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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

 

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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

Blueberry Galette | Kitchen Notes

It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that I cannot make a pie crust. Given this truth, I almost thought this recipe was going to be a kitchen fail. It involved me rolling out dough – always a scary site. Me not having the exact ingredients for a baking recipe and substituting – iffy with baking, but my forte in cooking. The saving grace of these two potentially disastrous truths: a galette looks perfectly beautiful with a more rustic aesthetic.

The other saving graces involved here: lovely, fresh, ripe, and delicious blueberries. Freshly whipped cream to enjoy the galette with. And family to share it with. Families are generally so forgiving when you bake them something.

If pie crusts or rolled doughs aren’t your thing: I get it. Really…I get it. I still recall Thanksgivings at my mom’s where I put Casey in charge of making the crust for pecan and pumpkin pies. That’s how deep my aversion to rolled doughs goes. For giggles though, and because it’s the weekend…I encourage you to give this a shot. You’ll see in the recipe below where I made substitutions and how my rolling didn’t go exactly as the recipe stated.

Bottom line: the galette still turned out delicious. I’m not so concerned with technique here; I just want to eat delicious food!

Blueberry Galette | Kitchen Notes

I’m sharing this recipe as it was written, with my substitutions in (parenthesis). 

Blueberry Galette, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 8 tablespoons of cold unsalted butters. Cut into pieces.
  • 1/4 cup ricotta, yogurt or sour cream (1/4 + a little more cup of milk)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of cold water

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and zest. With a pastry blender, word the butter into the mixture, until it resembles a meal; you’re looking for the smallest bits of butter to be about pea sized. Stir in the ricotta (or milk in my substitute) and the water together in a separate dish. Knead the liquids into the flour mixture, forming a rough ball. Wrap in plastic and flatten disc. Chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 egg yolk – for the glaze
  • Coarse sugar (such as turbinado) – for the glaze

Combine blueberries, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice together. Allow to sit. I like to mash a few of the blueberries, so that the sugar and blueberries begin to combine more quickly.

Putting it all together:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Flour your work service and roll our the galette to the best looking circle you can form. The original recipe stated a 13-15 diameter circle. I was lucky if I got 10 inches in diameter. Transfer this circle to a parchment lined backing sheet.

Add the blueberry filling, leaving enough room for a border (about 2 inches). Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edges here and there to make it fit.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk. Using a brush, brush the whisked yolk over the exposed crust. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over.

Bake from 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. We waited until dinner that evening and serve the galette with freshly whipped cream.

Have a barbecue this weekend, serve this for dessert. Or skip the barbecue and just make this for dessert. Breakfast. Just because.

Blueberry Galette

Maple and Whole Wheat Cookies | Kitchen Notes

A good chocolate chip cookie…you know you want one when offered to you. So why would I try to improve a recipe that’s tried and true and most importantly delicious? Mostly because updating the recipe gave an opportunity to make chocolate chip cookies even more delicious. And you, healthy. That’s what we really want…healthy chocolate chip cookies!

I wouldn’t replace these cookies for your salad. Unless you’re just sick of salad, for which I guess cookies are an adequate substitute (I’m kidding, nutritionists of the world. Cookies are not an adequate substitute for salad).

These cookies are on the chewy side. The whole wheat flour adds a deep nuttiness and the maple just a hint of sweetness. Enjoy these with milk or with an afternoon coffee or tee. Note that they aren’t as sweet as a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe — don’t be surprised by that!

Whole Wheat and Maple Cookies | Kitchen NotesWhole Wheat Cookies, with Maple and Almond Butter adapted from Cookie and Kate 

  • 2/3 cup natural almond butter (unsalted variety)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ssalt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, add the almond butter and the maple syrup. Add in the melted butter and whisk until combined. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, and chocolate chips until combined.

Use a tablespoon to drop the dough on the prepped baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking to see if the cookies turn golden in color. If the cookies need more time, bake them for no more than 12 minutes total.

Allow the cookies to cool completely on the pans.

Whole Wheat and Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies | Kitchen notes

Strawberry and Maple Scones | Kitchen Notes

 

Have you heard of Pinterest? Yes, probably. Then you most likely know of its addictive powers to draw you in and pin away recipes or diy ideas like they’re going out of style. And my food pins are just that..plus getting out of hand. It’s one thing to pin, but it’s another thing to actually try one’s pins. This phenomenon added such phrases as “pin-win” (that’s a pinterest project that goes well) and a “pintrosity” (that’s the opposite) to common social media vernacular.

So that’s what this post is about: cooking one my pins. Definitely a  “pin-win”: my adaptation of 101 Cookbook’s Maple Syrup Scones. And by adaptation, I mean I added sliced strawberries to these scones. Everything else is per the recipe, so I encourage you to visit Heidi Swanson’s great site for the details.

These scones are mildly sweet overall, with a nuttiness from the whole grain flour and a hint of sweet from the strawberries. Most delicious with coffee in the morning or tea in the afternoon as a snack. I’ve also individually wrapped them in parchment paper, then plastic wrap, then in a large freezer friendly bag as grab and go breakfast and treats. Strawberry and Maple Scones | Kitchen Notes

 

 

Blackberry Crumble | Kitchen Notes and other sundries

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day? In our family, I find it fitting that we celebrate my mother with delicious food and great company. These two simple pleasures fit her well. And it’s because of her that I have the interest in food and the cooking ability I do today. Actually I would say it’s a good percentage because of my mother; the other credit goes to other “mother’s” in my life: my grandmother, my Omi, my friend’s mothers.

Food played a central role in my childhood. Yes, because food is a growing child’s necessity, but also because as luck would have it, I grew up with a mother who loved to cook, a grandmother who loved to cook, and an Omi who coaxed even the most stubborn of children to eat their peas. The peas part was pretty simple: mash them with potatoes and butter. What’s not to love?

While I don’t remember my first meals, or the carpeted kitchen my parents speak so fondly of, I do remember watching my mom come home each night, changing clothes, and taking the time to cook dinner. This part of the ritual – the cooking part – I would ignore, until I had to set the table, or help, or worse: chop something. There was even that summer, where my sister and I were each responsible for making dinner once a week (was it once a month?). While I don’t remember what I made, I knew it wasn’t fun.

Then, as we all do, I got older – maybe a little smarter – and I realized cooking wasn’t just about the food, but also about the conversations. In late high school and college, I began to help more, sit in the kitchen to keep mom company, cook more. Now I cook nearly every night: a daily ritual that starts with one part weekly planning, one part idea gathering, and one part sheer darn luck.

So to celebrate my mother, I’m sharing the cobbler we ate on mother’s day. It’s a fool-proof recipe I learned from her, with a little addition from me. For inspiring my love of cooking (and for many other things), I’m thankful for her.

Blackberry Cobbler | Kitchen Notes and other sundries

Blackberry Cobbler + Walnut and Pepita Crunch

For the crunch:

  • 1 cup walnut halves and pieces
  • 3/4 cup pepita (or see of your choice)
  • 1-2 table spoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl, combine walnuts, pepitas, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Using your hands, mix the together until all the nuts and seeds are coated with oil and syrup. Set aside.

For the cobbler:

  • Roughly 5 cups of blackberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 or 1/3 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour (alternately, 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • Cinnamon, about 1 tsp (more to your taste)
  • Ginger, about 1/2 tsp (more to your taste, if desired)
  • Clove, about 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean (or about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick butter

Mix together the blackberries and brown sugar. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 13×9 inch baking dish, place the stick of butter. Place the baking dish in the oven, and allow the butter to melt.  While the butter melts, combine the flour through milk, in the order listed. Stir together to form a loose dough.

Once the butter has melted, carefully remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour 2/3 of the dough into the baking dish. Cover with the blackberries. Pour the remaining dough over the blackberries. Bake for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, spread the walnut and seed crumble over the top of the dish. Bake for 10 more minutes at 350 degrees. The cobbler should start to bubble. Increase the temperature to 400, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing the crumble to brown and any parts of the dough to also turn brown.

Allow to cool before serving. Can be served warm, but also delicious cold. Make for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, family of all sorts, and of course dear, dear friends. Serve with coffee or tea. If you’re being indulgent, a nice crisp class of sparkling wine.

Blackberry Cobbler| Kitchen Notes and Other Sundries

Spelt Muffins |Kitchen Notes

 

 

I’ve been eating store bought spelt bread for about the last year and half. While it’s taken Casey an adjustment period, we’re both now fans of the nutty flavor and decent crunch the bread takes on once toasted.

So there I am – window shopping in the grocery store one weekend – when I decide to actually stop and look through all the different flour options. Spelt flour? Why not — I see it in recipes ranging from breads to tart shells.

The muffins picture above used the recipe on the back of Bob’s Red Mill Spelt Flour, with some tasty additions: macintosh apple, chopped walnut, and cranberries. Overall, they were a little drier than your standard white flour muffin, but enjoyable with coffee or tea in the morning.

Spelt Muffins, adapted from Bob’s Red Mill recipe

  • 2 and 1/4 cups spelt flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 macintosh apple, diced

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep 12 muffin tins with liners.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the whet ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients, then gently add the cranberries, walnuts, and apple.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 way full. Bake for ~17 minutes.

 

 

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