Cookbook Corner – Homemade Decadence

Newest “Cookbook Corner” is…

Joy the Baker Cookbook Corner

“Joy the Baker: Homemade Decadence” By: Joy Wilson

This book is the sequel to Joy’s first book, “Joy the Baker” and is delightfully charming. The cover photo took my attention right away – a cake lined around with pretzels. I have always loved the sweet and salty combination, and the whole “chocolate / pretzel” thing has always been in my eyesight. The cake, called “Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzel Layer Cake” can be found on page 190 and contains a “Salted Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting” – I mean really – how bad could that be!?

Browsing through the book the first thing you will notice is the photographs. Beautiful photos that immediately make you hungry – or at least, they did me.

The book is divided up into 5 categories…

Brunch / Cookies, Brownies and Bars / Pies, Crumbles and Cobblers / Layer Cakes, Cupcakes, and Skillet Cakes / Ice Cream Social

Brunch contained one of my favorite photographs in the entire book (page 15). Joy talks about the different ways to “top toast”, and although simple…it is really quite interesting. I love the chocolate hazelnut spread with rainbow jimmies option – but maybe that is just a personal preference.

Cookies, Brownies, and Bars contained quite a few recipes I marked to try including “Chocolate Malted Oatmeal Cookies with Salted Peanuts” (page 79), “Blackberry Pie Cookies” (page 91), and “Set It and Don’t Forget It Cookies” (page 104).

Pies, Crumbles and Cobblers contained a recipe that my Grandma and I might try this coming weekend, “Salty Pretzel Crust” (page 130) which looks amazing – and so simple! I will also be trying the “Double-Crusted Lemon-Blueberry Pie” (page 139).

Layer Cakes, Cupcakes and Skillet Cakes contains one of my favorite recipes in the book “Lemon-Honey Yellow Cake” (page 183) and just looks and sounds amazing. It contains “Lemon-Honey Cream Cheese Frosting” – be still my heart! Ha! It also contains a “Vegan Chocolate Cake” (page 196) and a recipe for “Brown Sugar Cupcakes” (YUM – page 211). Oh – and let us not forget the “Under-baked Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake” (page 221), which basically just sounds like a huge under-baked cookie – not bad!

Ice Cream Social contains tons of delicious ice creams such as “Salted Dark Chocolate and Orange” (page 228), “Blueberry-Goat Cheese” (page 235), and “Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese” (page 237).

I recommend this book for those who love cookbooks with great pictures, sweet and salty combinations, lovers of brunch and lovers of desserts and ice cream. It is really a treasure to add to your cookbook collection – you’ll be glad you did.

To learn more about “Joy the Baker”, please click here…
http://joythebaker.com/

To buy “Homemade Decadence”, please click here…
http://www.randomhouse.com/book/225841/joy-the-baker-homemade-decadence-by-joy-wilson

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Chew This – Lemon and Butter Oven Pancakes

Today is the official publication day of my “CHEW THIS!” column in “The Courier-Times” and I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with everyone! These pancakes bring to me, a load of childhood memories. My Great Grandma Flora and I would eat pancakes down at my Grandma Barbra’s house EVERY DAY! I do not think we missed a day (or a pancake) for several years.

It was almost like a tradition – and something that I still remember fondly today…

Make sure and pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think! These pancakes are delicious topped with butter and maple syrup – or even powdered sugar and fresh berries!

Oven Pancakes Blog

Lemon and Butter Oven Pancakes

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/article_8bb1d9fc-53e9-11e4-bc69-6f7b6d39681c.html

Blaise

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2-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Yesterday, I made an AMAZING chocolate cake…in a MUG…in the microwave! Yes – you read that right!

I am not sure I had ever had anything like this before. AND I admit that I was (at first) a little…against the fact of making a cake in the microwave. I figured – why make a cake in a MUG when you could make a regular size cake and eat on it for days!?

Well, I am “seeing the light” now, and I understand why people would want a “mug cake”. It is easy, fast, individual sized, and so delicious!

The recipe I used came from “Lucky Peach”. I have included the recipe below – but here is their official posting, recipe and story… http://lky.ph/post/43087441437/mug-cake-for-lonelyhearts

Chocolate Mug Cake Blog

Lucky Peach’s Two-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small or medium coffee mug (microwave safe)

Add the egg, milk and vegetable oil to a small or medium coffee mug and whisk together. Next, add the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, and unsweetened cocoa powder, and mix thoroughly until everything is combined. Finally, add in the chocolate chips, pure vanilla extract and salt and mix again.

Put your mug into a 1000-watt microwave for 2 minutes.

The cake might rise over the top of the mug, but do not be alarmed.

Allow to cool and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! This can serve two. 

Note: Mine served one – me. 

Enjoy!

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Hasselback Potatoes

I am sure if you have Facebook or Pinterest, you have seen this recipe (or some version of) floating around. I have had a ton of people send the link (or recipe) to me and ask “Does this really work!?” or “Have you tried this???” To answer everyone’s questions – yes and yes. Yes, I have tried them, and yes it works…and they are so quick, easy and delicious, you will not believe it!

I have tried this “recipe” with a variety of potatoes (different sizes, colors, etc.) and it really works on ALL types. All you have to do is adjust the baking time.

You can top these with anything once out of the oven! Sour cream, butter, chives, bacon, parm cheese, garlic… Experiment and have fun with this!

Sliced larger with oliver oil salt and pepper blog

Hasselback Potatoes (with olive oil, salt and pepper)

The following recipe uses 5 large baking potatoes. This recipe can easily be doubled to make more.

5 large baking potatoes
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash, scrub and dry the potatoes.

Carefully using a sharp knife, cut the potatoes down the length from one end to the other – being CAREFUL not to slice through the entire potato.

Once they are all cut open (see picture above for a guideline) place them into a shallow baking dish.

Drizzle on the olive oil, and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.

Using clean hands, rub the olive oil, salt and pepper into each potato, coating the entire potato. (I do this because I eat the skin and I want the skin to be crisp and flavorful.)

Place into preheated oven for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. (Use less time of course if you are using smaller potatoes.)

Take out, cool slightly and top with desired toppings.

Enjoy!

Sliced smaller with herbs blog

(Above is a photo of some smaller golden potatoes I used this method on – and sprinkled them with fresh herbs right out of the oven…)

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Jackie O inspired GIVEAWAY!

My latest giveaway is inspired by my Grandma Barbra and her love of Jackie O! This cookbook is filled with amazingly delicious recipes and wonderful stories! A charming book for sure…

What book is it!?

Cooking For Madam Blog

Cooking for Madam: Recipes and Reminiscences from the Home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis By: Marta Sgubin (Hardcover)

How do you enter!?

CLICK HERE…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 

Blaise

UPDATE: (08/20/2014) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly! Watch your emails…


-Blaise

Sweetland By: Donna Cronk (Guest Blogger)

It is with warm pleasure that I welcome Donna Cronk as my first ever “Guest Blogger”! I am so thrilled that she is here and I am so grateful that I get to call her a friend. She is talented, funny, and a great writer on so many levels. It is a joy to say… “Please welcome, Donna Cronk to my Blaise The Baker blog…”


Take it away Donna…

My thanks to Blaise for allowing me this little visit on his blog. Blaise writes a food column, Chew This! for The Courier-Times in New Castle. It appears the first and third Sundays each month, and I have the pleasure of editing and placing it in the NEIGHBORS section that I edit.

I thoroughly enjoy his work, recipes and food recommendations (DO try the strawberry shortcake at Ivanhoe’s in Upland, says Blaise. I did and think I may have visited heaven while eating it).

Getting to know Blaise has been one of the unexpected joys of 2014. Another has been indie-publishing my first novel, “Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast.” The book’s genre is women’s Christian fiction / inspirational. Tags / themes throughout cover a lot of bases: Coming home, Hoosier hometown, starting over, empty nest, decorating and running a bed and breakfast, and yes, recipes!

Donna Cronk photo on porch

While there is a storyline, for sure, it seemed only natural that to tell the story of a bed and breakfast, recipes would be a natural fit.

So while the book isn’t a cookbook, per se, there are seven tried-and-true recipes, each that has meaning to me, that are planted in the story and then the recipes are in the back. Some are surprised to find the recipes and have gotten excited to see them. Others have even purchased the book just for the recipes.

The signature snack staple at the fictional inn is the sugar cookie. Innkeeper Samantha Jarrett and her sister-in-law get together monthly to make sugar cookies, cut out and decorated with seasonal or special-occasion themes. So it was only fitting that I include a really good sugar-cookie recipe, and even more fitting that I used my friend Patti Broshar-Foust’s Aunt Martha’s Sugar Cookie recipe.

Where I come from, Union County, Indiana, (Liberty), wimpy is the signature dish of the entire community! I’ve found that it is indeed a limited regional dish, that is similar (but not the same) as a sloppy joe or if you know of Greenville, Ohio’s Made Rites, those are in the same family as wimpy. The book’s recipe is called United County Wimpy. It’s fun. It’s local. It’s unique and homemade.

My mother’s signature dish was Mom’s Spice Cake and her Brown-Sugar Icing. The eggless, milkless and butterless cake is known to many food historians as a “Depression” cake (as in the Great Depression of 1929-early 1930s). However, if this is a Depression cake, it’s from a much earlier depression, I imagine. My mother would be 100 right now and the recipe was her mother’s. I would guess that the recipe is 150 years old, if it’s a day.

It’s the cake my mother took to every special occasion in her life – and mine – that required pitch-in food. It is a little dry, but I kept the ingredients as she had them and I don’t recall her cake being dry. It was perfect.

My favorite of the recipes, however, is Good-As-Gold Granola. It came from my friend Gay Kirkton who got it from her mother, who got it from a friend. I gave it this name because once I was telling Gay how delicious it is and she said, “It’s gold.” And it is.

The granola has become “my” recipe the way that all good recipes take on the personality of those who tweak them. I added and subtracted a few things to suit my specific taste (I’m not an apricot fan, for example, and I think I use more nuts than the original recipe calls for). My friends now call it Donna’s recipe because it is a popular request when a group of us take a girlfriend trip to a friend’s lake house.

My friend Cheryl K. Bennett contributed her signature Mexican Dip, and there is my sunflower-and-pasta salad.

So that’s about it for the recipes. Nothing terribly fancy or difficult; just simple, tasty fare.

While I’ve been an employed journalist for more than three decades, I never fancied myself as becoming an author, certainly not a novelist. But sometimes we surprise ourselves. Five years ago, this story came to me, and the characters just started showing up in the scenes running through my mind. It started with a comment of my husband’s that he wouldn’t mind living in Liberty – my hometown – when we retire. For some reason, the idea wouldn’t leave it, and before long, I had created a totally fictional scenario about a woman returning to her hometown and opening an inn. Of course, I had to add some drama.

The overall theme is that no matter what we go through, what trials we face, if we trust God, He will walk beside us through these troubles.

I have found this true in my own life, and I pray that you do too.

Meanwhile, consider having a look at my book. It’s available in print and for Kindle on Amazon. I love giving programs not just about the book but about the joys of a midlife bucket list.

And if you’d like an autographed and inscribed copy, I’d be happy to send you one myself. Cost is $16 (book and postage). Message me at newsgirl.1958@gmail.com for details or to order.

Bye for now!

Donna

Front Cover

Note: To see my “Sweetland of Liberty…” book review, check out the AMAZING recipes included in the book, and PURCHASING information please click here – https://blaisethebaker.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/sweetland-of-liberty-bed-breakfast-review-and-guest-blogger-announcement/

Photos and interview with thanks to Donna Cronk exclusively for “Blaise the Baker”.

Cookbook Corner – Sugar Rush

Time for another “Cookbook Corner”! 

Sugar Rush Cookbook Blog

“Sugar Rush” By: Johnny Iuzzini

Let me just start off by saying that if you buy this book for nothing more than the photograph on page 197 I will NOT hold it against you! Ha!

I absolutely LOVED this book! To start with, I am a huge Johnny Iuzzini fan and have followed his career for the past several years. I was SO excited when his first cookbook “Dessert Fourplay” came out that I preordered it immediately as it became available. As soon as it came, I ripped into the packaging, took out the book and flipped through it. I was (I will admit) a little…disappointed! It was “gourmet” desserts that required special equipment, ingredients and patience that I just simply did not have. Where are the recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes or pies!? I enjoyed the pictures in “Dessert Fourplay” but that was about it… I put it on my book shelf and it has been there ever since.

THIS book though (his 2nd and follow up) is BEYOND what I was wanting (and hoping for) with the first! It is made more for the “home baker”. Everywhere, scattered throughout the book, are the recipes I was looking for the first time around! Brownies, cakes, cookies, pies and tarts fill this beautifully done book!

It is divided into the following categories…

Custards and Creamy Desserts such as “Malted Chocolate Ice Cream” (page 35), “Banana Pastry Cream” (page 44), “Chocolate Pudding” (page 59) and “Apricot Custard Tart” (page 64).

Eggs and Meringue recipes such as “Champagne Sabayon” (page 87), “Blackberry Soufflés” (page 108), “Espresso Marshmallows” (page 116) and “Coffee-Cardamom Éclairs” (page 123).

Caramel recipes like “Salted Caramels” (page 152), “Individual Caramel Apple and Sweet Potato Bread Puddings” (page 156), “Sticky Caramel Date Cake” (page 158 and more on this later…) and “Smack Caramel Corn” (page 165).

Cakes, Cupcakes, Brownies, and Muffin recipes such as “Banana-Walnut Sheet Cake” (page 178), “Crumb Cake” (page 184), “Pineapple Upside Down Cakes” (page 189), “Chocolate Cupcakes” (page 196), “Olive Oil Sponge Cake” (page 201), “Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake” (page 205) and “Zucchini Roasted Corn Muffins (page 214).

Cookies, Tea Cakes, and Biscuit recipes like “Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 220), “Pecan Shortbread” (page 232), “Play Date Cookies” (page 240), “Chocolate Snowballs” (page 245) and “Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits” (page 250).

Tarts, Cobblers, and Crisp recipes such as “Double-Lemon Tarts” (page 268), “Strawberry-Tarragon Tart” (page 275), “Smoky Chocolate-Ginger Ganache Tart” (page 281), and “Cherry Crisp” (page 286).

Yeast Dough recipes like “Brioche” (page 292), “Panettone” (page 299), “Cinnamon Rolls” (page 304) and “Fresh Yeast Donuts” (page 306).

Glazes, Frostings, Fillings, and Sauce recipes such as “Vanilla Buttercream” (page 319), “Orange Curd” (page 324), “Shiny Chocolate Glaze” (page 328), and “Candied Citrus Peel” (page 332).

Building a Balanced Dessert recipes like “Tropical Pavlova” (page 338), “Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte” (page 339) and “Vanilla-Banana Caramel Cake” (page 340).

All sound delicious, right!? Tell me about it…and you should see the pictures! The book is worth the price alone just for the deliciously photographed desserts.

Oh – and the introduction is written by Dorie Greenspan! I found the introduction to be warmly written, and found Dorie’s personal story about her and her son calling on Johnny for help to be truly heart warming…

Ok – back to the “Sticky Caramel Date Cake” (page 158) that I was discussing earlier… I LOVE this cake and love this recipe! It turned out perfectly…although I am not sure I did the “water bath” part correctly…but it still turned out good! I remember when Haagen-Dazs had an ice cream called “Sticky Toffee Pudding”. Anyone remember that!? It was AMAZING! It was “limited edition” and is not around anymore (unfortunately) but I remember eating at least 20 containers that summer! Ha! No joke… THAT started my love for the sticky toffee cake, the date cakes, etc.

Anyways – back to the book – buy it! I highly recommend those that love baking to buy this book! It is one of the most beautifully photographed cookbooks I have seen in awhile…

To buy the book, please click here…

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/220202/sugar-rush-by-johnny-iuzzini-and-wes-martin

To learn more about Johnny, please click here…

http://www.randomhouse.com/author/73203/johnny-iuzzini-with-wes-martin-introduction-by-dorie-greenspan-photographs-by-michael-spain-smith

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast Review and Guest Blogger Announcement

I am SO excited to announce that author, journalist and columnist Donna Cronk will be my first featured GUEST BLOGGER on my “Blaise The Baker” blog!

Check back HERE to see her exclusive guest posting THIS Thursday October 9th, 2014!

I had the privilege to read and do a book review of my friend Donna’s book. Check it out below – and look for the delicious food pictures!

Front Cover

“Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast” By: Donna Cronk

“Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast” By: Donna Cronk is a novel that welcomes you with warm open arms and guides you along the life path of Samantha Jarrett. It is a story about small town Indiana and will make you question what you want out of life. It is a story of Faith and overcoming obstacles that stand in your way, all in the heart of staying true to yourself and believing in your dreams.

I found this book beautifully written (written better than most commercial fiction I have bought lately) and it really paints a beautiful picture with eloquent dialogue. The scenes are wonderfully written and really pull you in. (I finished the book in just a couple of days, in two or three quick gulps).

“Sometimes you have to move back to move forward”, is the tagline of the book and I absolutely love this line – because it is so true! Keep that tagline in mind when reading the book and you will discover more than what meets the eye.

The book not only won me over by such an interesting (and well told) storyline and great characters – but because there are a handful of recipes included! Yes – recipes! And believe me – they are delicious recipes! I made the “United County Wimpy” and “Mom’s Spice Cake” with “Brown-Sugar Icing” and both were delicious! I loved eating the food that was featured and inspired by the book… it really made the book feel “more real” to me and it really made me feel closer to the characters – almost like I was apart of the book and talking with the characters.

The “United County Wimpy” was delicious! Brought me right back to my childhood and reminded me of the community dinners and family reunions that my family and I would have in the summer months! It was a familiar (and welcome) flavor that will remain in my “recipe notes” for a long time.

United County Whimpy Sweetland Blog

“Mom’s Spice Cake” was amazingly old-fashioned in flavor and the “Brown-Sugar Icing” really took it over the top! It was warm, comforting and nostalgic. It would be a dessert (in looks and taste) that I would serve entertaining. It was delicious… (I added about 3 chopped bananas to the recipe and it made it even more amazingly moist!)

Mom's Spice Cake Sweetland Blog

I normally don’t come across works of fiction that includes recipes (I wish more did) and I really enjoyed the recipes that Donna chose for inclusion in the book. They tie in with the story nicely and really give you a feel and a “taste” of what life is like in Freedom! I was really impressed at how the recipes tied in so nicely with the story…

If you are looking for a well written book, by a local author, about small town living, starting over, Faith, finding and following your dreams – this book is for you! I highly recommend it for those who love a great story, great recipes and characters that will not soon be forgotten. Donna is a natural writer and natural born story teller and I can not wait to see what she comes up with next!

Look for Donna’s column pieces in the “Neighbors” section for “The Courier-Times”.

To buy the book, please click here…
http://www.amazon.com/Sweetland-Liberty-Breakfast-Donna-Cronk/dp/1493570366

To “like” the book on Facebook, please click here…
https://facebook.com/sweetlandoflibertythenovel

To follow Donna Cronk on Twitter, please click here…
https://twitter.com/DonnaCronk

To learn more about “The Courier-Times”, please click here…
http://www.thecouriertimes.com/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

I made this cake a couple of days ago and it was delicious! It is a spin off an OLD recipe from the 1940’s. I love finding old recipes and updating them to meet today’s flavors! I WILL admit that this recipe produces a cake that is NOT to photograph! Ha! It’s…just not the prettiest cake. But cake is about taste, and less about presentation right?! At least, that’s the way I look at it…

It’s important to start on the glaze the minute the cake goes into the oven. Why? Because you need to cook it and immediately pour it over the cake as soon as it is out of the oven.

It produces a delicious cake that stays moist the longer it sits! Make sure and store any leftovers (I did not have many) in the refrigerator. When reheating – place in the microwave for a few seconds. AND if you want a dessert that is simply over the top – cut a piece and serve it with vanilla ice cream. Oh – and a little caramel drizzle wouldn’t hurt either…but it is really up to you and your tastes. (My tastes are SWEET!) 

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting…

Apple Cake Blog

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

For the cake…
2 cups diced and peeled apples (you can use any apple but I prefer Granny Smith)
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the glaze…
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly grease an 8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.

Start making the cake by combining the white granulated sugar and the diced and peeled apples in a large bowl. Mix well to make sure the sugar is coating all of the diced apple pieces. Let stand for about 5 minutes (while you prepare the other ingredients) until the sugar is dissolved.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ground cinnamon and baking soda. Whisk together to sift and combine.

In the bowl with the sugar and apples, add the egg and stir well to coat and combine.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar, apples and egg and stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.

Place into preheated oven for exactly 37 minutes.

Start making the glaze by placing the brown sugar, white granulated sugar, flour, butter, water and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan and stir over medium / low heat.

Stir and melt all of the ingredients together slowly.

Once it comes to a boil, cook until thickened – which should take around 10 minutes.

Once the cake is finished baking, remove from oven and immediately poke holes all over the top with a fork. Do not be afraid to poke A LOT of holes all over. The more holes – the more moist!

Pour on the hot glaze SLOWLY all over the top of the cake, being sure to coat evenly.

With the back of a spoon, spread out to make sure there is glaze in each and every hole.

Try to wait for it to cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy!

Apple Cake Slice Blog

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