the baker upstairs

6.27.2017

Leek and Asparagus Galette

Yum
This leek and asparagus galette has a tender pastry shell filled with cheese and vegetables. So easy and so delicious!

This leek and asparagus galette has a tender pastry shell filled with cheese and vegetables. So easy and so delicious!

Are your kids good vegetable eaters? Mine mostly hated vegetables until a couple of years ago, then it was like a switch flipped. Now they're pretty crazy about most vegetables, and will even eat those legendary kid-hated vegetables, like brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. This spring and early summer we've really been enjoying all the fresh asparagus. My kids have definitely developed a new favorite vegetable! We've gotten it several times it from our CSA, and have bought bunches and bunches of it from the farmers market. A few weeks ago I was trying to think of a creative use for asparagus that we haven't tried yet, and this leek and asparagus galette was my solution. It turned out so delicious!

If you haven't baked a galette before, they are sort of like a rustic pie (either savory or sweet), baked on a flat baking sheet (instead of in a traditional pie pan). If you're worried about making the pastry crust, don't be! It's super easy, and turns out totally amazing. I took my first bite, and was shocked and proud of myself for actually having made it! Once you've made the pastry, you'll top it with gently sautéed vegetables, three kinds of cheese, and some eggs to hold everything together. It bakes up into a cheesy, melty, savory pie that's delicious all the way through!

This leek and asparagus galette has a tender pastry shell filled with cheese and vegetables. So easy and so delicious!
Leek and Asparagus Galette

for the pastry:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

for the filling:
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped
1 large leek, green parts removed, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, blend the butter in until the pieces are no larger than pea sized. Whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and ice water, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough just begins to come together, then pat the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

While the pastry is chilling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the asparagus and leeks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons parmesan. Add the cooked vegetables and toss to combine.

When the pastry has chilled, preheat the oven to 400. Roll the dough out into a large circle on a piece of parchment or a silicone liner. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the center of the dough, then fold the edges of the dough toward the middle, leaving the middle open and overlapping as needed to make a round shape. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water to form an egg wash, then brush the egg wash over the pastry edges. Careful place the parchment or silicone liner on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.
This leek and asparagus galette has a tender pastry shell filled with cheese and vegetables. So easy and so delicious!

6.21.2017

Unicorn Muddy Buddies

Yum
These unicorn muddy buddies are so whimsical and fun, and easy to make too!

These unicorn muddy buddies are so whimsical and fun, and easy to make too!

Okay, I fully recognize that these unicorn muddy buddies are completely ridiculous! They're all bright colors and powdered sugar and colorful sprinkles, and totally not like what I usually make. However, my kiddos have hopped on board the unicorn dessert train, and have been begging me for weeks to make a crazy, fun, colorful dessert. A few weeks ago I found two half-empty boxes of Chex cereal in the back of the cupboard, combined them with my ridiculously large stash of candy melts, and made these colorful treats!

These unicorn muddy buddies are so whimsical and fun, and easy to make too!

They're super easy to make, and taste almost like circus animal cookies! I boosted the flavor in the powdered sugar mixture by adding in some cake mix, and it was definitely a good choice. If you're not crazy about the unicorn thing, you could definitely make these with just one color of candy melts (or even just almond bark or any white melting chocolate) and I'm sure they would still turn out fantastic. These unicorn muddy buddies are so addicting and fun to snack on, and the kids absolutely loved them!

These unicorn muddy buddies are so whimsical and fun, and easy to make too!
Unicorn Muddy Buddies

3/4 cup white cake mix
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 ounces bright pink candy melts, divided
3 ounces turquoise candy melts, divided
3 ounces purple candy melts, divided
3 ounces blue candy melts, divided
8 cups corn chex or rice chex cereal
sprinkles

Add the cake mix and powdered sugar to a gallon size bag and toss to combine. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt two ounces of the bright pink candy melts at 50% power, stirring every thirty seconds. Toss with 2 cups of the chex cereal, until coated. Scoop the cereal into the gallon bag and toss to coat with the powdered sugar mixture. Scoop the cereal out of the bag using a slotted spoon, and place on a baking sheet to cool. Repeat with remaining colors of candy melts and remaining cereal. Melt the remaining one ounce of each color of candy melts, and drizzle over the top of the chex, then top with sprinkles. (I found it helpful to melt the candy melts in a disposable decorating bag, to make it easier to drizzle.) Let cool and enjoy!
These unicorn muddy buddies are so whimsical and fun, and easy to make too!

6.19.2017

Best Ever Chocolate Cupcakes

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These best ever chocolate cupcakes are amazingly delicious! Tender, moist chocolate cake topped by a light and fluffy chocolate frosting. Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

These best ever chocolate cupcakes are amazingly delicious! Tender, moist chocolate cake topped by a light and fluffy chocolate frosting. Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great Father's Day yesterday. We celebrated with our favorite Olympia Provisions sausage, homemade potato salad, and roasted green beans, and these gorgeous chocolate cupcakes for dessert. It's been so long since I made them last that I had forgotten how delicious they are! I've made a lot of chocolate cupcakes in my day, but it's always a challenge to keep them moist and tender. For some reason, homemade chocolate cupcakes always just seem to be dry and crumbly. This recipe, though, is a keeper! It's just as moist as any chocolate cake I've had from a bakery, but has an amazing chocolate flavor and tastes way better than store-bought.

These best ever chocolate cupcakes are amazingly delicious! Tender, moist chocolate cake topped by a light and fluffy chocolate frosting. Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

Not only are these cupcakes beautiful and delicious, they're easy to make too! I mentioned last week on Instagram that I got a new stand mixer (which I have lovingly named Mignon, after a suggestion from a follower). It's smaller than the mixer I've been using for the past eight years, so I've been having fun experimenting with making all my favorite recipes in it. These cupcakes were a snap to whip up, and turned out perfect! I used my trusty reverse-creaming method, and grated the butter into the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients. I know it sounds strange, but I promise, it makes for the lightest, most tender texture. I've had such great results that I don't think I can go back to doing it the other way! 

These best ever chocolate cupcakes are amazingly delicious! Tender, moist chocolate cake topped by a light and fluffy chocolate frosting. Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

These chocolate cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate someone you love!
Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

for the cupcakes:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the frosting:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter
3.5 ounces (1/2 tub) marshmallow cream
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
sprinkles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 12 wells of a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate the butter into the flour mixture, and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the greek yogurt and vanilla, and mix well. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling wells 1/2 - 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and marshmallow cream until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Add additional powdered sugar or half and half as needed to make a smooth, pipeable frosting. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles if desired.
These best ever chocolate cupcakes are amazingly delicious! Tender, moist chocolate cake topped by a light and fluffy chocolate frosting. Perfect for birthdays and special occasions!

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