the baker upstairs: 2017

6.21.2017

Unicorn Muddy Buddies

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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!

6.12.2017

Cherry Peach Crisp

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This cherry peach crisp is full of juicy summer fruit, and so easy to make. It's the perfect summer dessert!

This cherry peach crisp is full of juicy summer fruit, and so easy to make. It's the perfect summer dessert!

If you're looking for a fantastic dessert to eat all summer long, this cherry peach crisp is it! It's full of juicy and tender fruit, topped by a to-die-for crumbly crisp topping, and delicious all the way through.  It is one of the best desserts that I've made in a long time (and that's saying something!).

One of my goals for the summer is to reduce the amount of food waste at our house. We're usually pretty good about using up leftovers, and not overbuying most things, but when it comes to our produce, things get a little off track. I tend to overbuy fruits and vegetables (and then I often forget what I've already bought, and buy more). There is really nothing worse than finding a rotten zucchini in the back of the crisper drawer, or a pound of strawberries all covered in white fuzz. I swear, they multiply in the back of the fridge where I can't see them! I'm trying to be more intentional in using up all that good produce, especially because we've joined a CSA for the summer, and are enjoying visiting our farmer's market every week. There's so much delicious fresh produce this time of year that it would be a total shame to throw it out!

This cherry peach crisp is full of juicy summer fruit, and so easy to make. It's the perfect summer dessert!

This cherry peach crisp came about because I realized that I had just placed a grocery order for two pounds of fresh cherries, and already had a pound of cherries in the fridge. I had seen this amazing crisp on my best friend Cort's blog, and just tweaked it a little to use what I had on hand. I pulled out some of my home-canned peaches from the pantry, tossed them with the cherries, and made this amazing dessert! I know there are plenty of other ways I could have used them (like freezing them for smoothies, or making jam), but I'm pretty happy with this crisp. A warm bowl of crisp topped with a cold scoop of ice cream is just plain heavenly, in my book!

This cherry peach crisp is full of juicy summer fruit, and so easy to make. It's the perfect summer dessert!

Cherry Peach Crisp

for the filling:
6 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt

for the topping:
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, toss together the peaches, cherries, sugar, flour, and pinch of salt. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking dish. In another medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter, and smush the mixture with your fingers until the pieces of butter are no larger than pea sized. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit to form an even layer. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbling. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
This cherry peach crisp is full of juicy summer fruit, and so easy to make. It's the perfect summer dessert!

6.09.2017

Rolo Caramel Brownies

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These rich and fudgy Rolo caramel brownies are so indulgent and delicious!

These rich and fudgy Rolo caramel brownies are so indulgent and delicious!

Every time I sit down to write about some brownies that I've made, I get stuck staring at the picture and sighing. (And often sneaking upstairs to the kitchen to eat another brownie.) A good brownie is a thing of beauty! These Rolo caramel brownies are so fantastic, and perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth. They're over-the-top rich and indulgent, and so gooey and chocolatey! The Rolo candies melt into little chocolate-caramel puddles, and make the brownies extra delicious. They are so rich that just a small square is enough, but they are so good that you'll be wanting more! I made these for a barbecue a few weeks ago with my husband's friends from work, and they were universally popular. If you love chocolate and caramel like I do, these are a must-try! 
Rolo Caramel Brownies

1 cup butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 large eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 bag Rolo candies, unwrapped

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted, then remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Add the cocoa powder, salt, and flour, and stir until just combined. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Place the Rolos on top of the batter, distributing evenly. Pour the remaining batter over the top. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the brownies are no longer jiggly, and a toothpick inserted two inches from the side of the pan comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Cool before cutting and serving.
These rich and fudgy Rolo caramel brownies are so indulgent and delicious!

6.07.2017

Peach Cobbler Smoothie

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This sweet peach cobbler smoothie is a healthy and delicious way to start the day!

This sweet peach cobbler smoothie is a healthy and delicious way to start the day!

Mornings are always hectic at our house. My kids' bus comes insanely early (7:27 a.m. Why?!?!?), and I'm always running around like crazy, trying to get the kids out the door with something in their bellies. When we're in a hurry, but still want a delicious and healthy breakfast, smoothies are definitely the way to go. This peach cobbler smoothie is made with fresh peaches, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey, and tastes just like peach cobbler! It's also got oatmeal and flax seed to add a healthy boost and keep those kiddos full and satisfied until lunch time. It's a great way to start the day!

My family is totally crazy about peaches. My mother in law has several peach trees in her back yard, and until we moved last year, she was gracious enough to share her bounty of peaches with us every fall. We usually bottled most of the peaches, but I was always sure to freeze enough of them to have on hand for smoothies. Her peaches are definitely something I miss about Utah! I think we're just going to have to buy peaches by the bushel from the fruit stands around here this summer, and do our best to freeze and bottle as many as we can for the cold months when we can't get fresh peaches. If you're lucky enough to have fresh peaches on hand, you can flash freeze them and use them in this smoothie; if not, frozen peaches from the grocery store will work just fine too!
Peach Cobbler Smoothie

2 cups frozen peach slices
1 – 1 1/2 cups milk (almond, coconut, or regular milk would all work fine)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1-2 tablespoons honey (I like things very sweet so I used 2)

Add the peach slices, 1 cup milk, cinnamon, vanilla, oats, flax seed, and honey to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add additional milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Enjoy!
This sweet peach cobbler smoothie is a healthy and delicious way to start the day!

Originally published on Somewhat Simple

6.04.2017

Stuffed Cheese Buns + 21 Mouthwatering Cheese Recipes

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These gooey and melty stuffed cheese buns are amazingly delicious and the perfect side dish or snack!

These gooey and melty stuffed cheese buns are amazingly delicious and the perfect side dish or snack!

Today is National Cheese Day! I think this may be my favorite of all the food holidays so far this year. I am in love with all things cheese. I can't really think of anything better than gooey, melty, savory cheesiness! These butter and garlic stuffed cheese buns are the perfect way to celebrate cheese day. They're soft little bread pillows, stuffed with gooey and melty mozzarella cheese, topped with more mozzarella and parmesan, and baked to perfection. They're a delicious side dish for pasta or soup, or a fantastic snack for any time!

These gooey and melty stuffed cheese buns are amazingly delicious and the perfect side dish or snack!

These cheese buns smell heavenly while they're baking, and the combination of cheese and garlic is delightful. They're not exactly health food, but they're so delicious that you won't be able to stop eating them! 

These gooey and melty stuffed cheese buns are amazingly delicious and the perfect side dish or snack!
Stuffed Cheese Buns

for the buns:
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 1/2 cups flour (more or less as needed)
2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 18 cubes

for topping:
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, until bubbly. Add the garlic powder, butter, and oil. Add two cups of the flour and stir to combine. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to form a dough that is just slightly tacky to the touch. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about one hour. Preheat the oven to 375 during the last ten minutes of rise time. After the dough has risen, punch it down gently and divide into 18 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten with your hand. Place a cheese cube in the center, and fold the dough around the cheese. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Top with shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. Whisk the garlic powder and parsley into the melted butter. Brush the butter mixture over the warm buns. Serve warm.

adapted slightly from Yammie's Noshery
These gooey and melty stuffed cheese buns are amazingly delicious and the perfect side dish or snack!

For more amazing cheese recipes, check out these fantastic posts below:

21 mouthwatering cheese recipes, perfect for celebrating National Cheese Day!

cheese recipes from my Celebrating Food blogging friends:

Cheddar Broccoli Soup from Ashlee Marie
Cheesy Garlic Bread from Life Made Simple
Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Creations by Kara
Fromage Fort from Foodie with Family
One Pan Ham & Cheese Tortellini from Yellow Bliss Road
Cheesy Pesto Bread from Gather for Bread
Instant Pot Cheesy Enchilada Rice from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

more cheese recipes from around the web:

Cheesy Sausage Lasagna from Little Red Hen
Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites from I Heart Naptime
Cheese Enchiladas from Lil' Luna
Four Cheese Spaghetti from Damn Delicious
Bacon and Egg Cheeseburger from Like Mother Like Daughter

and even more cheese recipes from The Baker Upstairs:


Happy National Cheese Day!

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6.01.2017

Fourth of July Party Menu Plan

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This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

Okay, I know it's only the first day of June, but the Fourth of July is going to be here before we know it! We've had a long stretch of warm, dry days here in Portland lately, and I am so thrilled about summer and celebrating the summer holidays. I'm actually looking forward to the kids being out of school this year (which may be a first for me)! This Fourth of July party menu plan is chock full of ideas to make your celebration extra special. Check out all the deliciousness below!


DILL PICKLE RANCH DIP from Yellow Bliss Road

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


BLT RED POTATO SALAD from Tidy Mom

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

DELI STYLE MACARONI SALAD from Honey & Birch

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

BBQ POTATOES & VEGETABLE MEDLEY from The Cookie Writer

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


TERIYAKI HAMBURGERS from Your Homebased Mom

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

APRICOT GREEK YOGURT CHICKEN THIGHS from Reluctant Entertainer

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

STEAK & POTATO KABOBS from Julie's Eats & Treats

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


FUDGE BROWNIE NO BAKE CHEESECAKE from A Dash of Sanity

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

STRAWBERRY LEMONADE BARS from The Baker Upstairs

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

FIREWORKS PUDDING COOKIES from Crazy for Crust

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


FIREWORKS SHOW FUN BAGS from Eighteen25

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

PATRIOTIC PRINTABLE PACK from Balancing Home

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


RED, WHITE and BLUE PARTY INSPIRATION from Celebrations At Home

This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!


This Fourth of July party menu plan has everything you need to make your celebration fantastic! From appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts, to printables and party decor, we've got you covered!

5.31.2017

Summer Fruit Freezer Jam

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This summer fruit freezer jam is the perfect way to use all that delicious summer fruit! It's ready in less than thirty minutes, and stays fresh in the freezer so you can enjoy it all year long!

This summer fruit freezer jam is the perfect way to use all that delicious summer fruit! It's ready in less than thirty minutes, and stays fresh in the freezer so you can enjoy it all year long!

We've had a long stretch of warm sunny weather here in Portland lately, and it's making me so excited for summer! My kids still have a few more weeks of school (thanks to the ridiculous amount of snow days they had this winter), but I'm already making some fun plans for the summer break. They'll have a week of day camp at the rec center near us, but I'm planning to do an informal summer camp at home for them during the week. Each week we will have a theme and do activity and outings around that theme. I'm really excited for it! Last summer was pretty busy, with moving to a new state, so I'm excited to have more time for fun this summer.

One thing we'll definitely be doing this summer is making a ton of freezer jam! There are roadside fruit stands all over the place here, and I'm excited to buy all the fresh fruit we can eat, and freeze the rest. This summer fruit freezer jam is so easy to make, takes only about thirty minutes, and allows you to enjoy that gorgeous summer fruit all winter long. I love the combination of strawberries, raspberries, and peaches, but it would work with pretty much any combination of fruit. It's super delicious and perfect on toast, biscuits, pancakes, or peanut butter sandwiches. It's a favorite at our house, and I'm positive you will love it too!

This summer fruit freezer jam is the perfect way to use all that delicious summer fruit! It's ready in less than thirty minutes, and stays fresh in the freezer so you can enjoy it all year long!
Summer Fruit Freezer Jam

2 cups strawberries, diced
1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup unsweetened apple juice or water
4 1/2 tablespoons low sugar pectin
1 1/2 cups sugar

Clean 6 half pint canning jars, lids, and bands and allow to air dry. In a large pot, combine the strawberries, peaches, and raspberries (you should have four cups of prepared fruit total). Mix in the apple juice and pectin and stir to break up any lumps in the pectin. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar and return the mixture to a full rolling boil, continuing to stir constantly. When the mixture reaches a full boil, allow to boil for one minute, then remove from heat. Ladle into clean jars, leaving 1/4 inch at the top of each jar for the jam to expand. Place clean lids and bands on the jars, and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight, then freeze.

recipe via freshpreserving.com
This summer fruit freezer jam is the perfect way to use all that delicious summer fruit! It's ready in less than thirty minutes, and stays fresh in the freezer so you can enjoy it all year long!

originally published on I Heart Naptime

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