the baker upstairs: September 2015

9.30.2015

soft and fluffy one hour rolls

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Soft and fluffy one hour rolls - you will not believe that these fantastic rolls take only an hour to make!


It's no secret that I love bread. But what I don't love about it is waiting for it! I was talking with a new friend a few months ago about baking, and he mentioned that at minimum, his bread recipes take 24-36 hours. He's an amazing, restaurant-worthy baker (far more advanced in his baking skills than I will ever be) but all I could think was, "How in the world could anyone wait that long for some delicious bread?" When I want bread, I want it now! I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to wait 2-3 hours for some fresh bread, but then I discovered this recipe for soft and fluffy one hour rolls. Mind blown!


I've been burned by one hour roll recipes before that turned out dense and chewy or just didn't taste right. These rolls, though... they taste like they took all afternoon to make! They're light and fluffy and so soft and delicious. I made a pan of twenty rolls and they were gone in an afternoon, between the four of us. They are honestly some of the best rolls I've ever made, and I can't believe they only take an hour to make!


I served them with some amazing cinnamon vanilla honey butter (recipe coming on Friday!) and they were pretty much the greatest thing ever. You definitely need this little beauties in your life, and fast!

Soft and Fluffy One Hour Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (I used active dry yeast and it worked great)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour, more or less as needed
3 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing on top
sea salt, for sprinkling on top

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand for five minutes, or until foamy. Add the butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour, and mix until combined. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is only slightly sticky to the touch (be careful not to add too much flour!). Knead 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Gently punch the dough down and divide into 20 equal sized pieces (I used a kitchen scale because I'm neurotic, but I'm sure they would work out fine if you just eyeballed it). Roll each piece into a ball and space evenly in the prepared pan. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sea salt, and let rise for an additional 15-20 minutes. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and brush with butter. Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

recipe via The Little Red Hen

9.28.2015

honey and cream scones

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Ah, scones. They are some of my very favorite treats! I think scones and fall were just made for each other. They're the perfect treat for dipping in hot chocolate or warm cider, and so cozy and comforting. These honey and cream scones are exceptionally delicious, and some of my very favorites. They are unbelievably tender and soft on the inside, while the outside is just slightly crisp. They're sweet and light and I love how the honey and cream combine to make a delicious flavor.


I had the opportunity to try Tate+Lyle ® Honey Granules while making these scones, and let me tell you, they are fun and easy to bake with! They're a blend of cane sugar and honey, which means they're easy to scoop, measure, pour, and sprinkle. They are perfect for sweetening coffee or tea, or using in baking. I love that they have the taste of honey, but are so much easier and less messy to bake with than honey. You can substitute them in any recipe that calls for liquid honey by replacing one cup of honey with one cup of honey granules + 1/4 cup liquid.


These scones would be perfect for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack! I hope you'll try them and love them as much as I do!

Honey and Cream Scones

2 cups flour
1/4 cup Tate+Lyle ® Honey Granules
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream (plus additional cream for brushing on top)

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, honey granules, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a measuring cup, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and cream. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Knead gently a few times to help the dough come together, then pat out into a circle about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick. Cut into circles using a biscuit cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush with cream and bake 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden on the bottom. Serve warm with butter and jam. Enjoy!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

9.21.2015

slow cooker tomato basil parmesan soup

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The weather around here has gotten a lot cooler lately, and I am loving it! We've had a bunch of rainy days, the leaves are changing, and it feels like fall is finally coming. After a long hot summer it is a relief! I'm still continuing my quest to retake some of my old pictures, and this slow cooker tomato basil soup is another fabulous recipe that deserves a little more attention. I hadn't made it for a while, and I had forgotten how incredibly yummy it is! It's super easy to make and cooks all day in the slow cooker. I love how delicious and flavorful the soup is, and it makes for a hearty meal with some fresh bread and a side of fruit. It is definitely a family favorite! One batch made enough for three meals for my little family, and I love that I've got it ready in the freezer for a busy fall night. Yum!

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add the tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, oregano, basil, chicken broth, and bay leaf to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5-7 hours. Remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables until smooth. (If you don't have an immersion blender, you could also do this in batches in a regular blender. Just be sure to leave a gap for steam to escape!) Return the soup to the slow cooker.

30 minutes before serving, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a paste and cook 2-3 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Add a cup of the pureed soup to the mixture and whisk to combine. Add another cup or two of soup and whisk to combine. Pour the flour mixture into the soup in the crockpot and stir to combine. Add the parmesan, half and half, and salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and cook about thirty minutes to thicken. Serve warm and enjoy!

recipe via The Girl Who Ate Everything


9.11.2015

blueberry brown sugar cookies

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I mentioned earlier this week that I'm working on retaking some older pictures from the blog, and these blueberry brown sugar cookies were at the top of my list to retake. I've been making them for more than 4 years now, and they are consistently some of my favorite cookies! The texture of these cookies is to die for... they are so soft and pillowy, and studded with plump, juicy blueberries. They taste almost like blueberry muffins, in cookie form, and I love the flavor from the brown sugar and cinnamon. These cookies are the best!


Blueberry Brown Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon, and mix until combined. Add enough milk to form a soft dough. Gently fold in the blueberries. Preheat the oven to 375. While the oven is preheating, chill the dough in the refrigerator. When the oven is heated, roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

recipe via How Sweet Eats


9.09.2015

linguine with clam sauce

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I've been looking through my older posts on the blog and realizing lately how many posts need to be updated! Looking back at some of those old pictures just makes me cringe. (Ugh!) This linguine with clam sauce is a recipe we eat often as a family, but I posted about it way back in 2011, so my pictures totally don't do it justice. It's one of my favorite recipes to make because it's super easy, ready in about twenty minutes, and the pasta sauce is so rich and creamy and flavorful! If you're wary about cooking with clams, rest assured that the end result isn't fishy smelling or tasting. The clam juice just adds a ton of flavor. My kids are not the biggest seafood fans, but they absolutely love this pasta and will eat it anytime I make it. Definitely a dinner win!
Linguine with Clam Sauce

12 ounces linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams, juice reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, then drain. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the clam juice and cook until it has reduced by about half. (For me, this took about ten minutes.) Add the cream and minced clams, and cook until heated through. Toss with the cooked pasta and top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

recipe via Annie's Eats

9.08.2015

baked cinnamon french toast

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Did you have a good Labor Day? I spent most of the day recovering from my night shift, but my husband and kids surprised me with cupcakes (from The Sweet Tooth Fairy) when I woke up from my nap, just to say thanks to me for working so hard lately. After a tough week at work, it was just the boost I needed. I love my sweet little family! :)

If I hadn't been scheduled to work this weekend, though, this baked cinnamon french toast would have been at the top of my list to make for Labor Day! It's one of my very favorite recipes, and one that I make often for special occasions (or just whenever I want our weekend to be extra special). It does take a little advance planning, but it's incredibly easy to make and so delicious! It smells amazing while it's baking (seriously, I think I should bottle the smell and sell it!) and makes your whole house smell delicious. The bottom turns into a moist, rich custardy consistency, and the top is crisp and sweet and topped with crunchy cinnamon streusel. This recipe is a crowd pleaser, too! I've served it for family brunches in the past, and I love that it's so easy to prep ahead of time, then pull out and bake just before serving. This is definitely one of my top ten favorite recipes to make, and one that you have to try!


Baked Cinnamon French Toast

for the french toast:
1 loaf french bread
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla

for the streusel topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside. Cut the french bread into 1 inch cubes and place in the prepared baking dish. In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the bread pieces. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the french toast. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the french toast only jiggles slightly when shaken and is golden brown on top. Let cool slightly before serving.

recipe via The Pioneer Woman


9.04.2015

blueberry banana bread

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A couple of months ago I shared the best banana bread recipe on the blog, and I have to say, I'm obsessed. I've made it at least three or four times since then, which is pretty rare for me, since I love trying new recipes. It is consistently delicious, and by far the best banana bread I've ever eaten. This last time when I made it, though, I had a bunch of blueberries in the fridge that needed to be used, and I had the brilliant idea of combining the two. Best decision ever! I topped it with a quick and easy cinnamon streusel, and it was incredibly delicious!


The blueberries are a perfect complement to the sweet, moist bread, and add so much great flavor. And the streusel... so delicious and buttery. I can't get enough of it! This bread is just all kinds of fantastic. Yum!

Blueberry Banana Bread

for the bread:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 overripe bananas, mashed
2 cups fresh blueberries

for the streusel:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 325. Prepare four mini loaf pans or a regular size loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, and mix until just combined. Fold in the mashed bananas, then gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.

To make the streusel, whisk together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Smash in the butter using your fingers, until the mixture resembles damp sand. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the top of the loaves. Bake 35-40 minutes for mini loaves, or 60-70 minutes for a full size loaf, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before serving.

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