Salted Chocolate Tart with Peanut Butter Pretzel Crust

chocolate tart Kate from scratch-6

If you haven’t discovered the phenomenon of salted chocolate on your own, allow me to guide you for a moment through the logic behind it.

Do you love peanut butter with chocolate?  Do you love pretzels with chocolate?  Do you love salted caramel smothered in chocolate?

Of course you do!

chocolate tart Kate from scratch-2

Any rational person on this Earth with taste buds finds these combinations exquisite.  It’s the salt within those pairings that enhances every nuance of flavor within the chocolate. It creates a dynamic deliciousness between sweet and salty allowing for balance and fullness of flavor.  chocolate tart Kate from scratch-3

Do you remember that food fad a few years back that paired bacon with chocolate?  It was completely wild but it worked (for the most-part) because bacon is salty – and people just love anything with  bacon in it, but I digress.

chocolate tart Kate from scratch-5

Trust me on this one: chocolate plus salt equals amazing.  It’s now a given, so use it to your advantage as I have with this tart.

chocolate tart Kate from scratch-8It’s topped with dark chocolate ganache and has a crispy salty peanut butter pretzel crust that screams luscious and lovely decadence.  Make it for someone you love this weekend and have a happy Valentine’s Day!


Salted Chocolate Tart with Peanut Butter Pretzel Crust

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups salted cocktail peanuts
  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Ganache Topping

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4  cup heavy cream



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor pulse all ingredients together until a fine crumbly mixture is formed.
  3. Press crust into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch heart-shaped aluminum pan or a nine inch round springform pan, reserving 3/4 cup of crust mixture for garnish/topping.
  4. Bake for six to eight minutes.
  5. Remove from oven.

Chocolate Filling:

  1. In a medium pot over medium low heat warm the cream and chocolate until the chocolate starts to melt. Mix these 2 ingredients together until completely smooth.
  2. Remove cream-chocolate mixture from heat and allow to cool for one minute.
  3. Briskly whisk in egg and extra egg yolk, continue to whisk for an additional thirty to forty seconds after egg is added to help mixture temper.
  4. Add vanilla and salt and continue to whisk until shiny and smooth.
  5. Pour the chocolate filling mixture into the cooled tart shell and place it back into the oven and bake for twenty minutes or until puffed and fragrant.
  6. Remove it from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.

Ganache Topping:

  1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and add the chocolate. Whisk together over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and all the chocolate has melted.
  2. Pour this mixture over the middle of the chocolate tart and use an offset spatula to spread it around evenly.
  3. Let the entire tart chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Top with reserved peanut butter pretzel crumbs.


Posted in Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Slow Cooker Tuscan Vegetable Soup


This soup is packed with massive amounts of vegetables that can be varied to whatever you have on hand.  It’s meatless yet offers heat, tanginess, heartiness a bit of sweetness and a ton of balanced flavor. The recipe has only five directions, all of which are entirely simple.

Oh!  Did I mention it also feeds a small army, freezes phenomenally, doesn’t require turning on the stove and only uses one pot?

Yeah… It’s really that good.

Pair with grilled sandwiches of any variety or just a loaf of deliciously hearty and crusty bread, like this one.

Go ahead and act like you slaved away in the kitchen all day.  It’s the weekend.  Enjoy it.

Slow Cooker Tuscan Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup diced red onion (about 1-2 onions)
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup red (or white) wine
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth (4 cups)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and chopped (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney or cannelini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
  • parmigiano reggiano cheese rind (optional)
  • 1-2 cups additional liquid (stock, broth or water) for thinning, if desired
  • salt and pepper

What you’ll need: 6 quart slow cooker (or larger)


  1. Turn slow cooker to high and add olive oil, garlic, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, thyme, oregano and Italian seasoning.
  2. Stir to combine, cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn slow cooker to low. Add all remaining ingredients except additional liquid.
  4. Stir.
  5. Cover and cook on low until all vegetable are fork tender, or at least four or five hours add additional liquid (water or stock) if desired.  Remove cheese rind before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recommendation:  Allow to cool to warm before refrigerating overnight to enjoy the second day.  Once refrigerated overnight, the flavors blend together even more nicely than they do the first day.  Place slow cooker insert back into slow cooker and heat on low/warm until hot.

Note for storage: To extend the shelf life of the soup, do not put any tasting spoons back into the soup after tasting, this prevents bacteria from transferring into the pot and allows the soup to stay good in the refrigerator for up to four days.  Store any excess of leftovers in small air tight freezer-friendly containers.  Thaw frozen soup storage containers in refrigerator overnight or in microwave.




Posted in Basics, Dinner, Entertaining, For Kids, Lunch, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fast and Light Weeknight Fix: Salad Pizza

salad-pizza-kate-from-scratch-2It has been nearly a week since I last posted anything involving pizza, therefore I’m lagging terribly behind.  I’m kidding (not kidding); I could eat pizza for every meal since the template offers so much versatility.  This particular recipe was made on a busy weeknight so it’s all very prep-friendly.  I’m sure if I made this on a lazy Sunday I would make the dough and the sauce that day.  But, fortunately I usually have those things on hand in the freezer. If you don’t, the grocery store has everything you need.

salad-pizza-kate-from-scratchThis is a lightened up version for those of you that want to enjoy pizza without the heaviness of traditional pizza.  It’s tangy and spicy and fresh and offers crisp greens on top of hot and cheesy pizza.  I added some peppers and shallots to the tomato sauce to bulk it up and give it some more flavor.  However, this could work without the extra vegetables in the sauce, if you’re really pressed for time.

The greens can be whatever you like.  I added some radicchio, a bit of romaine for crunch and some spinach for heartiness.  I added some diced red pickled cherry peppers for heat and lightly dressed the salad in a balsamic vinaigrette before topping the hot pizza.  The hot peppers are optional, of course.  It’s delicious, will keep you satisfied and won’t weigh you down.

Salad Pizza

Makes one large pizza: Serves four.

  • 15 ounces (store-bought or homemade) refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough
  • scant handful of cornmeal, for pizza pan
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • flour for board
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup minced bell peppers (fresh red or green)
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce (your favorite/whatever is easiest)
  • 3/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cups mixed greens, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 pickled red cherry pepper, diced (optional)


Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.  Remove dough from refrigerator to bring to room temperature.  Meanwhile Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal onto a large pizza pan.

Once dough is at room temperature, drizzle oil over rolling in and form dough into a disc.  Roll dough out to the size of your pan, or slightly smaller than pan.  Note: Dough will be thin once rolled.  If dough is springing back when rolling, allow to rest (don’t touch it) for five minutes.  If dough is sticking, you may add some flour to your rolling pin and board.

Place dough on prepared pizza pan.

In a small nonstick saucepan add shallot, garlic, and bell peppers. Once fragrant and lightly softened, add tomato sauce.  Stir and allow to cook for no more than a minute.  Add tomato sauce to prepared pizza dough in spoonfuls. Spread each spoonful around dough to make a thin layer of sauce.

Top sauce with mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown at the edges, or about ten minutes. REmove from oven while gently cooling pizza (not too much, just enough so the greens don’t wilt too much).

Dress greens in a mixing bowl with balsamic vinaigrette and top pizza once slightly cooled.  Add diced cherry peppers over the top of the dressed salad for extra heat if desired.  Slice and enjoy.

Posted in All, Basics, Dinner, Entertaining, For Kids, Lunch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hasselback Potatoes

This particular method of preparing potatoes offers a variety of textures and flavors, which is both unique and delicious.  The small slits made in the potato before roasting offer the outer edges to crisp up more than the rest of the potato in the hot oven which creates near potato chip perfection.  And as you move down the potato, it becomes almost fry-like and the bottom is pure baked-potato-goodness.



I preheated the oven and carefully sliced small slits into the potatoes.  I only made two large baking potatoes, so this didn’t take long.  Each slice made should be as thin and even as the last, if ever possible (I’m no expert, so you can manage this too.  And even if it’s not perfect, it still tastes as good, I promise).

I then fanned the slices gently and sprinkled some sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and chive oil over the fanned slices.  I placed them into a baking pan and baked until golden brown on top and fork-tender on the bottom, or about a half an hour.  Once removed from the oven and still hot, I topped each with a pat of butter and sprinkled a bit of parsley over each one for flavor and freshness, though thyme would work well too. They are delicious and ever so simple yet fairly impressive looking.  I recommend it.

Hasselback Potatoes

Makes 2 large hasselback potatoes: serves 2-4

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 1/2 -2 tablespoons chive oil (or other flavored oil you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pats of butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley or thyme, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Slice thin slits into each of the potatoes, without slicing all the way through, so the potato stays together.  Gently fan the sliced potatoes, carefully, so you don’t break them and drizzle oil evenly over all the slices of both potatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over all the slices of each of the potatoes.  Place prepared potatoes in baking pan or saute pan and bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top and fork tender on bottom, or about thirty minutes.  Remove from oven and top each with a pat of butter and garnish with parsley or thyme.  Enjoy.


Posted in All | Leave a comment

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe Of All Time

 Do you remember how as a kid everything looked better in cartoons?  Strawberry-Shortcake-land food looked way better than the food in real life.  That’s just a fact.

This made the reality of actual strawberry shortcake highly disappointing at times, particularly when the products used in recipes didn’t hold much merit.


The ninja turtles had far better pizza than anyone else in the world and I found it quite unfair.  I didn’t live too far from the sewers of New York City.  Why couldn’t I just go there and get some?  I was about seven then, so you’ll have to forgive my illogical logic, naturally.  While we’re on the subject of cartoons, have you seen those cabbage patch doll hats?  They are weirdly adorable.

But, getting back to my point, this hot chocolate is absolutely perfect.  It’s the best recipe one will ever find.  Not just a delicious treat, in my opinion but the apex of all other hot chocolate in existence and therefore completely rivals all cartoon hot chocolate.  That’s a huge deal and obviously a much bigger deal than rivaling any real hot chocolate you’ve ever come in contact with.

I have made it dozens of times, if not more, in all variations.  You can add a dash of cinnamon or a dash of cayenne or make a peppermint mocha as I so often do around Christmas time (directions below).

It’s rich, creamy, classic, pure chocolate flavor is like drinking a cup of pure comfort.  It’s warm and aromatic and soothing and might be, quite possibly, my most favorite thing in the world.

The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe Of All Time

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons white sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 3  3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine mix with water and bring to a light simmer.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir every minute until very hot.  Note: Do not boil once milk and cream are added.
  2. Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows if desired.
  3. Variation: For a peppermint mocha, use coffee instead of the hot water and add a peppermint candy cane to the steaming cup once finished.  Stir the candy cane so it melts into the mocha.
This post was written and photographed by Kate Moran, owner and editor of Kate from Scratch. 
The recipe was adapted from one original sent to us from a reader. 
Please keep the recipes and post ideas coming.
Posted in Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Meatleass Monday: Skinny Eggplant Parmigiana


This recipe was sent to us last week by a reader named Julie from New York who said we just had to try this method as a meatless Monday post.   We have tried baking breaded eggplant in the past, but it usually involved a lot of olive oil, regardless of whether it is baked or fried.  This method, can use as little as no oil whatsoever.   I did brush a bit on just because I couldn’t help myself, but generally, this recipe reduced the amount of oil significantly.  And for those of you really into cutting calories, the amount of cheese for the top can be reduced to your liking. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.


So for all of you with your diets and resolutions waning quickly, have no fear, skinny eggplant parmigiana is here to save the day.


Skinny Eggplant Parmigiana


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
  • 2 large eggplant, about 2 pounds
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs, for breading eggplant
  • 1/4 + 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella, for top
  • A handful of basil and parsley, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.Line baking sheets with parchment paper and drizzle a small amount of oil over parchment.
partially peel eggplant, if desired.  Set up your breading station:  Place 3 cracked eggs in one container, reserving the other for the ricotta mixture.  Combine breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano in another container.  Slice each eggplant into 1/2 an inch thick slices. Lightly season the sliced eggplant with salt and pepper, dip into the egg mixture and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Place the sliced eggplant on the prepared sheet. Bake the eggplant at 450 degrees F until the slices begin turning golden brown.  Remove baked eggplant from the oven.  Place cooked eggplant on a plate to cool.
Mix together the reserved egg and the ricotta.
Bring oven temperature down to 350 degrees F.
In an 8 by 12-inch baking pan, spoon tomato sauce over the bottom in a thin layer.  Place eggplant over tomato sauce.  Spoon ricotta mixture over the eggplant layer and top with another layer of eggplant.  Top that with an extra layer of sauce and continue to layer this way until you reach the top of the dish.   Place remaining parmigiano-reggiano and sliced fresh mozzarella over the top of the layers and place on a baking pan (to prevent spill over from hitting the bottom of your oven just in case) in oven to cook until hot, golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Top with fresh basil and parsley.
Posted in Dinner, Entertaining, For Kids, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What It Takes To Be A Food Blogger


In the world of the internet it takes a lot to be seen and heard.  Every day there are new posts, new bloggers, new networks, new social media platforms.   People take notice when you’re outrageous and controversial, that is true, and many bloggers know this and use it to their advantage.   I don’t want to be “that guy” for lack of a better term.

I’m not all that hip.

I am just myself.

I’m not controversial and I don’t like fighting with strangers on the Internet.

I like to cook and I like making people smile, which is one of many reasons food blogging just fits me, for better or worse.

Instead I try to get noticed by taking good photos and posting interesting recipe ideas.  It seems to be working so far and I’m nearly thriving as a food blogger.  My motivation is to inspire that burned out home-cook somewhere “out there” that just can’t stand making the same chicken dish for the millionth time.

While I do try to take good photos every time, I most definitely do not.

I also don’t have massive amounts of camera equipment like many professionals do and I’ve never taken a class in anything having to do with blogging or photography.

I have a camera, I have a tripod, I have a laptop and I have whatever nature gives me.  I try to make it work.

I use natural light only. And when it snows, I make sure to blog.  The light bounces everywhere and it’s so bright that it’s nearly guaranteed to be a successful shot.

When this happens:

Kate from Scratch

So does this:


And this:

salted chocolate caramel cracker bark

In fact, I’m pretty sure I chose our home based on how many windows it has.  That, and the community pool

Max and Trey pool!

but I digress…

If you want to take a good photo the first thing you should do is turn your flash off and open your curtains unless you have sheers.   You should most likely turn off the lights around what you’re shooting as well.   Move outside if you don’t have enough natural light indoors.

Like I did for this shot:

Southwest Grilled Veggie Wrap

Our old house didn’t have as many windows as we do now, so I was often outdoors in the early days (with a point and shoot).

These were also photographed outdoors.  I was frustrated with the clouds.


Yes, your neighbors will think you’re nuts for standing over a plate of food with a camera, but that’s OK.  Because in three days, your image could go viral and once you’re viral, you can just sit back and do pretty much nothing other than enjoy it and hope it never stops.

It will stop, though and that’s OK too.  That’s why you post again.

I post about once a week due to the little people in my life.  I also watch the weather report like a hawk and plan about five days in advance to write a post.  I make sure the kids’ schedules are set, so they won’t need me while I’m working.  I make sure there’s enough sunlight, I make sure that the table is waxed and that I have no outstanding deadlines.  I also make sure the kitchen is fairly clean before beginning a post.

The fact is I don’t just randomly sit down and whip up a post about what my kids are eating for dinner that day with step by step instructions.  I wish I could do that as so many other bloggers do.  But, they are superheroes and I am not.

My kids are picky and eat about five things, all of which you most likely know how to make already.  Instead I post about what I want to eat. In fact I’m pretty sure this entire food blog concept (for me) was created because I was frustrated with my picky eaters.  I just wanted to eat something interesting.  I was tired of everything being requested “plain”.  That is so boring.

Example: If I made this soup for dinnercurried-carrot-soup-kate-from-scratch

…my family would disown me, I’m pretty sure.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste amazing though.  They’re just boring eaters.

Looking back,  it has been really fascinating to see my blog develop as a history of our family.



I have photos from when Trey and Max were born.


And I remember it like yesterday because it’s all right here in front of me.  I have every holiday.

IMG_0034I have every adorable moment.


No scrap-booking required (sorry craft bloggers I just suck at crafts, I mean no offense).   That has been a major bonus that I didn’t plan on developing. It just happened.

101_1742Someday I will be posting daily, I’m sure.  But, that hasn’t happened yet.  I am entirely too busy.  I squeak by for now.   And until then I try to make each post stretch by picking up odd jobs on social media platforms.  Yes, occasionally I get paid to tweet.  Weird, right?  Yeah, that’s a real thing.  Also, I do some graphic design work on the side and syndication of posts helps (a lot!) financially as well.

Getting paid for work I already did for free?  Uhm, yes please!  We’d like to take a vacation again in the next thirty years.

101_1740 (2) (538x640)

101_1740 (2)I also get about a thousand emails a day from people (companies, authors, networks, marketers, etc.) that are looking to get a message out to the public.  They want me to try their product (free samples!) and get a message out to you, my readers, telling them my experience with said product.  I only answer the ones that really interest me, honestly. At first I tried to answer everyone and everything and it was too much.   Now I answer readers almost exclusively.

So, overall I work about twenty hours a week, not including “mom work” and I do it always in the morning.  I’m a morning person.  Afternoons and evening are for the family.  I plan around the weather and take a lot of photos of everything around me just in case something amazing happens, like this shot of Max collecting leaves on an autumn day. IMG_0372

In a world of digital photography, there’s no reason not to take photos of everything.  I make money, yes, but I’m hardly rolling in it.  Maybe someday.  I started out with a point and shoot camera and a baby on my hip because I wanted something spicy to eat.  It has grown organically from there.  Most of the photos I do take don’t pass the blog test, but over time, I’m learning and growing and trying new things.   It seems to be working.

It’s not easy,  and it takes a lot of planning and creativity, but it beats arguing with strangers on the Internet.

At least, for me.


Click to see this post on Blogher.



Posted in All | 7 Comments

Ten Awesome Game Day Recipes

The Super Bowl is coming soon and it’s practically right next door to us too.  Get excited.  This means that not only is traffic going to be an absolute freaking nightmare in our area (Fun!), but also that it is time to start planning your big game menu.

We have it all covered.

The second you take one look at these Super Bowl recipes you will be completely sold and doing whatever it is that’s required to get them into your mouth menu plan as quickly as possible.

Make food, drink beer, get rowdy.  It’s the Super Bowl.

   Jalapeno Popper Dip

jalapenopopperdipThis dip is so insanely addictive that it has been coined “jalapeno crack dip” in our home.  One bite and you will be hooked.


black bean chiliThis easy peasy one pot wonder is a staple for any game gathering and will stay hot all day in a slow cooker while you enjoy the game.

Add some extra heat just for me.

Whiskey Steak

Whiskey-Steak Yes I said whiskey and steak in the same sentence.  Meat and booze lovers rejoice!

Egg Rolls

vegetarian-egg-rollsThese egg rolls are surprisingly light and packed with vegetables and protein.

Pair with some Thai style chili sauce or traditional duck sauce (found in the international aisle of your regular grocery store).

You won’t be sorry.


meatballs Make mini ones for an appetizer or buffet and be sure to make meatball pockets if there’s anything leftover the next day.

There probably won’t be.

 Hot Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hot Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hot Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip is green so it’s obviously good for you.  Yep, I’m rolling with that.

Deep Dish Pizza

Click the photo, get the recipe and then let your imagination run wild with toppings.   This crust is built for it.  Don’t be shy.

Overstuffed Potatoes

overstuffed-potatoes-broccoli-cheddar-twice-baked-game-dayOverstuffed twice baked potatoes are meant to be over the top.  These are brimming with cheese and broccoli, but for the non vegetarians out there, go ahead …add bacon.  You know you want to.

Eggplant Rollatini

eggplant rollatini

Make the most delicious eggplant rollatini in the world.   The superbowl in in New Jersey this year.  Gotta represent.


Southwest Style Veggie Wraps

Southwest Grilled Veggie Wrap

This one also works well for those of you grilling or tailgating.

Looking for more recipe ideas?  Kraft’s Game Day Pinboard is highly drool-worthy.  Check out the other Kraft boards to see some of my stuff there.  Feel free to spread the love.

Happy Game Day!

Posted in All, Basics, Breakfast, Dinner, Entertaining, For Kids, Lunch, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

Happy 2014 everyone!  This year, we’ve decided to hold back on the pretenses and celebrate the new year the proper way.

With death by chocolate cupcakes, obviously.


I found and adapted this recipe from another blog and it’s really quite delicious as is.  Now I know I should depend on blogs more often for my baking recipes.   The cake was moist, the filling decadent and never lacking in chocolate flavor.

Overall, it’s a win and I highly recommend it.

The only thing I altered was filling the cupcakes with most of the frosting and leaving only a small amount on top of each cake.  I find this method to give the perfect cake to frosting ratio with each bite.  I also just upped the vanilla a little bit and used dark brown sugar instead of light, but that’s just for a little more oomph in the flavor department.

I bet a dash of espresso powder would be delicious as well, but I wouldn’t recommend that for the kids.  They get crazy enough with just the sugar, no need to add coffee to that equation.  Yikes.


Death By Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe Adapted from Blog: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (64g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (you may use cake flour for a more soft and tender crumb)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 and 3/4 cup (330g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (95ml) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt (to balance sweetness of frosting)
  • 1/3 cup (60g) semi-sweet chocolate chips for decoration, optional


chocolate cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 12 cup cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners (Tip: double up the liners to prevent fading of pattern on liners).
  2. Place chocolate and butter into a glass bowl and microwave on high in thirty-second intervals, stirring thoroughly after each.  Note: If you prefer to do this in a double boiler –the old-fashioned way–, you may.  Remove from heat once thoroughly melted and set aside to cool slightly until further notice.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients:  Cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set that aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until barely combined you do not want to over mix as this will cause a tough cupcake (and while that sounds adorable, it is not).
  7. The batter will be very thick like pudding.
  8. Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when gently pressed with the back end of a wooden spoon.  Note: I prefer this “press test” to the toothpick test to prevent over-baking, but the toothpick test works if you prefer it.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.  Be patient.  It’s worth it. Promise.

Chocolate Frosting:

  1. Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  2. With a handheld of stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy  which should take about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sifted sugar and cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla in small batches. Beat on low speed after each batch of sugar added to prevent sugar from flying everywhere.
  4. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too dark (or) add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet for your liking; as I did.

Note:  Using a frosting filled pastry bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped), fill the insides of the cupcakes by inserting the tip of the pastry bag half way into cupcake.  Fill until the cake plumps up, which should be about 2 tablespoons of frosting inside.  Then swirl the top of each cake with an additional two tablespoons of frosting as well.  This gives the perfect cake to frosting ratio in every bite.

Posted in Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Dear Winners: Top Savory Recipes of 2013

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”

-Katharine Hepburn


These are the most popular savory recipes on Kate from Scratch from 2013.  Every single one of these recipes is simple and fresh and not overly complicated.  None of them require you to find tomatoes on the vine in December, nor do they need you to raise chickens or buy some spice or herb you will never in a million years touch again.

There’s a good chance the entire family will enjoy these dishes and you will not spend hours slaving away in the kitchen making them.  They are just good recipes that the home cook can make and enjoy.  Congratulations to my regular readers.  The recipes you love are the winners this year.

Spinach Ricotta Calzonespinach-ricotta-calzone

Spicy Balsamic Tofu Wrap


Kung Pao Tofu and Broccoli


Farmer’s Market Nachos


Cake Pan Pizza


Tortilla Soup with Black Beans


Smoked Mozzarella & Roasted Pepper Caprese – A French Bread Pizza


Hot Curried Carrot Soup


Mini Quiches


Potatoes Peppers and Perfect Poached Eggs

potatoes-peppers-poached egg


Happy New Year, Everyone!


Posted in All | 2 Comments