Monday, June 19, 2017

Grilled Fruit Pizza



There are few people who love a backyard BBQ quite like Kylee Wierks loves a BBQ. First of all, I love eating outside. In fact, I think we should all eat every meal outside. The ambiance significantly effects how much I enjoy the food, and there's just something about the fresh air that makes food taste better.

Secondly, BBQ food is probably my favorite food. I loved grilled meat, I love grilled sides, and I love grilled desserts! Yes, you read that correctly. I said I love GRILLED DESSERTS! Believe it or not, the grill is not just for burgers, steaks, and corn. You can (and you should) make desserts on the grill!

Using the grill does wonderful things for the texture and flavor of your desserts. Bonus: you don't need to turn on the oven, so you won't heat up your home!

Fruit desserts in particular are just magical, hot and sugary but not completely terrible for you. You can grill just about any fruit your heart desires. So I decided to grill all of my favorite fruits and make a fruit pizza!



Fruit pizza was always one of my favorite summer desserts when I was growing up. You know the kind with a sugar cookie crust and cream cheese frosting? My mom would always make it for the Fourth of July and other summer holiday parties.

I wanted to make a more savory version with actual pizza dough. Just use your favorite homemade or store-bought pizza dough or flat bread, it's completely up to you. Then top it with a sweet cream cheese spread and your favorite grilled fruit.

Grilling fruit is easy peasy, I promise! Just make sure to coat the grates or the grill pan well with oil or no-stick spray because the fruit is prone to sticking. Also, I recommend using fruit that is just barely ripe because you don't want it to get too mushy on the grill. One thing to keep in mind is sturdier fruits like pineapples and peaches take more time to grill (about 3 minutes each side) than something like strawberries or kiwis (2 minutes or less each side). My suggestion is to grill just a few pieces at a time until you get a feel for how long it will take.

The pizza is best served warm, and it still tastes great the second day!



Grilled Fruit Pizza
Yield: Serves about 10 people
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Variety of sliced fresh fruits (I used 1 peach, 1 pineapple, 6 strawberries, handful of blackberries)
  • Pizza dough (I used Wewalka bistro dough, but you can use any pizza dough or flat bread you like)
  • Optional: Mint leaves for garnish
Directions
  1. Use mixer to cream together cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy or about 1 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat. Lightly coat grill grates with non-stick spray or oil so fruit doesn't stick.
  3. Add sliced fruit to grill and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. More delicate fruits like strawberries will take less time than peaches and pineapple. Set grilled fruit on plate.
  4. Place pizza dough on grill and cook for about 4 minutes or until bottom is browned. Flip and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
  5. Spread grilled pizza dough with cream cheese mixtures and arrange fruit on top.
  6. Garnish with mint leaves if desired and serve warm.





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake Skillet


Nothing says summer quite like strawberry shortcake, and the recipe I’m sharing today may be the easiest version yet!

At any given moment in your life, you are 20 minutes away from eating this delicious summer dessert. Reducing preparation time is the key.

As you already know, there are a variety of ways to make strawberry shortcake. And guess what – they’re all delicious. You can either make the shortcake by sifting together flour and other dry ingredients and cutting the butter into it with a pastry blender.

Or you can use biscuit mix and melted butter.

Like I said, both are delicious.

Also, you can form the dough into biscuits or just dump everything into a skillet.

Once again, both ways are delicious, but the latter is significantly easier. 

Even better, don’t bother to plate it. Just eat it straight out of the skillet.

Strawberry Shortcake Skillet
Ingredients
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups biscuit mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Optional: More strawberries and whipped cream for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare cast iron skillet
  2. Combine strawberries and sugar and set aside to macerate
  3. Whisk together biscuit mix, buttermilk, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl until just combined
  4. Spoon 1/2 of biscuit batter into bottom of skillet
  5. Dump strawberries over batter and dollop remaining biscuit batter on top of strawberries
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until top turns golden brown and let cool
  7. Serve with more strawberries and whipped cream if desired
*You can use any milk you have on hand, but I like the texture buttermilk creates. You can make buttermilk by combining 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar with 1 cup milk.



Friday, June 9, 2017

Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Foil Packets


I was at the grocery store with my mom recently to pick up ingredients for this amazing foil packet dinner when I noticed the shrimp was from Indiana.

Luckily for my mom (wink wink), I know a lot about Indiana shrimp, so of course, I was very eager to share that knowledge with her!

Did you know that Indiana produces some of the best shrimp in the world? I realize that sounds like a crazy claim to make about our landlocked state, but it’s true! Just like soybeans and corn, shrimp is produced in indoor shrimp farms throughout the state. The shrimp grow and develop in large above ground pools.

There are about a dozen shrimp farms in the state, and RDM Aquaculture is the largest. They sell about 250,000 shrimp each month! Farm-raised shrimp is supposed to be a good alternative to wild ocean shrimp because of the growing concern of water pollution.

I was feeling pretty proud about this spiel until I realized the sign said the shrimp was actually from India, not Indiana. Oh well. Onto the recipe!

These foil packet dinners with shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes are so tasty! And there are minimal ingredients – the flavor comes from just a little creole seasoning and butter.

I have a few tips before you try out this great recipe!

First of all, I recommend sticking each ear of corn in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Otherwise, the cob will be very hard to cut through.

Also, I recommend microwaving the potatoes for about 1 minute before you cut them and put them in the foil packets. This is because the potatoes will take longer to cook on the grill than everything else.

Also, my dad brought to my attention that apparently a new study shows cooking with aluminum foil can cause health issues. I’m not sure if there’s any merit to this, and it’s predominantly with acidic foods. But if you’re uncomfortable cooking your food straight on the aluminum foil, just lay a piece of parchment paper in the foil packet before adding your ingredients.

Also, just to clarify, everything goes into the foil packet raw and it cooks on the grill!

Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Foil Packets
Yield: Makes about 4 foil packets
Ingredients
  • 4 ears of corn on the cob, shucked and cut into thirds
  • 1 pound red potatoes, cut into fourths
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch chunks (turkey sausage works well too)
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Cajun / creole seasoning (I use Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning)
  • Parsley for garnish, if desired
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic

 Directions
  1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees
  2. Cut 4 sheets of 12-inch aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Evenly distribute corn, potatoes, shrimp and sausage into the center of each foil packet
  4. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons creole seasoning evenly over ingredients in each foil packet and add 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic to each center
  5. Seal foil packets by folding up the sides over the ingredients and sealing edges, allowing some room for heat circulation
  6. Place foil packets on the grill and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes or until shrimp are no longer pink and veggies are cooked
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately






Friday, June 2, 2017

Fruity Pebbles Doughnuts



My doughnut preference has always been sprinkles. Some people go for cream-filled, jam-filled, cinnamon sugar doughnuts, but not me. I always pick sprinkles. I realize that's not actually a doughnut flavor because sprinkles don't taste like anything. They just look pretty.

But you know what looks pretty and is tasty? Fruity Pebbles! I've been trying to think of ways to incorporate them in recipes ever since I made "Over the Rainbow" Krispie Treats for St. Patrick's Day. So when I was asked to create a fun doughnut recipe for National Doughnut Day, it was the first thing that came to my mind.



I love the idea of Fruity Pebbles doughnuts -- it's like a mash-up of two breakfast foods!

I studied a lot of different doughnut recipes before I developed this one. What makes this one particularly unique is the use of cereal milk in place of regular milk. Anyone who has enjoyed a bowl of Fruity Pebbles knows about the delicacy after the cereal is gone -- the milk at the bottom of the bowl. So in order to give these doughnuts the most authentic Fruity Pebbles taste, I thought it was only appropriate to use cereal milk.

I used a doughnut pan to create these doughnuts, but donut worry (trying to be funny) there are a couple options available if you don't own a doughnut pan. Firstly, you can roll up a small piece of parchment paper and stick it in the middle of a muffin tin cavity. The batter will bake around the parchment paper, and voila doughnuts! Secondly, you can just bake the batter in a mini muffin tin and call them doughnut holes!

Also, one more tip! If you use a doughnut pan, I recommend putting the batter into a plastic zip bag and piping it into the doughnut cavity much like you would pipe frosting. Otherwise, it's awfully hard to spread the batter around each doughnut pan cavity,



Fruity Pebbles Doughnuts
Yield: Makes about 9 doughnuts
Ingredients
For the cereal milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Fruity Pebbles
For the doughnut batter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cereal milk 
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Fruity Pebbles cereal
For the icing
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cereal milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Fruity Pebbles cereal for sprinkling on top
Directions
For the cereal milk
  1. Pour milk into bowl with Fruity Pebbles and let soak for about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour milk and cereal through strainer, saving the cereal milk to use in the rest of the recipe.
  3. Dump soggy Fruity Pebbles
For the batter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine egg, sugar, cereal milk, butter, and vanilla in medium-sized bowl until smooth.
  3. Add flour and baking powder to bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in Fruity Pebbles cereal.
  4. Spoon batter into a plastic zip top bag and cut off one of the corners. Pipe batter into each doughnut cavity.
  5. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes and let cool.
For the icing
  1. Whisk together powdered sugar, cereal milk, and vanilla; add more powdered sugar if icing is too thin, add more cereal milk if icing is too thick.
  2. Dip each doughnut into icing and immediately sprinkle top with Fruity Pebbles.

Recipe adapted from A Southern Fairy Tale and BetterRecipes





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Checkered Flag Racing Cupcakes




I have always wondered how people made dual-flavored swirled frosting, and now that I know, I've been sharing the info with everyone! You can use any two flavors of frosting for your swirls, but since we're just a few days out from the Indianapolis 500, I wanted to use the technique to make checkered flag racing cupcakes.

I started by making a basic vanilla buttercream frosting. I then took half of that frosting and made it chocolate buttercream just by adding cocoa powder and a little more heavy cream.

I then laid out a sheet of plastic wrap and used a spatula to spread the two frostings side by side. I folded one side over the other and stuck the whole thing into a pastry bag fitted with a 1M swirl piping tip. And that's it! To achieve the iconic swirl look, hold your piping bag upright and over the center of the cupcake. Apply pressure and begin circling the outside edge. Continue squeezing and add another layer of frosting working toward the center. Finish the spiral in the very center just by releasing pressure and lifting up!

You can use this frosting technique on any flavor of cupcake or with any flavors of frosting. In fact, you can even use more than two frosting flavors! I recommend piping the frosting onto a plate first though to make sure the flavors are coming out evenly before you put it on a cupcake.



Checkered Flag Racing Cupcakes
Yield: Makes about 12 cupcakes
Ingredients
For the vanilla cupcakes
  • 1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (200 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (198 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted Challenge butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (57 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
For the swirl frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (454 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (42 grams)
Directions
For the vanilla cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix sugar and melted butter in large bowl. Whisk in milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract making sure the butter is not to hot beforehand otherwise the dairy will curdle.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix just until no lumps remain.
  5. Beat egg whites using whisk or mixer until frothy (about 1 minute of fast whisking by hand or 30 seconds with mixer).
  6. Add egg whites to mixture and slowly mix in.
  7. Divide batter amongst 12 cupcake liners and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
For the swirl frosting
  1. In large bowl, beat butter at medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat at low speed until combined, and then beat at high speed for an additional minute.
  3. Scrape away half of vanilla frosting and set aside.
  4. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons heavy cream and cocoa powder to bowl and beat until combined.
  5. Lay sheet of plastic wrap about a foot long onto work surface.
  6. Use spatula to spread chocolate frosting into 3-inch strip in center of plastic wrap. Spread vanilla frosting in 3-inch strip alongside chocolate frosting being careful not to mix the two.
  7. Fold chocolate frosting over vanilla frosting and place into piping bag fitted with 1M swirl piping tip.
  8. Pipe onto cupcakes and serve.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and Delish







Monday, May 15, 2017

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie


What could possibly be better than a chocolate chip cookie? A GIANT chocolate chip cookie that’s thick and crisp around the edges with a soft center. Oh, and with a scoop of ice cream on top. There is nothing more beautiful than an ice cream river running through the center of a warm cookie.

I’ve already gone into extensive detail about how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies.

But you can also use the exact same recipe to make a skillet cookie!

Skillet cookies are not only cool looking (anything in a cast iron skillet looks “rustic”), but they are also a lot quicker to make than regular cookies because you don’t have to chill the dough or roll them out.

I used a 9-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, and it was just the right size because the cookie was nice and thick – just the way I like it! You can use any size skillet from 7” to 12” but just keep in mind there is an indirect relationship between cooking time and skillet size (throwing out math terms to impress you all, let me know if it works). For example, a 12-inch skillet may cook up to 5 minutes less than a 9-inck skillet because the dough won’t be as thick and will cook faster.

It’s important to not overbake the cookie. Keep it in the oven just until the edges start to turn golden brown. The center may be slightly underbaked, but that’s what makes it so delicious!

You can either cut up the cookie and serve it, or you can just give everyone a spoon and let them dig in! I prefer option 2!



Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
Yield: Makes 1 large skillet cookie

Ingredients
  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour (281.25 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup Challenge salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar (207 grams)
  • 1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit; prepare cast iron skillet and set aside
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fuffy.
  4. Add instant vanilla pudding package and beat until well blended.
  5. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  6. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until just incorporated.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes before serving with scoop of ice cream.










Pin It button on image hover