Pistachio Cake with Blueberry Buttercream

When life hands you lemons make lemonade.  CORRECTION:  When life hands you lemons, pelt them with all your might at the closest inanimate object (ex. pantry door, cupboard, wall, etc. you get the point) then…..make a cake.  Preferably a cake with simple ingredients, baked from scratch, with no artificial colors or flavors. :)

Pistachio Cake with Blueberry Buttercream ~ Pearls + Girls

I did not have the best week.  Not only have things not been peachy keen in the Pearls + Girls kitchen (three, count ‘em, THREE failed recipes in two days) there are a lot of changes on the horizon as well.  School, travel, illness, moving, my Etsy shop, blogging…..there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.  But I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about. ;)

Pistachio Cake with Blueberry Buttercream ~ Pearls + Girls

I really love pistachios, but it seems as if every recipe for pistachio cake, cupcakes, bread, etc.  starts with pistachio pudding mix.  Bleh.  So I sought out to make my own version with REAL pistachios.  The icing on the cake?  Blueberry buttercream made with fresh blueberries!!  Isn’t the purple hue just gorgeous?  Sometimes, even when I’m overwhelmed and exhausted, I still manage to impress myself.  Enjoy! :)

Pistachio Cake with Blueberry Buttercream

Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (measure with shells on, then remove shells) plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • Blueberry Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then grease the top of the parchment paper.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of flour, tapping the edges of the pan until well coated. Discard any flour that didn't stick to the butter.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Set aside.
  6. In a food processor, process the pistachios and sugar, pulsing until nuts are finely ground.
  7. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the pistachio and sugar mixture, then cream on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  9. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
  10. Add the wet ingredients on low speed, mix a few seconds (mixture may look slightly curdled, don't worry, it's fine) and scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
  11. Add the dry ingredients on low speed, mixing until just combined.
  12. Increase the speed to medium high and beat batter for 2 minutes.
  13. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then beaton high for another few seconds. Batter will be quite thick.
  14. Add batter to the prepared springform pan, smoothing to the edges with a spatula.
  15. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  16. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  17. Cake should have pulled away from the sides of the pan as it baked, but if necessary run a butter knife around the edges before releasing the sides of the pan.
  18. Remove parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  19. Blueberry Buttercream
  20. Microwave the blueberries in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. This could also be done on the stovetop over medium high heat until the berries split open and release their juices.
  21. Strain through a mesh sieve into a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature (you can place the uncovered bowl in the refrigerator to speed up this process if necessary).
  22. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, beat butter on high speed for one minute.
  23. Add the milk, vanilla and powdered sugar on low speed, one cup at a time, mixing until just combined.
  24. Add 3 TBSP of the blueberry puree on low speed, mixing until just combined.
  25. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes, until buttercream is light and fluffy.
  26. Frost cake using a butter knife or offset spatula.
  27. Decorate with chopped pistachios (optional).
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Cookie Dough Bites

M&M Cookie Dough Bites ~ Pearls + Girls

Even after years of teaching elementary school to many first and second grade littles , my excitement for the first day of school has never dwindled.  However, this year I’m celebrating with mixed emotions.  This year MY LITTLE is going to kindergarten (insert gulp, fight back tears, put on encouraging smile)!!!  How is this possible?!?!  Yesterday she was sucking on a binky and learning how to eat with a spoon  (yep, in denial, you’ve been there, admit it).  To put my her first day jitters to rest, we went shopping!  After we picked out a hot pink binder, some fun Hello Kitty folders, as well as shiny, new pencils, crayons and markers, I felt much better she was all set for her first day of school!  ;)

M&M Cookie Dough Bites ~ Pearls + Girls

Over at Spoonful of Foodies I’m kicking off our first theme week, Back to School Snacks, with some yummy nibbles!  M&M Cookie Dough Bites are a super simple no-bake treat to please the littles (or not so littles) after a long day of neuron pumping.  Would these bite size treats and a glass of chilled milk inspire you to hit the books?  Enjoy! :)

M&M Cookie Dough Bites

Yield: 2 dozen cookie dough bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini M&M candies
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • multicolored nonpareils (optional)

Instructions

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla, mix on low speed to combine.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mix on low speed to combine.
  4. Scrape down the bowl and mix on medium speed until combined.
  5. Fold in the mini M&M candies.
  6. Refrigerate dough for one hour.
  7. Using a tablespoon or a medium cookie scoop, form balls of dough.
  8. Place cookie dough balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  9. Drizzle melted chocolate over the cookie dough balls and sprinkle with nonpareils.
  10. Store in the refrigerator.
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Back to School Recipe Round Up ~ Spoonful of Foodies

 

Buffalo Ranch Snack Mix ~ Casa de la Cargill

Apple Empanadas ~ Kitchen Getaway

Baked Pumpkin Mini Donuts ~ The Front Porch Gourmet

M&M Cookie Sticks ~ The Chef Next Door

Breakfast Bars ~ Selma’s Table

Cheese Muffins ~ Selma’s Table

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares ~ Selma’s Table

Cocoa Banana Oatmeal “Vitatop” Muffins ~  MerMADE in the Kitchen

Reese’s Stuffed Ice Cream Sandwiches ~ Tastes of Lizzy T

Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Goat Cheese Spread ~ Local Savour

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn ~ What’s Cooking America

Cheesecake Bars ~ Kitchen Getaway

Apricot Almond Pillows ~ The Lazy Mom’s Cooking Blog

Italian Herb Cheese Sticks ~ BakesInSlippers

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread ~ Milk and Honey

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips ~ What’s Cooking America

Gingered Carrot Zucchini Bread ~ From Scratch

Rosemary Lavender Pretzels ~ From Scratch

Blackberry Pistachio Mini Bagels ~ The Complete Savorist

White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies ~ My Simple Kitchen

Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Fries ~ BakesInSlippers

 

Weekend Flapjacks

Weekend Flapjacks ~ Pearls + Girls

I’ve spent years trying to uncover the secret to the perfect pancake.  I’ve experimented with adding multiple flours, whipping the egg whites and folding them into the batter, using butter vs. oil…..and I think I finally came up with a winning recipe!  The reason I dubbed these pancakes Weekend Flapjacks is because they are made from ingredients I always have on hand, so it’s a cinch to whip them up for a Saturday morning breakfast.  Wait, didn’t you JUST call them pancakes?  Yeah, but let’s face it, ‘flapjack’ is just a really fun word to say!  Enjoy! :)

Weekend Flapjacks ~ Pearls + Girls

Weekend Flapjacks

Yield: 12 pancakes or 24 silver dollar pancakes

These are the most requested weekend breakfast at my house! Fluffy, flavorful and filled with fiber and omega 3s...what's not to love?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (I use the King Arthur brand)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%)
  • 2 TBSP canola oil
  • 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Whisk together oatmeal, both flours, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine egg, milk, oil, sugar and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
  4. Allow the batter to set at room temperature for 5 - 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
  5. Heat a greased griddle pan or skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup for full size pancakes, 2 TBSP for silver dollar size pancakes.
  7. Cook for 2 - 4 minutes until you see bubbles on the top of each pancake.
  8. Flip and cook for an additional minute.
  9. Tip: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and put in a preheated 200 degree Fahrenheit oven. Add the pancakes to the baking sheet to keep them warm while you cook the rest of the batch. Now everyone gets warm pancakes!
  10. Serve immediately with pure maple syrup.
  11. Leftovers can be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transferred to a ziplock bag for storage once frozen.
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Lazy Lemon Pie

I’ve had this recipe in my back pocket for awhile.  By back pocket I mean on my recipe ‘bucket list.’  By ‘bucket list’ I mean a box in my den filled with jagged edged scraps of paper ripped from magazines or hastily printed off the Internet in the middle of the afternoon night when I should be cleaning, doing dishes, folding laundry, paying bills sleeping.

Lazy Lemon Pie ~ Pearls + Girls

Atlantic Beach Pie is a signature dessert along the Eastern coast.  A restaurant in North Carolina gave the pie it’s monniker, but most folks just call it lemon pie.  I love discovering new regional recipes, then putting a twist on them.  It NEVER occurred to me to use saltine crackers in a pie crust.  The Midwest is all about graham cracker crusts and flaky pie dough.  Not everyone would try to elevate a pie with a salty, crispy crust, tangy lemon filling and creamy whipped cream, but since I’m a dessert ADDICT, I’m going to give it my best shot. :)

Lazy Lemon Pie ~ Pearls + Girls

How about some nutty pecans in the crust?  I love to add nuts to my baked goods, but if you are allergic or don’t care for them, by all means omit them.  Traditionally this pie is made with unsweetened whipped cream, but I MAY have added a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla.  Crunchy, salty, tangy, creamy and sweet all in one bite?  Yes, please!!!  Enjoy! :)

Lazy Lemon Pie

Serving Size: 8 - 10 servings

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 3/4 sleeve saltine crackers (30 crackers), crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 3 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • Filling
  • 1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sea salt and lemon slices (for garnish)

Instructions

    Crust
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine crackers, pecans and sugar.
  3. Using your fingers, smush the butter into the cracker mixture until well combined.
  4. Press into an 8-inch pie plate.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool slightly while you make the filling.
  7. Filling
  8. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, egg yolks and lemon juice.
  9. Pour filling into crust and bake for 20 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown.
  10. Cool at room temperature for one hour.
  11. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  12. Sweetened Whipped Cream
  13. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer with double beaters, whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks, about 4 minutes.
  14. Spoon whipped cream on top of the chilled pie.
  15. Garnish with lemon slices.
  16. Sprinkle each slice with a pinch of sea salt just before serving.
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Like this recipe?  Be sure to check out my Pink Lemonade Pie, a refreshing NO BAKE summer treat!

Pink Lemonade Pie ~ Pearls + Girls

Easy Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

When I started my blog last fall, my friend, Carrie, took a look at my first few recipes.  We were chatting one day and she said, “So I looked at your site.  Definitely not for novice bakers, huh?”  She’s right…..I do love the satisfaction of completing a complicated and time consuming recipe (I know, what the heck is wrong with me?!?!)   However, life is all about balance, and there is no way I’m going to make homemade marshmallows and tiramisu every day.  So I try to mix in a few simple recipes that are (hopefully) approachable for novice bakers, too! :)

Easy Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls ~ Pearls + Girls

These EASY Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls definitely fall into the ‘novice’ category.   They are made with puff pastry, not yeast dough, so the most time consuming part (rising the dough) is eliminated.  The filling comes together quickly, and the vanilla glaze couldn’t be simpler.  You could easily whip up these bite sized treats for a weekend breakfast, brunch, or even dessert!!  Enjoy! :)

Easy Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12 bite size cinnamon rolls

This recipe could easily be doubled to entertain for a crowd!

Ingredients

    Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 TBSP Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Vanilla Glaze
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 TBSP hot water

Instructions

  1. Defrost the puff pastry in the fridge for 40 minutes or on the counter for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Unfold dough and roll out slightly on a floured surface to smooth it out.
  4. Whisk together cocoa powder, melted butter and cinnamon.
  5. Spread mixture on the puff pastry, covering it from edge to edge.
  6. Sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
  7. Starting with the side closest to you, roll up the pastry sealing the edge by pinching the dough.
  8. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
  9. Place in a 6 X 6 greased baking dish (3 rows of 4 rolls, the edges will not be touching).
  10. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  11. Make the glaze
  12. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and hot water.
  13. If the consistency is too thick add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. If the consistency is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  14. Drizzle over rolls and serve immediately or at room temperature.
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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