Tag Archives: pecans

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.


  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.