Posts Tagged dessert recipe

On Peanut Butter Pie, Love, and Loss.

I don’t know Jennifer Perillo, I’ve simply looked up to her from afar. I adore her recipes, her writing, her and her spirit.

This past Sunday evening, I saw that Jennifer sent out a cryptic tweet. All she said was: “He’s gone. And my heart is shattered in a million pieces.” My heart sank. While the words didn’t tell the full story, I knew. I tried showing the tweet to my husband, and I couldn’t even talk about it without crying. I just had that feeling in the pit of my stomach. When the news broke the next morning that Jennie’s husband Mikey had died of a sudden heart attack, I felt an inexplicable and accute sadness. My heart was broken for her.

Jennie is a complete stranger to me, and yet I was strangely affected by her husband’s death. Many foodies, writers, and bloggers across the country were feeling the same way, apparently. We were shocked and saddened. We wanted to help, but didn’t know how. But then, just days after her husband died, Jennifer Perillo let us know how we could help. She posted a blog, which asked us to remember Mikey by making his favorite dessert: a peanut butter pie. It was simple request, and yet it carried so much weight. It was a way to show my support from afar; a way to join in with a collective voice and show Jennie that we care.

My life is a little nutty this month, I’ll be honest. I feel like I have more to do than I have hours in the day. I happen to have a refrigerator full of cherries and I probably should have been baking cherry pies last night. Instead, I stopped everything for a few minutes and made a peanut butter pie. Tonight, I’ll eat a piece of that pie and remember Mikey. And I’ll pray for Jennie and her two daughters and for strength and peace in the dark days that lay ahead.

And while this tragedy isn’t about me, it does serve as a reminder to be thankful for the time that I have with the ones that I love. As my husband was on his way out the door last night to meet up with a friend, I told him I loved him and gave him a kiss goodbye. And suddenly it struck me: we aren’t always guaranteed a kiss goodbye. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, so I’ve got to be grateful for each day that I have with my husband. I can only pray we get to enjoy a few more together.

So this pie is for Mikey and Jennie. I hope you know we care.

P.S. I won’t post a recipe, as I followed Jennie’s recipe exactly (except I used slightly less sugar and sweetened condensed milk).

P.P.S. I hosted an engagement party tonight for some great friends, and we ate peanut butter pie and celebrated their engagement. I think it’s very fitting to celebrate one union, while mourning the loss of another.

Recipe Swap: Ice Cream Sandwiches!

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since my last recipe swap post! They say time flies when you’re having fun and I’ve certainly been having a lot of fun this summer.

For those of you who may not know, I’m part of an ever-growing group of foodies from all over the world that participate in a monthly recipe swap. Christianna from (Burwell General Store) is the creator of the swap and every month she emails us with a vintage recipe (from a darling old cookbook called All Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground) that she then asks us to reinterpret. We get a few weeks to dream and think up what we’ll make, and then everyone posts their creations on the first Sunday of every month.

This month, Christianna chose an old time recipe for Sorghum Molasses Cookies.

I was glad to see the original recipe was so classic and simple, but at the same time it offered a lot of possibilities for reinterpretation. I thought about making a ginger & molasses BBQ sauce. I thought about making a dark oatmeal and molasses bread. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all I wanted was to eat a really delicious molasses cookie. And then I realized I wanted to eat two delicious molasses cookies with ice cream stuffed in the middle.

Yep, that’s right. I made ice cream sandwiches. It’s August and I was asked to reinterpret a cookie recipe so I went with what my heart told me. In my humble opinion, there is no better summer dessert than the ice cream sandwich.

I will make a quick confession before I get to the recipe. I used store bought ice cream (gasp!). I don’t currently own an ice cream maker, so making homemade ice cream isn’t really a possibility. So, I bought ice cream from the store and dressed it up a bit. This past week, I inherited a bunch of amazing produce from my friends at Working Hands Farm, which included quite a few pints of blueberries. These blueberries were some of the best I’ve ever eaten, and it seemed like a no-brainer to include them in my recipe swap. So thank you, Working Hands Farm, for growing really delicious things and inspiring me to make particularly delicious ice cream sandwiches.

Happy August to all of you, and please do check out what the other lovely swappers have created this month!

Ice Cream Sandwiches: Ginger Molasses Cookies with Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream

Ginger Molasses Cookies
(Idea & recipe from Minimally Invasive, who adapted it from The Pioneer Woman)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup candied ginger, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Coarse grain sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw) for rolling the dough in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix sugar, butter, molasses, vanilla, and egg together until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. All dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix together until a dough forms.

Roll cookie dough into walnut-sized balls (the dough should be very moist & sticky). Roll each ball in sugar to coat.

Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allowing to bake for about a minute after cookies begin to crack.

Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool. Before you assemble your ice cream sandwiches, you’ll want to chill the cookies a bit. Put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before assembling to ensure that they are chilled.

Blueberry Compote (for the Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream)
1 cup blueberries, washed
1/2 cup sugar
The zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or more, if you love ginger as I do)

Cook all ingredients together over medium heat, until blueberries begin to break down and form a sauce. Using a potato masher (or other such tool), mash blueberry mixture. Continue to heat, allowing the sauce to bubble and thicken until it reaches your desired consistency (15-20 minutes). Set aside and allow to cool before using. Can be refrigerated for at least a week (and tastes great on toast, pancakes, ice cream, etc, etc, etc).

Ice cream sandwiches:
To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, be sure to let your ice cream thaw on the counter for a bit. Once the ice cream is soft enough to stir, stir in blueberry compote until a swirl look is achieved. For a 1/4 gallon of ice cream, I used about 4 tablespoons of compote. Remove the chilled cookies from the freezer, place a heaping dollop of blueberry swirl ice cream on top, and place another cookie on top of the ice cream. Eat and be happy. Additionally, you can wrap each ice cream sandwich tightly in aluminum foil and place in the freezer for later eating.

Recipe Swap: Grapefruit Cupcakes

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I think its rather true. Somehow, I blinked and magically it was February. The holidays have long since come and gone, the NBA playoffs are looming in the distance (come on, Blazers. you got this!), and I am beginning to let my myself dream of all that I will be planting this year in my little garden.

Last but certainly not least, the third installment of The Recipe Swap is upon us! Just a few months ago, CM at Burwell General Store approached me with the idea of doing a recipe swap. She picked up an old cookbook at a swap meet, and asked if I wanted to join her in re-interpreting recipes from the book. We started by reinterpreting Autumn Spiced Persimmon Pudding and had such a good time that we decided to keep up with the swap. Soon after, the lovely Boulder Locavore joined our ranks and the 3 of us did our interpretations of Fern’s Apple Fritters.

And now for our 3rd swap, our little group as exploded. We now consist of seven bloggers! How incredible is that? For this swap, CM picked a recipe that we all agreed would be in line with the upcoming Valentine’s holiday: Company Time Lemon Cake. For starters, I absolutely love the name of the cake. Its so self-explanatory: This is the cake you make when you’re having company over. Its as simple as that!

So, here’s the thing. It took me all of two minutes to decide on my concept for this swap. We were asked to re-interpret a lemon cake for Valentines day, which seemed altogether too fitting. You see, I served lemon cupcakes at my wedding (with coconut cream cheese frosting!). And while cupcakes may be the hip new thing for contemporary weddings, my reasons for choosing to serve cupcakes were simple. For one, I love cupcakes with my whole heart. Back in the days when Nich an I were dating, he would surprise me with a cupcake (from my favorite little bakery, Saint Cupcake) whenever I was having a bad day. And secondly, Nich proposed to me with a cupcake. He got down on one knee, held out a cupcake, and there was a ring on top (in the frosting!). I said yes, of course, and the rest is history! (Engagement cupcake photo below:)

Since cupcakes are such an integral part of Nich and I’s story, I thought it would only be fitting to make cupcakes for this Valentine-themed Lemon cake recipe swap. I didn’t want to exactly replicate the recipe – or my wedding cupcakes, for that matter – so I came up with something that I felt paid homage to both recipes. After some brainstorming and scouring of the internet, I decided upon Grapefruit cupcakes. Grapefruit is my absolute favorite of all the citrus fruits and I was excited about the possibility of turning this zingy citrus into a sweet little cupcake. I’d never had a grapefruit cupcake before, so I knew I was taking somewhat of a risk with this recipe: but I was so thrilled with how they turned out. They were sour, without being too sour (and sweet, without being too sweet!). So balanced, so light, and so lovely.

I’ll admit, if you make all four of the elements for this cupcake (cupcake, candied peel, curd, frosting): it is a lot of work. I made the cupcakes over the course of two days. First, I made the cupcakes and candied the grapefruit peel. The next day, I made the grapefruit curd and then the whipped cream and curd frosting. It was a lot of work…but it was so worth it!

And so, without further adieu, my grapefruit cupcake recipe:

Grapefruit Cupcakes with Whipped Grapefruit Curd Frosting and Candied Grapefruit Peel

Grapefruit Cupcakes
(Adapted from Whisk Kid)

1 1/2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
3 tsp grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used nonfat)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and zest, rubbing between your fingers until moistened and fragrant. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Grapefruit Curd
(Adapted from Honey and Jam)

8 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
*For frosting: 1 cup whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine egg yolks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, half of the zest, and sugar in a saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.

Turn heat down to low. Add salt. Begin adding the butter, piece by piece, stirring constantly. Once you have added in all the butter (and the mixture is thick and beautiful), remove from heat. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the remaining zest. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

To make the frosting, start by whipping the cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar until you have stiff whipping cream (be careful not to overwhip!). Combine equal parts whipping cream with grapefruit curd, and gently fold together with a spatula. Spread atop cupcakes!

Candied Grapefruit Peels
(Adapted from White on Rice Couple)

1 Large Ruby Red Grapefruit

With a vegetable peeler, peel off thin strips of the grapefruit rind. Use a small pairing knife to cut strips into thin strips. Meanwhile, bring 1 part water to 1 part sugar to boil in a small saucepan (I used 1 cup of each).

Add grapefruit peels and boil over med heat for 30-45 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid (which is now a grapefruit infused simple syrup, which you can use for all sorts of delicious things.)

Pour about 1 cup white sugar in a bowl. Toss candied peels in sugar, then spread peels out on foil or wax paper to cool and air dry. These are best after a few hours of drying time. I made them the night before I used them for my cupcakes!

To assemble the cupcakes…simply frost cupcakes with the whipped grapefruit frosting. Top with a dollop of grapefruit curd and a couple pieces of candied grapefruit curd. And, of course – enjoy!

(Photos by Kari Ray)

***See below for all the other amazing creations my fellow bloggers made for this swap!

Chef Dennis @ More Than a Mountfull: Italian Lemon Pear Cake

Mari @ The Unexpected Harvest: GF Lemon Poppyseed Angel Food Cake with an Oregon Pinot Gris glaze.

Toni @ Boulder Locavore: Gluten Free Orange-Cardamom Three Layer Cake

Nay @ Spicy Living: Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Blog address:

Sabrina Modelle @ The Tomato Tart: Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel

Christianna @ Burwell General Store: Meyer Lemon Curd Shortcakes with Orange Flower Water Icing