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Speculoos – Belgian Spice Cookies

26 Feb

These cookies are like gingerbread cookies crossed with Biscoff biscuits (I’m a big fan of both). They are thin and crunchy and IMO totally addictive. They do take some planning, because you have to refrigerate the dough overnight. But once made, they keep well in a sealed container for over a week (if you don’t eat them all by then!)

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Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup oat flour or almond meal
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light.
  2. Add egg and beat until fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and spices.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture just until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into a rectangle. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick.
  7. Cut dough into small rectangles, about 1-inch by 2-inches, or cut into shapes with cookie cutters. If dough feels dry, add a bit of water.
  8. Garnish with slice almonds (optional)
  9. Bake at 350F on parchment-lined baking sheets until the cookies have darkened and the edges have begun to brown, about 14 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and cool.

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Using Up Overripe Cherries: Toaster Oven Cobbler

7 Jan

Has a cold snap hit your town this weekend? Then it’s a good time to stay in and whip up a sweet, hot dessert (or breakfast)! This is also a great way to use up overripe berries in the summer months. You’ll need 4 ramekins or other small, oven-proof dishes for the cobbler. I used mostly all-purpose flour but replaced a tablespoon’s worth with coconut flour, just for kicks.

Cherry cobbler

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 2 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • ¼cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat toaster oven (or regular oven) to 350°F  
  2. Toss cherries in 1 ½ Tbsp sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and a dash of vanilla or almond extract.dsc05884
  3. Divide evenly into 4 ramekins.dsc05886
  4. Place ramekins into oven for 10 minutes, while you prep the batter.
  5. For the batter: combine flour, remainder of sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and butter.
  6. Spoon into ramekins on top of the cherries.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  8. Broil for 2-3 minutes, to brown the tops.
  9. Enjoy on its own or with ice cream!

Pearl’s Southern Comfort, Chicago

9 Oct

I‘ve been to Pearl’s Southern Comfort in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood three times now – the food is delicious, there are good beer and cocktail options, the service is friendly and attentive, and I like the ambiance. Pearl’s also has a rooftop deck that opened this past summer that serves up drinks and bar bites. Pearl’s is busy, but I’ve never had to wait for a table. Plus. the bar has a couple of good screens for watching the Cubs game.

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We love the boudin balls,  delicate fried dough balls filled with sausage and a bit of rice.

Pearls Southern Comfort - Boudin balls

The catfish bites are lightly battered pieces of flaky fish.

Fried catfish bites

The gumbo is so flavorful, packed with dark meat chicken, sausage, and okra. (This photo was taken after we had already devoured half the bowl!)

Gumbo

Hubby ordered the shrimp po’boy. The fries were extra crispy.

Shrimp po'boy

I had the blackened catfish which was nicely done. It was served with collard greens, and the only disappointment of the night – the mac n’ cheese. Which, unfortunately, was a huge disappointment. I ordered the catfish partially because it came with a side of mac. However, this was probably the worst restaurant mac n’ cheese I’ve ever tasted. It kind of made me wonder whether the restaurant had run out of real cheese, and came up with this Kraft dinner / cheese whiz concoction instead. It tasted so bad, I couldn’t eat more than one spoonful of the mess.

Blackened catfish

Luckily, the fantastic banana bread pudding redeemed the night. This gigantic dessert was epic. Don’t attempt to finish this on your own, this is a dessert meant for sharing. It’s soft, sweet bread layered with banana and served on a plate drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. There were hints of rum in there as well.

Banana bread pudding

 

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The Final Word: Overall, Pearl’s severs up excellent Southern food, and it’s a great place for a date or dinner with friends. The only thing I’d wish they’d change is the mac n’ cheese. 

Info: Pearl’s Southern Comfort, 5352 N. Broadway Street, Chicago, IL 60640 USA

Pearl's Southern Comfort Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Magic Chocolate Sundae!

12 Feb

What a great idea, in time for Valentine’s Day!

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