Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic peanut butter cookies with an ooey, gooey chocolate center.  If you freeze the unbaked dough balls you can enjoy these cookies fresh from the oven anytime!

Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies ~ Pearls + Girls

Yep. It’s official.  My favorite flavor combo has been outdone yet again.

If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know that I really can’t resist anything  with peanut butter + chocolate.  Lucky for me (or unlucky for me depending on how you look at it) my family loves this combo as well.  I literally had to hide these cookies so they would last through the weekend.

I played around with this recipe a bit trying to get the peanut butter : chocolate ratio just right.  I was worried if I put too much chocolate in the cookies they would erupt like little cookie volcanoes.  It turns out, there is no such thing as too much chocolate inside a peanut butter cookie.  Who knew?!?! ;)  Enjoy!

Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

These cookies are best served warm, so I highly recommend freezing the dough balls and baking them off in small batches.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 - 4 oz. bars semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken into scored pieces OR 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, cream the butter on low speed for one minute.
  3. Add both sugars and mix on medium speed until just combined.
  4. Add the egg and mix on medium speed for two minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Scrape down bowl with a spatula.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated. Do not overmix!
  7. Using a tablespoon or a medium cookie scoop, scoop one ball of dough.
  8. Press one piece of baking chocolate or six chocolate chips in the center.
  9. Scoop another ball of dough on top and press with your hands to encase the chocolate completely.
  10. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Use a fork to criss-cross the top of each dough ball.
  11. Refrigerate the dough balls for one hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  13. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet (six on each sheet).
  14. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. *if you are baking frozen dough balls add about 4 minutes to the baking time.
  15. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2015/01/chocolate-stuffed-peanut-butter-cookies/

Cheddar Eggs on Toast

A simple recipe for breakfast, brunch or alongside a salad for lunch!  Drizzle your eggs with hollandaise or a few dashes of hot sauce for some extra oomph.   

Cheddar Eggs on Toast

I love recipes that take basic ingredients and make them taste INCREDIBLE, don’t you?

THIS is one of those recipes!!!!

Earlier this month I decided to take a few notes from Mrs. Patmore by putting my own spin on some recipes inspired by classic Edwardian dishes.  Who can forget the heartbreaking episode in season 3 of Downton Abbey when poor Edith gets left at the altar by Sir Anthony Strallan? UGH!  Since the wedding luncheon was cancelled, Mrs. Patmore served the downstairs staff some of the food, including truffled eggs on toast.

My Midwestern American nod to this dish includes thick, toasted slices of brioche, farm fresh eggs, a generous handful of shredded cheddar cheese and a few sprinkles of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Dang, I knew I should have written this recipe up sooner, now I want eggs!  Midnight snack anyone?  ;)

Cheddar Eggs on Toast

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 thick slices of homemade or store bought brioche, crusts trimmed
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a round cookie cutter or a juice glass to make a circle impression in the center of each slice of bread.
  3. Cut around the circle with a sharp knife and scoop out a little of the bread to make a well for the eggs.
  4. Brush each slice of bread with the melted butter and toast in the oven for 2 minutes.
  5. Add two egg yolks to each well and sprinkle each piece of bread from edge to edge with 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake for 3 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  8. Serve immediately.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2015/01/cheddar-eggs-toast/

Pineapple Oatmeal Bars

Perfect for afternoon snacking or a weeknight dessert, these bars are made with 100% fruit.  Make the pineapple curd on the weekend, then assemble and bake off anytime!!

Pineapple Oatmeal Bars ~ Pearls + Girls

Knock on wood, but my family has been pretty resilient this season, managing to avoid any major illness thus far.  We wash our hands frequently, get enough sleep (well, at least the kids do) and eat plenty of fruits and veggies.  Keeping your body strong helps you fight off the ‘yucky bugs’ that get passed around all too often.  You know how it goes, one kid gets sick and the next thing you know the whole family is glued to the couch with cough drops, chicken noodle soup and tissues in close proximity.  N.O.T. F.U.N. :(

Our pediatrician told me having pets helps kids build up a strong immune system.  We love our 100 lb. fur child, but who knew she was helping to kick the ‘yucky bugs’ in the butt?!?!  If muddy paw prints, slobbery doggy kisses and two kiddos consuming food off a less than pristine floor (fyi, 3 year olds don’t give a hoot about the 3-second rule)  are any proof, healthy kids and furry friends can coexist in perfect harmony. :)

Now…..on to the food!  Check out the thick layer of pineapple goodness in these oatmeal bars!!!  They’re made with 100% fruit, so each bar packs a serious nutrient punch.  Oh, and they happen to taste pretty good, too!  Make the curd on the weekend and bake the bars off anytime during the week for an afternoon snack or weeknight dessert.   Psst, you could even bake these ahead and wrap them individually in the freezer to enjoy later during one of those crazy weeks when you don’t have time to bake. :)

Pineapple Oatmeal Bars

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Ingredients

    Pineapple Curd
  • 1 pineapple, cut into chunks then pureed until smooth
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • Oatmeal Bars
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cubed and softened
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use the King Arthur brand)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine both flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until incorporated.
  4. Add the softened cubed butter and mix until large crumbles form and the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Press half the mixture into the bottom of an aluminum foil lined and greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  6. Spread the pineapple curd evenly over the crust.
  7. Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture, pressing the large crumbles into the pineapple curd.
  8. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  10. Use the edges of the foil to lift it out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board.
  11. Cut into squares.
  12. Refrigerate any leftovers.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2015/01/pineapple-oatmeal-bars/

Mississippi Mud Parfaits

A truly decadent pie, but in single serving portions!  All the yumminess, (almost) none of the guilt. ;)

Mississippi Mud Parfaits ~ Pearls + Girls

In an effort to be more efficient and organized, we took down our Christmas tree last weekend.  Then we had the most gorgeous snowfall yesterday, and I found myself wishing I could gaze at my tree, framed in a beautiful winter wonderland through my front room window.  First time EVER that being more efficient and organized turned out to be a major bummer!

I seriously needed a bit of chocolate to cheer me up, and these Mississippi Mud Parfaits did the trick!  Even though it’s a mostly from scratch recipe, it really is fairly simple to make.  I whipped up a quick chocolate pudding on the stove, refrigerated it for a few hours, folded in some freshly whipped cream, and crushed up some chocolate sandwich cookies.  Served in a stemless wine glass, a couple bites of this dessert is all you need for your daily chocolate fix.  Until tomorrow that is….  Enjoy! :)

Mississippi Mud Parfaits

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 sleeve chocolate sandwich cookies, crumbled

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the milk to a simmer.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the warm milk and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the pudding (to keep it from forming a skin).
  5. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  6. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks.
  7. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, mix to incorporate.
  8. Fold half the whipped cream into the pudding until it is incorporated.
  9. Layer the pudding, reserved whipped cream and cookie crumbles in your serving dishes (I used stemless wine glasses).
  10. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2015/01/mississippi-mud-parfaits/

Berry Meringues

An elegant dessert with lots of fabulous textures!  I used frozen berries to make the sauce so you can make it winter, spring, summer or fall!!

Berry Meringues ~ Pearls + Girls

And…..it has arrived!  The day I have been looking forward to since Mary burned Bate’s train ticket and Rose kicked off her debutante ball by dancing with the Prince of Wales.  The Downton Abbey season 5 premiere is TONIGHT! :D

I know I am not the only one who has secretly been pining for this momentous occasion, am I?!?!

What better way to celebrate than with a fabulous new dessert, inspired by Mrs. Patmore’s unfortunate raspberry meringue debacle in season 1 (a sprinkle of sugar salt right at the end as not to spoil the effect).  While you won’t find a mere pinch of salt in my berry meringues, you WILL find lots of textures:  crispy meringues, fluffy sweetened whipped cream, silky berry sauce….YUM!  I’m sure Lady Grantham wouldn’t approve of licking the bowl, but I hereby give you permission to do just that.  I’ll even provide extra napkins if necessary.  Enjoy! :)

Berry Meringues

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    Meringues
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Berry Sauce
  • 10 oz. bag frozen berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced

Instructions

    Meringues
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  3. On medium speed, add the sugar 1 TBSP at a time until all the sugar is incorporated and the meringue mixture is smooth and shiny.
  4. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a French star or round tip.
  5. Pipe meringues in 1-inch mounds about 2 inches apart onto two Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake for two hours, then turn off the oven and leave meringues in the oven for an additional hour.
  7. Meringues should be firm to the touch and lightly browned.
  8. Berry Sauce
  9. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the berries, water and sugar to a boil.
  10. Using a fork, smash berries to help them release their juices.
  11. Strain the sauce through a mesh sieve.
  12. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  13. Sweetened Whipped Cream
  14. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat whipping cream until it forms soft peaks.
  15. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, mix to incorporate.
  16. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  17. Assemble the meringues:
  18. The meringues could be assembled on a large serving platter or in individual glass bowls.
  19. Place a layer of meringue cookies on the bottom of the platter or in each glass bowl.
  20. Top with whipped cream and berries.
  21. Drizzle generously with the berry sauce.
  22. Repeat with the remaining meringues, whipped cream, berries and sauce.
  23. Serve immediately.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2015/01/berry-meringues/

Orange Scented Cookies

You know what goes great with champagne?  Cookies!
Orange Scented Cookies ~ Pearls + Girls
What are you looking forward to in 2015?  We are hoping to FINALLY make the move to a family friendly neighborhood.   There’s nothing like putting your house on the market to make you feel like you live like a slob!  I can’t remember the last time I cleaned the baseboards, dusted the blinds or scrubbed the grout lines in my bathroom.  Ewww, maybe I shouldn’t be talking about bathroom grout before giving you a recipe.  My bad. ;)
Anyway, the point is, all this cleaning is making me crave a cocktail! Oh, and a cookie!  Since champagne is the beverage of choice for ringing in the New Year, why not pair it with a citrus cookie?  Yum, makes me think of mimosas!  A crispy sugar cookie studded with freshly grated orange zest, a glass of bubbly and watching the ball drop with Ryan Seacrest on tv?!?!  My New Year’s is complete!  Happy 2015!!! :)
Orange Scented Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP orange zest, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and 1 TBSP orange zest and mix until combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
  7. In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon until well mixed.
  8. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in orange scented sugar.
  9. Place dough balls on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet (I did six cookies per sheet).
  10. Press with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly.
  11. Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  12. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2014/12/orange-scented-cookies/

Chorizo, Manchego and Kale Quiche

Need a brunch recipe to share with  friends and family this holiday season?  Make a quiche!  Prep the ingredients ahead of time and spend more time enjoying your guests! 

Chorizo, Manchego & Kale Quiche ~ Pearls + Girls

I’m one of those crazy people that starts shopping for NEXT Christmas right after….Christmas.  I decorate my Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.  I’ve been known to enjoy a Christmas movie in November July AND  I start belting out Christmas tunes with Michael Bublé and Josh Groban in October.  What can I say?!?!  I love Christmas!  Even though I spend the whole year preparing for this most joyous holiday, somehow I still fall flat in December, scrambling to get presents wrapped and staying up WAY too late baking holiday treats.

It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  What better way to relieve the stress than enjoying a super simple brunch with your nearest and dearest?  All the ingredients for this quiche can be prepped the day before and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.  Now that’s holiday entertaining at its best!  Enjoy! :)

 

Chorizo, Manchego and Kale Quiche

Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Ingredients

  • Your favorite pie crust, homemade or store bought
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 link chorizo sausage, thinly sliced and sauteed until browned and crispy (could be done the day before and refrigerated)
  • 1 cup kale, roughly chopped and sauteed in olive oil until soft (could be done the day before and refrigerated)
  • 1 cup Manchego cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a pie plate with the premade crust and crimp the edges.
  3. Line the bottom of the pie plate with the chorizo sausage.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the mixture over the chorizo sausage.
  6. Top with the sauteed kale and Manchego cheese.
  7. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2014/12/chorizo-manchego-kale-quiche/

Chocolate Covered Caramels

 

Chocolate Covered Caramels ~ Pearls + Girls

So yeah…..it’s been awhile!  The craziness of life and the pressure to do more, be more, etc. has been really getting this mama down these days. :(

November was not a good month for me.  Sadly I realized my blog was a major contributor to my unhappiness.  How is that possible?!?!  What started off as such a wonderful blessing for this baking obsessed SAHM slowly transformed into something that felt more like an obligation than a creative outlet.

Pearls + Girls had a great first year, but new years are for new beginnings!  In this case that means falling back into old habits (the good kind, of course!).  I hope you’ll hang with me and continue to follow my blogging journey, even if I don’t exactly know what direction it’s moving in!  There are some big changes on the horizon for my family, and even though I love my little slice of the blogosphere SO MUCH, something’s gotta give.  Such is life.  Oh, and here’s a yummy chocolate recipe to share with your friends and family during the holidays! Enjoy! :)

Chocolate Covered Caramels

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, plus more to grease the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate melting wafers (I use the Ghirardelli brand)
  • Edible pearls (optional)

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9 X 13 pan with butter.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar until it is dissolved.
  4. Stir in the corn syrup until it is dissolved.
  5. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk.
  6. Continue stirring until the mixture is 240 degrees.
  7. Add the vanilla. The mixture will bubble up a bit. Stir until the bubbling subsides.
  8. Pour into the greased pan and let sit overnight.
  9. Cut the caramels with a knife and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.
  10. Melt chocolate wafers in a microwave safe bowl.
  11. Dip each caramel into the chocolate with a fork and place back on the waxed paper lined baking sheet.
  12. Sprinkle with edible pearls. (optional)
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2014/12/chocolate-covered-caramels/

Parmesan Olive Oil Crackers

Want to impress your friends and family with your baking skills this holiday season?  Make homemade crackers to serve with appetizers or drinks!

Parmesan Olive Oil Crackers ~ Pearls + Girls

I think some of the most impressive dishes can be the most simple.  Anyone can go to the store and pick up a box of crackers, but what better time than the holidays to pull out the big guns and impress with some delicious homemade crackers?!?!  The reason I love baking from scratch is because I get to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients.  Topping these crackers with copious amounts of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese bakes in the amazing nutty, salty flavor.  You just can’t get this kind of flavor from a store bought cracker!  Enjoy! :)

Parmesan Olive Oil Crackers

Yield: about 2 dozen crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the water and olive oil.
  3. Using a spatula bring the dough together, then use your hands to form it into a log.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Unwrap dough and place on a floured surface.
  7. Cut dough into 1/2 inch pieces.
  8. Roll each piece as thin as possible.
  9. Place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake until golden brown, about 5 - 7 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for one minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2014/11/parmesan-olive-oil-crackers/

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

 Need a great appetizer for the holidays?  Look no further than my Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms!  This recipe has everything you love: spicy Italian sausage, blue cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic and parsley with a hint of white wine.  YUM!

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms ~ Pearls + Girls

I usually provide desserts for our holiday get togethers, but a few years ago I branched out with these stuffed mushrooms for a Thanksgiving appetizer, and everyone loved them.  Next thing I knew I was making them for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Of course, I can’t imagine that any carnivore would not enjoy these spicy stuffed mushrooms, they really are THAT good!   I don’t skimp on the filling (as you can clearly see) and I let it sit in the fridge overnight so the flavors can ‘merry’ (no holiday pun intended hehe).  Who doesn’t love a holiday appetizer you can prepare in advance?!?!  Enjoy! :)

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

Serving Size: 8 - 12 appetizer servings

These stuffed mushrooms are a great make ahead appetizer! They can be assembled the day before and stored in the refrigerator, just add a few minutes to the cooking time.

Ingredients

  • 1 link spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 link sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 24 white mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 TBSP flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Cook sausage in a skillet over medium high heat until crumbled and cooked through.
  2. Add to a large mixing bowl with the garlic, wine, blue cheese, bread crumbs and parsley.
  3. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Arrange mushroom caps with the stem cavity facing up on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Drizzle mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  7. Remove filling from the refrigerator and using a tablespoon or medium cookie scoop, form into balls.
  8. Top each mushroom cap with the filling, pressing down slightly.
  9. Sprinkle tops with panko bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes.
http://pearlsplusgirls.com/2014/11/spicy-stuffed-mushrooms/