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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,


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.


    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


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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    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,


    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.


    • 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


  • 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,


    Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

    Serving Size: 8

    Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya


      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


  • 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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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream // Karista's Kitchen

    It has been one of those weeks that desperately required a sweet.  Not just any little ole sweet but a down and dirty, honest to goodness, sweet.  Which for me is anything that includes chocolate.

    I think this cake has it all.  It’s totally and unabashedly sweet. The kind of sweet that requires either a large glass of milk or a lovely cup of tea.  A cake rich with banana, dark chocolate, marshmallow cream and another drizzle of chocolate.  I believe I have achieved my goal.

    This cake recipe came from one of my favorite chocolate cookbooks written by Max Brenner, Chocolate, A Love Story.  The original title is so fun it caught my eye immediately – Lipstick Banana Chocolate Cake Bonbons enrobed in well-behaved white chocolate and a nutmeg lady’s coat.  How fun is that?  It stopped my page turning immediately.  I read through it, bookmarked it and now it’s one of my go to sweet recipes for when I need a little indulgence.  I’ve made the recipe as written and then I’ve deviated.  I think you know by now I love to deviate.

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream // Karista's Kitchen

    This is my deviated version, or one of them at least.  I was too lazy to cut squares out of the cake to make the bonbons, so I decided to make the recipe using these cute little cupcake papers.  Rather than topping these cakes with the white chocolate glaze, I did what I often do… top that cake with some marshmallow cream.  I know, you can’t believe I have marshmallow cream in my pantry!  I do.  It sneaks in the pantry once a year around the holidays for baking and for dipping into with large spoons for general holiday merriment.   For some reason my jar of marshmallow cream was never opened this last holiday.  So I put it to good use on these cakes.

    These are fun, festive and most of all, satisfies the sweet tooth!

    I’m taking a little time off to enjoy my family this next week.  A little hiking, a little biking, lots of reading, my daughter hopes a little shopping is included, definitely exploring some new restaurants and popping open that bottle of Rocca wine I’ve beens saving.  If you are on Instagram I’ll be posting some candids of our week so be sure to check it out.  And I promise I’ll post something completely delicious when I return.  Happy Spring!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    6 large mini cakes or 12 cupcakes or 1 8-inch loaf

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    Cake recipe by Max Brenner from Chocolate, A Love Story


    • 4 ripe bananas
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, room temperature
    • 3/4 sugar
    • 1 large egg, room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons aged brown rum (I used 1 teaspoon rum extract)
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 ounces dark chocolate chips (I probably used a bit more)
      For the Topping
    • Marshmallow Cream
    • 1/4 cup dark chocolate
    • 1 tablespoon water


  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Either butter and flour an 8 inch loaf pan or use cupcake liners for a cupcake tin
  • In an electric mixer or by hand, mix together the mashed bananas, butter and sour cream until smooth. Gradually mix in the sugar, egg and rum or rum extract.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, mixing just until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan or cupcake tin and then place them in the oven. Turn the heat down to 325F. Bake until puff and golden brown on top. The loaf pan should take about 40 minutes, the cupcakes should take about 20-30 minutes.
  • Gently heat the dark chocolate and tablespoon of water in the microwave 10-15 seconds at a time, whisking gently until the chocolate is smooth enough to drizzle.
  • Let the cake/cupcakes cool and then top with marshmallow cream and chocolate drizzle right before serving.
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    Karista's Kitchen Sweets vegetarian VRAI Magazine

    Summer Fruit “Cocktail”

    Summer Fruit Cocktail laced with wine or your favorite liquer

    I have back to back recipes posting over at VRAI Magazine.  More deliciousness coming your way along with photos and travel on the Oregon Coast.

    This lovely little Fruit Cocktail is my version of boozy fruit salad but more of a “cocktail” to enjoy after dinner or after a summer brunch.

    summer fruit cocktail with wine or your favorite liquer

    Fruit abounds this time of year and lacing it with a favorite wine or liqueur is a fun and delicious way to enjoy our seasons bounty of fresh fruit and berries.

    Click HERE for the recipe and a little tour of the Oregon coast.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Floats

    Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Floats

    I got a Facebook message one evening from my friend Jan.  She told me she had just made a mango sorbet and ginger beer float and it was fantastic!

    As I was reading the message I thought to myself “how brilliant!”.  But of course, I’d expect nothing short of brilliant from Jan.  She’s a passionate foodie as well as a fantastic home chef.

    So I had to try it.  However, me, being me, I plowed through the market at mach speed because my to do list was much longer than my day, grabbed a carton of mango sorbet and what I thought was ginger beer.

    I got home and put it all together for dessert one sultry, hot evening and realized my ginger beer was ginger “brew”, a very nice high quality version of ginger ale.

    I decided to try it with the ginger ale and it was delicious.  Topped with a sprig of mint, this Mango Sorbet and Ginger Brew Float made a lovely after dinner treat.  Not too heavy and perfectly refreshing.

    Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Floats

    Although this float made a tasty little dessert, I had to try the float with ginger beer.  Why you ask?  Because ginger ale or ginger brew is not the same as ginger beer.  Ginger beer goes through a brewing and fermenting process and isn’t quite as sweet as ginger ale. Ginger beer also tastes more like real ginger.  Some ginger beer can even be a bit spicy – and it’s also less carbonated.  Ginger ale is much sweeter and more like a soda than a beer.

    Both versions of the float were fabulous.  Although the ginger beer float was much less sweet and a bit more spicy.

    I would absolutely serve both versions.  If you don’t like ginger beer, ginger ale works beautifully. Ginger ale is also a great sub for the kiddos.

    If you’re a fan of ginger beer, you’ll love this refreshing, tropical and slightly sassy dessert.

    Thanks Jan for this fantastic recipe! xo

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Jan’s Mango Sorbet and Ginger Beer Float

    Makes 6 floats


    2 pints mango sorbet

    2-3 12 ounce bottles ginger beer or ginger ale

    Sprigs of mint

    Festive straws and long spoons


    Scoop the sorbet into frosty mugs and then poor the ginger beer or ginger ale slowly over the sorbet.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and a pretty straw.

    Sip and enjoy.






    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Strawberry Jam Crostata

    Strawberry Jam Crostata - Karista's Kitchen

    I’m guest posting over at my friend’s website Pastry Craft.  I know you’re probably thinking “you, pastry, really?”  I don’t often post a pastry, however, when Chef Laurie kindly asked me to prepare a lovely pastry and guest post for her blog, I was happy to oblige.

    Actually,  I’m honored.  Chef Laurie is an accomplished and exceptional chef who I greatly admire.  She’s also become a friend who I cherish.  Besides both working in the culinary field, we share the love of an excellent Single Malt Scotch.  Yes, this is how we spend our time when we’re together.  That or dining on delicious cuisine… or both.

    So head on over to Pastry Craft to snag this lovely little Strawberry Jam Crostata recipe by clicking HERE.   And be sure to check out Chef Laurie’s pastry classes HERE.  She’s an amazing pastry chef and chef instructor with an impressive and extensive background in pastry.  I’ve had the pleasure of taking Chef Laurie’s classes and I can personally tell you they were so much fun, informative and I felt confident I could re-create the recipes at home.  If you live in the greater Seattle area these classes are not to be missed!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Dark Chocolate Granola, Fruit and Nut Snack


    dark chocolate coated granola, nuts and dried fruit snack mix

    I love my bright red cake tin. To leave it sitting empty would be a crime.  So, it’s often filled with my youngest gals favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies or my family’s go to breakfast, Confetti Muffins.

    On occasion I’ll surprise my Bennett Crew with a little something new like Chef Laurie’s Classic Pound Cake or Pink Patisseries gluten free chocolate cupcakes.  I won loads of happy faces for those two treats.

    However, when that bright red cake tin is empty, I am promptly notified.

    My bright red vintage cake tin... holds mouthfuls of deliciousness

    My bright red vintage cake tin… holds mouthfuls of deliciousness

    It’s not that we consume many sweets in this house.  Actually, dinner is the highlight around here and it can make or break the day… so I’ve been told. But the comfort of knowing the red cake tin holds a bit of indulgence, seems to keep the bright and cheery going strong.

    Especially if that indulgence includes chocolate.

    This lovely little mix of dark chocolate covered granola, fruit and nuts seems to fly out of the cake tin.  I made this treat over the weekend and by Wednesday all but a few granola crumbs were gone.

    You can use any kind of granola (or no granola if you eat grain free), nuts or dried fruit but my family loves this with a mix of tree nuts, vanilla granola, dried diced apricots and dried blueberries.  It’s a simple recipe with lots of room for variation and experimentation.

    It also makes a fun and tempting treat for your aspiring young chef’s to create. Not to mention this decadent little snack pairs beautifully with a glass of one of my favorite cabernet’s the Collinetta Cabernet from Rocca Vineyards.  Not a bad way to start the weekend. 🙂

    Here’s to the little things in life.  Like chocolate… and a bright red cake tin filled with something sweet.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Dark Chocolate Granola, Fruit and Nut Snack


    8 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate ( I love the 65% Colombian dark chocolate that I purchase from my local Co-op Natural Market. It pairs beautifully with the fruit and nuts)

    1 cup of your favorite granola (my family loves plain vanilla granola, or granola with dried blueberries both of which are lovely with this recipe)

    1 1/2 cups tree nuts or your favorite nut mix (I use a bulk nut mix from my Co-op market that includes almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios and pepita (pumpkin) seeds)

    1 cup of your favorite dried fruit such as dried blueberries, raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, chopped dried bananas, pineapple, mango, etc.

    Sea salt (because a dash of salt makes everything taste better)


    Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

    In a large bowl combine the granola, fruit and nuts.

    In a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler (stovetop) gently melt the chocolate until “just melted”.   If you are microwaving the chocolate be sure to microwave in 15-20 second increments so you don’t over cook or scald the chocolate.

    Once the chocolate is melted, pour it over the granola, fruit and nuts and gently stir to combine.

    Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet as thin or as thick as you like.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

    Let the mix cool at room temperature for about an hour or until it has hardened and can be broken into pieces.

    Store in your favorite container or “cake tin”.  Or store it in a Ziploc bag.  Keep it in a cool place.  Enjoy!




    Karista's Kitchen Sweets vegetarian

    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    pear galette

    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    My culinary journey has been a winding road.  Sometimes with hairpin turns and sometimes with steep uphill jogs. (If you know me, you know I am NOT a jogger) A few downhill walks and some lovely flat, grassy roads have led me from the past to the present.

    And it seems that in every phase, I gain a little more passion and a bit more vision into my culinary world.  Often scribbling words that become my foodie quotes.  Pieces of paper with the written word littering the top of my desk.  I find notes in my handbags, in my drawers,  in my files, and a few found their way into the kitchen junk drawer.  🙂

    Today, I often find myself thinking of this quote.  The one that truly speaks my heart. “Food should not only satisfy our hunger, it should feed our soul and nourish our bodies while delighting our senses”.  So with every recipe I create, or cook, or teach, this is always my reminder.

    Pear Galette

    Delighting the senses is exactly what I had in mind when I created this dish.  I’m often asked to review new food products. Most of them I turn down.  However, a few have captured my attention.

    The Spicy Gourmet company contacted me and asked if I would review their new line of organic and fair trade spices.  They had me at organic and fair trade.  But would flavor be just as impressive?  I was delighted and intrigued.

    Dinesh Perera of The Spicy Gourmet sent me the Classic Garam Masala Spice Kit.  So off to testing I went.

    Thinking seasonal, thinking spicy, thinking holiday parties made me think of something sweet.  Festive and just a little indulgent.  But just a little.  😉

    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce.  A little spicy, a little saucy and a lot of delicious.  The Classic Garam Masala is an exquisite spicy blend, perfect for all savory dishes.  But I loved the idea of this spicy blend in a sweet dish.

    I did cut the black pepper in half as well as the cumin and then added in a little ginger and nutmeg.  Perfect.

    I adore fresh, whole, spices, ground as needed for optimum flavor.  I was so impressed with the quality, taste and fragrance of my new spices, I chucked my old bottles of cardamom and cloves!

    Many thanks to Dinesh Perera at The Spicy Gourmet for allowing me the opportunity to test their products.  This is a small company with big flavor.

    Wishing you all a happy, healthy and most delicious holiday season.

    Loads of Love,


    Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

    Serves 6-8


    Galette Dough

    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

    1 cup cold butter, cubed

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon sugar

    ½ cup ice-cold water


    3-4 pears, sliced

    1 tablespoon butter, diced

    2 teaspoons Spicy Gourmet Garam Masala*

    ½ teaspoon Ginger

    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

    1/3 cup sugar (I love using Coconut Palm Sugar in this recipe)

    Chocolate Drizzle

    4 ounces dark chocolate

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    2-3  tablespoons water


    Prepare the dough –  In a food processor add the flour, salt, sugar and butter and pulse until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

    While the food processor is on slowly add ½ cup water.  The dough should form a ball to one side of the food processor bowl.  If the dough is too dry, add a little more water.

    Place the dough in the center of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

    Prepare the filling – Place the pears in a large bowl and toss with the diced butter, Garam Masala, ginger and nutmeg.

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Roll out the dough into a large circle.  Place the galette dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.

    Reserve about 5-6 slices of pear.  Place the remaining pears in the center of the galette dough, leaving about a 2 inch border.  Pull up the sides to form an open face tart.  Artfully place the remaining pears on top of the other pears in the center of the galette.  Brush the galette with a little melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar.

    Place the galette into the oven and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.  Turn down the heat to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the galette is golden brown.

    While the galette is baking make the chocolate sauce.

    In a double boiler melt the chocolate and whisk in the heavy cream and water until smooth and glossy. Adding all the water if you’d like the sauce a bit thinner.

    When the galette is done, remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Drizzle the chocolate sauce on top, reheating the sauce if necessary.

    Drizzle dessert plates with a little more chocolate sauce and then place slices on top of the sauce. Serve immediately.

    *Each Garam Masala will have a different blend of spices.  I highly recommend blending your own Garam Masala with spices from the Spicy Gourmet.  However, if you have your own Garam Masala blend, or purchased a prepared Garam Masala, be sure it doesn’t include the ginger or nutmeg.  If it does, then feel free to omit the ginger and nutmeg in the recipe, or add in a little less if desired.

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies

    A little sweet, for my sweet tooth

    This is the time of year that gets me into trouble.  Yep, I get the baking bug.

    And of course if I bake something, I have to taste test it.  Right?

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies

    I also have friends who bake.  And they bake the most delicious treats.  In fact, two of my friends write baking blogs and one of them is a Pastry Chef right here in Seattle.

    Both filled with so much deliciousness, you must click on over and check them out. and  You’re gonna fall in love!

    I’m not sure what possessed me to make these.  I was in the mood for a sweet treat but I wanted something simple to prepare and most delicious to eat.

    I wish I had a really funny story to tell you, or some cute pictures of Tank.  Well, actually, I do have a few cute pictures of Tank.

    Tank needs a haircut

    Tank is handsome now 🙂

    I think these brownies hit the spot.  For the sake of my workout and waistline, I sent most of them on over to my friend’s house and kept a few to enjoy with my coffee later.

    They never made it to the coffee.  I ended up sneaking one as a midnight snack and the other three conveniently disappeared.

    Might be one of the sweet tooth Bennett gals.  😉

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies

    Similar to blondies or chocolate chip bar cookies, these divine little treats are less sweet and perfect with coffee or tea.

    I also prepare these with a gluten free flour  that can now be found in most grocery stores.  A few examples are Bob’s Red Mill, Namaste, Gluten Free Mama,  King Arthur

    Makes 12 Squares


    1 ½ cups Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar or dark brown sugar, packed

    2 eggs

    1 cup peanut butter

    1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    ½ teaspoon salt

    2 cups chocolate chips


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.

    Whisk together the eggs and sugar and then slowly add the melted butter.

    Then whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.

    Next, mix in the 2 cups flour and ½ teaspoon salt.  Then stir in the chocolate chips.

    Pour the brownie batter into the baking pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the brownies are golden brown and done in the center.

    When the brownies have cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Wild Blackberry Cardamom Cobbler

    Wild Blackberry Cardamom Cobbler

    It’s blackberry picking season!  For about six weeks each year, I tote my bucket all over our mountain looking for those beautiful berries.  The sun warmed berries are sugary sweet this time of year and it feels a little like food heaven.

    Wild Blackberry Cardamom Cobbler

    Blackberry pancakes, blackberry muffins, savory blackberry sauce paired with grilled pork chops, and of course the Bennett Crew’s favorite blackberry dish… Blackberry Cardamom Cobbler.

    Wild Blackberry Cardamom Cobbler

    Every year I tell my Bennett Crew I’m saving some blackberries for making jam.  But that never seems to happen.

    I believe we love those berries too much to wait for jam. 🙁    I really will make that jam next year.

    Blackberry recipes abound this time of year.  Here are few of my favorites!

    Blackberry Lemon Drops from Talk of Tomatoes

    Blackberry Plum Cardamom Jam from Talk of Tomatoes

    Go Big” Back to School Blueberry (or Blackberry) Coffee Cake from Pink Patiserrie

    Apple Blackberry Pie from Eat the Love

    Blackberry Oatmeal Cake from The Bite House

    Wild Blackberry Cardamom Cobbler

    Serves 8-10

    Adapted from multiple sources… but mostly from my Mom.  Mom was the Queen of cobblers when I was a kid.  All sorts of cobblers showed up weekly, sitting on our kitchen table.  Blackberry was my favorite. 🙂

    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.



    6 cups blackberries, blueberries or mixed berries

    ¾ cup organic granulated sugar

    Zest of one lemon and 2 teaspoons lemon juice

    2 tablespoons cornstarch

    2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced


    Gently toss the berries with the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and butter and set aside.

    Cobbler Crust

    1 stick of unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)

    1 cup Coconut sugar (or ¾ cup brown sugar) I use Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar. This sugar creates a caramel colored cobbler crust with just a hint of toasty caramel flavor.

    3 egg yolks

    ½ cup sour cream

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used ½ cup cake flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour)

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    ¼ teaspoon baking soda

    1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom


    Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cardamom.  Set aside.

    In a kitchen aid mixer or mixing bowl, mix together the soft butter with the coconut or brown sugar until nicely incorporated.  The sugar butter mixture will be a little lumpy looking due to the coconut sugar.  This is normal.

    Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla extract and then the sour cream.  Then slowly mix in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.

    Putting the Cobbler Together:

    Butter a 9×13 baking dish and then pour the filling into the baking dish.

    Take a muffin, cupcake or ice cream scoop and scoop the cobbler crust batter onto the filling, leaving a few holes to allow the blackberry filling to bubble through.  You don’t have to do this but I think it makes the cobbler look pretty.

    Place the cobbler in the oven and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the cobbler crust is done and golden brown on top and the filling is hot and bubbly.

    Let the cobbler cool for at least 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla bean or blueberry cheesecake ice cream.  Yum!

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sweets

    Strawberries Romanoff

    Strawberries Romanoff

    This is how I love strawberries the most.  Strawberries Romanoff – simply dunked in a spiked and sweetened sour cream just waiting for my fingers to snag one, scooping up the cream with it and then popping the luscious berry into my mouth.  Ahhh… summer.karista's kitchen


    This post was originally written in response to a blogging award given to me by a fellow blogger.  The rules of the award were to tell you a little about myself, which is sometimes hard to do because I’d rather learn a little something about you instead.  But here I go anyway.  Enjoy and feel free to laugh (at me or with me)!

    7 random facts about myself.  Where do I begin?!

    1.  I was Junior Miss Pangburn, Arkansas 1978.  That was it. My one and only attempt at pageantry. I just wasn’t pageant material. I’d rather have been riding my horse.

    2.  I love animals. I grew up with all sorts of animals. Dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, ducks, a goose named Charlie, a cantankerous pony, a quarter horse, rabbits, a steer named Rex, goats, and an animated lamb we called Fearless. He thought he was a dog.

    3.  Before culinary school I couldn’t cook. My best meal was a tired old turkey kielbasa with a can of sauerkraut. Whoo Hoo! And that was a good night.

    4.  I’m terribly clumsy. I fell in a parking lot once (actually many times) while talking to a client on my cell phone. That’ll teach me to talk on the phone and walk at the same time. I’ve fallen down steps, tripped over the smallest bump in a sidewalk and slipped on the running board of my jeep right onto the grocery store parking lot. (this was recent) My twin sister also inherited this affliction.

    5.  I’m obsessed with British mysteries. It all started in the 5th grade when I discovered the mystery genre. Couldn’t get enough of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and from there I moved onto PG James, Colin Dexter and Martha Grimes.

    6.  I became certified in scuba diving a few years ago. Exhilarating experience! My first dive I panicked. But managed to make two more dives holding the hand of my diving Instructor. The third dive, my Instructor felt he needed his hand returned. I managed to dive on my own, gracefully without panic, and ended up getting certified. Phew!  You can read all about that harrowing adventure HERE.

    7.  I love the outdoors. Kayaking, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, gardening, riding, flying… and you wonder how I do this being so clumsy. 🙂 It’s not always graceful but I have a blast.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Strawberries Romanoff


    • Strawberries, 2 pints
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 3-4 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


  • Mix together the sour cream, brown sugar and Grand Marnier.
  • Serve it two ways:
  • Place sliced strawberries in 4 wine or martini glasses and then top with a dollop of the sour cream sauce and serve.
  • Or, pour the sour cream sauce on a platter and place whole strawberries on the sour cream sauce and serve as a fun finger dessert. (with a few napkins)
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