Tag Archives: pecans

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I can hardly believe that Christmas is one week away. Thanksgiving was so late this year that I don’t feel like I’ve stopped to bask in the glow of Christmas lights at all, and I won’t have time to until I’m in Texas.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Don’t get me wrong, my apartment is decorated within an inch of fire code and I’ve been to see all the festive things. I’m just not quite in the spirit yet…except when I’m making cookies. Or showing up to places with cookies. Luckily for me, I do a lot of both of those things. Ain’t life grand?Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Today’s cookies, these Oat-Pecan Linzer beauts, are a crisp, nutty, whole grain take on a classic. They’re as delicious as they are visually stunning, and they have the added benefits of being both gluten-free and vegan, so you know the batch will disappear in no time.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookie dough is a variation on the Toasted Oat Graham Crackers I made last year, but with more spice and brown sugar, a touch of cornstarch for tenderness, and toasty pecans in place of some of the oats. The dough comes together in the food processor before being rolled out on parchment, chilled briefly, cut and baked.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The cut-out cookies are set over a rack and dusted with confectioner’s sugar, while the whole ones are spread with jam. You can glue your linzers together with any jam or spread you like. I used raspberry jam in the cookies with the tree cut-outs and apricot for the stars. Feel free to get creative with key lime or grapefruit curd or even a swipe of pineapple cake filling (but keep in mind that none of those are vegan).Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}These linzers are everything I love in a holiday cookie: sweet, spiced, stunning and shareable. You *know* how much I love a cookie that accommodates multiple dietary needs! And guess what? I’ve got another coming at you Friday. ‘Tis the season.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies
makes about 1.5 dozen sandwich cookies

Oat-Pecan Cookies:
2 cups old fashioned oats* (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free cookies)
3/4 cup raw pecan halves
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons water

For Assembly:
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup jam (I used 1/4 cup each apricot & raspberry)

Special Equipment:
2 1/2 inch cookie cutter
smaller 1-1 1/2 inch cookie cutter(s)

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 325F.

Spread oats and pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Place in oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Line two sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Transfer oats and pecans into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1-1.5 minutes, or until there are no recognizable oats. Pulse in cornstarch, light brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add oil and water, and process until large clumps form.

Turn dough onto a large piece of parchment and lightly knead to form a ball. Lightly dust a rolling pin with cornstarch. Roll dough (still on parchment) to 1/8-inch thickness. Freeze sheets of dough (still on parchment) for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for 30.

Dip cookie cutters in cornstarch and shake off excess. Working with one sheet of dough at a time, use large cutter to cut circles. Carefully peel half of them from parchment and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use smaller cutter(s) to cut centers out of remaining circles. Place cut out cookies on prepared pans. Re-roll scraps to use remaining dough.

Bake 10 minutes before rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Cookies will initially be slightly soft, but will harden as they cool. Repeat rolling and baking with any remaining dough.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with ~1 teaspoon of jam (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place wax paper between layers for best storage.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

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

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan PieI am all about this Chocolate Pecan Pie right now. I am into it. So into it, in fact, that I thought about it for a year and a half before I actually made it, and then I made it six times. Six times!Chocolate Pecan PieSome recipes take two or three tries. Some I even get on the first go. Both of this week’s took six rounds. What does that say about me? I don’t know, except that there has been A LOT of pie in my apartment lately.

(Not a bad thing.)

(Also, please come over for pie.)Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie, y’all. It’s rich and fudgy and studded with toasted pecans—the sort of dessert that haunts my dreams. But the good kind of haunting. The kind where I get to eat pie.Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieBut I digress. The filling here is somewhere between traditional pecan pie, chocolate pie, and brownies. It’s soft, deeply chocolaty, and dense but somehow not heavy…and that’s to say nothing of the bevy of naturally caramelly pecans strewn throughout. Add to that that it’s all wrapped up in flaky All-Butter Pie Dough and…best pie ever?!Chocolate Pecan PieI cannot overstate how delicious this is, with or without whipped cream and shaved chocolate. It’s a guaranteed Turkey Day slam dunk! I mean, it’s also a slam dunk when you’re hovering over it at 1am on a random Tuesday, evening out edges and eating it with your fingers like a wild animal, but I somehow think your guests will prefer the former.Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 cups pecan halves, chopped + more for topping
1 unbaked pie crust (I used 1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Egg wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For serving:
whipped cream
shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the oven rack in the bottom-third position. Preheat oven to 400F.

Scatter chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn.

On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Fit in pie plate. Cut excess to 1/2-inch, and crimp as desired. Chill pie crust.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Mix in corn syrup and vanilla.

Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes just so it’s not screaming hot.

Whisking constantly, add chocolate mixture to egg mixture.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator and place it on top of a rimmed baking sheet (for ease of removal from the oven). Place chopped pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour chocolate filling over the top. Scatter more pecan halves over the top, if desired.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Brush mixture over exposed crust.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350F and continue to bake 30-40 minutes, loosely tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark. Pie is done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie

Maple Pecan Pie {One Year Anniversary!}

Updated 11/08/2018: This post was edited to add better photos and to remind you to toast your pecans.Maple Pecan PieTomorrow’s a big day–this little blog is turning one year old! That’s 140 posts, 136 recipes, and more flour and sugar than I care to think about. It’s also late nights, hours of recipe testing, and a lot of joy. I have a job and a side business, but this blog is what matters most to me. It’s probably the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken, and I can’t wait to see how it grows in year two.

It’s comments, encouragement, and support from all of you that keep me in the kitchen creating new things. Thank you for reading and making my recipes in your kitchens. Thank you for sharing this little blog with your friends and family. It’s a real blessing to have so many people following my little passion project.Maple Pecan PieSo, how does one celebrate their blog’s anniversary? Well, they furiously text their little sister and two close friends saying “What should I make for the blog’s one year anniversary?” One recommended a throwback to my first post. One recommended something from my childhood. And one goes to Harvard and doesn’t have time for my petty nonsense (love you, Smel).Maple Pecan PieWith their suggestions in mind, I started thinking about pecans and about my grandmother, Nonnie. She lived in a tiny little house near Benbrook, Texas, and she made the very best biscuits and chocolate cake in the world (according to my family, at least). She made my dad breakfast literally every Sunday morning until she was no longer able to cook. My mom, little sister, and I would go to church while my dad ate fried eggs with sausage and biscuits, following it up with a twenty minute power nap in her red chair. Every fall, Nonnie and my dad would go into her backyard and rack her huge pecan tree. He’d bring home gallon-size zip-top bags full of Texas pecans and show Eliot and I how to properly break the shells and eat the meats, just like his mom showed him, just like we’ll do with our (figurative) children someday.

I don’t remember Nonnie ever making pecan pie from her tree in the backyard–I figure that cracking the shells was too much for her arthritic hands. But I also don’t remember a holiday without pecan pie. It’s always been a part of my family’s story.Maple Pecan PieSo, today, let’s celebrate one year of blogging with Maple Pecan Pie, the perfect tribute to my family, my Texan childhood, and my northeastern adulthood. This pie has everything you love about traditional pecan pie, but with a hefty dose of maple syrup and my go-to Cream Cheese Pie Crust. The filling is sweet, but not cloying, thanks to a little apple cider vinegar, and it has a little depth from the addition of nutmeg. If you’re going to mess with something as iconic as pecan pie, this is the way to do it.

And if you’re going to acknowledge one year of baking and blogging, Maple Pecan Pie is the perfect way to celebrate.Maple Pecan Pie

Maple Pecan Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped
1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Scatter chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool completely.

On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Fit in pie plate. Cut excess to 1/2-inch, and crimp as desired. Chill pie crust.

Place the oven rack in the bottom-third position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together maple syrup and dark brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking until combined. Stir in apple cider vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk constantly as you drizzle in the melted butter.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator and place it on top of a rimmed baking sheet (for catching overflow, although you shouldn’t have any). Place pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour filling over the top. Bake pie 40-50 minutes, tenting with foil at the 20 minute mark.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.Maple Pecan PieMaple Pecan Pie

The Second Best Brownies in the World {First Post}

Cocoa Brownies

My dad makes the best brownies in the world.

That may sound like a grand statement, but in my humble opinion, it’s the truth. He was the only person who ever baked in my house growing up, and his specialty was brownies. Whenever he got a craving for chocolate, he’d whip up a batch and we’d all spend the following days evening out edges and making brownie sundaes with Blue Bell Ice Cream and chocolate syrup. They were soft and fudgy (but never too gooey), and the crackly top of each batch always had something spelled out in pecan halves. Often it was “E1,” “E2,” or “E3,” his nicknames for my sisters and myself. On our beloved housekeeper’s birthday, you would see a pecan mosaic spelling out “Eula.” It was always an occasion. When I was applying to colleges in 2002, my first three acceptances came from schools in Oklahoma. I came home from school to find a huge pan-full with “OK” spelled out in pecans. I didn’t end up going to any of those schools, but I still remember those brownies.

Before I get to the recipe, you should know something. My dad’s brownies came from a box. Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, generic–whatever was in the pantry. I would love to say that the best brownies in the world come from an old family recipe, but that would be a lie. Sometimes the best doesn’t mean the finest ingredients or the most complicated. My dad’s brownies are the best because he made them with us in mind. They’re the best because he took the time to tile out our names in pecans because he loved us and was proud of us. They’re the best because my dad is the best. It’s only appropriate that I would write my first blog post with him in mind.

On the chance my dad doesn’t frequent your kitchen, here are what I consider the second best brownies in the world. They are fudgy and rich, gooey but not over the top. They’re made with brown sugar in addition to granulated to give a little extra chew and complexity from the molasses. What really makes them the best is their simplicity: there’s no melting of chocolate over a double boiler, no need for a mixer, and only marginally more work than stirring together boxed brownie mix. Just ten minutes to mix them up, thirty in the oven, and a few more to cool before you can dive face-first into a brownie sundae. Once they’ve cooled completely, they slice like a dream and are perfect for tucking into lunches.

Make these for someone you love and are proud of, even if it’s just yourself. And don’t forget to write something in pecans. It’s what my dad would do.

Cocoa Brownies in Pan

Cocoa Brownies

adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies
makes one 8×8″ pan*

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder*
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 8×8″ square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter again. Set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Stir butter, sugars, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture cool for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one-by-one, mixing until they are completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan before inverting to release. Slice into 16 or 25 squares. Enjoy.

Notes:

  1. A 9×9″ pan may be substituted, but the baking time may be slightly shorter.
  2. I often use a mixture of natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, but using all of one or the other is fine. Use whatever you have on hand.