The Baker Upstairs: October 2016

10.24.2016

Soft Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

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Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and tender cookies are full of fall flavor and so delicious!

Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and delicious cookies are full of fall flavor!

Two cookie recipes in a row? I know, how indulgent of me! Normally I try to space the desserts out at least a little, but this one was too good to wait. I've mentioned before that snickerdoodles are some of my very favorite cookies, and considering the season, it was high time I came up with a pumpkin spice version. These soft pumpkin snickerdoodles are a delicious cross between those fat pumpkin cookies you can buy at the grocery store this time of year, and my favorite snickerdoodle recipe. They're just slightly crisp around the edges, have a lovely sprinkle of pumpkin pie spiced sugar on top, and are just the thing for cold nights with a warm cup of cocoa. I should warn you, though, they are totally addicting!

Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and delicious cookies are full of fall flavor!
Soft Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

for the cookies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

for rolling:
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar, and mix until combined. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Toward the end of the chilling time, preheat the oven to 300. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll each ball in the spiced sugar. Place one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until just golden on the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and delicious cookies are full of fall flavor!
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10.21.2016

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

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Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

I know, right? These cookies are ridiculous. Ridiculously delicious, that is! Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors to eat all through the fall, and it really could not be put to better use than in these cookies. I started with my favorite sugar cookie recipe, added a little cinnamon to the dough, and topped them with a luscious cream cheese frosting. They taste just like a cinnamon roll, but in cookie form!

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

I love that the dough stays so moist and tender, and the cookies are so thick and rich. The cream cheese frosting complements the cinnamon in the dough so well. They are incredibly flavorful and delicious. Perfect for enjoying with a glass of milk or a cup of warm cocoa!

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

for the cookies:
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons milk or cream (as needed)
additional cinnamon, for sprinkling

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla, and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and mix until a firm dough forms. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400. Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment or sprayed with cooking spray. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand or with a drinking glass to be about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottom edges are just slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Beat until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cookies in a spiral shape and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

originally published on I Heart Naptime, May 2015

10.17.2016

One Pot Chicken Florentine Pasta + 23 Amazing Pasta Recipes!

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This one pot chicken florentine pasta is so quick and easy to make, and so delicious!

This one pot chicken florentine pasta is so quick and easy to make, and so delicious!

Today is national pasta day! Let's take a moment and remember all of the things pasta has given us... thicker thighs, rounder tummies, non-bikini bodies, and many a delicious dinner! With the weather getting colder, it's all I can do to not make a big pot of pasta every night. It's hearty and filling, and the whole family loves it! This one pot chicken florentine pasta has so many things going for it: it's savory and delicious, with chunks of juicy chicken and noodles cooked to tender perfection, and (best of all) there's only one pot to clean! My husband and kids loved it (although my little Lizzy was adamant about picking out every last piece of "salad" out of it) and it was a great meal for a cold night. As I've said many times before, I really can't bring myself to spend more than about 30 minutes cooking dinner, so this dish was perfect!

This one pot chicken florentine pasta is so quick and easy to make, and so delicious!
One Pot Chicken Florentine Pasta

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
8 ounces linguine, broken in half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups fresh baby spinach

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and chicken, and cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Add the olive oil, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes, and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth and half and half, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the linguine and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the linguine is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan and baby spinach, until the spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese, if desired.

For more delicious pasta recipes, check out these posts from some of my favorite food bloggers!

23 amazing pasta recipes from your favorite food bloggers!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta from Creations by Kara
Lemon Tarragon Pasta Salad from Jamie Cooks It Up!
Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Shells from Like Mother Like Daughter
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta from Yummy Healthy Easy
Slow Cooker Taco Lasagna from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna from Butter with a Side of Bread
Homemade Alfredo Sauce from Ashlee Marie
Chicken Pasta with Bacon from Creations by Kara
Brown Butter Alfredo Pasta from Real Mom Kitchen
Luscious Italian Lasagna from Jamie Cooks It Up!
Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups from Like Mother Like Daughter
Outrageous Macaroni and Cheese from Life Made Simple
One-Pot Lasagna Soup from Yummy Healthy Easy
Slow Cooker Mushroom Tortellini Soup from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Creamy Baked Tortellini from Butter with a Side of Bread

and check out these pasta favorites from The Baker Upstairs:


10.14.2016

Instant Pot Chicken Breast

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Who knew it was so easy to make chicken breast in an Instant Pot? Cook chicken from frozen in just 25 minutes!

That's right, another Instant Pot recipe! I know I sound like a salesman for Instant Pot, but it really is the most amazing machine. Here's the deal: I make a menu plan almost every week. And the number one reason that my menu plans fail (as they do sometimes) is because I forgot to thaw chicken in the fridge overnight, and I need it for a recipe RIGHT NOW. I don't have the time (or energy) to thaw my chicken, so we end up eating fast food, or macaroni and cheese, or quesadillas, and all my plans go out the window.

Not anymore, friends! The Instant Pot is perfect for making delicious, perfect chicken breast in only 25 minutes. The chicken comes out tender and juicy, and shreds perfectly. I've used this method to make chicken salad, burritos, pasta dishes, you name it! The best part is that you can cook the chicken from frozen without worrying about thawing first. I will say, I haven't tried it with bone-in chicken, and I'm sure the time would have to be adjusted. But 25 minutes works perfectly for frozen boneless skinless chicken. Menu plan crises averted!
Instant Pot Chicken Breast

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen works fine)
1 cup water or chicken broth
salt and pepper

Place the trivet in the pot, and place the chicken breasts on top of the trivet. Pour the water or broth over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow the steam to release for five minutes, then quick release the remaining steam. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred.

10.13.2016

Hearty Corn Chowder

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This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

Yay! Another soup recipe! We're heading into a series of cold and rainy days here in Portland, and I'm totally in the mood to stay in my jammies all day and eat nothing but soup and fresh bread for every meal. Who's with me? This hearty corn chowder is a new favorite, and it's one I've already made multiple times since discovering the recipe about a month ago. We always seem to end up with an abundance of fresh corn from the farmers market (mostly because I can't stop buying it), and this soup is the perfect way to use them. It has a touch of bacon to add some great flavor, but the sweet corn is definitely the star of the show. Even though this is one of my newest soup recipes, it's among my top 5 that I've ever made (yes, it's that good). If you need me, I'll just be over here face planting into a bowl of this deliciousness.

This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

Hearty Corn Chowder

4 ears fresh corn
3 slices bacon, cut into pieces
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half and half
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cut the kernels off the ears of corn and set aside. In a large pot, fry the bacon pieces over medium heat until crisp. Add the butter and onion, and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock and half and half, a little at a time. Add the corn kernels and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Serve hot with fresh bread on the side.

adapted from The Pioneer Woman
This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

10.11.2016

Caramel Apple Cider

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This caramel apple cider is full of delicious fall flavors! The perfect drink to cozy up with this season.
This caramel apple cider is full of delicious fall flavors! The perfect drink to cozy up with this season.

For someone who doesn't drink coffee, I sure seem to spend a lot of time (and money) at Starbucks. I can't get enough of their chai (especially with a shot of cinnamon dolce syrup), and every fall their caramel apple spice cider is my guilty pleasure. It has an obscene amount of sugar, and the whipped cream on top is probably not doing my waistline any favors, but it is just so good! It's my favorite drink to get on a cold and rainy fall day (preferably while wearing a warm sweater) and it tastes like all the good things about fall.

Like everything else I love, I decided to find a way to make it at home, and this caramel apple cider was the result. I think I may like it more than the original! The salted caramel syrup contrasted with the sweet cider is flavor perfection. I used a farmers market apple cider for my base, and it was absolutely fantastic. If you don't have any local orchards that make cider, I think Simply Apple or another good quality cider would work too. This is definitely going to be in my mug all fall long!

This caramel apple cider is full of delicious fall flavors! The perfect drink to cozy up with this season.

Caramel Apple Cider

4 cups good quality apple cider (I got mine at the farmers market, but Simply Apple would work well too)
4 pumps Torani salted caramel syrup (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
whipped cream
4 teaspoons caramel sauce (I used Torani brand)

In a medium pot, whisk together the apple cider, salted caramel syrup, and cinnamon, and heat to desired temperature. Divide the mixture between four mugs. Top each mug with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.

10.07.2016

15 More Ways to Eat Pumpkin

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Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Cort here, signing in from a kitchen filled with the heavenly scent of pumpkin, cinnamon, and a little bit of nutmeg! We are in the full throes of pumpkin season and I have to ask the burning question:

Are you pumpkin-ed out yet?

I hope not because we have hardly scratched the pumpkin surface this year at my house! And I know everyone is all about pumpkin spice, but I'm not totally into that. For this reason I created this amazing list of 15 more ways to eat pumpkin, or 15-ways-to-eat-pumpkin that don't involve a latte. 

Pumpkin pie is coming soon, so you won't find it in this roundup. Probably you've done the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. (If you haven't, tsk tsk. Try this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, or this Bakery-style recipe.) But have you ventured into pumpkin chili? Savory, hearty, filling, and so perfect for fall, it is one of my family's favorites! Or if you're feeling ambitious how about making your own pureed pumpkin from those cute little pumpkins you see at the store but then wonder who ever actually eats them? Oh man, and then there are all the pumpkin breads, rolls, and my favorite, pumpkin cornbread! How about Pumpkin freaking Alfredo? (Yes, please.) And my own baby, Pumpkin Pie Blondies which are a beyond incredible blondies with a pumpkin cream cheese filling that will leave you smiling for weeks. 

So check all this goodness out! Embrace all this pumpkin love because come the end of March, you'll regret that you didn't!

Bake the bread. Share the slices. 

Pumpkin Pie Blondies from Little Red Hen 

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree from The Baker Upstairs

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup from The Baker Upstairs

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Blondies from The Baker Upstairs

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Creamy Pumpkin Shells and Cheese from The Baker Upstairs

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Apple Cider  from Little Red Hen

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili from Little Red Hen

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes from The Baker Upstairs

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Baked Pumpkin French Toast from The Baker Upstairs

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Alfredo from Yellow Bliss Road

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars from Yellow Bliss Road 

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate Chip Bread from Little Red Hen

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.


Pumpkin Cornbread from Celebrating Sweets

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.


Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

Chipotle Pumpkin Veggie Burger from Peas and Crayons

Pumpkin treats and pumpkin eats from blondies to alfredo to salads! 15 pumpkin recipes sure to satisfy.

10.06.2016

Cilantro Lime Dressing

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This creamy and delicious cilantro lime dressing takes only a few minutes to make!

This creamy and delicious cilantro lime dressing takes only a few minutes to make!

Oh, cilantro! It's probably my most hated food, although I've learned to tolerate it in recent years. It's in so many of my favorite foods that I've just had to learn to abide its presence, although it still tastes like soap to me. I can now eat it if it's chopped and added to something else, like pico de gallo, or in this amazingly delicious cilantro lime dressing. I promise, even if you hate cilantro like I do, you will totally love this dressing! It tastes similar to ranch dressing, but it's so much more flavorful! I love to use it for southwest salads or barbecue chicken salads. It's also great as a dip for taquitos, or a sauce for tacos.  It's so good that I could pretty much just drink it!

This creamy and delicious cilantro lime dressing takes only a few minutes to make!

This dressing is a staple at our house, and I have it in the fridge pretty much all the time. Try it and you'll love it too!
Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup milk
juice of one lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup green salsa
hot sauce (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add more milk if needed to reach desired consistency.

adapted from Our Best Bites
This creamy and delicious cilantro lime dressing takes only a few minutes to make!
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