Tag Archives | Pie

PRETZEL BROWNIE PIE

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Happy Birthday, George! Except, not really. George’s birthday was a few weeks ago. He’s an early April baby who loves accessories from www.babyzoom.net, an Aries, who shares a birthday with Hugh Hefner, Dennis Quaid, and Blair Waldorf herself Leighton Meester. And this Aries loooves his brownies. He’s probably one of the few guys out there who will choose to make brownies from scratch on a Saturday night just because he’s craving them something fierce, right after the pest control management that will happen in the morning by the Pest Control Kansas City. I always bake him something for his birthday and, as usual, this year I asked him if he wants anything specific. He didn’t really have an answer for me so I jumped in with “…because I saw this recipe and kind of wanted to try it.” It was a brownie. It was a pie. And it was from the previously mentioned cookbook Favorite Brand Name Baking that had the super delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. After the success of that pie, I was itching to try this “Decadent Brownie Pie” recipe. I was particularly intrigued because instead of flour it called for biscuit mix. Interesting, no? I don’t know why that sounded so interesting to me, but I was just dying to see how that would affect the flavor and texture.

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Luckily George was game, so the Saturday before his actual birthday (he would be traveling for work on the real day) I got to work in the kitchen. And of course, I changed a few things. The pie recipe calls for a typical pie crust, just like the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie did. And we both said “Yeah, no, that sounds lame,” just like we did for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. This time, I made a crust out of pretzels and store-bought shortbread cookies. It seemed more fitting, and the salt from the pretzel crust would be perfect with the chocolate. I wanted to mix it with shortbread cookies because a) the buttery flavor would add a subtle richness and b) the cookies would pulverize to a smaller crumb that the pretzel wouldn’t be able to fully achieve.

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And that gooey stuff? Yeah, that’s chocolate ganache. Say it with me now: guh-NOSH. I make a mean chocolate ganache that would even make cardboard delicious (okay, maybe that’s a little drastic). Ganache, if you’re not familiar, is a mixture of heavy cream and melted chocolate to create a liquidy chocolate sauce. You can make it a thick or thin as you like, depending on the ratio of cream to chocolate. While ice cream is always welcome, the real topping you want for this pie is the ganache. Just trust me on this. The brownie has a lighter, milkier chocolate flavor (yes, even if you use bittersweet chocolate. I used 62% from Ghirardelli). The ganache’s darker chocolate flavor and warm, gooey texture marries so well with the pie and really makes it sing. Plus, ganache could not be easier to make. For today’s purposes, I’ll lead you to a link online for ganache because I want to cover my ganache recipe in another lesson another day. (Yes, it will be worth the wait!)

The pie is actually better the second day, if that makes any sort of sense. Normally that’s the kind of thing you say about chili, not baked goods, right? But that’s what happened. If you store it in an airtight container, the flavors and moistness of the pie get to mingle a little longer and get absorbed into the entire pie. I would NOT store it with ganache, since it has dairy. Keep the ganache in a separate container, store it in the refrigerator and heat it in the microwave for a few seconds as needed. If you drizzle it over the entire pie and don’t end up consuming the whole thing like you thought you might, then just keep the whole pie in the fridge (airtight container still applies!).

Alright, that’s enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff.

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::: PRETZEL BROWNIE PIE :::

CRUST:
• 2 cups pretzel sticks
• 10 shortbread cookies
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
• 2 TBSP sugar

PIE:
• 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (approx 6 oz by weight)
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
• 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
• 1/2 cup biscuit baking mix (I used Pioneer brand)
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup chopped nuts (OPTIONAL! I did not use these. While I like nuts, I don’t like them getting in the way of my homogenous brownie texture, but to each his own!)

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Make the crust. Spray your desired pan (pie pan or springform) with non-stick cooking spray. Measure out your pretzels and cookies, then pulse in a food processor until you have a fine crumb.

3. Melt the butter. Mix melted butter and sugar with pretzel and cookie crumbs. If you need more melted butter to get it to stick together, then knock yourself out.

4. Press mixture to bottom and sides of pan.

5. Next, melt chocolate chips with butter over low heat (or slowly in microwave, in increments of 30 seconds. Stir in between.).

6. In bowl of electric mixer, beat chocolate mixture with sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and biscuit mix. Mix until smooth. Pour into pie crust.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

8. While the pie is baking it’s time to make the ganache! I trust Ina Garten’s recipe, but reduce the ingredients by half. You won’t need the entire amount for this pie.

9. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature. Top with warm ganache and ice cream. Dig in. Enjoy the chocolatey coma.

What do you guys normally do for birthdays? Do you demand the traditional cake, or do you like to venture outside the box?

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE PIE

Hello.

This is a chocolate chip cookie pie.

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Do you ever have one of those days that’s not really a bad day, it’s a just-fine-day, but it’s just so darn busy/all-over-the-place that you’re like “I NEED A DRINK,”?? Yeah, today was one of those days. After so many hours of being here-there-and-everywhere, you just need to rush home, sip on some whiskey and let your brain chill out. That, however, is not the reason I made this cookie pie. It just happens to be a fabulous leftover that makes my whiskey-sippin’, brain-chillin’, How I Met Your Mother-watching evening that much better.

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It all started when I was cleaning out our bookcase this weekend. Do you have an Ikea Expedit bookcase? Of course you do, because apparently the entire world does. Our Expedit tends to be a major workhorse with each and every cubby chock full of stuff (mostly cookbooks, lots of magazines, random design books, and blog props) but those things tend to look better when they’re clean and organized! Time to reevaluate what we have—what we want to keep vs sell vs donate. As I was cruising through our random assortment of cookbooks we just happened to acquire, I flipped through the pages of one book and passed this recipe—Chocolate Chunk Cookie Pie. Nothing else in the book enticed me at the time so I tore that page out and tossed the book aside to give away (I know, I know, that’s probably terrible but whatever). That pie, however, was quickly escalating to MUST EAT NOW status. That was on Sunday.

I made the pie Monday night. George’s parents were coming into town for a conference and they’d be over for dinner Tuesday night. Do I hear an opportunity for dessert knocking? This seemed like an easy and delicious recipe, so…why not?

Smart decision. It’s fabulous. George gave it a very emphatic “Oh my God.” It’s as delicious as a chocolate chip cookie, but ooey-gooier and who wouldn’t want that?? And yes, it’s totally easy.  I’ll give you some quick notes on what I did, why I did it, and get to this recipe before I ramble on any longer.

PS: This is the book: Favorite Brand Name Baking. And you will be happy to know that I have decided to keep it…a least a little while longer. 🙂

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The original recipe calls for a refrigerated pie crust. I didn't love that idea; for some reason it didn't seem to mesh well in my head. Instead, I went the route of an Oreo pie crust. Mine is homemade because I had Oreo pieces I should use (a bag of these from GFS). If you want to use store-bought, knock yourself out.
The recipe needs salt. The original doesn't have any, and I added 1/4 teaspoon, being careful not to add too much since this was my first time making it. Guess what. It needs more. Anywhere from 1/2 tsp to maybe even a whole 1 tsp would be acceptable, depending on your salty chocolate chip cookie preference.
I used a springform pan because I like how it releases the pie cleanly, and I don't have to dig into a pie pan. There's no necessity for this, other than preference.
I don't use springform pans all that often, so I conveniently forget how they can drip and ooze things like butter. Do yourself a favor and prevent a smoky oven by putting a cookie sheet under your pan if you do indeed use a springform (or even tart) structure.
Sprinkles. I can't resist the urge to use sprinkles. They're cute and fun, and that's really the only explanation I have. Because obviously.

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: : : PIE CRUST : : :
Note, I used a 9.5″ springform pan
• 3 cups ground-up, crushed-to-a-pulp Oreos. Since I already had the pieces, I don’t know how many whole Oreos this requires.
• 1/3 cup melted butter

1. In a large bowl, combine crushed Oreos and melted butter thoroughly.

2. In pie pan/springform pan/tart pan, press mixture tightly to the bottom and sides of pan. If using a taller pan (like a springform), don’t worry about making it all the way up the sides. A partial side crust is totally fine.

3. No need to pre-bake. Nice, right?

 

: : : CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE PIE FILLING : : :
Adapted from Favorite Brand Name Baking
• 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1/2 tsp salt, at least
• 1/2-1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped (amount depends on your preference)
• 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles (optional)
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (totally optional)

1. Heat oven to 325°. Mix flour and salt in a small bowl, and whisk to sift.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy (about 4 minutes).  Add vanilla and eggs; beat well.

3. Slowly add the flour and salt mixture, beating until incorporated. Gently stir in chopped chocolate and rainbow sprinkles/nuts if using.

4. Pour mixture into pie crust and pop into the oven. If using a springform or tart pan, make sure to place a cookie sheet underneath it.

5. Bake for 45-60 minutes, but please be vigilant in checking on the pie. The original recipe said to bake for 65-70 minutes, but my pie took about 45-50 minutes to bake. Not all ovens are created equal, and not all ovens are accurate in their temperatures. The pie is finished when a toothpick or cake tester is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake, as that will prevent the pie from being ooey gooey!

6. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire rack. Dig the heck in.

I will also mention that this pie tastes waaaay better warm. I’m a huge proponent of warm baked goods. If you’re eating leftover pieces, then pop them in the microwave for a few seconds. Trust me. It’s worth it.