Vanilla Funfetti Cupcakes

8

Friday, June 29, 2012

A half eaten vanilla funfetti cupcake on a white plate
My absolute favorite kind of cake growing up was funfetti. Ever since I can remember my mom baked me a sprinkle-filled cake for my birthday. Today I still request one, only this time Stephen bakes it for me and it is usually in one of those giant cupcake pans! Lately I've been in a cupcake mood, so I made a batch of homemade vanilla funfetti cupcakes. They're even better than the boxed mix and perfect for any occasion. You can mix up the colors personalize them or add candles + toppers. No matter how you decorate them, they'll be a crowd pleaser!

Vanilla Funfetti Cupcakes
Ingredients
1 c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. cake flour
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
¼ c. sour cream
¾ c. whole milk
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
¼ tsp. almond extract
½ c. rainbow jimmies

Vanilla almond buttercream:
3½ - 4 c. powdered sugar
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3 tbsp. heavy cream
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard cupcake pans (or three minis) with liners, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla bean paste and almond extract. With mixing speed on low, add egg, then egg yolk, mixing until just combined.
3. In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a glass measuring cup mix together sour cream and milk. With mixing speed on low, alternate dry and wet ingredients, mix until batter is smooth and homogeneous (being careful not to over mix).
4. Remove bowl from stand and gently fold in sprinkles. Scoop batter into the cupcake liners, filling each ⅔ of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes (8-12 for minis) or until the cupcakes spring back when touched and are slightly golden brown on top.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (about 25 minutes).
6. While cupcakes are cooling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine butter, salt, vanilla and almond. Beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes). With mixing speed on low, add heavy cream, then gradually add ½ c. powdered sugar at a time until the mixture becomes soft but firm enough to hold it's shape. Beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe on cooled cupcakes as desired, decorate with sprinkles.
NOTE: I've noticed that these taste even better the next day- so feel free to make them a day ahead!
RECIPE UPDATED 4/1/2013- Please note this recipe has been updated from the original one.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction, Easy Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes | Makes approximately 36 mini cupcakes or 18 standard size cupcakes

German Chocolate Cupcakes

11

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yesterday while Stephen was at work I decided to bake something. Since it was our anniversary I wanted to make something different and kind of special. I had been wanting to make a German chocolate cake for quite some time, but a whole cake is kind of impossible to eat between the two of us. So what did I do? I scaled down one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes, scaled down and adjusted a topping recipe and used my cocoa buttercream recipe. You may be thinking that's a lot of work but everything seemed to come together quite quickly. The topping and frosting can be made/cooled while the cupcakes are baking and the overall assembly is a fairly speedy process. When Stephen came home he was pleasantly surprised to see cupcakes, especially since the night before we tried going to the Cocoa Bean and they were sold out of his favorite flavors. We both agreed that this recipe is a keeper!

German Chocolate Cupcakes
Ingredients
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ c. warm water + 1/8 tsp. espresso powder
¾ c. buttermilk
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Topping:
½ c. heavy cream
½ c. sugar
1 large egg yolk
2½ tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
¹⁄₈ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ c. pecans or walnuts, chopped
¾ c. unsweetened coconut

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-process)
¼ c. milk
2¼ c. confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. light corn syrup (optional)
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 cupcake pan with liners, set aside.
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk or sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs, warm water w/ espresso powder, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Turn down speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until smooth (no flour/cocoa pockets remain), about 3 minutes.
4. Divide batter evenly among cups, filling ⅔ of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 20-21 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake!
5. Remove from oven, allow them to sit for 3-4 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Prepare topping and frosting. Assemble as desired.

For the topping:
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy cream, sugar and egg yolk.
2. Put the butter, salt, vanilla, nuts and coconut in a large heatproof mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spatula (make sure your thermometer reads 170 degrees.).
4. Pour the hot custard into the nut-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

For the frosting:
1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), beat the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth.
2. Mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating on medium speed to spreadable consistency (add an extra splash of milk if necessary, but frosting should be fairly stiff).
3. Add vanilla, light corn syrup, and pinch of salt. Beat for 20-30 seconds until light and fluffy
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

4 years ago today...

3

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

... we got married. Happy anniversary, Stephen!

Raspberry Squares

10

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Can you believe that it wasn't until I met Stephen that I started to like raspberries? For some reason the seeds and the tartness never really appealed to me. But now I've come to really love anything with raspberries in it, though I'm still not a fan of those pesky seeds. Anyway, I went to Target the other day in search of some nice fresh fruit and they had a ton of raspberries! I picked up a carton and knew that Stephen would eat some and the rest I could make something with. I remembered how good those blueberry-lemon crumb bars were, so I decided to make a slightly different version with raspberries. They turned out beautifully! Sweet, crunchy and delicious.

Raspberry Squares
Ingredients
1¼ c. all-purpose flour
⅓ c. granulated sugar + 1 tbsp.
¼ tsp. salt
10 tbsp. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
⅓ c. old-fashioned rolled oats
4 tbsp. pecans, chopped
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
¼ c. raspberry jam
1½ c. (12 oz.) fresh raspberries, washed
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice + 1 tsp. zest

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 X 8" baking pan with a foil or parchment.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ⅓ c. granulated sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender cut in the 10 tbsp. of butter until the mixture resembles wet sand. Reserve half of the mixture for the topping.
3. Sprinkle half of the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake the crust until the edges begin to brown (15-17 minutes). Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine the reserved flour mixture, oats, nuts, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and mix until small clumps begin to form. Set aside.
5. In a small bowl using a rubber spatula, combine the jam, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and zest together.
6. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the warm crust, then sprinkle with the streusel topping. Place in oven and bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown (24 to 26 minutes), rotating the pan halfway through baking.
7. Remove from oven and let the bars cool completely in the pan on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil, cut into squares, and serve.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 9 bars

Custom Blog Design Reveal!

4

Monday, June 25, 2012

Over the past few days I've been working on a new look for our custom blog design winner, Shatzi, over at Love and Laundry. She was looking to modernize her blog by making it clean, simple and easy to read. Check it out!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

2

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yesterday was one of those days where I just had to have something sweet. Surprisingly enough the only chocolate we had in our apartment was in the form of chocolate chips, so that left me with only one option- bake something. I knew I didn't want to make cookies (they would have taken too much time) so I decided to whip up some delicious "blondie" bars. I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, so this was definitely a winning recipe for me. Clearly I was a little antsy about getting the bars out of their pan, as you can see from the large crack down the middle. Note to self: just let them cool for a couple more minutes because they're well worth the wait!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
Ingredients:
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted
½ c. peanut butter
1½ c. light brown sugar, packed
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or lightly grease an 8 X 8" baking pan for thick & gooey bars (for thinner bars see note below*).
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
4. With mixing speed on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
5. Remove bowl from stand and fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth with a spatula and place into oven to bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center is done and the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool for 15 more minutes.
*Note: If you want thinner ones, bake them in a 9 x 13" pan for 24-28 minutes.
Adapted from Bakerella, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies w/ Frosting | Makes approximately 9 bars

A sweet visit

0

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It had been a while since I last saw my grandma and great aunt, so when I heard they were coming into town I was excited to meet up with them. On Monday we picked them up and took them to dinner at Cafe Rio. Then we headed to my brother's house to chat and play games. Grandma and Nan are big game players... something everyone in our family has taken a liking to. We played Ticket to Ride and munched on these "deconstructed" Almond Joy bars.
On Wednesday we drove downtown, had dinner and walked to the Provo Tabernacle (now being rebuilt into a temple). It has come such a long way since being burned nearly to the ground... I'm happy to see the progress.
For dessert we headed to The Chocolate, a charming little cafe in Orem. I split a peanut butter chocolate chip cazookie with my brother- talk about delicious! We visited while we ate our sweets and played catch-up. It was so nice to spend time with family, especially since we're usually so far away.

Mini Banana Cream Pies

3

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Banana cream pie is something I've never been a huge fan of, mainly because I prefer to eat bananas as a snack or in bread. But when I married my husband I discovered a new found love for banana pudding. His grandpa searched long and hard to find the perfect recipe, and he did. It doesn't have any artificial banana flavoring in it which is a huge plus in my book. The other day I decided to make mini banana cream pies using/adapting his recipe. Instead of layering wafers throughout, I opted for a Nilla wafer crust. They turned out perfect- sweet, creamy and full of real banana slices. Yum! Note: I used my mini tart pan to make my pies, but this recipe is for a standard 9" pie.

Banana Cream Pudding Pie
Crust:
3½ c. Nilla wafers
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the wafers into a large ziplock bag and pound them with a rolling pin until they become coarse crumbs. 
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine wafer crumbs, flour, sugar, salt and butter. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. 
4. Press moistened mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie dish. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely before filling.

Filling:
1 (3 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 c. milk
½ can condensed milk
1 c. cold whipping cream
1½ bananas, sliced

Topping:
½ banana, sliced
¼ c. Nilla wafers
Whipped cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on, whip cream until soft peaks begin to form. Remove from bowl and place in refrigerator.
2. Pour pudding package into the bowl, add milk and condensed milk. Beat for 1 minute on medium or until the mixture becomes smooth. Remove bowl and place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. 
3. Once mixture has set, fold in whipped cream. Pour ⅓ of the mixture into the pie dish. Place ½ of the bananas on top of the mixture. Pour another ⅓ and cover with bananas. Pour the remaining mixture over and smooth with a spatula.
4. Chill until ready to serve. Top with desired toppings and serve immediately.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 6-8 servings

Life lately, according to instagram

2

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This past week was sort of slow for the two of us. We had family in town, went to Salt Lake City and walked around parts of Provo, but mainly we've been relaxing/watching a lot of our favorite shows. Here are a few pics of our week:
Buddies at the duck pond south of campus... lots of cute baby chicks and turtles // The view from our new place
In Salt Lake at City Creek, there was a nice view of the temple // A pale pink carnation at The Chocolate
 Our tiny kitchen with a 1/2 size dishwasher and a sketchy stove // The best guacamole ever, better than Chipotle
 Flatbread pizza at Malawi's // Date night + Stephen's crazy hair
 They had the prettiest/coolest flowers at the Riverwoods // This guy sat outside our door for days
Orange blossom honey given to us by Stephen's parents // The 10 Commandments & the Provo Temple

Custom Blog Design Winner!

1

Monday, June 18, 2012

The winner of the custom blog design is...


CONGRATULATIONS!

Please e-mail me at nataliedicks@gmail.com asap so we can get the process started!

Thanks again to all who entered

P.S. for those of you using Bloglovin, you can now
Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Loaded Potato Soup

21

If you're looking for a quick, easy, filling soup, look no further. When I told Stephen that I was making soup for dinner he gave me a funny look. "Oh, I see, we're going to have a nice summer soup... it's like 90 degrees outside," he replied sarcastically. However, once he had a spoonful he quickly changed his tune :)
We think you'll like this loaded soup just as much as we did!

Loaded Potato Soup
Ingredients
3-4 russet potatoes, cubed
5 c. low-sodium chicken broth
½ c. milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ c. cheddar cheese, grated
6 slices bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
2 green onions, diced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Toppings:
1 green onion, diced
Additional bacon bits
Dollops of sour cream
Grated cheddar

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until it becomes golden brown in color. Add the potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth and milk. Turn heat to mediun-high. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
2. Add cheese, bacon pieces, green onion and seasonings. Turn heat to low and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
3. Serve and garnish with desired toppings.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 4 servings

Chocolate Banana Muffins

19

Friday, June 15, 2012

It seems like we always have a few overly ripe bananas sitting on our counter. I'm constantly tossing them in the freezer to use in bread or cookies, but today I wanted to see if I could find another use for them. I looked on Pinterest and came across this Good Life Eats recipe. Since I didn't have Greek yogurt or whole wheat flour on hand, I adjusted the recipe accordingly. 

Chocolate Banana Muffins
Ingredients
1 c. + 2½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
⅓ c. sugar
⅓ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
¾ c. banana, mashed
⅓ c. plain yogurt or sour cream
4 tbsp. butter, melted
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ c. chocolate chips or chunks (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard size muffin tin with 12 cups.
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the banana puree, yogurt (or sour cream), egg, and vanilla. Beat on low until combined. Add the melted/cooled butter, mix on low for 10 seconds.
4. With mixing speed on low, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Do not overmix. Remove bowl from stand and fold in chocolate chips (if desired).
5. Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin tin ¾ of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Remove from oven and allow muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Good Life Eats, Triple Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins | Makes approximately 12 muffins

Rustic Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler

13

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stephen and I went to Barnes & Noble back in May to look for a few books. I ended up leaving with two cookbooks, one of them being The Back in The Day Bakery Cookbook. If you haven't peeked inside it, you're missing out! My mouth waters each time I turn a page... seriously. This past Sunday I decided to make my own version of their savory chicken and veggie cobbler. I loved the idea of using biscones (a combination of a biscuit and scone) instead of crust, but wasn't incredibly keen on using so much sugar in them. So I made several alterations along they way and it turned out to be one of our favorite meals! I love traditional chicken pot pie, but I'm telling you, this is tasty!

Rustic Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler
Ingredients
6 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature (divided)
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. heavy cream
½ c. whole milk
4 c. (or one 32oz box) chicken broth
4 c. chicken, grilled or roasted, cubed
1 c. yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ c. carrots, chopped (½")
3 ribs celery, chopped (½")
1½ c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen corn
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. ground sage
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Biscone topping:
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1½ c. buttermilk
3 tbsp. buttermilk, for brushing

DIRECTIONS:
1. To make the biscone topping- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Whisk gently to combine. Add the cold cubed butter. With a pastry blender, work until mixture becomes sandy. Pour in 1½ c. buttermilk and mix until the dough becomes moist and no loose pockets of flour remain. Set dough aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
3. In a large pot over medium heat, melt 6 tbsp. of butter. Add diced onion and garlic and sauté until tender and transparent. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, cream and whole milk. Raise the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add flour and remaining butter. Whisk constantly until all clumps are gone. Toss in chicken, peas, carrots and seasonings. Cook for an additional 20 minutes or until mixture thickens.
5. Transfer filling to a prepared baking dish. Arrange the biscone dough over top by forming palm size balls and placing them ¼ inch apart. Brush each biscone with buttermilk.
6. Place in oven (you may want to place a foil-lined baking sheet under it to catch drips) and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the biscones turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook, Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler | Makes approximately 8-10 servings

Giveaway: Custom Blog Design [CLOSED]

9

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hello all! This is a giveaway I've been wanting to do for quite some time now.
It's a custom blog design for one lucky blogger! I'm sharpening up my blog design skills
(not that they're mind blowing or anything), but I'd love to spruce up someone's little blog for free!
The offer includes:
It's only open to bloggers (with a Blogger account) who have less than 250 followers.

To enter to win, you must follow Life {Made} Simple and leave a comment below.
I will draw a random, lucky winner next Monday, June 18th. Good luck!

Still have questions? Check out this page for more details.

Joyful Almond Bars

4

Monday, June 11, 2012

A few days ago I had the intention of making a banana cream pie, but then I realized I hadn't packed a pie dish or really anything to hold something like that. Instead, we ate the bananas and I looked through the cupboards to see what else we had (don't worry, the cream pie will be made at some point this week). I knew I wanted to make something with chocolate and coconut. That's when I found a package of slivered almonds. Deconstructed Almond Joy bars it was. Since I love the dark chocolate in Mounds, I made my bars with 60% cacao baking chips, but semisweet or milk would work too. We really loved everything about these bars. They've got great bite and chew to them, plus they're crammed full of gooey chocolate, toasted coconut and crunchy almonds- a perfect combination!

Joyful Almond Bars
Ingredients
1½ c. all-purpose flour
12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ c. light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt + a extra pinch to sprinkle on top
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. coconut oil (optional)
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1 c. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
⅓ c. slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving at least a 2" overhang (this makes pulling them out cleaner and easier).
2. Spread the coconut across the baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 6 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven when coconut becomes lighty golden in color. Set aside.
3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and ½ tsp. salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together melted butter and brown sugar for 30 seconds. Turn speed to low and add one egg at a time. Add vanilla (coconut oil too, if desired) and mix until combined.
5. Remove bowl from stand mixer. Fold in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Gently fold in toasted coconut, chocolate chips and half of the slivered almonds. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining almonds and salt over top.
6. Place in oven and bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the top is shiny and cracked and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely (30 minutes). Remove bars from pan using the overhanging edges of parchment or foil. Cut into bars.
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen- Blondies | Makes approximately 12 large bars or 24 small bars

Peach Cobbler Muffins

6

Friday, June 8, 2012

June marks the beginning of peach season, so what better way to celebrate than to bake them into delicious little muffins. I love any fruit-filled muffin and these are no exception. They are moist, sweet and packed full of soft succulent peach bits. After a couple of minutes baking in your oven, your whole house will smell like peach cobbler... it's absolutely wonderful.☺

Peach Cobbler Muffins
Ingredients
2 c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. granulated sugar
4 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg
¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ c. fresh peaches, in ¼"-½" cubes

Topping:
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or line a 12 cup muffin pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar. Whisk and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. With mixing speed on low, slowly pour in the dry ingredients. Once combined, remove bowl from stand and fold in peaches.
4. Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl, then using a pastry brush or a spoon, spread the mixture lightly over each muffin top.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes (tops should be golden brown), or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook, Peach Cobbler Muffins | Makes approximately 12-16 muffins

S'more Ice Cream

7

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It seemed so silly to me that I had never thought about making s'more ice cream, so yesterday I made some! Yes, Stephen and I are a little obsessed with anything to do with s'mores, but who isn't? For me, I love anything with crunch in it, and Stephen loves anything with marshmallows, so this ice cream is kind of a match made in heaven. We think you'll love it too!

S'more Ice Cream
Ingredients
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
3 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 egg yolks
¾ c. sugar
Pinch of salt
¹⁄₈ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
6 graham crackers, crumbled
2 c. mini marshmallows, divided
½ c. mini semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium saucepan, warm 1 c. of heavy cream with the cocoa powder, whisking to blend cocoa.
2. Bring mixture to a boil, remove from heat and add in 3/4 c. of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Stir until smooth. Then add remaining cup of heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan to remove all chocolate. Set a mesh sieve over the bowl.
3. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in the same saucepan.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks lightly. Slowly pour the warm milk, sugar and salt mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan to cook. Constantly stir the mixture over medium heat with a heat resistant spatula, scraping the sides and bottom. The mixture will begin to thicken and coat the spatula (it should also reach 170 degrees on a thermometer). Remove immediately and pour through the mesh sieve into the chocolate mixture. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
5. Place the bowl over an ice bath to cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly (approximately 25-30 minutes).
6. Pour mixture into ice cream maker according to the manufacture's instructions. Churn for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile (towards the end of the churning process), in a double broiler, melt 1 c. mini marshmallows until smooth. Set aside.
7. Remove bowl from mixer, fold in melted marshmallow. Add whole marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and graham cracker pieces. Mix until incorporated.
8. Store mixture in an air-tight freezer safe container and freeze for 4-6 hours before serving.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 4-6 servings

Buffalo Chicken Pizza Muffins

16

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pizza Muffins
Stephen and I are kind of obsessed with pizza muffins. We love these ones, but the other night we wanted to mix things up. I'm normally not a huge fan of buffalo sauce, but when combined with blue cheese dressing, chicken, onions and mozzarella, it is pretty darn tasty. These muffins are perfect for dinner but would also make great appetizers. If you want to spice things up even more, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to the buffalo sauce.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza Muffins
Ingredients
(1) Ball pizza dough (store bought or you can use this recipe)
6-7 chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts, grilled and diced thinly
¼ c. diced red onion
¾ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ c. buffalo wing sauce (Texas Pete's is a good brand)
4 tbsp. blue cheese salad dressing (or ranch)
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Roll out pizza dough as if you were making cinnamon rolls (into a rectangular shape).
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine buffalo sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Spread sauce evenly across surface of dough. Then swirl with salad dressing.
4. Sprinkle chicken, onion, and cheese on top of sauce (distribute evenly).
5. Roll up dough carefully into log and pinch the ends to close. Cut into 12-16 even slices and place into a regular muffin pan or onto a baking sheet with rimmed edges.
6. Place into oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and serve immediately.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 12-16 pizza muffin rolls

Florida → Utah

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Did you know we moved? Stephen has a legal internship this summer at a law firm in Utah. So last Thursday we packed up the Prius, said goodbye to Florida for two months, and headed west. The first day of the trip was my favorite. I loved driving on bridges over the swamps in Mississippi and Louisiana- it was absolutely beautiful. 
 While in Louisiana, Stephen kept driving past Raising Cane's. Every time he saw one he made sure I was aware of it. He really wanted to eat there so we stopped in Alexandria and got ourselves some chicken and fries. When we got to Texas we stopped in Dallas to visit Stephen's sister. We went to the park with our nephew Marcus and found a mama duck and her two tiny little chicks. We also found a baby turtle and a whole lot of tadpoles.
We couldn't believe how grown up Marcus was. He was pretty excited to see his uncle Stephen. They played all day.
 On our way out of Texas we saw a bunch of giant windmills. Unfortunately you can't really see them in the picture I took, but they were there, I promise. Crossing the Texas-New Mexico border was interesting. It got really stormy, I mean 60mph winds. Then it started raining. Cars were getting blown all over the road... not my idea of a good time. I felt sorry for the poor people on motorcycles, that must have been terrifying. Thankfully the storm blew over.
 Heading north in New Mexico we drove past several rock formations. Most of them were eroding, but there were a few big ones left. Just shy of Moab we spotted some arches. I love southern Utah, it's such an fascinating place.
Finally we made it to Price canyon. It was gorgeous, very green and lush. On our way out of the canyon we passed more windmills (a sign that we had made it to the valley). We drove for a few more minutes and reached Provo. We love those mountains and that Y... ah, memories. We're so happy to be back, even if it's only for a few months.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

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Monday, June 4, 2012


Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Chocolate and raspberry is one of Stephen's favorite flavor combinations. Every time we go to the Cocoa Bean he gets their version of this cupcake. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of raspberry but these are pretty awesome! I made a similar recipe a while back and have since improved it (back then I use a doctored cake mix, now it's all from scratch and so much more delicious). The moist chocolate cake combined with the gooey ganache and sweet raspberry frosting is absolutely perfect! Enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Ingredients
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ c. warm water + 1/8 tsp. espresso powder
¾ c. buttermilk
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate ganache:
½ c. heavy cream
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
¾ tbsp. corn syrup
Splash of vanilla

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting:
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
2½-3 tbsp. seedless raspberry puree (from 6 oz. of fresh raspberries)
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
2½ - 2 c. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. salt

12 raspberries for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 cupcake pan with liners, set aside.
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk or sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs, warm water w/ espresso powder, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Turn down speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until smooth (no flour/cocoa pockets remain), about 3 minutes.
4. Divide batter evenly among cups, filling ⅔ of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 20-21 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake!
5. Remove from oven, allow them to sit for 3-4 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Prepare ganache and frosting. Dip in ganache, frost and top with raspberries.

For the ganache:
1. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. In a separate bowl, combine chocolate, corn syrup and vanilla. Once the cream is heated through, pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes.
2. Turn cooled cupcake upside down and dip into ganache. Swirl to remove excess. Place right side up on a wire rack to set (about 5 minutes or so). Repeat processed as many times as desired.

For the frosting:
1. Puree 6 oz. of fresh raspberries in a food processor or blender. Pour through mesh sieve over a small bowl. Press all of the juice out until all that remains is seeds.
2. Cream the butter, salt, vanilla, seedless raspberry puree and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer (beat on high for 1 minute).
3. With mixing speed on low, begin adding in the sugar a ½ c. at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.
4. Remove bowl from stand. Frost cupcakes with the buttercream and garnish accordingly.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Reese's Peanut Butter Bars

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The first time my mom made these for us, I was hooked. I mean, what's not to love about peanut butter? I really hadn't thought about making some until I had volunteered to bring desserts to a luncheon and wanted to do something "easy." Instead of using standard peanut butter, I opted for the Reese's brand. It perfectly compliments the peanut butter cups that are sprinkled on top. These bars only take a couple of minutes to whip up and are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Enjoy!

Reese's Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
2 c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. quick rolled oats
1 c. sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
⅔ c. Reese's peanut butter
1 c. butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Topping:
½ c. Reese's peanut butter
2 c. confectioner's sugar
6 tbsp. whole milk
1½ c. chopped Reese's peanut butter cups

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter or Pam a full size cookie sheet (that has sides).
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, butter and sugars for 30 seconds. Turn speed to low and add one egg at a time. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Remove bowl from stand mixer. Fold in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Pour into prepared pan and pat down until even.
5. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.
6. Meanwhile, prepare topping buy beating powdered sugar, peanut butter and milk in a small bowl. Chop peanut butter cups up.
7. Remove bars from oven and place pan on a wire rack. Immediately spread topping over warm bars (it will become melty and shiny). Sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 16 large bars

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Wednesday was my last night as a Cub Scout leader until it resumes in the fall. When I was deciding what to make for the dessert I was pretty limited in options. Since we were preparing to move, I had not stocked up on my usual baking ingredients. I was out of flour, brown sugar and was running low on butter. I did however discover that I had two boxes of cake flour and some powdered sugar that needed to be used. Immediately I remembered a recipe for cake flour cupcakes that I had seen months ago. I pulled it up, made some alterations and found a delicious chocolate buttercream to frost them with. They turned out to be a big hit, both with the kids and the adults. If you are in an all-vanilla mood, a simple vanilla buttercream would be delicious on these too!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Ingredients
1¾ c. cake flour
¼ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ c. vegetable oil
⅔ c. whole milk
⅓ c. sour cream
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground vanilla bean (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
1 tbsp. + ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add vanilla bean and sugar, mix until combined. Add butter and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes (will look like crumbs).
4. In a small mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract, stir until smooth. With mixing speed on low, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, beat until combined.
5. Slowly add milk, mix on low speed until just combined (the batter will be very wet).
6. Divide batter and fill cupcake liners just over ½ of the way full.
7. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (note: they will not turn golden brown, so do not over bake, just keep testing until the cake tester doesn't have anything stuck to it).
8. Remove from oven and take cupcakes out of tin immediately, place on wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Cupcake Project, Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake | Makes approximately 16 cupcakes


Cocoa Buttercream
Ingredients
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-process)
¼ c. milk
2¼ c. confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. light corn syrup
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), beat the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth.
2. Mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating on medium speed to spreadable consistency (add an extra splash of milk if necessary, but frosting should be fairly stiff). 
3. Add vanilla, light corn syrup, and pinch of salt. Beat for 20-30 seconds until light and fluffy.
Adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet, Chocolate Frosting | Makes enough to frost approximately 16 cupcakes

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