Chocolate Chess Pie

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There are so many chocolate pies that I want to eat every day, and I’ve posted enough for you to probably eat a chocolate pie every day for a month straight!  Some of my favorites are of course, Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse, Chocolate Granola, Double Chocolate Pecan and the creamy dreamy Chocolate Cream, but today I’m sharing one of the easiest chocolate pies I’ve ever made.   I think we can all agree that low effort with big reward can be nice sometimes.  The pies listed above have varying levels of difficulty, and perhaps some ingredients you don’t keep in stock – but this one is not only easy, all of these ingredients are in your pantry.  You can make it any time and you will love the surprise of a custard pie texture with a rich chocolatey taste.  Plus, we know how to make a super easy and delicious pie crust now, so chocolate chess pie is on the menu TONIGHT!

Standard 9’Pie Crust – We use a shortening crust, but whatever you prefer will taste great!
(If you’re using a deep dish pie crust go 1 1/2 on this recipe but 2 eggs is still fine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa (if you want to be fancy step up your game and use dutch process cocoa like the valrhona one pictured – hershey’s works fine though)
pinch of salt
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 eggs beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, but come on, who doesn’t choose chocolate chips?)

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Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt together then blend in the milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla then fold in chocolate chips.  Pour filling into crust.

Bake 45-50 minutes, until almost completely set.  The filling should just barely wobble in the center when pan is jiggled.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  You can serve room temp or you can chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight before serving chilled.  I recommend serving with whip cream or even a scoop of ice cream.  If you serve hot, the butter will not set into the filling so painful as it is, it’s best to wait for pie to cool.

Recipe adapted from Mrs. Rowe’s little book of Southern Pies.

Butterscotch Cinnamon Twists with Grandma Ruth’s Icing

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I have a well-documented history of food experimentation, and this is the latest in my pursuit of kitchen Dr. Frankenstein madness. I love cinnamon rolls, but sometimes they can be a bit too bready or dry, so I wanted to try a twist, rather than a roll, with really goopy filling and tons of glaze. What is a more gooey filling than sticky-buns? My mom’s recipe kills, so I went with that for the filling and the ever-famous Grandma Ruth’s icing (with one minor tweak). I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m going to say that these twists may have broken a friends’s long-standing diet, and received their fair share of accolades. These will be the perfect weekend baking project, so get crackin’ y’all!

Ingredients

        Butterscotch Cinnamon filling:

  • 1 small pkg. butterscotch pudding (regular or instant)
  • 1 ½ cubes butter, melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 t. cinnamon

    Brioche:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temp)
  • 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups soft butter

    Grandma Ruth’s Icing (barely altered):

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Butterscotch filling:

In a saucepan melt butter and add brown sugar and cinnamon. Add nuts and butterscotch pudding and mix until combined. Cover and let ingredients “settle” for 4 hours or overnight. (You want the butterscotch pudding mix to have time to incorporate with the rest of the ingredients.)

Brioche dough:

Heat milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees). In a large bowl lightly whisk together sugar and warm milk. Add 1 cup of flour, mix until smooth. Lightly beat the eggs then mix into the milk mixture until combined. Add in instant yeast and another cup of flour and continue to mix, adding salt and a half a cup of flour and mix till the dough comes together. Knead dough in machine for 3 minutes, incrementally adding the rest of the flour—dough should be sticky. Add 1/4 of the soft butter, mix until the the butter is completely incorporated, then add another 1/4 of butter, continue till all 1 1/2 c. of the butter is mixed in. Pour dough into greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to approximately a 18×12″ rectangle. (To be honest, I totally eyeballed all of these measurements and they can be adjusted to whatever you find easiest) Spread butterscotch filling evenly all over the dough. On the wide side, cut dough into three portions, then cut about 8 strips in each of those three portions. To assemble, lay two strips together—the filling facing inward—then twist. Place each twist on a prepared baking sheet and let rise for about 45 minutes. Bake twists for 15-20 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling. Cool twists on a tray (could be a two spatula job to transfer while hot). Drizzle generously with icing while still warm.

Grandma Ruth’s Icing:

In a large saucepan put evaporated milk, sugar, salt and flour. Mix on medium heat until mixture is bubbling and thick. Stirring constantly, add butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Once it’s done—as instructed by 2.0 in the recipe for the original, glorious Cinnamon Rolls—pour it through a strainer and push it with a rubber spatula to get all the lumps out so it’s nice and smooth. Drizzle over warm twists.

-CK 1.0

 

Black Bottom Vanilla Cream Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

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Black Bottom Vanilla Cream Pie with salted caramel sauce by twocarolines.com

As my loyal readers have noticed, I have a new habit of slapping a black bottom on every pie I make – it’s my new favorite party trick.  I put one on the incredibly delicious peanut butter chocolate pie, my nutella pie, and lately I’m throwing this down on all my cream pies like banana cream and coconut cream pie.  This cream pie recipe is one you’ve maybe seen here before, but not when it’s atop a decadent layer of ganache and dripping with salted caramel sauce.  This was an experiment that paid off MAJOR! I was so happy with it and it’s not very hard to make! On this pi day I give you this super winning equation of chocolate + vanilla + salted caramel = PIE that will rock your world!

Crust: Traditional pie crust – our recipe is awesome and easy.  I made this in a deep dish pie pan, but it would work in a standard 9″ – it would just be really full – you could save some ganache for later if it looks like you’re filling it too full before you get to your cream filling.
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crisco
4 tablespoons ice water

Ganache:
1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (I love it with a dark bittersweet chocolate)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 (scant) teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cup whole milk
7 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Salted Caramel: 
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

  1. To make the crust, mix your flour and salt, then add the Crisco and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender as you add the cold water.  It will start to come together at which point you can pull in all the dry parts with your hands and quickly knead it into a ball.  Flour your work surface and roll it into a thin circle.  Roll it onto your rolling pin and slowly into your (ungreased) pie pan.  Make a ridge around the outside and crimp as desired.  Poke all over with holes or put beans or pie weights into your crust with parchment before baking.  Blind bake at 450 7-9 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. While crust is cooking and cooling make your chocolate ganache.  You can melt your chocolate and cream in a double boiler on the stove, or with  my preferred method –  Place chocolate and cream in a glass pyrex in the microwave on defrost for a few minutes or in 20 second increments on full power until the chocolate loses it’s shape and you can whisk it all smooth.   You don’t want it to get too hot so the key is to heat is slowly.  Pour your ganache layer into your (mostly) cooled pie crust and put it into the freezer or fridge so it can harden while you make your filling.
  3. Put sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan with a thick bottom.  With your burner on medium/high (I keep mine just above medium) slowly pour in the milk and stir until combined then add your egg yolks one at a time, whisking after each until no yellow streaks remain.  Now switch to a heat proof rubber spatula and stirring constantly bring to a simmer.  Once the bubbles come up and you know it’s starting to boil scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk until smooth then return to the heat and stir constantly for 1 minute while your mixture slowly bubbles (wear an apron!).  Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla until all is combined then pour into your prepared pie crust on top of your cooled ganache.

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    black bottom vanilla cream pie by twocarolines.com

  4. Put plastic wrap directly over the top before refrigerating.  Be sure to let it cool a solid 4 hours or so before you top it with whipped cream and salted caramel.
  5. For the Caramel whisk together sugar and water in a medium (heavy bottom) saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until sugar is just dissolved.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil without stirring.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper (DO NOT STIR).  Remove from heat and immediately but slowly add the heavy cream.  Be careful as your caramel will bubble and steam.  Add salt.  Whisk the final mixture together well and set aside to cool – it will get thicker as it cools.
  6. To make the cream, whip heavy cream in a cool bowl and add sugar as it starts to thicken to desired consistency.
  7. To serve, drizzle caramel over each slice then serve and store refrigerated…if there’s anything left!

Cream Pie recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking vanilla cream pie and Salted Caramel adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

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Ultimate Zucchini Bread by twocarolines

I love all the sweet breads and muffins, but for me, none can trump my Mom’s Ultimate Zucchini Bread. The origins of this recipe are quite mysterious, my Mom got it from a neighbor who had a book of desserts for “Navy Wives” – and I guess everything she ever made from this book was incredible.  I follow my Mom’s recipe pretty closely, just switched out the vegetable oil for coconut oil, added another egg, and I substitute some brown sugar for white because I like the flavor with some of both.  It makes two loaves which is handy because people tend to eat it 3 slices at at time, but if you’re not in a house of hungry animals half the recipe or bring a loaf to your neighbor.  I’m guessing they will lay off the next time you need to have a loud backyard dance party if you feed them zucchini bread on the reg.  Plus, the smell this bread permeates your house with is absolutely BONKERS, it’s seriously one of the best smelling baked sweets this world has to offer.  Now hop to it!

1 cup coconut oil melted
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons (or up to 1 tablespoon) cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini (I grate it finely, but my Mom likes to grate it with the standard grater)
(optional) 1 cup chopped nuts – either pecans or walnuts (I omitted the nuts because my kids are insane, but it tastes awesome with them if you’re into that kind of thing)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare two standard loaf pans with cooking spray (I line the bottom with a small rectangle of parchment just to be sure my loaves come out clean every time.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix your coconut oil and sugars for 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time making sure they are totally incorporated.  Mix in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together.  Add to the wet ingredients with your mixer on low until all incorporated.
  4. Add shredded zucchini mixing just until there are no dry spots and the zucchini is consistent throughout your batter.  If using add nuts last.
  5. Divide batter into your prepared loaf pans and bake for 65-70 minutes until nicely golden brown and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.  Let rest in pans 5-10 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool, but get real, you’re going to want to eat this bread as soon as it doesn’t burn your hand!
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Ultimate Zucchini Bread by twocarolines

Recipe courtesy of CK2.0’s Mom’s neighbor and her book of desserts for Navy Wives

Orange Brown Sugar Cake with Orange Whipped Cream

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orange brown sugar cake with orange whipped cream by twocarolines.com

For me, the beach is not the best thing about living in Southern California, I’m not a beach kid, but nothing beats the taste of my backyard oranges – they are the flavor of sunshine, healing, bright happiness, and sweet citrus bliss – hands down my favorite thing about California.  Lately, we’ve been picking a bunch in the morning when they’re cold and juicing them for the family – it’s such a luxury.  When I saw this cake, I knew it would be a revelation with my So. Cali citrus and I was right!  It’s got such a sunny bright flavor and a very delicate crumb that makes it feel extra special.  Plus the glaze makes it have an incredible outside texture and flavor pop then you melt into the fluffy flavorful center and with a dollop of orange flecked whipped cream it’s pretty much winter dessert perfection!

For the Cake: 
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 cups (12 ounces so a scant 3 cups) cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I used buttermilk which was awesome, but normal milk will still taste great)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

For the Glaze: 
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  1.  Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350.  Spray or butter a 9″ springform pan and I made a parchment circle in the bottom so it would be easier to take the cake off the pan.  Also it’s helpful to wrap the bottom with a layer of foil to avoid any leaking.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tablespoon zest from the oranges.  Juice one of your oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine.  Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
  4. In 3 additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  5. Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, about 45 minutes.  A toothpick in the center should just come out with some moist crumbs.  If it looks like your cake is browning too much towards the end you can tent it with foil – but I didn’t need to do this.  Let your cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around the cake to release the sides and pop open your spring form.  I recommend letting your cake cool for at least 30 minutes before moving it off your springform base onto a cake board or cooling rack.
  6. Poke little holes all over cake with a toothpick in 3/4 inch intervals.
  7. Make your glaze by combining the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides and into your holes.
  8. For the whipped cream, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes more.  Serve the cake with whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine Feb/March 2017 “Orange and Brown-sugar-glazed Cake with Orange Flecked Whipped Cream”