PB Fudge Cookiewiches

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookiewiches ~ Pearls + Girls

Him:  (referencing my photo props) “Can I drink one of these bottles of milk?”

Me:  “Uh,  I think a gnat flew in one of the bottles while I was setting up, but I don’t know which one.”

Just an every day conversation of a food blogger (me) with her husband.  Only a food blogger would set up a photo shoot in the backyard then dump the ‘prop milk’ down the drain because a bug got a little curious. Sigh.  I hate wasting props, but I don’t need any extra protein with my milk. ;)

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookiewiches ~ Pearls + Girls These crispy peanut butter cookies filled with creamy fudge frosting are screeeeeaming for a cold, refreshing swig of milk.  They would make a perfect after school snack for the kiddos…..or a late night snack for you! Enjoy! :)

PB Fudge Cookiewiches

Yield: about 10 cookiewiches

Ingredients

    Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 1 cup peanut butter ( I use natural peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)
  • Fudge Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 TBSP Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP milk or cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

    Peanut Butter Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. With a mixing bowl and spatula, electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine peanut butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda and a pinch of sea salt. Mix until fully combined.
  4. By heaping tablespoon roll dough into a ball and roll in the sugar.
  5. Drop onto a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet.
  6. Use the back of a fork to form a crisscross pattern on each cookie.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly brown.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
  9. Fudge Frosting
  10. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, cream together the butter and cocoa powder on low speed for two minutes.
  11. Add the powdered sugar, milk or cream and vanilla and beat on low speed for one minute.
  12. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for three minutes until light and fluffy.
  13. Assemble the cookiewiches
  14. Turn half the cookies over.
  15. Using a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off, pipe the frosting in the center of each cookie.
  16. Top with another cookie and press down slightly to push the frosting to the edges.
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Whole Wheat Raspberry Buckle Muffins

Whole Wheat Raspberry Muffins ~ Pearls + Girls

I have been itching to get out of town.  We decided to wait ‘just one more year’ to tackle a BIG vacation with the girls, so I’ve been making a list of fun activities to do close to home.   Even in Ohio, it’s only a day trip away….

Pearls + Girls

As you can imagine, a trip to the beach can leave you with a rumbly tummy!  All that digging and swimming works up quite an appetite!  Luckily, I packed a yummy snack to curb those late afternoon munchies.  Made with whole wheat flour and packed with fresh raspberries, these muffins are filled with fiber, vitamins, and of course, flavor!  The crumb topping adds a little sweet crunch that offsets the tart raspberries perfectly.  Whether you are beach bumming or channel surfing, these muffins are a tasty weekend treat.  Enjoy! :)

Whole Wheat Raspberry Buckle Muffins

Yield: about 14 muffins

Ingredients

    Crumb Topping
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • Muffins
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use the King Arthur brand)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of lemon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a muffin tin with muffin wrappers or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. To prepare the crumb topping, whisk together the 1/2 cup flour and four tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Use your fingers to smush the butter cubes into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. You could also use a pastry cutter or give it a quick whirl in the food processor. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  5. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes.
  6. Add lemon zest and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating the first egg before adding the second egg.
  8. Add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  9. Fold the raspberries into the batter with a spatula.
  10. Fill each muffin cup about halfway full.
  11. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the muffins.
  12. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Brie Tarts with Sautéed Peaches & Balsamic Reduction

Sometimes you just need a simple, rustic dessert.  Today is one of those days.

Brie Tarts with Sautéed Peaches & Balsamic Reduction ~ Pearls + Girls

We’ve been prepping our house to sell, and I have been organizing/cleaning every nook and cranny.  Who knew we were such slobs?!?!  I have no idea how we are going to keep this house clean for showings with two kids and a dog ‘rearranging’ everything, but I suspect it will entail me cleaning into the wee hours of each morning.  Every day.  Yippee.

Brie Tarts with Sautéed Peaches & Balsamic Reduction ~ Pearls + Girls

In the meantime, I’ll try to put my home selling anxiety aside and focus on one of the simple joys of life: DESSERT!  If you can cut puff pastry into a few squares, slice and dice some cheese and peaches and boil some balsamic vinegar, you can make this dessert.  The premade dough makes it a cinch to pull together on a weeknight.  I’ve always believed dessert should not be only for weekend enjoyment, after all, stressed is desserts spelled backwards.  Doesn’t most of your stress happen during the week?  Grab a fork and relieve some of it with crispy puff pastry topped with creamy, melted slices of brie and sautéed peaches drizzled with balsamic reduction.  I totally should have typed this up BEFORE we ate the tarts.  Now I’m drooling on my keyboard.  Oh well.  Enjoy! :)

Brie Tarts with Sautéed Peaches & Balsamic Reduction

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 4 oz. Brie cheese, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups diced peaches (about 4 - 5 peaches), finely diced
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Defrost the puff pastry in the fridge for 40 minutes or on the counter for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, melt the butter.
  4. Add the brown sugar and diced peaches.
  5. Sauté until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  6. Set aside to cool slightly.
  7. Unfold the square of dough and roll out slightly on a floured surface to smooth it out.
  8. Using a paring knife, cut into four squares.
  9. Place on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet.
  10. Score a 1/4 inch border around each square.
  11. Prick the center of each tart several times with a fork.
  12. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, or until slightly browned. The center will puff up as it bakes, but don’t worry, as long as you pricked it with the fork first, it will deflate as it cools.
  13. Add a few slices of Brie to each tart.
  14. Bake for an additional 3 -5 minutes to melt the cheese.
  15. Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium high heat.
  16. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until it reduces by half, about 8 - 10 minutes.
  17. Pour into a small bowl to cool slightly.
  18. Divide the peaches between the four tarts and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
  19. Serve immediately.
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Caramel Glazed Coconut Carrot Cake

I might be a little bit obsessed.  I just made a birthday cake for a child I will (probably) never meet.  Naturally the same woman who was practically nine months pregnant (me) but managed to waddle out of bed at 4:30 am EST on April 29, 2011 to watch the lavish, televised wedding of William and Kate, would make Prince George a cake for his first birthday.   My inside sources tell me (Entertainment Tonight online, duh) that little George is having a Beatrix Potter themed party.  What would be more appropriate than a carrot cake?!?!

Caramel Glazed Coconut Carrot Cake ~ Pearls + Girls

Rich layers of cinnamon and coconut scented carrot cake sandwiching a swirl of gooey cream cheese frosting and dripping with golden caramel sauce, this is a cake Peter Rabbit would be proud to serve (and eat).  Enjoy! :)

Peter Rabbit ~ Pearls + Girls

Caramel Glazed Coconut Carrot Cake

Yield: 10 - 12 servings

Ingredients

    Coconut Carrot Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 4 large carrots)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP orange juice
  • Caramel Glaze
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into TBSP
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp milk

Instructions

    Coconut Carrot Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, cream together butter and brown sugar for one minute.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg on low speed before adding the next egg.
  5. Add half the flour mixture and milk. Mix to combine.
  6. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then add the rest of the flour mixture.
  7. Fold in grated carrots and coconut with a spatula.
  8. Tip: To make sure you can easily get your cake out of the pan, I suggest cutting a piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each cake tin. Then grease the top of the paper so you can peel it off once the cakes have cooled.
  9. Divide batter between two greased 9-inch cake pans.
  10. Batter will be quite thick, use the spatula to spread evenly before baking.
  11. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  13. Cream Cheese Buttercream
  14. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, beat butter for one minute on medium speed.
  15. Add cream cheese, beat mixture on medium speed for an additional minute.
  16. Add the powdered sugar and orange juice, and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, incorporate on low speed.
  17. Then increase to medium speed and beat for three minutes.
  18. Place one cake on the serving platter, spread with the cream cheese buttercream, then top with the other cake.
  19. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  20. Caramel Glaze
  21. Remove cake from the refrigerator and place on counter at room temperature while you make the glaze.
  22. Get two bowls (one large, one small). Fill the larger bowl with ice and water, set the smaller bowl on top to create an ice bath.
  23. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter, sugar and milk while whisking constantly.
  24. Once the mixture comes to a boil, transfer to the small bowl on top of the ice bath. Whisk until the caramel sauce folds back over itself in a ribbon when you lift the spatula.
  25. Pour all the caramel sauce in the center of the cake, then use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread to the edges so it will drip down the sides.
  26. Serve immediately. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.
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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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