Sweets and Treats

Chocolate Rye Muffins


Healthy and chocolate are often said in the same sentence. I get a long with chocolate pretty well; and I’m trying to continue to be healthier. So these muffins, well — in my head, the math adds up!

Chocolate Rye Muffins

from Green Kitchen Stories

  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 6 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2/3 cup of maple syrup*
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 100g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine and mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix it together. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the dark chocolate. Add the dry and wet ingredients together. Mix it well together. Add roughly half the chopped chocolate to the mixture.

Prep a muffin tin with paper cups. Put roughly 1/4 cup of batter in the cups. Top with the remaining chocolate.

Bake for 18 minutes.

*Accidentally, I only had 1/3 cup of maple syrup when I made this recipe. A less sweet muffin, more deep chocolate flavors.

Chocolate Rye Muffins

Chocolate Rye Muffins


Sugar Puffs | Kitchen Notes and Other Sundries

Some recipes look inherently fussy. Fussy enough, at least, that us in-our-spare time bloggers think long and hard about spending a weekend conquering the recipe. At least, I do that. So through some bizarre desire, I came home from a half day work on Sunday and tried out chouquettes, a puffed dough akin to cream puffs. Which prior to this experience, I would have put in the “fussy” category.

Much like my experiences making homemade potstickers or fruit jam on weekday nights, I discovered the reality didn’t live up to the fussiness hype. Airy and delicious, these cream puffs were a pure weekend treat. So much so that I may have eaten six in a sitting (oops!).

As you’re putting the recipe together, make sure that your melted butter/water mixture is actually hot before adding the flour. During my first attempt, while I was also mindlessly watching Gilmore Girls (from the beginning, thank you Netflix), I didn’t allow the first step to get warm enough and ended up with soup. Lesson learned and passed on!

Chouquettes, or French Sugar Puffs

from David Lebovitz and The Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, cut into small chuncks
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 large, room temperature eggs
  • Crystal sugar, available in specialty stores and on

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir until the butter is melted and is just starting to simmer. I recommend using medium-low or medium heat depending on the temperature of your stove.

Remove from the heat. Pour all the flour into the pot at once. Rapidly stir the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides and is thick. Allow this mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

Briskly beat in the eggs, one egg at a time. The batter should start to turn more golden in color. It will be runny at first when you add an egg, but the egg will incorporate fully into the batter.

Scoop the dough between two spoons and scrape onto the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can get fancy with a piping bag. Two spoons work just fine for me. Be sure to place the dough evenly apart on the baking sheet, as they will puff up.

Brush the top of each mound with an egg glaze (if desired, recipe below) and the press the sugar crystals over the tops and sides of the mounds. Use more than you would think.

Bake for roughly 35 minutes. My first batch was done in 20-25, so using your oven window and light to check on the browning of the puffs is helpful.

As both David and Deb say in their recipes, these are best the same day they’re made. I did freeze some of mine after they were cooled and am looking forward to defrosting and reheating them, via David’s instructions.

For the egg glaze:

1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon milk.

Use a brush to glaze the uncooked puffs before adding the sugar. This step is optional.

Sugar Puffs | Kitchen Notes

Cranberry Blueberry Buttermilk Cake


All day, the cats have been curled up sleeping their way into the new year. New Years in Phoenix started out with a chill, grey morning. Even now, well into the afternoon, the sunlight does a poor job a warming up outside. Given this weather, I don’t blame the cats. In fact, I’m all for joining them.

I’m starting this year out simply: cleaning the house, catching up on reading, and baking straight forward, uncomplicated goodies for you to try at home. And I’m working on keeping the new year simple. Last year, Casey and I made pretty straight forward resolutions: easy to keep, easy to remember. This year, as is very much en vouge,  I’m forgoing resolutions and focusing on goals.

Goal 1: Improve my German

Born in Heidelberg, I’ve often said that German was truly my first language. Currently out of practice, and also very uncertain of my own skill, I don’t speak much, even to friends at work who try to encourage me. For  Christmas, Casey and I found an excellent deal on Rosetta Stone. So what’s the goal: 3 times a week, I’ll complete at least two modules.

Goal 2: Become unconsumed by the internet

Now that might be a funny statement for a gal who blogs and online video games. The spirit of this goal is to not decrease blogging or video gaming, but rather to do these activities and also spend time on the internet mindfully. How am I going to get there? In small doses, and my changing my week night behaviors.

Goal 3: Date my husband

Look, this isn’t a lifestyle blog, so I won’t be posting about all the mushy stuff, but over the past month, Casey and I have had an incredible time! We went on a little vacation, we started hiking together again (thank you cooler weather), and we started changing up our routine. Last night, we watched a movie together to ring in the new year. It’s not earth shattering nor rocket scientist IQ requiring: spend time engaging with each other. Video games do not count.

And now the cake…

sugared cake | Kitchen Notes

Cranberry, Blueberry Buttermilk Cake, adapted from une gamine dans la cuisine

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 TBS for sprinkling
  • 1 TBS citrus zest (I used a combination of orange and lime)
  • 3/4 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups flour, plus 1-2 TBS for coating the fruit
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prep a 9 inch springform pan with butter or preferred grease.

Combine together the sugar and citrus zest in the bowl of stand mixer. Use either your fingers or a fork to rub the zest and sugar together. Beat in the butter for about 3-5 minutes on high, until the butter and sugar are incorporated and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mix together the fruit and 1 TBS of flour. This will help the fruit from sinking straight to the bottom of the pan.

Once the sugar and butter have been incorporated, slowly add the flour and the buttermilk, alternating between both of them. Combine, but don’t over mix.

Slowly mix in the berries. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle the top with sugar.

Bake for 40-55 minutes. Mine was done closer to 55, but start checking at 40, as all ovens are different.

Cool for 30 minutes before serving. Also good the next morning with a splash of cream and a cup of coffee.

*if you don’t have a springform, use a 9 inch cake pan, well buttered. Consider using a parchment paper round in the bottom of the pan.

Cranberry Blueberry Cake | Kitchen Notes


We’re a few days out from Thanksgiving, one of the tastiest days of the year. Hopefully we’re not all panicked and making second to last, and final, and definitely last trips to the grocery store.

For those of us with a few spare moments, here’s a sweet recipe to give the host and hostess of your Thanksgiving festivities. It also makes a lovely holiday gift, with it’s rich, jewel red color.

What is it, you may ask? Cranberry Apple Jam.

A mix between apple butter and cranberry sauce, with sweet and tart notes, all wrapped up in a jar and festivity colored to boot.

What is it good on? Warm, crunchy sourdough toast with salted butter. Ham sandwiches (pictured below). You know, left over Thanksgiving Turkey sandwiches. Or maybe: mixed with a little bit of water and used to glaze pork chops.

I usually don’t command you to make anything, but how nice would it be to show up with some Cranberry Apple Jam in hand?

apple cranberry jam, ham sandwich | kitchen notes IMG_2992

Granola Bars | Kitchen Notes

I’m traveling again. Three trips in one month is certainly a variance from my usual home-body habits. I don’t dislike travel; there’s a whole part of this blog that shares trips across the country and continents with you. I do dislike much of the food associated with travel (who does like it?). Airplane food, even the non complimentary kind, is all one mushy, salty texture that sits like a lump in your stomach after you’re done eating it.

When we traveling to Pennsylvania in August for our friend’s wedding, I backed us cold noodle salad with veggies and spicy peanut sauce. It felt nearly indulgent to sit in the Atlanta airport during our layover, twirling and slurping our home made deliciousness while others sat next to us with bags of fast food.

I plan on taking a few of these for the flight on Monday. They may crumble up, but will still be good over yogurt at the hotel the next morning. For certainly, these granola bars whole or crumbled will have more dimension than the granola served at hotel continental breakfast. Another bonus is the speed to readiness. Mixing ingredients together is the hardest part!

Granola Bars, adapted from Food52

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds, lightly salted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup salted almond butter

Line a freezer safe baking dish with parchment paper. I used a large jelly roll pan for my recipe.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, almonds, cranberries, walnuts, pepitas, coconut, and sunflower seeds together. Add the honey, apple sauce, and almond butter. Using either a wooden spoon or your fingers, combine together until it starts to clump.

Using the wooden spoon or spatula, pour the mixture into one side of the pan. Use the back of the wooden spoon to press the granola into the pan, forming an even layer. Depending on the size of your pan, you may or may not fill up the entire sheet. This was the case when I used the large jelly roll pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and freezer overnight.

When ready to eat, use a knife to cut large squares. I keep mine in the freezer, but they can also keep for a day or two in the fridge. If the granola comes apart, don’t worry…just add some yogurt and call it delicious!

Granola Bars | Kitchen Notes

Granola Bars | Kitchen Notes

A week ago, we were in Colorado. Beautiful, cool, green Colorado where we spent a long weekend with family in the mountains. We hiked. We ate. We hiked some more. Then we went zip lining. Like the crazy kids that we are. Have you zip lined? It was my first time, and truly was an all day experience. Nothing at all like what I imagined. Our helpful “Sky Rangers” kept us entertained with humor, stories, and little scientific tid bits about the eco-system we were zipping through.

Here’s where the food part comes in: each day, we had these delicious, large, just sweet enough peaches. Fresh from the farm stand, smelling of sun and fruit and wind. Orange and golden like your favorite sunset. I couldn’t help put scoop of a good handful of the peaches and some sugar plums for good measure on our way back to Arizona.

Colorado Peaches | Kitchen Notes

As the fruit was fresh, I chose to bake the sugar plums and two peaches with agave, seeds, nuts, granola, and fresh ginger. We feasted on this peach bake, served over yogurt, for mornings after our return. If you don’t have peaches, try any stone fruit combination.

Baked Peaches and Sugar Plums

  • 2 large fresh peaches
  • About 1 lb of sugar plums
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh or powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small baking dish (about 8×8), half the sugar plums and quarter and dice the peaches. In a separate bowl, use your fingers to combine together the remaining ingredients. Crumble the see and nut mixture over the top of the fruit. Bake for 20 minutes, until the nut mixture is crumbly and golden. Serve over yogurt or enjoy on its own.

Fruit over yogurt | Kitchen Notes Fruit and Nut Bake | Kitchen Notes


Cherry and Chocolate Brownies | Katie's Kitchen NotesWell hello there! I’ve missed my semi regular posting schedule, mostly because I went on vacation and didn’t tell any one. Oops. My apologies. Worry not, dear readers! I soon intend to regale with tales of said adventure and perhaps a post featuring delicious, wonderful, fresh Colorado peaches and plums.

Until then, all you get is this recipe: dark chocolate and cherry brownies. Such a hardship, I know.

A few posts ago, while writing about my Omi and her cherry jam, I couldn’t help but enjoy the tasty remembrances of (one of) my favorite cakes growing up: Black Forest Cake. There’s something about an intense chocolatey cake, cherries, kirsch, and freshly whipped cream that transports me.

Which got me to thinking, how can I get many of those same flavors with more ease? Here’s my solution for that. You’ll notice something different here: the brownies are made from a box mix. It’s not typical of me, as I do like bake my own sweets. But for brownies, often times a box is just as tasty (and helpful when you don’t have cocoa powder hanging out in the house).

Chocolate and Cherries | Katie's Kitchen Notes

Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies

  • 1 box of Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix (standard size; not 13×9)
  • 1 cup or there a bouts (more won’t hurt) of pitted red cherries
  • 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
  • A dash of whipping cream

Heat the oven to the temperature indicated on the box. Prep your brownie container. I used an 8×8 ceramic pan.

Pit your cherries using a cherry pitter. You can also do this by hand with a small knife. Neither process is short – so enjoy some music or a tv show (er…House of Cards at the moment) while you’re pitting.

Mix together the brownie mix according to the directions on the box. Add the cherries. Bake according to the directions. I did not have to add additional time.

Allow the brownies to cool fully before serving. Once the brownies are cool, mix together the mascarpone cheese, a dash or two of heavy whipping cream in an electric mixer. For a more rustic appeal, you can also whip these two ingredients together by hand. Serve the slightly thick whipped cream on the side of the brownies.

For a full Black Forest Cake effect, I bet you could enjoy these brownies with a thimble of kirsch. Only if you wanted though.

Cherries and Chocolate | Katie's Kitchen Notes

Chocolate and Cherry Brownies | Katie's Kitchen Notes

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