The Baker Upstairs: May 2018

5.28.2018

Blueberry Muffin Bread

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This blueberry muffin bread is so tender and sweet, and topped with a delicious buttery streusel. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!

This blueberry muffin bread is so tender and sweet, and topped with a delicious buttery streusel. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!

If you haven't noticed from my various Instagram posts, my husband seems to schedule himself to work for every holiday. When we lived in Utah, I didn't mind as much because I could just go hang out with my family while he was working. Since we're in Portland now, and my family is 700+ miles away, it just generally means that holidays are long, boring days for me and the kids. Everything is closed, all of our friends are busy with their own families, and I'm usually too exhausted to think of something fun to do. The holiday pay is nice, don't get me wrong, but it can be a little lonely and disheartening. I'm trying to train my brain to think about things in a more positive way, so lately I've been choosing to see it as something kind that my husband is doing for his co-workers. If he is at work on the holiday, it means another nurse gets to spend the day with his or her family. So it's really a good thing, right? 

Since I know from experience how hard it can be to work holidays as a nurse, I always try to bake a treat to send along with my husband to share with his co-workers. It has earned me (and him, I think) quite a positive reputation on his unit. (Incidentally, I visited his unit a few weeks ago to drop off some treats for nurses week, and found myself with my own little set of groupies. It was pretty awesome!) In celebration of Memorial Day today, I made this delicious blueberry muffin bread to share. It's a fun twist on my favorite blueberry muffins, and it turned out fantastic!

This blueberry muffin bread is so tender and sweet, and topped with a delicious buttery streusel. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!

I don't know which part of this bread is my favorite - the plump and juicy blueberries, the buttery cinnamon streusel on top, or the sweet and tender muffin base. This blueberry muffin bread is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, or for sharing with co-workers when it's a holiday and you're stuck at work. I hope all those awesome nurses are enjoying their day today, and that a sweet little snack helps the day go by faster!

This blueberry muffin bread is so tender and sweet, and topped with a delicious buttery streusel. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!
Blueberry Muffin Bread

for the bread:
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

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

Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the oil, egg, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. To make the streusel, whisk together sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a fork. Cut in the butter using a fork or your fingers to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the muffins. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This blueberry muffin bread is so tender and sweet, and topped with a delicious buttery streusel. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!

5.22.2018

Reese's-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These Reese's stuffed chocolate chip cookies combine two favorite treats into one decadent cookie!

These Reese's stuffed chocolate chip cookies combine two favorite treats into one decadent cookie!

If you're ever wondering how to make a dessert better, adding some Reese's candies is a pretty safe bet. It certainly worked for these chocolate chip cookies! Seriously, though, who can resist a warm, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie, stuffed with a melty Reese's mini? Not me, that's for sure!

I made these cookies a few weeks ago when I found a forgotten bag of Reese's minis on the top shelf of the cupboard, behind some mixing bowls. I'm honestly shocked that a forgotten bag of Reese's could even exist in my house, since my kids seem to have an extrasensory ability to find candy, wherever it is hidden. I knew that if I brought the bag of candy down and placed it in one of my usual hiding places, the kids would find it and demolish it within a day or so. I decided the best solution was to bake something with it instead! Chocolate chip cookies are always quick and easy to make, and adding the Reese's just makes them all the more delicious.

These Reese's stuffed chocolate chip cookies combine two favorite treats into one decadent cookie!

Be careful to seal the dough all the way around the candy, to prevent the candy from leaking out the bottom of the dough as they bake. The Reese's chocolate gets very melty and kind of spreads within the cookie, and you don't want to lose any of that deliciousness to the baking sheet.

These Reese's stuffed chocolate chip cookies combine two favorite treats into one decadent cookie!

I liked these cookies best when they were still warm from the oven, although they were totally melty and gooey. Yum! Just eat them with a stack of napkins and a glass of cold milk handy, and you'll be fine. :)

These Reese's stuffed chocolate chip cookies combine two favorite treats into one decadent cookie!

Reese's Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
26-30 Reese's minis

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix to form a soft dough. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the cookie dough into golf ball sized balls. Flatten each ball slightly, then place a Reese's mini in the middle of the dough. Wrap the dough around the candy, sealing it closed. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown.
These Reese's stuffed chocolate chip cookies combine two favorite treats into one decadent cookie!

5.17.2018

How to Cook Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot

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Forgot to thaw ground beef for dinner? No worries - just throw it in the Instant Pot! It's so quick and easy, and makes perfect ground beef!

Forgot to thaw ground beef for dinner? No worries - just throw it in the Instant Pot! It's so quick and easy, and makes perfect ground beef!

Hi friends! I mentioned a few months ago (see here) that I purchased a box of 40 pounds of ground beef, and I'm still trying to work my way through it. I'm a little over halfway through, and so far the biggest hurdle is remembering to thaw it before dinner time. I always mean to dig it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge to thaw, but somehow I always forget. Never fear, though - Instant Pot to the rescue! This Instant Pot ground beef is both easy to make and delicious too. 

Forgot to thaw ground beef for dinner? No worries - just throw it in the Instant Pot! It's so quick and easy, and makes perfect ground beef!

I love that I can just throw in my frozen blocks of ground beef, and have perfect crumbled ground beef in less than an hour. I like to make a big batch so I can put the extra in the freezer to throw into spaghetti sauce, or make quick tacos. If you'd like, you can put the ground beef on top of the trivet, but I'm usually too lazy to pull it out, and it turns out just fine without it. I like to use beef broth to add a little bit of flavor, but you could easily substitute water instead. It does take a little elbow grease to break up the meat with a wooden spoon, but the texture turns out great. This is seriously a lifesaver on those nights when I've forgotten to thaw the ground beef, which is all too often!

Forgot to thaw ground beef for dinner? No worries - just throw it in the Instant Pot! It's so quick and easy, and makes perfect ground beef!
Instant Pot Ground Beef

2-4 pounds frozen ground beef
1 cup beef broth

Add the ground beef to the Instant Pot. Pour the broth over the top. Cover the Instant Pot, and make sure that the switch on the top is set to seal. Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes, let naturally release for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure. Break the ground beef up into pieces using a wooden spoon. Drain the ground beef, then store until ready to use.

Note: The directions above are for frozen beef. If using fresh beef, reduce the cook time to 15 minutes.

5.15.2018

Homemade White Chocolate Pudding

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This rich and silky smooth white chocolate pudding is so easy to make at home, and way better than store-bought!

This rich and silky smooth white chocolate pudding is so easy to make at home, and way better than store-bought!

I have to admit, I am totally addicted to making store-bought staples at home. From homemade jam to hamburger buns, I just love being able to make food from scratch! Sometimes it's a bit of a toss-up between the deliciousness of making it at home, and the inconvenience of spending a lot of time making something I could easily buy. Every now and then, though, I come across a homemade recipe that's super easy, but still tastes delicious. Win! 

This rich and silky smooth white chocolate pudding is so easy to make at home, and way better than store-bought!

This homemade white chocolate pudding is just that. It's super easy to make, has just a few ingredients, and takes only a few minutes (along with some time to cool down and thicken). Since my family is totally obsessed with pudding, it's imperative for me to have an extra delicious homemade version that I can whip up at a minute's notice whenever the pudding cravings strike. We love this white chocolate pudding because it's so thick and creamy, silky smooth, and tastes amazing. I'm not always a big fan of white chocolate, but I absolutely love it in this pudding! 

This rich and silky smooth white chocolate pudding is so easy to make at home, and way better than store-bought!
Homemade White Chocolate Pudding

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, and salt. Whisk in the whole milk and heavy cream until combined. Add the chocolate chips and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, then pour into serving dish(es). Place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the pudding and refrigerate until cool (you can also eat it warm, but it won't be quite as thick).
This rich and silky smooth white chocolate pudding is so easy to make at home, and way better than store-bought!

For more delicious homemade pudding recipes, be sure to check out some of my favorites below:



5.12.2018

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

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This delicious chocolate chip cookie cake is so easy to make, and perfect for any occasion!

This delicious chocolate chip cookie cake is so easy to make, and perfect for any occasion!

In our family, it always seems like May is the busiest month! We've got all the end-of-school events to attend, plus field trips, homework projects, teacher gifts, and play dates. Along with all the school craziness, we have two family birthdays and Mother's Day to celebrate. My husband's birthday is on the 20th, and my oldest daughter's is on the 8th. Our loose rule is that our kids can have a birthday party with friends every other year (since we're all pretty introverted and easily overwhelmed by parties). My daughter Abby had a fun birthday party with friends last year (you can see all the fun details here), so we had a pretty low-key birthday for her this year. We went out to lunch at her favorite restaurant, visited a local museum, and ended the night with a pizza party and this delicious chocolate chip cookie cake.


I usually like to make a pretty elaborate cake for Abby (you can see previous examples herehere, and here), but this year she wanted to try something new. I had seen this cake on my cute friend Allie's blog and had been dying to make it, so it seemed like the perfect cake. It was super easy and quick to make, and everyone loved it! We served it with some whipped cream and sprinkles on top, and it was the perfect way to celebrate my adorable girl (who is now 11!). We are definitely going to be making a lot more of these cookie cakes, since they're so easy to make and infinitely customizable. My husband has already requested a Reese's version for his own birthday next week, and I can't wait to try it!

This delicious chocolate chip cookie cake is so easy to make, and perfect for any occasion!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

12 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch quiche pan or springform pan and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips. Press the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

adapted from Baking a Moment
This delicious chocolate chip cookie cake is so easy to make, and perfect for any occasion!

For more delicious chocolate chip recipes, be sure to check out the recipes below:



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