SconesEggnog Scones

Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie BrowniesIt’s Christmastime, y’all. I’ve got visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. And by sugarplums, I mostly mean these Pecan Pie Brownies.Pecan Pie BrowniesJust imagine a pan of rich, chocolaty Super Fudgy Brownies with a layer of pecan pie filling on top. That’s literally what these are. Look at those layers 😍Pecan Pie BrowniesDuring testing, I tried three different methods of adhering the pecan filling to the top of the brownies. The best, by far, is giving the filling a quick (3-5 minute) pre-cook on the stovetop to jumpstart the thickening. It’s very easy, but does require a sieve. Please don’t let that stop you though—I loathe sieving things, but this is pretty painless, and it beats the hell out of slicing up your brownies only to find scrambled egg bits or a thin layer of pecanless goo underneath. *shudder*Pecan Pie BrowniesOnce you’ve done the 15 seconds of sieving, you get to stir in toasted pecans and spoon it over some soft-set brownies and bake until…divine. Yes—that’s the only word for these. Chewy, fudgy, nutty and sticky-sweet without being cloying; let’s just say these are difficult to resist. I brought a box on my family vacation to D.C., and we chose them over fancy restaurant dessert for all but one night. That’s really saying something—we love fancy restaurant dessert.Pecan Pie BrowniesAs if these need more endorsement, Pecan Pie Brownies also happen to be gluten-free. There are no unusual flours or gums here—this recipe simply doesn’t require gluten-containing ingredients. Inclusive holiday treats for the win!Pecan Pie BrowniesPecan Pie Brownies would be wonderful as part of a cookie tin or holiday party spread, or for enjoying during a cozy Christmas movie night at home. I’m sure they’d work well left as a treat for Santa, too! I will say that, as a childless adult, they really hit the spot when eaten in PJs while watching The Crown and counting down the days until you head home for the holidays. You know, in case you were wondering.Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie Brownies
makes about 16-25 brownies

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves
2/3 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Brownies:
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch rimmed square baking pan with butter. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Set aside.

Scatter pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.

Make the brownie batter. Combine cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl, and use a fork to combine. Set aside.

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

Place butter and chocolate in heatproof bowl. When water comes to a simmer, turn heat to low and place heatproof bowl over the top. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir frequently until melted and smooth. Add sugar and whisk for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in dry ingredients.

Combine eggs and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Use a whisk or fork to beat until a bit bubbly, about 1 minute. Whisk into chocolate mixture until smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap full pan five times on the countertop to release air bubbles. Bake 15 minutes, until top has begun to set.

Make pecan pie filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk together maple syrup (or corn syrup), brown sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until bubbles are beginning to form at the edges, about 3-5 minutes. Mixture will barely thicken.

Set a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Pour filling mixture through to remove any bits of cooked egg. Fold pecans into filling.

Spoon pecan pie filling over partially-baked brownies. Bake an additional 30-35 minutes, or until the center barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill for 1-2 hours for clean slicing.

Use parchment overhang to remove brownies to a cutting board. Slice into 16-25 pieces and serve.

Leftovers will keep 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.Pecan Pie BrowniesPecan Pie BrowniesPecan Pie Brownies

All-Butter Pie Dough

All-Butter Pie DoughSince the very beginning of this blog, I have sung the praises of my Cream Cheese Pie Dough. It’s easy to mix together (no guess work!), rolls without tearing, has a croissant-like flakiness, and is super delicious. I will stand by it forever and ever, amen.

So, if I love it sooo much—and I do—why on earth am I giving you another pie dough recipe? Because I don’t always have a brick of cream cheese sitting around when I’m in a pie-making mood. It’s that simple. That doesn’t mean I’m going to subject myself to subpar pie crust though. No way. Crisp, flaky, and buttery or bust!All-Butter Pie DoughI’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not reinventing the wheel with this crust. There are a gazillion all-butter pie doughs out there and nearly all of them have similar proportions and instructions, which makes it all the more surprising that I had to test this recipe six times to get it exactly how I want it.All-Butter Pie DoughAll-Butter Pie Dough requires just six ingredients. Six! You probably have all of them in your kitchen right now.

  • Cold butter. Pockets of cold fat are the secret to a flaky crust. As they melt in the oven, their water content turns to steam and form the layers we all love so much. Some bakers use shortening or lard (or cream cheese!) as their fat of choice, but since this is All-Butter Pie Dough, we’re using all butter, duh. I like to cut mine into cubes ahead of time and then freeze it until I add it to the dry ingredients. It’ll get cut into the dough just until it’s the size of small peas. This means there will be visible chunks of butter in your pie dough at all stages, even when it’s rolled out. If at any point in the process your butter feels soft/warm/sticky/otherwise-not-cold, throw the dough back in the fridge. Unless you like tough crust, that is.
  • Cold water. Cold. Cuh-old. Water is the binder in this pie dough recipe. It has to be freezing cold because if we add room temperature or—heaven forbid—warm water to the dough, we can kiss that cold butter and flaky crust goodbye. I like to measure out 2/3 cup of cold water and then add ice cubes to keep it that way. Also, don’t get heavy-handed—you probably won’t need all the water in your measuring cup. You want to add just enough for the dough to hold together. Any more than that and the gluten in the flour may become overdeveloped and yield a tough crust.All-Butter Pie DoughAll-Butter Pie Dough
  • Apple cider vinegar. This is the one “unusual” ingredient you’ll find in this recipe, but I’m far from the first baker to put vinegar in pie dough. It helps mitigate gluten development (buying you an extra stir or knead) to produce a more tender crust, the same way that adding buttermilk (also an acid) to cakes/biscuits/what-have-you helps make them tender.All-Butter Pie Dough
  • Sugar and salt. These add flavor and balance to our crust. Without them, why bother making pie dough at all?! You may be tempted to leave out the sugar, especially in savory applications, but I recommend keeping it. The small amount of sugar in this dough caramelizes during baking, helping to produce a golden brown crust.
  • All-Purpose Flour. This is the structural foundation of pie dough (and sooo many other things). Make sure you measure it properly (spoon & level) so that you don’t use too much or too little.All-Butter Pie DoughAll-Butter Pie Dough

See, six ingredients, each with a job of its own. You’re a bowl, a hand blender, and fifteen minutes away from having two disks of pie dough in your fridge. #scoreAll-Butter Pie DoughAll-Butter Pie DoughIf pie dough makes you jittery or this is your first year making it from scratch, never fear! All-Butter Pie Dough is very simple to make. Once you’ve made your first batch, you’ll wonder what you were ever afraid of…but just in case you need a little extra encouragement, here are some of my best pie dough tips.

  • Make it by hand. There are now three pie dough recipes on this site, and not one of them is made in a food processor. I know it’s supposed to be faster and easier that way, but it also involves more clean up and requires you to give up control of the butter. It’s not always easy to get visible chunks of butter in a food processor, but it is when you are cutting it in by hand. Dough made by hand = visible butter = flaky crust!
  • When in doubt, throw it in the fridge. This is the solution to almost all your pie crust problems. Butter seems sticky? Throw it in the fridge. Dough seems a little soft? Throw it in the fridge. Fitted the dough to the pie plate and filled it, but have some time before the oven will be warm? Throw it in the fridge. Worried about the crimp holding? Throw it it in the fridge. Say it with me: Throw. It. In. The. Fridge.All-Butter Pie Dough
  • Take your time. You can make pie dough three days before you make pie and keep it in the refrigerator—no need to do everything on the same day. You can even freeze this pie dough! Just triple-wrap in plastic and throw it in the freezer for up to six months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before rolling.
  • Don’t fret if it’s not perfect. Pie takes time. Pie takes practice. I have made a lot of pies in the last six years and many of them have been hideous. Many, many. But you know what? Ugly pie is still pie. As one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Van Rosendaal, says “The best pie is the one on your table.”All-Butter Pie Dough

Wooooow so many bullet points today. Pie, y’all! It’s happening. Look out Friday for my first pie recipe of the season. Or go into my Recipe Index and make yourself this tart Cranberry Crumb Pie. I know we still have 22 days til Thanksgiving, but I mean…it’s practice, right?All-Butter Pie Dough

All-Butter Pie Dough
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 large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter and use a pastry blender to cut it in until the largest pieces are the size of small peas.

Using a finger to block ice cubes, pour 1/2 cup water/vinegar mixture into the bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir just until everything is moistened. Add more liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until clumps begin to form and dough holds together well when pinched. You will likely have some liquid leftover.

Give dough a couple of quick kneads to help it come together. There may be some dry unincorporated bits at the bottom of the bowl—this is normal.

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.

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.All-Butter Pie DoughAll-Butter Pie DoughAll-Butter Pie Dough