Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Can you believe I let my 100th recipe milestone pass without notice?  Just goes to show how busy life has been lately!  This week is actually the first time this summer we have no plans!  No ballet lessons, swim lessons, soccer practice, play dates, doctor’s appts……nothing. to. do.  The introvert inside me is screaming, “Wahooooo!” I can sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, read a novel and linger over a glass of wine on the patio.  Oh, wait.  I have kids.

Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes ~ Pearls + Girls

So maybe there won’t be any sleeping in, but I can have a leisurely breakfast (while the kids watch Frozen….yet again), I can read Dr. Seuss and Fancy Nancy books with two kids piled on my lap and I can sip a soda on the back patio while they play in the sprinkler.  Did I mention I can also have yummy cupcakes with fun sprinkles on top?!?!  Sounds like a pretty good week to me! :)

Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes ~ Pearls + Girls

Aren’t these baking cups adorable?  I found them at Home Goods, my go to store for cupcake wrappers and cake tins, not to mention most of my food photography props.  They are the perfect compliment to the ultimate girly dessert.  I spooned some pink raspberry puree in the center of homemade chocolate cupcakes for a sweet surprise and topped them with my grandma’s famous (to us) buttercream frosting.   A dash of green food coloring and a sprinkle of candy pearls, and you have a dessert to please any little girl.  Who am I kidding?!?!  I thought they were pretty good, too!  Enjoy! :)

Raspberry Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

    Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg1/4
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted to remove any lumps
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, such as espresso
  • 1 cup milk
  • Raspberry Filling
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of one lemon
  • Vanilla Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 drops food coloring (I used Americolor Gel Food Coloring in Electric Green)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt two ounces of chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Scrape the chocolate into a mixing bowl with a spatula, and let cool slightly.
  3. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, whisk in oil and sugar until smooth.
  4. Whisk in egg.
  5. Combine the flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in bowl.
  6. Add half the dry mixture along with 1/2 cup of coffee and 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients, coffee and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
  8. Fill cupcake liners no more than half full and bake for 15 - 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.
  9. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Raspberry Filling
  11. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
  12. In a medium pan over medium high heat, combine the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice.
  13. Bring mixture to a boil and smash raspberries slightly with the back of a fork or spatula.
  14. Add the slurry, whisking together until the mixture thickens slightly.
  15. Cool to room temperature.
  16. Vanilla Butercream
  17. Beat butter for one minute on medium speed with a mixer fitted with a large mixing bowl and a whisk attachment. You could also use a hand mixer with double beaters.
  18. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, along with the milk and vanilla, and beat on low speed until incorporated.
  19. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, incorporate on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat for three minutes. Frosting should be light and fluffy.
  20. For a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar. For a thinner consistency, add more milk. I suggest you do this VERY gradually, a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and one teaspon of milk at a time. Add food coloring if desired.
  21. Assemble the cupcakes
  22. Holding a small paring knife at an angle, cut a circle in the top of the cupcake and remove the cone shaped center.
  23. Fill with the cooled, raspberry puree.
  24. Pipe vanilla buttercream on top using a star tip, and sprinkle with candy pearls.
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Like this recipe?  Be sure to check out my Chardonnay Cupcakes with Citrus Buttercream!

Chardonnay Cupcakes + Citrus Buttercream ~ Pearls + Girls

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Pineapple Ginger Compote & Macadamia Nut Brittle

I’ve been on a bit of an ice cream sundae kick lately!  Ice cream is a dessert everyone in my family can agree on, even my husband, who isn’t such a fan of sweets.  I know, a baking blogger married to a guy who’d rather munch on beef jerky than a cookie?  Lucky for him, I know how to cook, so he’s not stuck eating jerky all the time. ;)

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Pineapple Ginger Compote & Macadamia Nut Brittle ~ Pearls + Girls

I’m really digging crunchy stuff lately, so I definitely wanted to pair the ice cream with some nuts.  Although I LOVE walnuts and pistachios, I needed something more ‘exotic’ to compliment the pineapple.  After all, I’m from the Midwest, nothing screams cows, barns and tractors like……macadamia nuts!  P.S.  I don’t live near cows, barns or tractors now, but I’ve seen (and smelled) my fair share, let me tell ya.  You could totally eat this ice cream sundae in a barn, surrounded by cows and tractors and transport yourself to Hawaii with each and every bite!  You can’t?  Try harder!!!!!  Creamy buttermilk ice cream smothered in a sweet + spicy pineapple ginger compote with shards of nutty + crunchy macadamia nut brittle….. your tropical ice cream paradise awaits you!  Enjoy! :)

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Pineapple Ginger Compote & Macadamia Nut Brittle

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

    Buttermilk Ice Cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • Pineapple Ginger Compote
  • 1 cup pineapple, finely diced
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP water
  • Macadamia Nut Brittle
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP corn syrup
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • pinch of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

    Make Buttermilk Ice Cream
  1. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and press a medium bowl into the ice to create an ice bath for your ice cream base. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine buttermilk and sugar.
  3. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove from the heat and add vanilla extract.
  5. Pour ice cream base into the medium bowl and whisk occasionally until it cools to room temperature, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  6. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  7. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the instructions for the machine.
  8. Transfer ice cream to a container. It will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. For firmer ice cream, cover and freeze overnight.
  9. Make the Pineapple Ginger Compote
  10. Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set aside.
  11. In a medium saute pan over medium high heat, saute the pineapple with the sugar.
  12. When the sugar is dissolved, add the ginger and the slurry.
  13. Continue stirring until the compote thickens slightly.
  14. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  15. Make the Macadamia Nut Brittle
  16. In medium pan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and butter.
  17. Over medium-high heat, stir to dissolve sugar and cook until a golden caramel color has developed, about 10 minutes.
  18. Remove caramel from heat and stir in nuts, baking soda and salt.
  19. Working quickly and using a spatula sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, spread mixture as thinly as possible onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  20. Let cool completely and break brittle into pieces.
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Like this recipe?  Check out my Cherry Sundae!

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Cherry Compote & Pecan Crunch ~ Pearls + Girls

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Cherry Compote & Pecan Crunch

I get a bit nostalgic when the fresh Michigan cherries start popping up at the markets in Ohio.  As a child I spent quite a few summers at my grandparent’s cottage on a lake in Northern Michigan.  Traverse City hosts the National Cherry Festival in July, and although it’s become more of a tourist attraction with rides and vendors, the local shops and restaurants always celebrate the season by featuring fresh cherries in their dishes.  And the dark chocolate covered cherries from Cherry Republic?  Quite possibly my favorite snack ever, I’m so lucky they do mail order!!

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Cherry Compote & Pecan Crunch ~ Pearls + Girls

We haven’t been up to the cottage in a few years, and I’m longing to eat some fresh Michigan cherries right off the tree.  I think this recipe will fulfill my cherry fetish for the time being!  A fresh, cherry compote ladled over tangy, buttermilk ice cream and topped off with sweet, crunchy candied pecans.  It doesn’t get much more seasonal than this in the Midwest.  Enjoy! :)

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Cherry Compote & Pecan Crunch

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries could be substituted in any combination for the cherries. You could also substitute walnuts or almonds for the pecans.

Ingredients

    Buttermilk Ice Cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • Cherry Compote
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Candied Pecan Crunch
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

    Make Buttermilk Ice Cream
  1. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and press a medium bowl into the ice to create an ice bath for your ice cream base. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine buttermilk and sugar.
  3. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove from the heat and add vanilla extract.
  5. Pour ice cream base into the medium bowl and whisk occasionally until it cools to room temperature, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  6. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  7. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the instructions for the machine.
  8. Transfer ice cream to a container. It will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. For firmer ice cream, cover and freeze overnight.
  9. Make Cherry Compote
  10. In a small saucepan over medium high heat add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Smash the cherries with a fork to release the juices.
  11. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  12. Reduce the sauce for 3 - 5 minutes.
  13. If your compote reduces too much, add a TBSP of water and stir to combine.
  14. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.
  15. Make Candied Pecan Crunch
  16. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  17. Mix sugar, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.
  18. Beat water and egg white together with a fork until frothy.
  19. Coat nuts in egg mixture.
  20. Add sugar mixture to nuts. Mix well.
  21. Spread on large greased cookie sheet.
  22. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  23. Cool to room temperature.
  24. Once cool, chop roughly.
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Browned Butter Zucchini Bread

Today is my birthday! :)  I have a firm baking rule:  Thou shall not bake her own birthday cake.  So I baked some yummy zucchini bread instead!  Don’t worry, there WILL be birthday cake, but in the meantime, I’ll have some of THIS with the yummy frittata (recipe for another day) I made for my birthday brunch! :)

Browned Butter Zucchini Bread ~ Pearls + Girls

The great thing about having a birthday in July is that you never have to go to school on your birthday!  The bad thing about having a birthday in July is that it’s usually crazy hot outside.  I’m a sweater wearin’, stroll through the autumn leaves, hot chocolate drinkin’ kind of gal.  Also, I sweat.  I never glisten.  So I stay in the air conditioning as much as possible from June – August.  Alas, I will still bake in the 90+ degree heat.  I won’t let Mother Nature ruin a good opportunity to bake something special, and adding browned butter to my tried and true zucchini bread recipe is pretty darn special.  Enjoy! :)

Browned Butter Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

My tried and true zucchini recipe, update with a twist ~ browned butter!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium or three small)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use the King Arthur Brand)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

    To make browned butter:
  1. Slice the stick of butter into tablespoons and place in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once the butter starts to melt it will foam, then turn light brown.
  3. Once it begins to smell nutty (about 5 - 6 minutes) remove pan from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Allow browned butter to cool while you shred the zucchini.
  5. Note: There might be a few browned bits floating in the butter. This is good, it adds a nutty flavor to the bread. However, if the bits are black, toss the butter and start over.
  6. Shred your zucchini with the coarse side of your box grater or in your food processor. I like my zucchini bread to have some texture, but if you want to 'hide' it, shred it with the fine side instead.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. In a medium bowl whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  9. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about one minute.
  10. Add the browned butter, sugar, shredded zucchini and vanilla. Mix with a spatula to combine.
  11. Add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  12. Transfer batter to a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  13. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges and place loaf on a cooling rack to cool completely.
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Almond Lace Napoleons

It’s Date Night @ Spoonful of Foodies!  Our foodie Facebook group is whipping up a menu especially for sweethearts!  Cue a tuck the hair behind the ear with a sexy smile here.

Almond Lace Napoleons with Cannoli Cream ~ Pearls + Girls I’m contributing a dessert, which means I’ll be one of the last bloggers to share my recipe.  Check out the awesome dishes my foodies friends whipped up for Date Night!

Jennifer @ Milk and Honey – Paloma Cocktails

Derik @ House of Bakes - Garlic Bread Rolls

Janelle @ BakesinSlippers - Roasted Spicy Chickpeas with Lemon Aioli

Michelle @ The Complete Savorist - Apricot Gazpacho

Sarah @ The Chef Next Door - Arugula, Pear and Raspberry Salad

Trisha @ The Lazy Mom’s Cooking Blog - Crock Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

Loriann @ Casa de la Cargill - Fruit and Goat Cheese Tarts

Rene @ My Simple Kitchen - Coffee Cocktail

Almond Lace Napoleons with Cannoli Cream ~ Pearls + GirlsThese almond lace cookies are so crispy and light, they are the perfect compliment to this silky cannoli cream.  Note to self:  Using whipped cream cheese instead of Italian mascarpone cheese will leave you with a soupy mess.  Second note to self:  Putting it in the freezer hoping it will firm up will leave you with a lumpy, soupy mess.  Yes, folks, this is what recipe development is all about.  On second thought, that’s NOT what recipe development is all about.  Recipe development is about eating the mistakes.  Now I have an amazingly delicious fruit dip to munch on all week long.  Not to mention these delectable Almond Lace Napoleons with Cannoli Cream.  Crack ‘em with a fork like a crème brûlée .  It’s so sexy.

Almond Lace Napoleons with Cannoli Cream

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    Almond Lace Cookies
  • 5 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • Cannoli Cream
  • 8 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    Almond Lace Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat the butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture just to a boil.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in both flours and salt until incorporated.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Drop the batter by the teaspoon 3 inches apart on parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheets, about six cookies per baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies until evenly light brown, about 10 minutes.
  8. About 5 minutes into baking, switch the sheets from top to bottom and back to front to promote even baking. The cookies won’t begin to spread until about 6 minutes into baking.
  9. Line a cooling rack with paper towels.
  10. Remove the cookies from the oven and, as soon as they’re firm (which will take just a few minutes), use a wide spatula to transfer them to the rack to cool completely.
  11. Cannoli Cream
  12. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, whip both cheeses with the powdered sugar until smooth.
  13. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  14. Assemble the napoleons
  15. Place an almond lace cookie on your serving plate.
  16. Dollop or pipe on some cannoli cream.
  17. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  18. Repeat with two more cookies, layering the cannoli cream and the chocolate chips.
  19. Dust with powdered sugar.
  20. Serve immediately. I suggest you tap it several times with the edge of your fork. Just as satifying as cracking into a freshly baked creme brulee. ;)
  21. Any leftovers?
  22. Serve the cannoli cream with some fresh fruit.
  23. Crumble the almond lace cookies over some dulce de leche ice cream.
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Almond Lace Cookies adapted from Fine Cooking

Like this recipe?  Use almond flour to make my Almond Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

Almond Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies ~ Pearls + Girls

 

 

 

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom & Steak Flatbread

At the beginning of the summer our gas grill was on it’s last leg.  Covered with rusty holes and literally falling apart, we rolled it to the curb, hoping it wouldn’t disintegrate on our freshly planted grass.  It was one of the first purchases we made as a married couple, so it was a little bittersweet.  However, it presented an opportunity we’ve been chatting about for awhile:  learning to use a charcoal grill!  After the hubby assembled it, we stood back, took a long look…..and laughed!  It seems so tiny compared to our bohemoth gas grill!  Lucky for us, looks can be deceiving, and it turned out to be just the right size for our family of four.  P.S.  I’m pretty sure we’re NOT the envy of all the neighbors when they see our miniature black grill, but the joke’s on them, they don’t know what they’re missing….. ;)  This grill makes FANTASTIC steaks!

So what’s the best thing about grilling a steak dinner?  Reinventing the leftovers, of course! :)

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom & Steak Flatbread ~ Pearls + Girls

We grilled an extra steak, stashed it in the fridge and used it to make pizza later in the week!  I love being able to stretch a pricey ingredient like steak.  I sliced it thin and layered it on a crispy crust topped with sundried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and two cheeses, then drizzled it with a basil chimmichuri.  This flatbread is packed with flavor and color, and the fresh basil sauce really MAKES this dish.  If you are a fan of cilantro, by all means, substitute it for half the basil.  Enjoy! :)

Sundried Tomato, Mushroom & Steak Flatbread

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

  • One ball homemade or storebought pizza dough
  • Cornmeal, for dusting
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered and sauteed
  • 6 oz. medium rare steak, sliced thinly (it will continue to cook on the flatbread)
  • 1 - 8.5 oz. jar oil packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz. parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Basil Chimichurri Sauce
  • 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and sprinkle two baking stones or baking sheets with cornmeal.
  2. Divide dough ball in half, rolling each out as thinly as possible.
  3. Transfer to a baking stone or a baking sheet.
  4. Top with the sliced steak, sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle with monterey jack and parmesan cheeses.
  6. Bake for 9 - 11 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned and the cheese is bubbly.
  7. Whisk together basil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  8. Drizzle sauce over both pizzas.
  9. Slice and serve immediately.
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Pecan Coffee Cake

I cannot even begin to convey how excited my husband was when I told him I was making coffee cake this week.  He LOVES coffee cake.  Especially THIS coffee cake.

Pecan Coffee Cake ~ made with whole wheat flour and flaxseeds ~ Pearls + Girls

What’s not to love?  Packed with fiber (thank you, whole wheat flour and flaxseeds for hiding yourself so inconspicuously) with just a hint of sweetness from the drizzle of vanilla glaze, this cake is the perfect compliment to a cup of coffee.  Or tea.  Or even a can of RedBull.  Hey, I don’t judge, whatever you need to jumpstart your morning, that’s up to you.  Enjoy! :)

 

Pecan Coffee Cake

Serving Size: 8 - 10 servings

I made this cake in a springform pan, but you could use a 9-inch cake pan, just be sure to spray it well with non-stick cooking spray or line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. What good is a cake if you can't get it out of the pan?!?!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use the King Arthur brand)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP ground flaxseed meal
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus one TBSP to sprinkle on top
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • For the vanilla glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP hot water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, buttermilk and melted butter.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together with a spatula. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the edges.
  7. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans, then press them into the batter slightly.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  9. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan, then release the sides.
  11. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  12. In a small bowl mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla and hot water with a spoon.
  13. Drizzle vanilla glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
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Like this recipe?  Make these drop biscuits for brunch this weekend!

Bacon Cheddar Scallion Drop Biscuits ~ Pearls + Girls

Bacon Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

 

Peaches N’ Cream Mousse

I went a little overboard in the fruit department last week.  I bought a 10 lb. flat of the most delicious peaches.  Ten pounds of peaches for a family of four?  Sure, why not!  So basically we were eating peaches for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days straight.  Luckily, no one complained!  So what do you do with the last few gorgeous, overripe peaches sitting on your kitchen counter?  Make homemade pudding, of course!  But it sounds more decadent if you call it a mousse. :D

Peaches & Cream Mousse ~ Pearls + Girls

See all those lovely flecks of vanilla beans?  HEAVENLY!  If you are a peach lover, this is the recipe for you!  When you have simple, fresh ingredients, you don’t have to do much to make the flavors soar!  Enjoy! :)

Peaches & Cream Mousse

Serve this mousse on it's own, or spoon into a graham cracker crust and freeze for a simple icebox pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1/2 TBSP vanilla
  • 1 cup peach puree (about 4 medium or 3 large peaches)
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk together with the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer.
  3. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it.
  4. Add the milk and egg mixture back to the pot of simmering milk, whisking constantly.
  5. Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes quite thick, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and peach puree.
  7. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap onto the surface to keep the pudding from forming a skin as it cools.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  9. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, whip the cream to stiff peaks, about 4 minutes.
  10. Remove the pudding from the refrigerator and whisk for a minute or so to restore the creamy texture.
  11. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding with a spatula.
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Looking for some more seasonal desserts from Pearls + Girls?  Try these!!!

Strawberry + Basil Scones ~ Pearls + Girls

Strawberry + Basil Scones

Dessert Nachos ~ Pearls + Girls

Dessert Nachos

 

Summer Corn Soup

 

All winter long I yearn for fresh summer corn.  So when peak season hits, I scoop up a bunch of ears to make succulent & sweet corn on the cob, Summer Corn Salad or THIS soup.

Summer Corn Soup ~ Pearls + Girls

Looks creamy, right?  There is NO CREAM in this soup!  The secret?  Puree fresh corn kernels with some milk, then add it to the simmering pot of soup.  Top it off with a sprinkle of fresh corn kernels, bacon, red pepper and ribbons of fresh basil, and it’s a tasty bowl of soup bursting with the colors of summer!  Enjoy! :)

Summer Corn Soup

Serving Size: 4 - 6 servings

This soup is best with fresh corn, but you could substitute frozen corn. I would not recommend making this soup with canned corn.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 - 8 ears)
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

  1. Set aside 1/4 cup of the corn kernels (yes, uncooked, they have great crunch as a garnish for the soup).
  2. Puree two cups of corn and the milk in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining corn and chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil.
  6. Add the pureed corn and cook until warmed through but not boiling.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with the red pepper, basil, bacon and reserved corn kernels.
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Recipe adapted from The Food You Crave

 

S’more Cookiewiches

So back in May I told you my family was planning to participate in the Great American Backyard Camp Out.  We did.  The next logical question is….”So, how’d it go?!?!”  Well, let’s just say…..IT WENT.

S'more Cookiewiches ~ Pearls + Girls

I camped with two kiddos under the age of five in the wake of a massive thunderstorm.  Consequently, I also camped with wet firewood AND a leaky tent (from my husband’s Boy Scout days, in other words, an OLD TENT).  We had bug bites, wet clothes, muddy shoes, chocolate and marshmallow smeared faces and hands, and to top it off, someone stepped in a stray pile of dog poop.  YUCK!  My oldest daughter asked to change her clothes THREE times (I only honored one clothing change, after all, we were CAMPING).  When the wet firewood wouldn’t light and the muddy shoes made their way into the leaky tent, I was ready to throw in the towel.

S'more Cookiewiches ~ Pearls + Girls

THEN…..we caught three lightning bugs (aka ‘blinkers’) in a jar, and my toddler was entertained for TEN ENTIRE MINUTES.  If you have a toddler, you understand what a big deal this is!!!  We finally got the campfire started, and the girls made shadow puppets on the fence.  We sat around the campfire, sang Christmas carols (note to self:  teach them to sing Kumbaya and 99 Bottle of Beer on the Wall), toasted marshmallows, looked at the stars and ultimately…….DID NOT sleep in the leaky tent.  When it was all said and done, my oldest daughter hugged me and said, “Mommy, I love camping!”  I lied and told her, “Me too, sweetie!” :)

Girls Camping ~ Pearls + Girls

Yes, I realize I did not talk about this recipe AT ALL yet.  Folks, it’s a chocolate cookie with shards of graham crackers sandwiching ooey, gooey marshmallows.  In other words, it speaks for itself.  ENJOY! :)

S’more Cookiewiches

Yield: 2 dozen cookiewiches

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, measured then sifted
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the Ghirardelli brand)
  • 8 graham crackers, broken into shards
  • 1 pkg. marshmallows or one jar marshmallow creme

Instructions

  1. Whisk together flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Using a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time, mixing in each egg before adding the next.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Don’t overmix!
  4. Add chocolate chips and mix on low speed for 5 seconds.
  5. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  6. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and form into balls with your hands.
  7. Place dough balls on the baking sheet, spacing slightly, and flatten with the palm of your hand to make small disks.
  8. Push four or five graham cracker shards into each disk.
  9. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator for one hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Place eight disks on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  13. Repeat with remaining cookie dough disks.
  14. To assemble the cookiewiches:
  15. Roast marshmallows and sandwich between two cookies.
  16. OR melt marshmallows in a large bowl in the microwave, fill a piping bag, and neatly pipe the marshmallow creme into the center of each cookie. Torch edges with a kitchen torch.
  17. OR just buy a jar of marshmallow creme, slap it on with a knife and call it good enough.
  18. Any way you do it, it will be DELICIOUS!
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