the baker upstairs: June 2015

6.29.2015

roasted garlic parmesan broccoli

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If you haven't jumped on the roasted vegetable bandwagon yet, this is the recipe to get you on board! This roasted garlic parmesan broccoli is seriously one of my favorite treats, and Geoff and I fight over the leftover pieces because they're just so darn delicious! I love how easy this broccoli is to make, and how full of delicious flavor it is. It is the perfect super easy side dish, and the kids love it too!
Roasted Garlic Parmesan Broccoli

4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread the broccoli florets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt and pepper, and toss again. Roast in the preheated oven 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss with the parmesan cheese, then serve.

6.19.2015

banana chocolate chunk muffins

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Yes, I know I just posted a banana recipe, but you really can't have too many, can you? I made these delightful banana chocolate chunk muffins a few weeks ago when we were about to leave on a trip and I noticed that I had a few overripe bananas sitting on the counter taunting me. These were quick and easy to whip up and were the perfect road trip snack for my kiddos! There's something so wonderful and wholesome about banana muffins. I love how the bananas add moisture and sweetness without overpowering the muffins.


This was actually my first time baking with pre-made chocolate chunks (usually if I want chunks I just hack a chocolate bar to pieces) and I have to say that I really like them! I like that they stay relatively soft, even after they cool, but they also don't get super gooey and melt everywhere. It creates a muffin with evenly distributed chocolate, which is awesome! I threw in some mini chocolate chips too, just to make things more fun, and I really liked the combination of the big chunks and small chocolate chips. Whatever chips you use, these muffins are delicious!

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + a splash of vinegar)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare 18 muffin cups by lining with paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the bananas, sugar, oil, butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla until blended. Add the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and chocolate chips. Scoop into prepared muffin liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden and the tops of the muffins spring back when touched.

adapted from Life Made Simple


6.17.2015

no knead dutch oven crusty bread

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Okay friends, this may be some of the best bread I've ever made. And not only that, it is definitely the very easiest bread I have ever made, by far. If you're scared to work with yeast, or if you haven't had good results with bread in the past, this is definitely the recipe for you! It literally has maybe 10 minutes tops of active time, and turns out perfectly with basically no effort on your part. I've been really intrigued by dutch oven breads for a while now, and once I finally gave this bread a try, I was shocked that I had waited so long to try something so delicious!


It's really as simple as stirring a few basic ingredients together, letting the dough sit for 12-18 hours, then shaping it into a ball and baking it. Easy peasy. The dutch oven provides the perfect environment for baking and gives the bread the most delicious and perfect crust. The inside of the loaf is soft and moist, and the outside is chewy and crispy, just like what you'd get at a french bakery. I don't think I've ever baked a more beautiful, perfect loaf! This is definitely a must try recipe!

No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir until a soft and sticky dough forms. Cover and let rest 12-18 hours. After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 450 with a dutch oven inside. When the oven has heated, heavily flour your hands and your work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Place the ball of dough into the preheated dutch oven, cover, and return it to the oven. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

adapted slightly from Jo Cooks


6.15.2015

orange julius

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The weather around here has been getting hot lately! We've had such a rainy spring and early summer that it's been a little shocking to have temperatures in the 90's for the last week or so. My kids have been loving the warm weather and playing outside as much as possible, which means they come in all tired and red-faced and in need of refreshment. The other day I decided to whip up a simple and delicious orange julius for the girls, and they were in heaven! Orange julius always takes me back to seventh grade, when I first tasted orange julius in my home ec class. I had never heard of it before (not living anywhere near a Dairy Queen) and could not believe how good it tasted! To this day, it has a special place in my heart. It's not the fanciest of recipes, but it's delicious and perfect for a hot summer day!
Orange Julius

4 ounces (1/2 cup) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups ice cubes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately and top with whipped cream and maraschino cherries if desired.

6.10.2015

the best chocolate peanut butter cake

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Oh, man, I haven't been doing such a great job keeping up with this blogging thing lately, have I? I mentioned before that I recently got a new job, and it has thrown me for a bit of a loop as far as scheduling. I really do enjoy my job and I have learned so much in the six weeks I've been working there, but it has been a little tough to adjust to rotating days and nights, and no fixed work schedule. At my previous job, I had set days and hours and it made it easier to plan ahead for the blog. Now that I have a little more flexibility (and a little less certainty), I'm trying to find my balance again. I'm sure I'll get there eventually (hopefully!) but in the meantime, things may be a little more hit and miss around here. And thus, I am sharing my husband's birthday cake (from three weeks ago) on the blog today!

My husband Geoff is absolutely nuts about peanut butter and chocolate together, and this is one of his very favorite cakes. In the past I've made it as cupcakes, and they've been tasty, but there's something so fun (and elegant) about a layered cake. I think the layered cakes are especially fun to decorate! Though my decorating skills are still far from perfect, I can see improvement with each cake I decorate. I definitely think the roses on this cake are the best I've done so far... I think it helped that the frosting was a little on the stiff side, so the roses held their shape really well. I also love that my husband is a thirty four year old man who doesn't mind when his wife pipes roses all over his cake. :)


This cake is definitely a little on the rich side, so I was fine with a small slice, but Geoff devoured a giant slice with a big glass of milk on the side. If you love peanut butter and chocolate like he does, this is definitely the cake for you!

The Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (1 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

for the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
3-4 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons of milk
pinch of salt
5-6 chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour two eight inch round cake pans. 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. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix well. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 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 the butter and peanut butter together until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt, adjusting the milk and/or powdered sugar as needed to form a smooth frosting. Beat until light and fluffy and frost cake as desired. Top with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

cake adapted from Baking a Moment and frosting adapted from How Sweet It Is


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