The BEST way to store herbs! (Craftsy)
Secrets to making the easiest Monkey Bread. I'm down. (The Kitchn)
Pumpkin biscuit sticky buns. Now that's brilliant. (The Merchant Baker)
Mini jack o'lantern cakes!! (Renee's Kitchen Adventures)
White chocolate chai spiced banana bread. What a great flavor combo! (Gringalicious)
Apple cinnamon overnight oats. Nomsies. (A Farmgirl's Dabbles)
Because it's good to be prepared: 5 things to do with Halloween candy. (The Fresh Toast)
Woot: my latest coloring book pages are available on Craftsy. So get creative! (Craftsy)
Walnut caramel cheesecake bites. These are cute, and I need them because they also look delectable. (Serving Dumplings)
Adorable bonfire cupcakes! (A Strong Coffee)
Awesome ideas for decorating cakes using Halloween candy! (Craftsy)
Not food: 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective people. Ha! There's actually some good wisdom here. (The Positivity Blog)
How to make canned pumpkin taste better: 4 methods! (Craftsy)
I'm intrigued by these flourless vegan pumpkin almond butter cookies. They look really good! (Whisk and Shout)
Book of the week: Good Housekeeping's Cookie-Jar Cookbook. I picked up this baby at a library book sale. Published in 1967, it's got plenty of retro appeal and super-saturated photos, but ultimately has a lot of great classic cookie recipes to offer. I highly suggest picking it up if you find an older edition at a used bookstore or on Amazon!
Many bakers (especially grandmas, in my experience) just love not sharing their secrets. "What makes your cookies so great?" you'll ask, only to get a sly, self-satisfied smile and a coy, "it's my secret". I don't know about you, but this basically sets in motion my conspiracy theorist: is it spit? Is it dog food? What about this ingredient makes it worthy of being secret? Seriously, grandma!
Well, not me. I'm always happy to tell you the secret ingredient.
And now, I'm going to do just that. I'm going to tell you the simplest little thing that you can add to your next pumpkin pie to take it from super to MOTHER-EFFING SPECTACULAR.
It's white chocolate.
Yep. Despised by foodies, deplored by people who try to melt it using the same methods that work with dark chocolate, accused of being "not real chocolate" by people who really like saying "actually..." and then arguing everything that you say. White chocolate is the key to making your pumpkin pie really, really shine.
Let me tell you how I know this.
A few years ago, I had a random half-bar of good quality white chocolate, and for no particular reason, decided to break it up and place it along the crust before filling it with the pumpkin filling. I figured it wouldn't hurt the pie, and it would be a good way to just get rid of that bar.
Well, when the pie baked up, I forgot about it, but everyone complimented the pie a lot more than usual. "What did you put in this?" everyone asked. I told them, but I forgot about the chocolate, so I guess I sort of inadvertently kept it a secret.
The next day I remembered, and realized that this must have been what made the difference.
So I made pumpkin pie with a lining of white chocolate the next time. And once again, everyone raved over it. And I really took note of the flavor. It's really a unique combination. You get the high, unrelentingly sweet flavor of the white chocolate, and it just pulls the pumpkin out of its earthiness and into rich, flavorful dessert territory. It keeps the pumpkin flavor from being too heavy, and brings out the butteriness of the crust. It's like morsels of magic, not white chocolate, have been added.
More than ever before, my pies began disappearing as quickly as they made them when I included the "secret ingredient". So I kept on making my pumpkin pie with white chocolate.
Here, you can see how it slightly oozes from the bottom of the crust. Please excuse the top of the pie - I had put it under the broiler to try to make the top toasty and went a little too far, but it was still delicious!
So now, I want to tell you the secret to making your next pumpkin pie incredible. Promise me you'll try.
How to make your next pumpkin pie incredible.
- Your fave pumpkin pie recipe (or use mine, it's a good one)
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Prepare your pie dough, and put it in your pie plate. On top, before baking, scatter the white chocolate evenly over the bottom of the crust.
Prepare your pumpkin pie recipe per the instructions (perhaps of interest: this post on how to make canned pumpkin taste better). Pour the filling right on top of the white chocolate.
Bake and cool per the recipe instructions. Enjoy what promises to be an extra-special pie.
Do you have any "secret ingredients" to share for your favorite recipes?
Salted caramel Kentucky butter cake. Please, yes, please. (Wishes and Dishes)
Oreo skull cakes. I love them! (Brooklyn Homemaker)
Brownie bottom pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate sauce. Sounds good to me! (The Flavor Bender)
Chai spiced hot chocolate (with white chocolate). All the yes! (Little Sugar Snaps)
Carpe manana! Check out my latest coloring book page, available for FREE download. (Craftsy)
Peanut butter oatmeal scotchies cookies. Yumz. (The Domestic Rebel)
Cast iron skillet cornbread. Perfection. (Recipe for Perfection)
Um, ever heard of cucumber cookies? (Brooklyn Farm Girl)
Check out the latest cartoon I created for the James Beard Foundation! (JBF Notes)
Not dessert-related, but if you love naturalist-style illustration, you have to check out this Etsy shop. (EE Hunter)
Beeramisu. That's tiramisu + beer. (Very EATalian)
Lemon curd: a food that can bring you sunshine on even cloudy days. (Nomnivorous)
Halloween monster pudding cups + oreos. Cute! (Sizzling Eats)
DIY mellowcreme pumpkins! (Craftsy)
Object of the week: This unicorn wall decal I found on Amazon. I *kind of* feel like I need it. Do you agree? Do you think it's worth $48.99?
One sad, overripe banana. Is it time to toss it? Nope. You can make banana bread with this baby.
This post started with a question that I had, which went like so: "what the heck can I do with one overripe banana?". I mean, overrripe bananas are a known Good Thing in baking; they are the stuff that makes Hummingbird cake, banana bread, basically anything banana and baked. But usually, these recipes employ 2-3 or even 4 bananas. What good is just one?
But I didn't want to throw out this banana, which was rapidly progressing from brown to black, and so I set out to do some research. I found a pretty good-looking recipe for banana muffins employing just one banana, and I thought, well, why not just make banana bread instead of muffins? That way, I can, you know, just have one dish to clean, and not have to spoon the batter into individual cups (can you tell I was in a lazy mood?).
Well, to my great joy, the recipe turned out great. In spite of the fact that it contains a mere one banana, this bread is rich in banana flavor, and tastes awesome. It's perfect with butter for breakfast, even better (in my opinion) with peanut butter as a snack.
So if you find yourself with just one banana, make this easy bread. It is short and dense (I didn't add leavening!) but it's awesome in its simplicity. You'll love it.
Banana bread with just one banana
Printable version here - INGREDIENTS
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 egg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup nuts (I used almonds), optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar. Remove from heat once melty, and let it sit for a few moments.
Then, add the mashed banana and egg. Stir to combine. Add the flour and salt, and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts, if using.
Pour the mixture into the prepped loaf pan, and place it on the middle rack in your oven. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating at 15 minutes or so, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled to warm, slice and serve.
Enjoy! Go Banana!
I've really done it this time, you guys. PUMPKIN SPICE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES THAT LOOK LIKE LITTLE LATTES.
Thanks a latte! That’s the response you’ll get when you unveil these pretty-as-a-picture cupcakes to your family and friends. But they’re not just good looking: I made them with Peanut Butter and Co.’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice peanut butter, so they have a truly unique flavor. I then topped the spicy-sweet cupcakes with a decadent cream cheese frosting which adds a pleasing tang to the earthy cake flavor.
Topped with an optional drizzle of caramel and outfitted with mini straws so that they look like a coffee shop beverage, these cupcakes reach stratospheric levels of both adorableness and deliciousness.
Deep-fried Halloween candy. It's a good idea. (Serious Eats)
Eggplant fries. Savory, but geez...totally sweet! (Craftsy)
Greek yogurt whole wheat banana bread. Yummmm. (Eva Bakes)
White chocolate covered oreos. I want these so bad. (Cookie Named Desire)
Banana pudding cupcakes. I'm so into these. (Shugary Sweets)
The snacking habits of geniuses. I enjoyed reading! (Food Hacks Daily)
Pumpkin spice three layer bars. Gotta say, I'm into it. (Forking Up)
An interesting roundup of unusual spice mixes from around the world. (Good Things Magazine)
DIY English muffins. Nice! (Mrs P's Kitchen)
Gluten-free pumpkin spice dog treats. These are so cute. (Vintage Kitty)
If you made the mistake of missing the chocolate greek yogurt banana bread I made, well, remedy that. (CakeSpy)
A brief history of the macadamia nut. Interesting! (Macadamia Castle)
Anyhow, if you like coloring, and you like wine, you'll love these WINE COLORING PAGES. (Wine Enthusiast)
Object of the week: This macaron dress I found on Amazon. I think it will be my next acquisition.
I have so many things to tell you. Maybe you're too cool for school and you won't be excited about them, but I am more than excited enough to be sharing.
First: I figured out a new way to turbo-ripen bananas for baking. It goes like this: preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Put the bananas (in the peels) right on the oven rack. Heat until they turn really brown. Remove, unpeel (careful, they are hot!) and mash 'em up. They work great for baking.
Second: chocolate greek yogurt is a thing, and it's actually good.
I'm typically wary of yogurt (it's not ice cream!), especially when it has flavorings added. But Greek Gods sent me some chocolate greek yogurt for baking purposes, and I have to tell you, it's actually really tasty.
So that is a victory. A chocolate yogurt that actually tastes good! It's still not ice cream, of course, but it is very good.
Now, let's bring together these things in one delicious form while I share with you my latest oeuvre: Chocolate Greek Yogurt Banana Bread.
In spite of coming off as vaguely healthy, that is not my intent. My intent was to make something tasty, and I believe I have met my goal here.
Not too sweet, this is an ideal breakfast bread. It feels enough like a treat that you feel rewarded for waking up, but not so sweet that it gives you a sugar crash. I think it tastes great with butter and toasted nuts on top, but I urge you to choose your own adventure when it comes to how to eat it.
It's a nice, moist bread, so it's not too dry, owing to the yogurt and banana.
Overall, I am going to call this one a victory, as a recipe, and as an experience wherein I discovered things about myself (I can eat some flavored yogurt without wanting to die) and about bananas.
If you'd like to join my life experience, here's the recipe.
Chocolate Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
- 2 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Greek Gods Chocolate Mocha Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, or chocolate chips, or whatever add-ins you want
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (unless you're turbo-ripening the bananas, in which case set it a little lower, like 250 to 300, then set to 350 once they're done). Generously grease a loaf pan (9x5 inches or so).
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Give it a stir to combine, then set to the side.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another big bowl if you feel like doing it by hand) really mash the bananas. I beat them with the paddle attachment until they were like a puree.
Add the Greek yogurt, maple syrup and eggs. Mix until everything is creamy and smooth.
Add the flour mixture, and mix ONLY until moistened (a few little lumps and bumps are OK). Fold in the nuts, if using. Pour/spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan. It won't come all the way up, but that is a good thing.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating at the 20 minute mark or so. The loaf should look set, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean.
Remove from the oven and transfer the loaf pan to a cooling rack. Let cool completely. I serve this loaf right from the pan.
What's your favorite type of breakfast bread?
A momentous National Holiday is rapidly approaching. October 23 marks National Boston Cream Pie Day. This brings up a big question: why is it called a pie when it's actually a cake? Well, I do address that in my book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods, so go ahead and buy that to find out more (yup, I'm a jerk!). But today I want to offer a way to celebrate that is neither cake nor pie: yes indeed, my personal favorite varietal of the Boston Cream family is in doughnut form.
Boston cream doughnuts are the best. Light yeast pastry, filled with custard, and topped with chocolate. Seriously, what could be finer?
Well, as I discovered, they're extra-special when you make them with olive oil.
These doughnuts are fried in olive oil for a crisp, flavorful finish, then filled with a homemade custard and topped with what might just be the dessert sauce of the gods, a ganache made from dark chocolate and olive oil. The olive oil and high quality chocolate gives these doughnuts a flavor that is unlike anything you’ve ever purchased at a commercial doughnut shop!
So go ahead, celebrate in style this year with some extra fancy DIY doughnuts.
Olive Oil Boston Cream Doughnuts
Makes 18-24 (2.5-inch) doughnuts - Printable version here
Active Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes / Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes, plus cooling times
For the doughnuts
- 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
For frying: enough olive oil to fill a deep skillet 2 inches deep
For the cream filling
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the topping
- 5 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
First, make the filling, as it will need to chill for a while before you can pipe it into the doughnuts.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, milk, and cream. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and vanilla, beating until the mixture is light yellow and form ribbons when you lift the whisk, about five minutes by hand.
Slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking until completely combined.
Pour the mixture into a medium-sized saucepan (it can be the same one you started with, washed out) and placeover medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling, until the mixture begins bubbling; continue whisking until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a pudding. This process can take up to 15 minutes. If any bits of egg have cooked, forming lumps, strain the mixture through a mesh sieve before proceeding to the next step.
Transfer the cream filling to a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard, to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until completely chilled. It’s fine to make the custard a day ahead.
Now, it’s time to make the doughnuts. Place the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and olive oil until the mixture reaches about 105°F. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs.
Add the wet mixture to the dry, and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium-high, and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, five to seven minutes. It will still be somewhat sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Near the end of the rising period, prepare your work area. Dust a work surface with flour, and place the dough on top. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2- or 3-inch round cutter (or even a floured drinking glass rim, or the top of a wide mouth mason jar top, as I did), cut out as many circles as you can and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out circles until you've used all the dough. Cover the rounds with plastic wrap and again let them rise, this time for about 30 minutes.
Place paper towels under a wire rack. Have it near your frying surface. This is where you'll put the doughnuts to cool off.
It's time to get frying. Heat your oil in a large deep skillet or deep pan until it has reached 350°F. 7. Transfer the rounds a couple at a time (you don't want them crowded) and fry until browned—about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip, and remember the second side takes less time to fry. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the wire rack. Continue frying until you've finished them all.
By the time you're done frying, the first of the fried doughnuts should be cool enough to handle. Using a chopstick or small knife, make a hole and slightly "shimmy" it without enlarging the hole too much, to make more space in the doughnut for the filling.
Load up a piping bag with your pastry cream, and pipe as much as will possibly fit in each doughnut. (You can also spoon it in if you prefer, slicing the doughnut in half and putting a layer of frosting inside, then sandwiching it. Pipe the sides to make it look pretty.) Once filled, place the doughnuts back on the wire rack.
Finally, make the topping. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the olive oil until the mixture is silky and smooth.
Spoon some of the chocolate mixture on top of each doughnut, and gently spread with the back of the spoon. The topping will still be sticky, but the doughnuts are ready to be consumed now.
These doughnuts taste best the same day made. The cream filling can be made a day ahead.
Have you ever made homemade filled doughnuts?
Welcome fall with my latest coloring book calendar page! FREE to download. (Craftsy)
Chocolate dipped candy corn treats. Cute! (Pint Sized Treasures)
How to keep avocado fresh! (It's a fruit, did you know that?). (Craftsy)
Maple cinnamon apple butter. (Pie and the Boys)
Who invented s'mores? (CakeSpy)
Saltine toffee. This is where it's at. (Suburban Simplicity)
Flourless chocolate cake in a jar. I am so into this. (The Flavor Bender)
I'm into these pecan praline blondies. (The Domestic Rebel)
Matcha sourdough bagels. Interesting! (The Emotional Baker)
Cinnamon toast crunch poke cake. Wow. (Betty Crocker)
I like the idea of a fancy European chocolate subscription service! (Sweetly Europe)
Grilled paneer pineapple tart. (Playful Cooking)
Object of the week: These new leggings I designed, which are available on Society 6! Couldn't you just DIE!?!
Finally, it's National Drink Beer Day. So drink some beer, but put it in your cake (or cookies or bread), too, because baking with beer can yield delicious results.
I wrote what I think is a tremendous post on the basics of baking with beer: what types of recipes you can use, some different methods, and general tips. Hopefully it will inspire you to try your hand at baking with beer!
Admit it: you like big bundts.
I cannot lie: I do. And I'll bet that if you're human, you too have trouble resisting the sweet siren call of a big, beautiful bundt cake.
And who would want to resist a cake like this? The chocolate cake that acts as the base is made with olive oil, which gives it a rich flavor yet light texture. A layer of luxuriant chocolate buttercream comes next, made with bittersweet chocolate for a full, not too-sweet flavor. It’s finished off with a unique olive oil-chocolate ganache; the nutty-sweet-rich combination of flavors in this icing contribute to the robust chocolate flavor, yet also adds a level of sophistication and complexity to the dessert.
Chocolate Cream Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake
Chocolate filled chocolate bundt cake assembly
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 3 hours, 50 minutes
- 1 chocolate olive oil bundt cake (recipe follows)
- 1 batch chocolate buttercream filling (recipe follows)
- 1 batch chocolate olive oil ganache topping (recipe follows)
- Optional garnish: sprinkles or candy-coated chocolates
- Line the inside of the same bundt pan you used to bake the cake with plastic wrap, taking care to cover every portion of the inside of the pan with a slight bit of overhang.
- Spoon the buttercream into the lined bundt pan, taking care not to upset the plastic wrap. Spread the buttercream so that it is as smooth and even as possible. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the buttercream is very firm.
- Meanwhile, using a serrated knife, gently slice off the top third of the bundt cake. You will not need this portion of the cake, so you can put to the side (see ideas for using this cake in the recipe notes).
- Once the buttercream has become quite firm, gently invert the buttercream on top of the cake (let the plastic stay on top for the moment). Gently press the buttercream into the cake to seal them together. Gently Peel off the plastic. The buttercream should rest fairly flush on top of the cake. Place the entire cake back in the freezer for about 20 minutes, so that it will be completely firm when you ice it.
- Ice the cake with your prepared ganache topping, spreading smoothly and confidently as the ganache will begin to firm quickly as it makes contact with the cold buttercream. Place special emphasis on covering up the “seam” between the buttercream and cake on the sides, so that the cake.
- Garnish as desired. Keep this cake chilled, but serve at cool room temperature.
Chocolate olive oil bundt cake
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the cake pan
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 6 ounces plain yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and dust with cocoa powder a 10-inch bundt pan, and place it on top of a baking sheet.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the eggs, yogurt, milk, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on low for a few moments to moisten the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high. Beat for 2 minutes, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and lump-free. It will be a fairly liquid batter.
- Pour the batter in your prepared cake pan, and place the bundt pan (still on the baking sheet) in the oven.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Chocolate buttercream filling
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- pinch salt
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and chocolate until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes on medium speed.
- Stir in the salt, and add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing each addition on low so as to avoid a sugar snowstorm in your kitchen, then increasing the speed to high as the sugar is moistened. This will be a rather stiff buttercream.
Chocolate olive oil ganache topping
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling time
- 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) good quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- In the top of a double boiler set atop simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and cohesive.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature, whisking or stirring every 20 minutes or so, until it has set enough to ice your cake. This can take between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. If the mixture becomes too firm, beat it with a hand or stand mixer to smooth it out again.
- Both the cake and the buttercream filling can be made ahead. The cake can be baked the day before, or it can be made up to two weeks in advance and frozen; if freezing, let the cake come to room temperature before assembling the cake. The buttercream can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let come to cool room temperature, and vigorously mix, before preparing the recipe.
- In Step 3 of the cake assembly, you’ll notice that a portion of the cake is cut off. This portion of the cake is not used in the recipe, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw it out. This cake can be cut into small pieces and used as an ice cream topping, transformed into cake pops, or cut into slivers and dipped in chocolate olive oil for a sophisticated snack.
How to draw cartoon noses. (Craftsy)
White chocolate pumpkin pie biscotti. Looks yum! (Pretend Baker)
Chocolate chip oatmeal carmelitas. YUMMMM. (Saving Room for Dessert)
White chocolate velvet pie. Since yesterday was National White chocolate day, it's very apropos. (The Domestic Rebel)
How did I know that yesterday was National White Chocolate Day? This handy guide to food holidays, of course. (Craftsy)
Also handy: a visual glossary of cake terms. (Pink Cake Box)
Pumpkin chocolate chip whoopie pies. (Sweet ReciPEAS)
Crescent almond cookies. One of my favorites. (Panning the Globe)
Cardamom pumpkin rolls. (The Little Epicurean)
Pecan praline pumpkin cake. (The View from Great Island)
The easiest homemade brioche ever. I like the idea of that! (Baking Steel)
Apple and bing cherry galette. (CakeSpy archives)
Strawberry chocolate hand pies. Pretty, cute, yum! (The Little Kitchen)
Millionaire's shortbread bars. Yes please. (Wallflour Girl)
Book of the week: Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations. I love southern cakes, and this book is a valuable volume includes all the classics, from coconut cake to jelly rolls. I love it and I think you will, too.
Dark chocolate and olive oil come together to form one of the most memorable and crave-worthy pies you’ve ever tried!
It is a fact: the world is currently experiencing a salted caramel boom, and it’s unlikely it will ever end. Why would you ever want it to, though? I mean, salted caramel is an inherently perfect food, combining equal parts sweet and salty for a completely crave-worthy flavor experience. But it really, really, really shines in this pie, which is made with a unique olive oil-salted caramel filling which is nutty, rich, and totally delicious. The texture is simply perfect: firm enough to hold its form for clean slices, but gooey enough to give a pleasant little caramelly ooze once served on a plate.
But wait, there's more! That luscious caramel filling is then topped with a rich, flavorful olive oil ganache made with chopped and melted dark chocolate, and then topped with coarse sea salt. All served atop a crunchy cookie crust, this pie is a study in delicious contrast, and perfect for chocolate and caramel lovers.
It's bound to become part of your frequent baking rotation!
Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie - printable version here
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time: 4 hours, 45 minutes, plus chilling
- Makes one 9-inch pie
For the crust
- 1 ½ cups finely crumbled cookies (graham crackers or shortbread cookies work well)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
For the topping
- 5 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate (51% cacao was used in this recipe)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on top
- A 9-inch pie plate
- A 9-inch square or 9×13-inch rectangle baking pan
- A roasting pan, or a vessel large enough to hold the above baking pan with clearance on all sides
How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease the pie plate on the bottom and sides with olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix the cookie crumbs, olive oil, and salt until it is a cohesive, evenly moistened mixture. Gently press the mixture into the greased pie plate, making sure to press the mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Place the pie plate in the preheated oven, and bake for 10 minutes, or until there is a slight matte look to the crust and it is fragrant and toasty-smelling. Remove from the oven and set to the side to cool completely.
Increase the oven heat to 425°F. Now, grab either a 9×9 or 9×13-inch baking plate. Have nearby your roasting pan or slightly larger pan, in which the smaller pan can comfortably fit with clearance on all sides.
Pour the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt into the baking pan. Give it a light mix to combine everything–it won’t come together in a smooth, creamy and cohesive mixture, but that is OK for now. Just give it a few stirs for even distribution, then add the brown sugar and give it another stir. Once again, combining everything into a smooth mixture isn’t hugely important right now.
Place the pan with the sweetened condensed milk inside of the larger vessel, and slowly pour water in the larger vessel until it reaches about halfway up the smaller baking pan. Pour along the side so that none of the water gets into the sweetened condensed milk mixture (although it is not going to ruin the recipe if a little splash of water gets into the mixture). It’s better to do this with the smaller pan already in the larger pan, because you don’t have to worry about sloshing due to water displacement.
Place a sheet of foil on the top of the baking pan with the condensed milk mixture. Leave it loosely wrapped as you will need to access the mixture throughout the baking process.
Very gently place the entire bulking mass into your preheated oven, taking care not to let the water spill.
The mixture will bake for two hours total, but you will require some mixing during the process. At 40 minutes, remove the mixture from the oven, lift the foil, and give the mixture a stir (you’ll see it starts to look more “mixed” at this point, although it may be somewhat bumpy or separated). Check the water level and replenish if needed. Place the pans back in the oven.
40 minutes later (this is 80 minutes into the baking process now), repeat the previous step. Place the pans back in the oven.
Once your 120 minutes have passed, turn the oven heat off, but leave the mixture in the oven for about 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven, and gently remove the pan of condensed milk. Place it on a heatproof surface, and gently stir the mixture. It may still have some bumps and lumps but it will mostly dissipate as you mix. Once mostly smooth (a little bit of texture is fine), pour into the prepared pie shell. Let the mixture set completely at room temperature (this can take up to 2 hours) before completing the next step.
Once the caramel has set (you can test it by tilting the pan; the mixture should stay put), make your olive oil ganache topping. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the olive oil until the mixture is silky and smooth.
Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel layer. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired.
Refrigerate the pie for several hours, or until ready to serve. While the pie is eatable right away, it will be sticky and a little messy when cut. Refrigerating will ensure that everything “sets”, giving the pie an easier texture for cutting and serving.
What's your favorite way to enjoy salted caramel?
You guys! I am a contributor for the Craftsy.com blog, and I've been writing some awesome stuff for them recently! Gaze upon my work:
30 awesome after-school snack ideas. Tasty for kids and adults alike!
The best apples for apple pie? A nice roundup.
Would you eat an avocado seed? Here's how, if you choose to.
Amazing and inspiring uses for stale bread. Seriously.
How to make kitchari. One of my favorite meals ever!
Unusual wine pairings. This was really fun to write!
Easy couscous recipe. Yummers.
10 types of condiments you never even knew existed. I love toppings!
September coloring book calendar page! It's back to school time, let's get creative!
8 ways to draw cartoon noses. Easy and fun!
8 ways to draw cartoon eyes. A companion to the one above!
Drawing mistakes: are you thwarting your art without even realizing it?
Because it's candy corn season! Candy Corn Boston Cream Pie! (CakeSpy archives)
10 types of condiments from around the world. Savory, not sweet, but interesting. (Craftsy)
Pumpkin cheerios marshmallow treats. I am delighted. (We are Not Martha)
Pumpkin cheesecake bars. Into it. (A Treats Affair)
Cinema LED light. This is not food at all. But I love it. (Urban Outfitters)
Apple butter dumplings. (Chocolate Moosey)
Salty mixed nut cookies. (Bake or Break)
These matcha and banana crepes are awfully pretty! (Runnin Sri Lankan)
Pumpkin spice truffles. (Sally's Baking Addiction)
Hummingbird cake. One of my faves! (Spiced)
This idea for waffle cupcakes is actually pretty darned easy (and cute!). (Buzzfeed)
DIY gummi bears! OMG! (Craftsy)
Chicken breast pudding. Not kidding. It's a thing in Turkey. (About)
What's your favorite apple type for making pie? Here are some of my picks. (Craftsy)
Book of the week: My second book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods. Why? Well, two reasons. First, it's a great book. Second, National Boston Cream Pie Day is coming up on October 23, and you need time to buy my book, learn about the history of this dessert, and then make it for the big day.
It's hard for me to believe that you didn't know it was my birthday on August 26. Actually, I find it hard to believe that you didn't notice that I basically dedicated August to celebrating my birthday.
You see, CakeSpy (the website) has its birthday on August 1--it was on August 1, 2007 that I made my very first posting.
And then my personal birthday is August 26. So basically, I celebrate myself and what I do all month long.
Can I tell you about how freaking hard the month of August ruled this year?
Well, it started out with me celebrating CakeSpy with a post where I detailed some of my favorite moments from the 9 years that I've owned this site and business. Really, it's worth checking out--you'll get name dropping (Martha! Jay and Silent Bob!) and some delicious recipe inspiration.
Throughout the rest of the month, I celebrated by telling everyone I knew that my birthday was coming. This included my yoga students, cashiers at the grocery store, my postman, and basically any and everyone I came into contact with.
My sweetie took me to Charleston as an early birthday present, which was great.
My friend Britney couldn't be around for my birthday, but she gave me a homemade bracelet which says "UNICORN QUEEN" which is now among my Favorite Things on Earth.
But it all culminated on the magical day of August 26. It started with breakfast at Sunny Point Cafe in Asheville, which ended with a birthday cookie.
I should mention: my birthday was on a Friday this year. I teach a yin yoga class with ambient lighting on Friday evenings. Since it was my birthday, I brought cake and champagne.
Not just any cake. I made a cake...
and brought two that my sweetie had commissioned Short Street Cakes to make for me.
And I served the cake (with TINY FORKS TO EAT IT) and champagne DURING my yoga class.
That's right: we held long stretches while eating cake and drinking champagne! OM NOM NAMASTE, indeed!
During the class, everyone went around and said something that they love about me. This just about made me cry.
Afterward, we went out for pizza (because pizza and cake is the best birthday combo!) and I opened presents. And guess what? The restaurant sent out MORE CAKE. This is my "I can't believe there's more cake!" face.
And let's talk about the PRESENTS. I do enough yoga to know that life is not about objects, but man, I CLEANED UP! I got this "handicorn":
and this unicorn tape dispenser:
and this Steve Buscemi (my celebrity crush) t-shirt, a huge donut scarf / throw, and a YOGA PUG TOTE:
and this beautiful unicorn-horn crystal:
and a bunch more awesome (largely, but not all unicorn-related) stuff. I felt so freaking loved.
So, basically, this post is to tell you that my birthday was great. If you'd like to celebrate in this sort of style, I can share a few resources with you:
How to make your birthday as awesome as mine
Come to yoga with me at Violet Owl Wellness if you're in Asheville!
Make the same cake I made using this recipe. To make the unicorn out of sprinkles, I put a cookie cutter on top of the cake and filled it in with rainbow sprinkles - easy!
The ice cream cone toppers I used on my cake were purchased at Duncan & York in Asheville.
I linked to some of the unicorn-related stuff above that you can buy on Amazon; click on the images to go buy.
Read about the tasty treats I ate on my birthday trip to Charleston, here!
Happy birthday to me, indeed!
Creative uses for stale bread. I hope yours goes stale really soon! (Craftsy)
Guinea pigs talking about Pumpkin Spice Everything. HA! (Daily Liked)
Blueberry grunt. Sounds ugly, looks messy-pretty, but tastes delicious. (The Culinary Chase)
How to bake a level cake. (I am Baker)
Steps to follow when converting a cake recipe to cupcakes. Handy! (The Kitchn)
You've never experienced wine pairing like this. (Craftsy)
Berry and halvah ricotta brick toast. OMG. (Sun Diego Eats)
Kitchari! It's not sweet, but it's so good. Check it out! (Craftsy)
"How to make a pie that turns into a cake". I am fascinated by this. (Instructables)
Scientific proof why you should eat a slice of pie, crust-first. (Popular Science)
Chocolate pumpkin cream filled cupcakes. You've got to see them! (Inside BruCrew Life)
Also not sweet, but I am FEELING these vegan zucchini fritters. (Love is In My Tummy)
Caramel cream filled snickerdoodles. (Sweet ReciPEAS)
Object of the week: this shirt. Yoga and unicorns and humor all at once. It is everything!