Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Chai-spiced coffee truffles


Chocolate truffles are one of the easiest desserts you can make. In its most basic form, it’s just chocolate and cream, which is called a ganache. Since there are so few ingredients, you want to make sure the chocolate flavor really stands out. There are two good ways to do that.

The first way is to use good quality chocolate. You should want to eat the chocolate on its own. Around 60% cacao dark chocolate is my favorite chocolate to use.

The second way is to incorporate coffee into the recipe. Coffee enhances and intensifies the flavor of chocolate without the lingering taste of coffee. Both chocolate and coffee are inherently bitter. So when you add a small amount of coffee to chocolate the bitterness of the coffee under its the bitterness of the chocolate and makes it taste more chocolatey.

There are a couple different ways to impart coffee flavor in baked goods. My favorite way to do so when making truffles is to steep the cream with your favorite coffee beans. By using beans instead of generic espresso powder you can customize the flavor more. The beans I used from Helm Coffee Roasters in Indianapolis have flavor notes of chocolate and caramel. 

Helm is Indy's newest coffee roaster, and I can't recommend them enough. Owners Jill and Carol are working hard to build a community, and they host a new parent support group every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. that I've found to be really helpful as I navigate motherhood for the first time.

I tested this recipe with and without the coffee beans and there is a significant difference in flavor. The truffles tasted a little flat without the coffee. If you are worried about the caffeine content, you can use decaf coffee beans.

Chai-spiced coffee truffles

Yield: Makes about 30 truffles

Time: About 1 hour


  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 180 milliliters (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup coffee beans
  • 360 grams dark chocolate (around 60% cacao), chopped fine
  • 1 Tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa powder


  1. Combine ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves, and black pepper in bowl. Set aside 1 Tablespoon.
  2. Pour heavy cream in small saucepan with spice mixture and coffee beans. Heat on low-medium until it simmers.
  3. Remove from heat, place lid over saucepan, and steep for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Strain cream to remove coffee beans and return to simmer. Pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  5. Let ganache cool until it's solid—about 1 hour in refrigerator.
  6. Combine leftover spice mixture with cocoa powder.
  7. Scoop teaspoon-sized balls of ganache and roll in cocoa powder-spice mixture.
  8. Store truffles in refrigerator.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Protein-packed pumpkin pancakes

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I had such a hard time photographing this blog post because I couldn't stop eating the pancakes. They're thick and fluffy and so full of flavor. They're perfect for autumn, but also, I would eat these any time of year. And even better—they're actually pretty healthy. One pancake has nearly 9 grams of protein (8.6 grams, to be exact) and no added sugar. Let me break down the ingredients.

Cottage cheese: This is probably a shock to most people, but cottage cheese is the secret to tender, fluffy pancakes that are packed with protein. I recommend using full-fat cottage cheese for the best flavor. You can use small curd or large curd cottage cheese, but the benefit of using small curd is that the curds will mostly melt into the pancake when cooked. But if you use a blender, it doesn't matter. I recently discovered whipped cottage cheese at Kroger, which is perfect for this recipe because the curds aren't really visible at all.

Eggs: Eggs are pretty standard in pancake recipes, and in this case, they contribute to the structure and the protein content.

Pumpkin puree: We can't have pumpkin pancakes without pumpkin puree. I'm so glad it's finally back in stock at stores. I've never tested this, but I imagine you could use mashed sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin if you're trying to recreate this recipe when pumpkin isn't in season.

Vanilla extract: Necessary for additional flavor.

Oat flour: Oat flour is simply ground up rolled oats. I have oat flour on hand almost all the time now because oats are great for lactating moms like myself. But you can make it yourself by grinding rolled oats or old fashioned oats in your food processor or blender. Also, if you use gluten-free oats, this is now a gluten-free pancake recipe. Also, oat flour has more protein than all-purpose flour. If you don't want to be bothered with oat flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour.

Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice: Essential for flavoring! I didn't include pumpkin pie spice in the first batch I made, and its absence was notable. If you don't have it, substitute an additional 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. 

Baking powder: Contributes to the lift and fluffiness of the pancakes.

Challenge Salted Caramel Snack Spread: The best way to top these pancakes is with Challenge Salted Caramel Snack Spread. The extra caramel flavor combined with butter is absolutely delicious.

I recommend making a big batch of these pancakes so you have leftovers for breakfast throughout the week. They last 3 days in the refrigerator. Or you can freeze them and store them for up to 3 months.

Protein-packed pumpkin pancakes

Yield: 8 pancakes

Time: About 30 minutes


  • 1 cup cottage cheese, small curd, full fat 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oat flour 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Challenge Salted Caramel Snack Spread
  • Optional toppings: Maple syrup, pecans


  1. Whisk together cottage cheese and eggs.
  2. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk oat flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until smooth with some lumps.
  5. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil (my preference is coconut oil).
  6. Once oil is hot, use scoop to place pancake batter into pan.
  7. Cook until pancakes are set around edges and golden-brown on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  8. Flip pancakes and cook until second side is golden-brown, about 2 more minutes. If you're not sure if the pancake is done, you can check the internal temperature. It should register between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Serve pancakes with Challenge Salted Caramel Snack Spread, maple syrup, and pecans if desired.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Brûléed butternut squash

 This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Butternut squash is one of the most popular varieties of winter squash. It’s called winter squash because of its thick skin, which allows it to be safely stored into the winter months. It’s actually harvested in later summer / early fall. Indiana farmers generally harvest butternut squash in mid-September, but they’re being harvested a little early this year because of how hot it was this summer. 

Purchasing a whole butternut squash from the store can be a little intimidating. It’s hard to peel and cut through. Fortunately, I have a few tricks for preparing the squash.

If you want to peel the squash and cut it into cubes, poke the outside several times and microwave it for 5 minutes. It will be significantly easier to peel and cut.

If you want to use the flesh for any number of things like soup, risotto, purees, or baked goods, you can just stick the entire thing in a pressure cooker with a cup of water and cook on normal pressure for 25 minutes. No peeling or cutting necessary. Or you can cook it in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours. The only downside is you don’t get the same caramelization that you would get from roasting the squash in the oven. So it may depend on the recipe which way you want to cook it.

I like to use the pressure cooker method to create the easiest fall dessert of all time—brûléed butternut squash! 

Once the squash comes out of the pressure cooker, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Then score the flesh and slather both halves with butter. I like to use Challenge Salted Caramel Snack Spread. The butter is infused with real caramel flavor adding an extra element to this dish. Then I sprinkled granulated sugar over everything and torched it. It’s that easy. You really can’t go wrong with burnt, caramelized sugar!

Brûléed butternut squash

Yield: Makes about 4 servings

Time: About 30 minutes

  1. Pour 1 cup water in Instant Pot and place trivet inside pot. Set butternut squash on trivet.
  2. Cover pot with lid and set pressure cooker to normal pressure for 25 minutes.
  3. After it's done cooking, quick release pressure and open lid.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, remove squash from Instant Pot and cut in half. 
  5. Remove seeds and score flesh. Spread butter over squash.
  6. Sprinkle sugar over squash and use kitchen torch to brûlée sugar.
  7. Top with chopped pecans if desired and serve warm.

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