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Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

Chocolate, Almond Butter and Oatmeal Balls. Just the perfect amount of sweet. Find these at Karista's Kitchen

I had a whim today and I made these. Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls.

It’s Monday and I had a little bit of a craving for almond butter and then I thought some chocolate with that almond butter would be tasty.  As I was attempting to stir some organic unsweetened cocoa into my almond butter, I thought, why not add some oatmeal and honey and I’ll make some quick treats.

These kinds of recipes have been swimming around the web for quite some time now.  Some people call them energy balls, some people call them peanut butter oatmeal balls because they use peanut butter rather than almond butter.  But I call them treats. Anything with a smidge of sugar, sweetener or honey fall in the “treat” category for me.

Chocolate, Almond Butter and Oatmeal Balls // Karista's Kitchen

I’m not much of sweets eater as you know, but now and again I do like a little something that tastes a wee bit indulgent.  These chocolate, almond butter oatmeal balls speak to my indulgence cravings but also adds a little of the good stuff to my diet.  Not only do I use organic unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe but I also add sunflower seeds and then I roll the balls in hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are definitely one of the super foods. It’s rich in antioxidants, fights bad cholesterol, contains the perfect balance of essential fatty acids, reduces inflammation and helps balance hormones among many other things.  I add it to salads, soups, pancakes, baked goods, sprinkle it over rice and now I roll my chocolate, almond butter oatmeal balls in hemp seeds.

You can certainly roll these fun treats in whatever you like, but the hemp seeds are small enough they stick well to the balls and add just a little texture to the outside.

And the good news? No baking required.

Enjoy these chocolate, almond butter oatmeal balls for a quick breakfast, snacks or as an after dinner treat. Or just whenever you walk by the fridge and you need a little something sweet. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

about 18-20 balls

Chocolate, Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oatmeal (I used GF)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds

Instructions

In a food processor add the oatmeal, sunflower seeds, almond butter, unsweetened cocoa and honey. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together. It won't feel like a dough and could still be crumbly but it should stick together when forming a ball.

I used a small cookie scoop for uniform sized balls. Scoop out balls and gently pat to form a smooth ball. Roll each ball in the hemp seeds and then place them in an airtight container.

I keep these treats in the fridge and bring them out and set on the kitchen counter for a quick breakfast or snack.

Notes

You can substitute with your favorite nut butter.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme

Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme // Karista's Kitchen

These happy little peppermint chocolate pots de créme combine two of my family’s favorite flavors. It seems that peppermint and chocolate are the Ying and Yang of dessert flavors around here. 

If I make a trip to the chocolate shop they ask me to bring them chocolate covered peppermint patties.  If I make chocolate cake, my family asks me to add peppermint chips to the frosting.  And when we have homemade hot cocoa, they love to add a peppermint stick or peppermint schnapps.

So naturally when I was making chocolate pots de créme this week, I had to include peppermint.

I love to serve pots de créme for dessert.  I’m not a huge fan of sweets, I’m more of a salty kind of gal, but I do love all things creamy and chocolate. Which is why if I serve a dessert, it’s usually a creme brûlée, pudding, custard, mousse or pots de créme.  And what could be more seasonal than peppermint chocolate pots de creme.
Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme // Karista's Kitchen

I have to admit, this festive dessert made me smile. They look so happy and cheerful and full of everything delicious this holiday season.  So rather than place them in the fridge to serve with dinner, I proceeded to pull out the equipment and photograph the little lovelies.

What I captured certainly mimics my current holiday mood.  These peppermint chocolate pots de créme look like little snow-capped mountain peaks, laced with the flavors of holiday celebrations.  Although deliciously perfect for the holiday dessert table, they will be just as refreshing for a summertime treat.

Wishing you a tranquil yet festive holiday season of good cheer, warm hugs and delicious food!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme

Makes 4, 4ounce cups

Peppermint Chocolate Pots de Créme

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Peppermint Schnapps (optional) or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

Instructions

Combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or use a double boiler over simmering water.

Heat the chocolate mixture over medium heat until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture has come to a simmer. Take it off the heat.

Put the egg yolks in a heat proof bowl and whisk smooth. While whisking the eggs, carefully drizzle a tablespoon of warm chocolate mixture into the eggs. Continue to do this three or four times until the eggs have been tempered and are slightly warm.

Whisk in the remaining chocolate and then add the peppermint schnapps.

Return the mixture back to the pan and heat while stirring until the liquid is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.

If you have any lumps, pass the mixture through a sieve. Pour the chocolate into small jelly jars, ramekins or pots de créme cups and place them in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours or overnight.

Before serving make the whipped cream.

Whisk together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and peppermint extract until soft peaks form. Dollop or pipe the heavy cream onto the pots de creme and garnish with peppermint chips, chopped candy canes or just dig in and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is easily doubled.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Pumpkin Coconut Tarts with Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Coconut Tarts with Caramel Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

It’s the weekend and I think we need something sweet like these adorable Pumpkin and Coconut Tarts with Caramel Sauce! 

It’s that time of year when I jump into all things pumpkin and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m whipping up a pumpkin chili, pumpkin cornbread to go with that chili, these tasty pumpkin coconut tarts with caramel sauce and Sunday I’ve planned pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup – or maybe some pumpkin crepes with cinnamon cream.  Ok, I’ve gone totally pumpkin overboard.

When there’s a chill in the air and the leaves begin to turn their brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow, I find myself pulling out my fall sweaters and setting out my cozy sofa blanket.  And of course creating all things pumpkin and Autumn and delicious.  All I need now is my chai tea and I’ll be set.

This is my favorite time of the year.  Although the summer months were filled with fun and frolic and food from the grill, this new season seems to invigorate me and inspire a new collection of recipes as well as a seasonal change in how I frolic and fun. 😉

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Ricotta, Shrimp and Pasta // Karista's Kitchen and A View to Delicious Magazine

Speaking of a new collection of recipes… (you know I had to mention the magazine) I’ve created several new recipes for our first digital food magazine, A View to Delicious.  Butternut Squash Gratin, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Ricotta, Pasta and Shrimp (and a drizzle of truffle oil just for fun), Roasted Chicken with Brandy Butter and more! So if you’re looking for Fall recipe inspiration be sure to click here and download your copy.

Back to dessert… these Pumpkin Coconut Tarts with Caramel Sauce are the perfect small portion size with just enough sweetness that is slightly spiced, rich and creamy.  They make the loveliest after dinner nibble or perfect with a mid-morning cup of coffee.

However you serve these pumpkin coconut tarts with caramel sauce, I’m certain once they’re gone, you’ll be asked for more. 

Cheers to the new season, cozy blankets, hot spiced tea and delicious desserts!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Pumpkin Coconut Tarts with Caramel Sauce

Serving Size: Makes 8-10 tarts

Pumpkin Coconut Tarts with Caramel Sauce

These little tarts make the most delicious ending to a delicious meal. They also make fun and tasty after school treats and on occasion, a quick nibble with morning coffee, sans the caramel sauce. However you enjoy them, they will delight the palate and enchant the sweet tooth.

Ingredients

    Pie Dough (Pate Brisee):
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour or pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ice water
  • Pumpkin Coconut Filling
  • 1 15 ounce can organic canned pumpkin puree (you can also substitute with sweet potato puree)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup organic canned coconut milk (do not use “lite” coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla or brandy

Instructions

For the Pate Brisee

If you don’t have pastry flour on hand, combine 2 parts all purpose flour with 1 part cake flour. (I keep this combination handy in a separate container, so I always have some ready to use.)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix.

Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and pulse a few more times until the butter and flour resemble coarse pea sized pieces or a coarse meal.

As you pulse the food processer add the egg and water and pulse only until the dough is holding together in one piece.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead just a few times forming the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so, or overnight. Often I’ll make several batches of pate brisee and then keep them wrapped in the freezer, pulling them out when I know I’ll need them.

Remove the chilled disk from the refrigerator and roll it out with a wooden rolling pin. With a biscuit cutter or mouth of a drinking glass, cut out discs large enough to press into the mini tart pans. Fill all the mini tart pans and then place in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill them with the pumpkin filling.

Pumpkin Coconut Filling

In an electric mixer or blender, combine all the ingredients until well blended.

Caramel Sauce

In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat mix together the sugar, butter, heavy cream and pinch of salt. Add a dash of vanilla if you like, or a dash of brandy.

Whisk the ingredients until it comes to a boil and then let it simmer for about 5-8 minutes or until it thickens.

Let it cool slightly and serve over the Pumpkin Coconut Tarts or Vanilla ice cream.

Finishing up

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Place all the mini tart pans on a baking sheet and fill each mini tart pan with pumpkin coconut filling.

Place the baking sheet of tarts in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the filling is nicely firm and crusts are golden.

While the tarts are baking prepare the caramel sauce.

Once the tarts are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool. Remove each tart and place onto a small dessert plate. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Toasted coconut makes a love garnish but is optional.

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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes Sweets Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

Our Premiere Digital Food Issue

A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine premiere food issue Fall 2016

I’ve partnered with VRAI Magazine and we wrote our very first digital food issue, A View to Delicious! 

We’ve been working hard to craft a beautifully photographed food and lifestyle digital food issue featuring the freshest farm-to-table recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, articles on unique destinations that dot the landscape of this scenic region and more cooking inspiration, tips and advice from my years in the culinary profession.

A View to Delicious is a little taste of what I create at home in my kitchen.  This digital food issue is a glimpse into where I live and why I adore my region of the world.  It’s also a little insight into how I feel about healthy and happy living and inspiration for creating life the table.  It also contains lovely verse and poetry by a few of my friends and lots of farm animals. Did I mention the farm animals?

A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen

Our premiere digital food issue, A View to Delicious, is available for pre-order now and until the 25th of September.  You can snag it HERE. The magazine will launch on Monday, September 26th!

As I’m writing this, I’m filled with over the moon excitement.  I can’t wait to share with you the delicious new recipes and a peek into my crazy delicious world. 🙂

I hope you’ll pre-order A View to Delicious and then tell me what you think when you read it. I always love hearing from my readers!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy fall season.

Loads of Love,

Karista

 

Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

Holly Bower's Zucchini Bread // Karista's Kitchen

Anyone else have exploding zucchini plants?  I’ve made at least half a dozen loaves of my favorite zucchini bread over the past month and this particular batch may not be the last.  This is because I purchased what I thought were cucumber starters and later found out I’d planted zucchini.  :/

Not that I don’t like zucchini, I adore zucchini!  I sauté it with garlic and shallots, I roast it with parmesan and olive oil, I stuff it with sausage and then slather it with homemade tomato sauce, I make zucchini cakes, zucchini fritters, ratatouille, grill it, dice it fresh and then toss it into an Italian chopped salad and obviously, I make zucchini bread.  The only thing I haven’t done is make zucchini noodles – which is on the list for the next batch of zucchini.

But I’d really had my heart set on those cucumbers. I was going to make pickles all summer long!

Now, I realized my mistake just as the starters began to grow because zucchini grows up and cucumbers grow out.  I feel like a failed farm girl wannabe.  Hence the wannabe part.

So now I have all this zucchini that I’ve been passing out to neighbors, along with zucchini bread, making an assortment of recipes with my abundance of zucchini and including it in every meal.  I’m not kidding.  If I tell my family the side dish is zucchini one more evening, I may have a revolt on my hands.

The upside to all this zucchini are the array of delicious recipes to be prepared.  I adore them all but one of my favorites is this lovely zucchini bread recipe.

When we lived in Washington state we visited the San Juan Islands often.  Ranger Craig is a private pilot and he’d fly us over to the islands for the day or a long weekend.  Our girls grew up exploring the islands every other weekend during the summers and I absolutely cherish those sweet memories.  One summer we rented a home on Lopez Island and biked, hiked, explored, ate loads of yummy food and visited the local bakery, Holly B’s.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this bakery visit was the highlight of the day.  Holly B’s bakery is well known around the islands and for good reason.  Her baked goods, pastries, sandwiches and soups are some of the most delicious in the area.   Everything is prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients and as Holly says “with lots of butter and a warm heart”.  This is why her cookbook is called “With Love & Butter“.

I’ve dogeared almost every page and there are stains, butter and batter splotches all over the book.  Well used and loved.  Holly B’s zucchini bread recipe is simple to make, fresh tasting with just a touch of clove and cinnamon and moist and lush and everything a perfect zucchini bread should be.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love (and Happy Baking!)

Karista

 

Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

1 medium loaf

Holly Bower’s Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mild tasting oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups coarsely grated unpeeled, firm zucchini, packed
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 2/3 cup walnut halves (optional)

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F with the rack in the middle position.

This bread is very tender and baking parchment really helps keep the loaf together during removal from the pan. So, butter the loaf pan well, then line with 2 strips of baking parchment as follows: Fit one strip lengthwise covering the bottom and ends of the pan, and the second crosswise on top of the first to cover the bottom and sides. Don't worry about small spaces of pan showing through. Now butter the paper.

Mix together the eggs,oil brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Fold in the grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices and walnuts if using. Stir thoroughly into the wet ingredients, making sure no flour lumps remain. The batter will be quite thin, so lumps can be a problem.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake another 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan 30 minutes, then turn out, remove the papers and set on a rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Use a 4x8 inch loaf pan I've doubled this recipe for two loaves and it turns out great. I have also subbed the flour with Jovial Gluten Free pastry flour and it was delicious. Just keep the bake time to about 45 minutes versus 60 minutes.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart

Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart // Karista's Kitchen

It’s that time of year when I have to exercise balance, moderation and sometimes restraint when I’m browsing the farm markets and roadside farm stands.  I tell myself every year I don’t need flats and flats of fresh fruit, but then my mind starts racing with recipe ideas and I once again become completely irrational and over-estimate my time for recipe testing.

It’s fresh berry and stone fruit season here in Oregon and can you tell?  I am completely giddy with excitement.  Which is why this Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart happened.

Bowls of fresh berries and summer stone fruit grace my kitchen counter most of the summer.  We eat the sweet, juicy and flavorful fruit right out of the bowl, add them to smoothies, make ice cream, bake quick desserts (because you know I don’t do fancy unless I have to) and I adore grilling stone fruit to pair with fish, poultry, pork and lamb as well as adding berries to savory salsas.

If you’re like me and cook mostly seasonal, the plethora of fresh summer fruit is a lovely change for the palate and arrives just before recipe boredom takes over in the kitchen.

Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart // Karista's Kitchen

Because I always have puff pastry in the freezer, homemade jam and mascarpone or goat cheese in the fridge, I often make this fruit and cheese tart for a quick and not too sweet dessert.

I adore using a mild creamy goat cheese with most berries and fruit but if you’re not a fan of goat cheese, mascarpone works just as well.  I don’t use any additional sugar, just a lovely glaze of jam over the fruit which allows the natural fruit flavors to shine.   The end result is a slightly crunchy, flaky pastry filled with fruit and cheese.  I love snacking on this Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart with a pinot noir port or a chilled Italian moscato.  The perfect ending to a perfect summer meal.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart

Summer Plum and Goat Cheese Tart

This is one of those desserts you can whip together last minute. It doesn't take a lot of effort and can be as "rustic" or as "fancy" as you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
  • 2 ounces creamy, mild goat cheese or mascarpone cheese
  • 4-5 plums, pitted and sliced, leaving the skins on
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup plum or blackberry jam
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional) for the top of the pastry

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Place your puff pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. When you open the puff pastry it will be divided into thirds, having been folded in thirds. Down the center third spread the cheese. Then place the plum slices evenly over the cheese.

Brush the plums with the jam. Then make 6 diagonal slices on each of the outer third pieces (I call them the wings) of pastry. This will create strips that you will use to "braid" over the cheese and plums, just like you would make an apple strudel. Once you've made the strips on each side, start with one side at one end and lay the strip of pastry over the fruit, then do the same on the other side, as if you were sort of braiding and continue until all the strips of pastry have been folded over the tart. The pastry will overlap each other a bit which is fine.

Once you've folded the pastry strips over the fruit, brush the egg wash over the entire pastry and then sprinkle with sugar if desired. Place it in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Remove the baking pan from the oven and let the pastry cool before serving. You can substitute with sliced peaches, apricots, or fresh berries.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Orange Ricotta Cake with Whipped Sweet Mascarpone

Orange Ricotta Cake with Whipped Sweet Mascarpone // Karista's Kitchen // Perfectly creamy, dreamy and slightly sweet

It seems I’m on a ricotta roll and quite possibly a citrus kick.

Last week I posted these lovely Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup and this week I’m all about zesty orange and ricotta cheese with this divine little Orange and Ricotta Cake.

What can I say except it’s February.  The time of year I reach for all things citrus because “tis the season” for citrus and a little something dreamy and creamy to get me through the end of winter.

Orange Ricotta Cake with Whipped Sweet Mascarpone // Karista's Kitchen // Perfectly creamy, dreamy and slightly sweet with a burst of Orange!

Italian desserts aren’t terribly sweet in flavor, which makes them just as lovely to serve for breakfast as it is for dessert.

This fragrant Orange Ricotta Cake is slightly dense like a cheesecake but lighter in texture and pairs deliciously with the sweet whipped mascarpone – tasting a bit like summer sunshine, teasing the palate with bright, happy flavors of zesty orange.

A fun new feature I’ve added to the recipe print function is the BUY INGREDIENTS tab right under the recipe ingredients.  I’ve added this handy new tool from Chicory to help make purchasing ingredients and cooking just a little simpler.  Chicory helps you find the best food delivery service should you be in a pinch and need items for a last-minute dinner party, brunch or even a cupcake party at your children’s school. Or maybe you’re just too busy to stop at the market on the way home.

Chicory automatically detects your zip code when you click, and will recommend the grocer that’s best for your area.  In some areas, up to three grocers are available, currently.  As for products, they make the best product match possible based on the name of the ingredient listed.  If there are two “oatmeals,” say, that match well, then they default to the most cost-effective option. You have the option to swap out products using the “Change” feature.

Just a little added convenience for creating delicious and healthy food for you and your family.  🙂  Let me know if you try it and how you like it. Thanks!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Orange Ricotta Cake with Whipped Sweet Mascarpone

Serving Size: 8

Orange Ricotta Cake with Whipped Sweet Mascarpone

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed and heaping
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 2 large oranges, zested
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup of whole milk
  • 1 8-ounce container of mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ - 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F .

Butter and flour a 9-inch spring form pan. Shake out the excess flour and set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and brown sugar until light and creamy. Then whisk in the ricotta cheese, oil, orange zest, orange extract and milk until blended.

Next, mix in the flour and baking powder mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Let the cake cool for about 5-10 minutes, then turn it onto a cake plate.

While the cake is baking, whisk together the mascarpone, heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

When the cake has cooled completely, spread the sweet mascarpone on top of the cake and serve. Garnish with additional powdered sugar if desired. This cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Notes

I originally created this for Home By Design Magazine's Dec/Jan 2015 Issue.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Salted Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Salted Caramel Sauce

The mere sight of a salted caramel sauce makes me swoon. Creamy, indulgent, with a deep golden color and sweet, salty flavor that completes this chocolate brownie trifle.

I woke up this morning, sipped my coffee while Tank not so gracefully plopped in the center of my lap (his name is Tank for a reason) and caught up on Sunday morning news, when I realized it was my running day.  The weather outside is so horrific I decided to pass on a run and thought I’d move on to yoga this morning.  As you can tell I am not doing yoga right now.  Instead, I’m sharing this over the top decadent dessert because I’ve had this lovely little sweet on my brain the last few days.

I adore trifle.  Any kind of trifle.  I think it’s the creamy texture of the pudding combined with cake or cookies or English biscuits, ladyfingers or even brownies.  

It also carries a little sentimental value. My Grandmother used to make me her version of trifle.  She’d make pudding and then layer it with her English biscuits.  She’d bring it to the table for tea time and we’d share a dish while chatting about good manners and table etiquette and learning how to properly sip tea.  A moment suspended in time, in my memories, creating my love for life around the table.

Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Salted Caramel Sauce

As I was thinking about this Chocolate Brownie Trifle the past few days, I thought it would make a delicious addition to the Christmas dessert table.  Served either in one large trifle bowl or in smaller individual glasses or dishes – which is how I serve trifle most often.  I find this dessert so tempting, so audacious, that one needs to claim their own container of this Chocolate Brownie Trifle… not to be shared with anyone.

Now that I’ve shared, I’m off to practice yoga while Tank sits at the end of my mat staring me down because we haven’t gone for our walk.  Enjoy your Sunday and take a little time for some indulgence today. 🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Salted Caramel Sauce

Serving Size: 4-6

Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 -5 cups 1-inch chocolate brownie squares
  • 4 cups prepared custard or vanilla pudding
  • For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 stick of butter, 8 teaspoons
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel (sea salt)
  • For the Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

Instructions

To prepare the caramel sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the brown sugar until combined.

Add the cream and then bring it to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce to a low simmer and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the vanilla and sea salt until combined. The mixture will thicken as it cools so you will want to warm it slightly before using.

To prepare the whipped cream:

In an electric mixer, add the heavy cream and whisk on medium speed. While mixing add the powdered sugar and then mix on high until the whipped cream is stiff and dollops nicely.

To assemble:

Using four to six shallow glasses, wine glasses or martini glasses place a layer of brownies at the bottom of each glass. Top with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, then a layer of custard. Repeat with another layer of brownies, sauce and custard.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and then drizzle salted caramel sauce over the top and serve.

Notes

I created this yummy little dessert for the good folks over at Home By Design Magazine. 🙂

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Pear and Cardamom Crisp

Pear and Cardamom Crisp with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Have you ever tasted an ingredient that made your taste buds fall instantly in love? Cardamom is my instant love ingredient and it couldn’t pair more beautifully than in this Pear and Cardamom Crisp. 

I know, I often associate emotions with ingredients.  It can’t be helped.  So I will regale you with yet another tale of my childhood. (can you see me smiling?)

It started when I was little and I could smell Grandpa’s coffee brewing in the wee hours of the morning.  Grandpa got up before the sun and always spent a quiet hour sipping his coffee while deep in thought and ponder. I’d sneak out of the guest room and walk down the long hall that led to the kitchen and where I would be greeted with a toothy grandpa grin.  He’d ask me if I’d like to join him for a cup of joe, that it would make me tough and grow up faster.  Then he’d laugh and smile again.  He was a crusty old soul but a sweet pile of marshmallows with his grandchildren.

Scent, taste, touch and often sight, all play a large roll in how we perceive food and if it feels worthy of our taste buds.  This Pear and Cardamom Crisp meet all those requirements and can be visually enticing. Which is perfect when you’re serving this for a dinner party.

The soft, silky texture of baked pear and the floral citrus scent of cardamom makes this Pear and Cardamom Crisp perfect for any occasion.

  I thought I’d dress it up even more and top it with a Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.  Because who doesn’t love whipped cream?

 

Pear and Cardamom Crisp ready to given as edible gifts

 I do love a large baking dish of fruit crisp, often making gift size dishes to give to friends and neighbors.  For a festive celebration or dinner party, this Pear and Cardamom Crisp is gorgeous in individual ramekins and then topped with edible flowers or even a few lavender buds or sprinkle of vanilla sugar.

Although it’s a simple preparation, this is a beautiful and delightful dessert.  Sweet, yet fragrantly spiced – and it would work well for a brunch or a holiday dessert.  Sometimes I make a large baking dish of Pear and Cardamom Crisp on the weekend and then my family nibbles on it throughout the week.  Occasionally having a scoop for breakfast ( I see the fork marks in the pan but no one admits to it) and always a little dish at night after dinner. A special seasonal treat that always makes my family smile (and apparently sneaky).

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Pear and Cardamom Crisp

Serving Size: 6-8

Pear and Cardamom Crisp

If you love cardamom this just might be your new favorite spring dessert. Simple to prepare and a delight to the senses. Sweet and fragrant and a perfect way to end a spring meal. It can be prepared in an 8x8 or 9x11 pan or individual ramekins.

Ingredients

  • 3 – 3 ½ lbs ripe pears, cored and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the baking dish/dishes
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F

Grease one 8” or 9” baking dish with butter or 6 – 8 oven safe ramekins. If using ramekins or small oven proof dishes, place them on a baking sheet.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cardamom. Toss the cardamom sugar with the sliced pears. Place the sliced pears in the baking dish or divide among ramekins.

In a medium bowl, mix together the rolled oats, flour, dark brown sugar and pinch of salt. Then mix in the butter. I like to mix this with my hands to make a well infused buttery crumble. You should end up with pea sized crumbles.

Spread the crumble mixture over the pears. Place the baking dish or baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pears are bubbly on the sides and crisp topping is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let them rest while you make the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

In a kitchen aid mixer or with a hand held mixer, whisk together the whipping cream, vanilla bean seeds and powdered sugar until thick and fluffy.

Once the crisp has cooled slightly, serve the crisp with the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

Notes

I originally created this recipe for the lovely folks over at Home By Design Magazine.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya // Karista's Kitchen

I’m a little late on that promise!  I promised to post this decadent little recipe yesterday and I got completely side-tracked with other projects. I think my brain is mush these days.  I try not to multi-task and that’s the problem.  I like to focus.  Focus generates quality.  And I like quality; especially if it’s got my name on it.

I found that my thoughts on this subject have been researched and I most recently came across this study conducted at Stanford University which states “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully”.   I feel so validated.

Yes, there are moments I am forced to multi-task.  But as I tell my children… it’s not my favorite.  These are the words I often say when one of them is standing in front of my desk talking and all I see are lips moving because I’m so focused.  This does not make my people happy – but I know they will completely understand one day.

Until then, let’s eat chocolate!

I created this lovely recipe this past spring for the fabulous folks at Home By Design Magazine.  However, I’ve been making this Mexican Chocolate Sauce for years.  The one thing I love about chocolate?  It’s not seasonal!  Which is great news because I have to admit, I keep a chocolate drawer in the kitchen.  And I have a little piece each day.  Unless I indulge in a slice of this cake, slathered with the chocolate sauce and topped with fresh papaya.

If you’re not keen on baking a cake during this hot summer season, just buy one.  But definitely make the sauce and find a fresh papaya.

Perfect for a weeknight, weekend dinner guests or a weekend barbecue.  And I’ve been known to have a slice for breakfast.  🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

Serving Size: 8

Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

Ingredients

    For The Cake
  • ¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Papaya slices
  • Sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
  • For the Sauce
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, crumbled
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 drops almond or coffee extract
  • Pinch of cayenne

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease a standard 5 x 9 loaf pan.

Whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl or electric mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time while mixing and then mix in the unsweetened cocoa mixture until all ingredients are blended.

Add the flour to the batter and mix gently or on low speed until the batter is smooth and combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place it into the oven. Bake the cake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool 10 minutes before slicing.

To prepare the Mexican Chocolate Sauce, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

In a medium saucepan add the cream and water over medium low heat. Once the cream and water are heated through, whisk in the melted chocolate and cinnamon. Take the sauce off the heat and whisk in the extract and pinch of cayenne.

This sauce can be refrigerated up to one week. Re-heat as necessary.

To serve, top each slice with fresh Mexican chocolate sauce and papaya slices. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint if desired.

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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

The brilliant orange and red summer peaches are certainly delicious all on their own. Ranger Craig and I can certainly testify to how juicy, fragrant and sweet a flat of summer peaches can be.

Still heavily imprinted on my brain is our drive home from a farm market stand in Central Washington one summer; trying so hard to wait until we got home before digging into the peaches.  Our will-power did not stand up to the test.  I think we might have consumed 1/3 of that flat before pulling into our driveway.

Summer peaches feel like the crown jewel of summer… other than those backyard tomatoes that I am so patiently waiting to turn a perfect shade of red-orange.

I love using peaches in sweet and savory dishes, simply pairing them with grilled fish and pork or just tossing them on the grill and serving with a big scoop of ice cream and a butter rum sauce.  Which is a lovely way to serve dessert since it’s been so hot here in the Pacific Northwest.   And who doesn’t love a buttery rum sauce?

The summer is passing quickly and my days seem busier than spring; so this post is short and sweet. Literally. 😉

Wishing you all a most delicious weekend!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

Grilled Summer Peaches with Butter Rum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4-6 ripe yellow or white peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Fresh mint for garnish

Instructions

Pre-heat the grill to 350F.

In a sauce pan whisk together over medium heat the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and rum or rum extract. Bring to a boil and then while whisking, simmer for a minute or two until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and reserve.

Brush the peach halves with olive oil and then set them cut side down on the grill. Let them cook for about 3-4 minutes each side until soft and tender. If the peaches are very ripe you may only want to grill cut side down. Moving the extra ripe peaches too much may result in a broken peach.

Once the peaches are done, transfer them to a platter or plates and top with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle with Butter Rum Sauce. Garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

Notes

Most summer peaches are perfect for grilling, but I especially like white peaches. Sweeter in flavor and perfect for grilling.

I created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015 grilling issue.

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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes Sweets vegetarian

Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers

Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers with drizzle of honey and fresh mint // Karista's Kitchen

Many of my childhood summers were spent at my Grandparents home.  It was usually hot and dry and the afternoons were begging for either a run through the sprinkler or playing tag with the water hose.

To beat the heat, and most likely for some afternoon entertainment, my grandfather would bring home giant watermelons.  He’d head to his back porch and slice them up and then he’d bring out the juicy pink slices to the back yard and share with all of his grandkids (he had quite a few!).  We’d stand around the yard enjoying our watermelon treat and then inevitably, someone would start a watermelon spitting contest.  I’m not sure who would start it but it was usually one of the boys.  Whoever won the contest got the last piece of watermelon.  I have a feeling that Grandpa might have had the most fun with the seed spitting contest.  😉

I can’t imagine summer without watermelon.  I buy a watermelon at our farm market every week and in only a few days it’ll be gone.  I cube half the watermelon for salads and snacking and the other half I slice and grill or add to fruit smoothies or granita’s.  I especially love to grill watermelon on skewers.  Once the watermelon has a few nice grill marks, I let it cool and then thread cubes of feta in between the watermelon.  A drizzle of honey and a few mint leaves finish the dish beautifully… sort of like a grilled fruit and cheese platter only it’s on a skewer.

There are so many creative and delicious recipes for watermelon, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite watermelon recipes from a few of my favorite food websites:

Chile Lime Watermelon Wedges from Alaska from Scratch  http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2014/06/19/chile-lime-watermelon-wedges-cilantro/

Watermelon Jicama Salad from Taste Love and Nourish  http://www.tasteloveandnourish.com/2014/07/16/watermelon-jicama-salad-queso-fresco-honey-lime-vinaigrette/

Watermelon Tequila Granita from Pink Patisserie  http://pinkpatisserie.net/2014/07/watermelon-tequila-granita.html

Wishing you a fun and festive weekend… and let there be loads of watermelon seed spitting contests!

Karista

Grilled Watermelon and Feta Skewers with Fresh Mint

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

21-25 1-inch cubes of watermelon

12-15 1-inch cubes of feta cheese

Fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup honey

8-15 small skewers or 8 large skewers

Directions

If you are using wood skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to using.

Pre-heat the grill to 350F.

Thread the watermelon on 2-4 large skewers. Brush the watermelon with olive oil and when the grill is hot, place the watermelon skewers on the grill for about 3-4 minutes, turning the skewers every few minute or so. You only want the watermelon on the grill long enough to sear the outside of the watermelon and heat the sweet juices.

Transfer the grilled watermelon skewers to a baking sheet or platter. Let them cool. When the watermelon has cooled, gently remove them from the long skewers. Using fresh skewers, small or large, thread watermelon and feta on the skewers; alternating until the skewer is filled. End with a sprig of mint.

Place the watermelon and feta skewers on a serving platter and drizzle with honey and serve.

*created for Home By Design Magazine June/July 2015