Chew This! Picnic Chicken Salad 

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column is all about picnics and the perfect picnic foods! I love chicken salad – and have a couple of recipes in my cookbook for chicken salad – but the recipe I am sharing now is quickly becoming my favorite! There are sweet elements, salty, crunchy and flavorful. I would love to know what you add to your chicken salad! Email me and let me know! Pack a cooler – add some ice – fix this salad along with some other picnic classics and venture out on a picnic and make memories with the ones you love. Enjoy the season! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is my recipe for egg salad! The “secret topping” makes all the difference with this! 

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Picnic Chicken Salad

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_dec2a5c6-c5b6-5ccc-b4cb-b6b619b55873.html

Enjoy! 

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Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies

This recipe is basically what you have when you mix oats into your typical old-fashioned peanut butter fudge – cookies! These are so delicious.

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies

2 cups white granulated sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 heaping tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Start by spraying an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. 

In a large pot over medium heat melt and combine together the white granulated sugar, unsalted butter and milk. 

Bring to a boil. 

Boil for 2 minutes stirring continuously. 

Remove from heat and add in the pure vanilla extract and salt. 

Add in the smooth peanut butter and stir. 

Fold in the quick cooking oatmeal. 

Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. 

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Celebration Monster Cookies

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column is all about celebrations – planned and unplanned and never having to find an excuse to celebrate LIFE! To help everyone celebrate my featured recipe is for “Celebration Monster Cookies”! These cookies are fabulous and are full of all kinds of delicious flavors – ground cinnamon, oatmeal, potato chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, candy pieces and sprinkles! Now really, how bad could that be!? I am highly recommending you stir up a batch of these for your next celebration! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is all about chocolate chip cookies and how to keep them from spreading. Shoutout and special thanks to Tomi White from Texas for the question. 

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Celebration Monster Cookies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_c4089461-a0f0-57c0-8998-c88e253cf964.html

Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

Seriously – this is the BEST banana bread I have EVER had! My Grandma Barbra LOVED it – as did some of my local taste testers. I wanted to develop a recipe that takes your typical old-fashioned banana bread and have it be transformed into something almost magical! The cinnamon really balances well with the bananas and the toffee is just enough to take it over the top! The special mixing combination of the butter and bananas is one of the secrets to this recipe. Magical – flavorful – fabulous!

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 large bananas, peeled
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 bag toffee bits
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a regular size loaf / bread pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the bananas. Mash the bananas with the butter and mix well.

Add in the white granulated sugar and light brown sugar and cream well before beating in the 2 large eggs. 

Stir in the sour cream. 

Next stir in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt. Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. Fold in 3/4 of the bag of toffee bits. 

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle evenly on top the remaining 1/4 bag of toffee bits. Sprinkle on the Turbinado sugar evenly. 

Place in preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once baked remove and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the loaf / bread pan. Cut with sharp knife and serve. 

Enjoy!

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My favorite toffee bits –

Red Raspberry Cake

Awhile back my family and I went to “The Gather” restaurant and gift shop that is located in Alexandria, Indiana. It is a beautiful location and I am highly recommending those who have not been to go and experience it! Inside their gift shop they have some of the most unique and extraordinary things – for the inside and outside of your home. They also have one of the most charming cafe / restaurant areas that I have ever seen locally. Their menu is expansive, incentive and delicious! One of the items they are most known for is their famous “Red Raspberry Cake” that was developed by Gloria Gather. I decided I would see if I could make a similar version and try and duplicate their recipe. What I found was a deliciously pink, delightfully flavorful and crowd pleasing dessert! My family and friends went crazy for this!

Red Raspberry Cake

For the cake…
1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box raspberry Jello
3 heaping tablespoons white all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 package (10 oz) frozen red raspberries

For the frosting…
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted 
Remaining frozen red raspberries
4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Start by spraying 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Line the bottoms of each cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and then spray generously again with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl whisk together the dry cake mix, dry raspberry Jello and white all-purpose flour. 

In a glass measuring cup combine the vegetable oil, large eggs and water. Whisk to combine everything together well. 

In small increments add the wet mixture to the dry, whisking to incorporate well. After all the wet has been added to the dry whisk well before gently folding in half the bag of frozen red raspberries. 

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Even out the batter with the back of a spoon and gently slam the pans on the counter to release the air bubbles. 

Place in preheated oven for exactly for 40 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them inside of the refrigerator to stop the baking and allow them to chill. These cakes need to be completely chilled ice cold before attempting to frost. 

To make the frosting combine the melted unsalted butter and the remaining 1/2 bag of frozen red raspberries. 

Add the confectioner’s sugar, little at a time, incorporating well after each addition. You want the frosting to be the consistency of a thick ice cream. Spreadable but thick. 

Remove the chilled cakes from their pans, generously frost the inside layer and outside of the cake with the frosting. 

Place back into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Keep and serve chilled. 

Enjoy! 

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Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies 

About a year ago I made a recipe for cream cheese chocolate chip cookies. They were good but not one of my favorites. I put the recipe away and did not think much of it until a friend and neighbor of mine, Jan Lines, mentioned something to me about them. It got me thinking – and hungry – for them again – so I searched online and found a recipe that looked similar to the one I had tried a year ago. I found the recipe a little time consuming and the dough just did not have that much flavor, so I changed it to fit my taste buds. My taste testers, family and friends went CRAZY for them – so I just had to share the recipe here with all of you!

These are best made in advance and chilled in the refrigerator overnight. You can actually make the dough and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days! These are the perfect make ahead cookie and wonderful for parties and cookie exchanges.

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature – especially the cream cheese. Also make sure you use chocolate chips AND chocolate chunks for this recipe. The combination of the 2 are magical!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
2 oz cream cheese – full fat original
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 heaping teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Start by combinding the unsalted butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. 

Add in the light brown sugar and white granulated sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in texture. 

Beat in the large egg. 

Add in the pure vanilla extract, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. 

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. 

Gently fold in the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. 

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Roll dough into balls the size of two tablespoons and gently press them down with the palms of your hands before placing them onto the prepared baking sheets. 

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, for exactly 13 minutes. Remove and allow them to cool on their baking sheets. 

Enjoy!

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Rue McClanahan’s Orange Poppy Seed Cake

I LOVE “The Golden Girls”! I have loved this classic show ever since I was a young boy. People always ask me what character I am and I always tell them I am 80% Blanche and 20% Sophia. Ha!

A friend of mine recently send me the following newspaper article –

In the article it says that Blanche (Rue McClanahan) made an orange poppy seed cake that was made from a yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding, orange juice, orange peel and poppy seeds. They also mentioned it was an old recipe that originated from Oklahoma.

After a LOT of research I finally found a recipe that sounded just exactly like what the article described. I was so excited! I made it – and guess what!?

Fabulous! Delicious!

I am so excited to share this recipe with everyone! The cake is moist, flavorful and so easy to make!

Highly recommending this one…


Rue McClanahan’s Orange Poppy Seed Cake

For the cake…
1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 small box Jello instant vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Tropicana orange juice
1/2 cup canola oil

For the streusel…
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 heaping tablespoon poppy seeds

For the glaze…
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons Tropicana orange juice
2 tablespoons whole milk

Orange peel (orange zest) for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In large bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, lightly beaten eggs, orange juice and canola oil. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

In a seperate bowl combine the white granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and poppy seeds with a fork.

Pour half the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly. Next, sprinkle over half the streusel evenly on top. Top that with the remaining batter and then finally top that with the remaining streusel.

Take a sharp knife and run it through the batter a few times to combine the batter and streusel creating a marble effect in the finished cake.

Place in preheated oven for 60 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes before flipping over onto a serving plate. Allow to cool before drizzling with glaze.

To make the glaze combine the confectioner’s sugar, orange juice and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together. You want this to be on the thick side.

Drizzle over cooled cake. Top with fresh orange peel (orange zest). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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Tasty Recipe Box

I am so excited to announce the formation of a brand new Facebook group! “Tasty Recipe Box” is a NEW recipe sharing group for people who love to cook, love to bake and love to eat! Anything and everything food related can be talked about and shared there. Please – I encourage you – to post recipes, share and encourage each other with kitchen tips and tricks, share pictures, ask questions, invite your family and friends, spread the word and above all else – have fun! I love collecting recipes – cookbooks – hearing, seeing and sharing new recipes – and this new space is perfect for that! I have invited a lot of you – who I think will enjoy the group – if not just opt out. If you did not get an invite – join us by searching for “Tasty Recipe Box” in the Facebook group search engine. Here we go!!! 

Blaise 

Chew This! Debra’s Red Velvet White Chocolate Muffins

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest recipe is a recipe inspired by a loyal reader and friend – Debra Kirkpatrick. She mentioned to me about some delicious red velvet white chocolate muffins she had – that she could no longer find – and wondered if I could develop a recipe. I love a challenge – and here it is! I thought about adding cream cheese – but did not want to go to far from the taste and textures she was familiar with – so I left it out. I think these will quickly become a family favorite! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature spotlights my favorite way of ripening bananas! There is an oven involved – you really need to check this out! 

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Debra’s Red Velvet White Chocolate Muffins

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_3412344f-479c-54c7-9efa-59238fdecaab.html

Enjoy!

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CookbooksETC GIVEAWAY 

To celebrate the new SURGE in the fabulous Facebook group “CookbooksETC” I am offering a GIVEAWAY!!!

Two vintage “Southern Heritage” cookbooks – “Just Desserts” and “Family Gatherings”.

Enter to win – can enter once a day – by clicking this link –

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c78809ee15/?

Good luck!

Questions!? Email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Blaise

UPDATE: (07/10/2017) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly! Watch your emails…

-Blaise