Favorite Things Friday – Pie Books and My Personal Pie Quest

I am on a QUEST to become a “master pie baker”. That is no joke… Ok – maybe I will never be a MASTER pie baker – but I at least want to be a very good one.

I have taken “pie lessons” with my Grandma Barbra – on several occasions (and even wrote a “CHEW THIS” column piece about one here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/01/18/chew-this-comedy-of-errors-apple-pie/) and let me tell you – pies are HAND MADE and HARD WORK. You can not throw some things in a bowl – make a batter (cookies, brownies, fudge) and bake – you have to MAKE the pie crust (yes I am aware you can buy one – but what fun is that!?) and you have to MAKE the filling – and then most times – BAKE the pie! There is a LOT involved. Pie crust, filling, crimping, rolling, etc.

And the crust!? Whew…do you use butter? Shortening? Both? Do you add ice water? Buttermilk? Vinegar and water? Confusing!

And – do not get me wrong – I know there is no “ONE correct recipe”. That is what I love about cooking and baking – the diversity of recipes – and I genuinely appreciate that. But I want to make (and create) some of the best PIES that’s ever hit your lips.

So – on my quest – I have also been hoarding pie cookbooks and reading through them like novels.

So far some that I have been reading – 

Pie Lesson Pie Books Blaise the Baker Blog

“Me, Myself, and Pie” By: Sherry Gore. This book is fabulous! Sherry takes readers on a trip through amazingly delicious Amish recipes and stories. Also included are delicious looking photographs of each pie – and let me tell you…I stopped marking recipes halfway through because for one thing – I was out of Post-It’s – and besides, I figured I might as well save time and just write “bake through this” on one Post-It and slap it on the cover. Sherry shares how to “blind bake” (page 10) and also shares her pie crimping techniques (page 12) which I found very appreciative – because I will be the first to admit – I can not crimp. She even covers “wash recipes” – egg wash techniques – on page 14. Comparing the different techniques with different “brownness” of the crust. Let me stop right here. THANK YOU SHERRY!!! That is genius. Just genius. Also genius – is how Sherry talks about different pie plates (page 16) and which ones work best for which pies. Recipes for different crusts start the book off – ️chocolate shortbread crust, chocolate cookie crust, all butter crust, shortbread crust, etc. Even offering a gluten free pie crust and a pretzel pie crust – delicious! I loved Sherry’s story (page 29) – her “pie story”. It really helped the book come to life. And I know what she means about the rubber cement – it has happened to me before too… Ha! What do I mean!? You will have to buy the book to find out… The book contains delicious recipes for “Orange Pie” (page 39), “Lemon Blueberry Cream Pie” (page 48), “Praline Cream Pie” (page 60), “Raisin Cream Pie” (page 67), “Apple Skillet Pie” (page 80), “Concord Grape Pie” (page 91), “Sour Cherry Crunch Pie” (page 100), “Lemon Sponge Pie” (page 123), “Double Chocolate Chess Pie” (page 154), “Bob Andy Pie” (page 170) and even “Blueberry Turnovers” (page 205) and “Pie Parfaits” (page 209). Like savory pies? Quiches? Hand pies? Homemade caramel candy!? Yep – Sherry’s got you covered. I highly recommend this book for those who love great recipes, great stories, and Amish history of their culture and pies. AND the “pie contest” piece she wrote (starting on page 113), was one of the many highlights in this delightful book.

“Vintage Pies” By: Anne Haynie Collins. This is a wonderful book filled with deliciously “old-fashioned” recipes. I loved looking over this book and seeing all of the pies I remembered from my childhood. Pies like “Pecan Pie” (page 35), “Boiled Cider Pie” (page 40), “Buttermilk Pie” (page 47), “Tears on Your Pillow Pie” (page 48), “Stack Pie” (page 54 – possibly one of my favorite pie recipes of all time), “Crumb Pie” (page 66), “Union Pie” (page 84), “Chocolate Cream Pie” (page 102), “Huckleberry Pie” (page 130) and “Mock Apple Pie” (page 148) all bring back delicious memories of watching my Grandma Barbra in the kitchen when I was younger. I recommend this book for those who want to add a perfect collection of old-fashioned and homespun pie recipes. This book is stained (chocolate cream pie) and will continue to get stained because it’s staying in my kitchen. Anne did a fabulous job putting together this delicious book of memorable pie recipes that will sure to be cherished.

“Ms. American Pie” By: Beth M. Howard. I loved this book from start to finish – which is how I read it – like a novel. Beth is a beautifully talented writer (I highly recommend reading her memoir “Love, Loss and Pie”) and her writing, along with the delicious recipes and beautiful photographs combined to make a beautiful – almost perfect – book. The beginning of the book “Make Your Own Damn Pie!” was a personal favorite of mine. She shares her personal journey – and anyone willing to share their journey gets a thumbs up in my book. Beth continues on with her “Pie-Deology” (page 14) and I agree with each and every one. Bravo! I also LOVED the part entitled “My Pie Principles” (page 16). Another part I LOVED!? Yes – I loved this book… Beth’s “Pie Myths, Busted” (page 19). My mouth literally dropped open – three times – when reading her myths – that she busted wide open. EVERYONE on a “pie journey” (like myself) needs to READ THIS! Buy the book – start on page 19… And continue right into page 21 – “Frequently Asked Questions” – also – life changing (at least to me) in the world of pie baking! Something else that changed my pie baking began on page 25. A section all about pie dough. Tips, tricks, tools needed, crusts, lattice variations and crimp crusting techniques – and all with pictures of each step – which I greatly appreciated for ease of use. Just a few of the delicious recipes that fill this book are “Cinnamon” (page 54), “Toffee Pecan” (page 62), “Mississippi Mud” (page 70), “Strawberry Rhubarb” (page 83), “Shaker Lemon” (page 90), “Avocado” (page 107), “Venison” (page 111), “Tomato Basil” (page 131), “French Silk” (page 156), “Banana Cream” (page 160), “Blueberry Crumble” (page 173) and “Pecan Oatmeal” (page 178). OH – and I can’t wait to try the “slab pies” (page 196) – I had not even thought of making a pie like that before! Genius! I highly recommend this cookbook to those who want good quality, simple, delicious, sweet AND savory pies – AND love a cookbook with a delicious story of love, loss and healing. Beth’s book not only warmed my heart and soul – but warmed and filled my stomach. Congratulations Beth on such a deliciously fabulous book!

“First Prize Pies” By: Allison Kave. The first part of this beautiful book is filled with techniques, crust recipes, ingredient lists, tools of the trade and other essential information in making the perfect pie – which I really appreciated. You know – so many pie books just jump right into the recipes. And – I am sure that’s fine for some – but I would prefer some instructors – some tips and tricks – to ensure that for one thing – I know what I am doing – and for another – to help give me the piece of mind that I will  end up with (using their recipe) the “perfect” pie. The book is sorted out into different seasons – love this! It gives you a “starting idea” of what to make just by simply looking it up BY MONTH! How genius is that!? March, for example, contains my favorite pie – “Samantha Bee’s Salty Caramel” (page 70). Why!? Delicious combination of sweet and salty and crunchy and indulgent – perfect! Some highlights from the book are – April’s “Avocado Cream” (page 82), May’s “Mint Julep Cream” (page 94), June’s “Hawaiian Delight” (page 106 and amazing!), July’s “Raspberry Vinegar Tart” (page 120), August’s “Banoffee” (page 136), September’s “Candy Apple” (page 144), October’s “Buttercrunch” (page 162), November’s “Sweet Potato” (page 179), December’s “Salty Dog Chess” (page 183), January’s “Oatmeal Molasses” (page 196) and February’s “Elvis” (page 208 – and a personal favorite of mine). And – of course – there are more recipes per month – I only listed my favorite recipe from each month…and that was hard to narrow down. This book had some of the most unique recipes I remember seeing in a pie book… I recommend this book for those who want to learn more about “pie stacks” and want a recipe outside the realms of “classic recipes”. This book thinks outside the box – and I appreciate that.

“The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book” By: Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. This book. Wow! It completely blew away all expectations I had about what a pie book is supposed to be about in terms of techniques and recipes. This book is filled with delicious looking pictures and way WAY out of the box recipes – which I immediately fell in love with. The book is divided into “seasons” and for each season there are a slew of amazingly delicious and “out of the box” pies. Here are some examples.

Spring – “Rhubarb Custard Pie” (page 79), “Wild Ginger Strawberry Pie” (page 82), “Chamomile Buttermilk Custard Pie” (page 84), “Derby Pie” (page 91), “Apple Rose Pie” (page 94), “Lemon Verbena Raspberry Galette” (page 97) and “Farmer Cheese with Thyme Pie” (page 101).

Summer – “Black and Blueberry Upside Down Pie” (page 111), “Lavender Blueberry Pie” (page 117), “Paprika Peach Pie” (page 120), “White Nectarine and Red Currant Pie” (page 126), “Muskmelon Chiffon Pie” (page 139) and “Sweet Corn Custard Pie” (page 142).

Fall – “Bourbon Pear Crumble Pie” (page 152), “Honeyed Fig Crumble Pie” (page 158), “Maple Buttermilk Custard Pie” (page 161), “Pear Anise Pie” (page 164), “Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie” (page 168) and “Rosemary Honey Shoofly Pie” (page 173).

Winter – “Egg ‘n’ Grogg Pie” (page 185), “Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie” (page 188), “Salt Pork Apple Pie” (page 192), “Black Bottom Lemon Pie” (page 199) and “Green Chili Chocolate Pie” (page 204).

AND listen to these crust recipes… How delicious do these sound…
“Lard and Butter Crust” (page 208), “Animal Cracker Crumb Crust” (page 209 and genius! Why didn’t I think of that!?), “Cornmeal Crust” (page 211), “Pecan Biscotti Crust” (page 214) and “Saltine Crust” (page 215).

I loved this book – and highly highly recommend it for those who want a pie book with “out of the box” delicious recipes… Buy it! You will be so glad that you did.

So – all in all – that sums up my latest “pie lesson / research” information. I am always finding new pie books, new pie techniques, etc. I am well on my way – but from what I have read and from what I have heard – experience matters most. So…I will get there – with just a little more practice.

Apple Pie Blog

To buy these books or to find out more information, please click on the links below…

“Me, Myself, and Pie”http://www.amazon.com/Myself-Pie-The-Pinecraft-Collection/dp/0310335566

“Vintage Pies”http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Pies-Classic-American-Todays/dp/1581572646

“Ms. American Pie”http://www.amazon.com/Ms-American-Pie-Buttery-Recipes/dp/1937994686

“First Prize Pies”http://www.amazon.com/First-Prize-Pies-Deliciously-Inventive/dp/161769102X

“The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book”http://www.birdsblack.com/the-pie-book/

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. Shout out and special thanks to The Pinecraft Collection, Sherry Gore, Countryman Press, Anne Collins, Stewart – Tabori and Chang, Allison Kave, Race Point Publishing, Beth Howard, Grand Central Life & Style and Emily and Melissa Elsen for the amazing opportunity to review these wonderful books, as I continue my pie quest.



Blaise the Baker Cookbook Reviews

Guess what? You can now check out ALL of my Blaise the Baker “Cookbook Corner” reviews (some before they are even published here) as well as my exclusive “Instagram-only” reviews – on Amazon.com!

Bookmark it – for easy navigation back…




Fried Peanut Butter and Brown Sugar Sandwich

I have always enjoyed Elvis’ famous “Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich” (so does Nigella, and here is her posting and recipe – http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/elvis-presleys-fried-peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich-3106) so when Jan Lines, a friend and neighbor, introduced me to this NEW combination – of peanut butter and brown sugar – I KNEW I would love it…and I think you will too!

Peanut Butter and Brown Sugar Blaise the Baker

Fried Peanut Butter and Brown Sugar Sandwich

Much like the “Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich” I posted about earlier – this sandwich really depends on your particular taste. If you like a little more peanut butter – add it. If you want a sweeter sandwich – add a little more brown sugar. The recipe below is how I like mine – test it out and then change it to your taste…

2 slices white bread
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Start by melting 4 tablespoons of the salted butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on the 2 slices of bread – one tablespoon per slice.

Spread the peanut butter on the other side of the buttered bread, and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top. Close the sandwich so that both buttered sides of the bread are facing out.

Fry both sides of the sandwich in the skillet with the melted butter, flipping to brown both sides.

I like mine a little crispy – crispiness here is really up to you. Just keep an eye on it – and once it turns brown be careful – it can turn black quickly.

Once fried to perfection, remove to paper towel and allow to cool slightly.

Cut and eat.


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Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower

I am really beginning to LOVE roasted vegetables. Almost any vegetable you can think of can be tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper – and roasted in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Take this basic recipe, and accommodate it to your needs, and you have a hundred new recipes at your disposal. Know what is even better than roasted vegetables?! Using them to make roasted vegetable SOUP the next day – but that is another posting for another time…

Let us focus on cauliflower for a moment. I HATE cauliflower… so I did some research on it and started experimenting…

What I found – was that cauliflower can be made to be DELICIOUS! Try this recipe and tell me what YOU think! 

Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower Blaise the Baker

Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons spicy yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Prep the cauliflower by removing the bottom leaves and stems. Cut the bottom part of the cauliflower off so that it’s “flat” on the bottom – that way it will set firmly on the baking sheet.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the olive oil, spicy yellow mustard, salt and black pepper.

Brush this mixture evenly all over the head of cauliflower.

Place in preheated oven for 60 – 70 minutes.

Once removed from the oven, sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese evenly all over the head and serve hot.

This is delicious cut into wedges, squeezed with lemon and eaten hot.


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ASK Blaise the Baker 02/17/15

Happy Tuesday! Hope your week is going well. Here in Indiana it is a HIGH of a whole EIGHT degrees! If you are reading this from one of the places in the US being hit with this terrible cold wave – stay safe and warm!

I have been getting a lot of “ASK Blaise the Baker” questions, so I am answering them here…

Ask Blaise the Baker Blog Logo

Q: Where can I find all of your “Chew This” column features and recipes?

A: You can find them in a number of places. I pin them on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/blaisethebaker), as well as here on my blog (search “Chew This” in my search box) – OR you can check them out on “The Courier-Times” website here – http://www.thecouriertimes.com/search/?t=article&nsa=eedition&q=blaise+doubman

Q: How much salt is in a stick of salted butter?

A: There is roughly 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a stick of salted butter. It really depends on the brand and quality of butter you use – but this is a rough idea. I use “Land O’Lakes” butter most of the time – but I also use different butters from across Europe.

Q: Why do you recommend your cookie dough be refrigerated overnight before baking?

A: I find that it really helps develop the flavor for a more flavorful cookie.

Q: What is your exercise routine? Do you have one?

A: I get this question a LOT – and I am not really sure how to answer it. I do not really have an exercise “routine”. I just try and move more if I eat more. I probably SHOULD have some kind of “routine” put in place, but I do not. I also try and remember – everything in moderation – and that includes moderation! 

Q: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?

A: Baking SODA is known as “sodium bicarbonate” and contains one ingredient – itself. It creates gas that helps baked goods rise. Baking POWDER is actually a mixture of baking soda, acid and cornstarch. It is all very scientific – which can be boring – so there is a difference – use what the recipe lists.

Q: Do you always sift your flour?

A: Actually – no. I know everyone recommends it (some recipes are very specific about sifting the flour) but unless I am making delicate types of pastries – I never sift the flour. I just “fluff” up the flour with my measuring cup before measuring. Oh – and when I have all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, I use a whisk and whisk the dry ingredients some – this has the same effect as sifting.

Q: How many cookbooks do you have?

A: Too many to count. If I were to guess though, the number would be well into the thousands.

Q: How do you melt chocolate for a recipe?

A: There are a LOT of ways to melt chocolate, temper chocolate, with a thermometer, without a thermometer, in a pan, on the stove, in a water bath, over simmering water – A LOT OF WAYS! But the easiest way and the way I ALWAYS do it – is in the microwave. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and place it on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir, and return to microwave for 15 seconds – and stir – and repeat until melted perfectly. Use as desired. Sometimes I add a bit of solid vegetable shortening to the chocolate before melting. 

Have a question for me? Email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com and watch here for more answers.

Thanks for asking!


Chocolate and Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

I LOVE these chocolate “no bake” cookies – and have experimented with several recipes over the years. Usually they turn out too hard – I eat them anyways… or too soft – I cut around the parchment paper and eat them anyways – with a fork. They never go to waste… Ha! My newest recipe is the only recipe I use for these delicious cookies.

These cookies are NOT the best to be photographed. Please do not leave your rude comments here. Instead – make these cookies and be delighted that you did. They are amazing!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies Blaise the Baker

Chocolate and Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

2 cups white granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 oz) stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups oatmeal (quick cooking oats)

In a larger sized saucepan, combine the white granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, unsalted butter and whole milk. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring.

Let boil for 90 seconds exactly while stirring.

Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, vanilla extract, salt and oatmeal. Stir to combine.

Next, drop tablespoon sized amounts of the mixture onto parchment paper and let cool.


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Chew This! Macaroni with Roasted Tomatoes

Happy Sunday!

Today is the publication of my newest “CHEW THIS!” column (featured in TODAY’s Sunday edition of “The Courier-Times”) it is a recipe that is FOUR generations old. It was passed down from my Great Grandma Viola, then to my Grandma Deloris, then my my Mom (Darla), and then to me… and now to YOU!

It is a delicious “salad / side dish” and can be served hot, room temperature or chilled – it is delicious anyway you make it and serve it. There can ALSO be crumbled cooked bacon added…

Blaise Doubman The Courier-Times

Macaroni with Roasted Tomatoes

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 15th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Old-Fashioned recipe too good to be forgotten…
Blaise Doubman

I love old-fashioned recipes that have been made and enjoyed for years and years. Whenever I get a recipe like that, I always try to imagine how and why the recipe was developed. Who thought of adding tomatoes to macaroni? Who thought of adding some white sugar? Who put these flavor combinations together – and why? I always find it absolutely fascinating how a recipe comes together. There are a lot of times when I ask myself these same questions when I’m recipe developing. Believe me – there are times when the created recipe doesn’t work (salted caramel brownies with too much salt, peanut butter cookies with white chocolate chips that turned into “brick bats” as I was told are just two personal examples). This flavor combination though of buttery macaroni with sweet and rich tomatoes is perfect.

This recipe was inspired by the original recipe handed down to me by my mom, Darla – who was given the recipe by her mom, Deloris – who was given the recipe by her mom, Viola. I’ve updated the recipe by adding roasted tomatoes, a little extra butter and a trick using the water that the pasta has cooked in. I find that cherry tomatoes work best for this recipe because I think they have an overall better flavor than the grape tomato variety. I have also found the smaller the cherry tomato – the sweeter the flavor. Grape tomatoes will work, in a pinch, but I’ve found that they have a thicker skin and are not as sweet. Serve this as a side at your next dinner and watch it disappear fast – and be prepared to share the recipe…

Macaroni with Roasted Tomatoes

This old-fashioned recipe will be welcome at any dinner table. It makes the perfect side dish and can be served hot, room temperature or even chilled. You can substitute the 2 cups of cherry tomatoes for a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes if desired. You can also add fresh basil to this recipe, or crumbled up cooked bacon. Taking out some of the pasta water before draining is essential in not only adding flavor to the finished dish, but allowing it to thicken slightly as it cooks and all comes together. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated in a covered container for up to three days.

4 cups macaroni noodles
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
½ – ¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup reserved pasta water

Start by tossing the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and black pepper on a sheet pan and placing into a preheated 400 degree F oven for 18 minutes.

Next, make the macaroni according to the package directions for “al dente” (which means it will still have a firm bite when bitten). Make sure when the water is boiling, and right before adding the pasta, that you salt the water heavily. This is really your only chance of flavoring the pasta itself. (Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water).

After the pasta is cooked and right before draining, carefully reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and set aside to add later.

Return the pasta to the pot (over medium heat) and add the butter and roasted tomatoes. Stir together and allow the butter to melt and coat the pasta.

Next, add the white granulated sugar (start with ½ cup and add more to your taste) and then slowly stir in the reserved pasta water.

Continuing stirring over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and serve.

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Blaise the Baker ONE YEAR Anniversary GIVEAWAY

Blaise the Baker Blaise the Baker One Year Anniversary

THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING!!! Wow… What can I say!? It has been ONE YEAR since I started my blog! Time FLIES let me tell you – whew! I have thought and thought about what to write in this post – this ONE YEAR Anniversary post…and honestly – the only thing I can really say is THANK YOU. Thank you so much for your love and support. Thank you for your dedication, for your emails, feedback, encouragement and thank you for your faith in me. A year ago I would have never dreamed about the opportunities that have presented themselves to me – or about all of the wonderful people I have met – or the friendships that I hold so close to my heart. I would have never dreamed about all that has happened – and I could not be anymore thankful or appreciative.

I SO enjoy doing what I do – writing and creating recipes, sharing them, sharing pictures and discussions and hearing (and SEEING) your pictures and feedback. Nothing makes me happier than a satisfied person – writing to me – sharing with me – how much they love my CHEW THIS column, or how much they love my blog… That really means absolutely everything to me…

To show my appreciation, I am offering a GIVEAWAY!!!

AND – the winner will be announced TODAY!!!

A “Williams-Sonoma” $20 gift card and two cookbooks.

Blaise the Baker One Year Anniversary Giveaway

COOKBOOK ONE: “Glorious Grits”: The South’s favorite grain is gaining popularity throughout the country as today’s top chefs and home cooks reinvent this simple, satisfying grain into Glorious Grits.

Inspired by an Alabama family whose gristmill supplies organic grains to top chefs across the country, Glorious Grits will appeal to both beginning and expert cooks wanting to tease the palate as well as add healthy whole grains to their diets.

Enjoy a taste of the South with over 100 fresh, ­flavorful recipes for stone-ground grits, cornmeal, and polenta. From breakfast to lunch to dinnertime and dessert, Glorious Grits offers spectacular possibilities for putting whole-grain goodness on the table.

Susan McEwen McIntosh knows her grits! Born and raised in the South, Susan worked for several years with the food staff of Southern Living® magazine. She’s watched as her brother produced grits, cornmeal, and polenta from organic corn in his busy gristmill. After talking with notable chefs from coast to coast, Susan knows the secrets of transforming old-fashioned grits into new and sophisticated dishes. Now this registered dietitian and author of the first Cooking Light® Cookbook combines her knowledge of nutrition with a passion for cooking to present creative grits, cornmeal, and polenta recipes for Southern food enthusiasts across the country.

COOKBOOK TWO: “Mini Donuts”: Say hello to a brand-new way to brighten your morning—or any time of day! Jam-packed with gooey jellies, oozing with rich custards and creams, and covered with mouthwatering toppings, these mini donuts are bursting with big flavor. From recipes for the traditional donuts everyone craves like Chocolate Cake and Powered Sugar to fun, new twists like Chocolate-Bacon-Maple, the donuts in this cookbook will leave you begging for more than just a dozen. Best of all, almost all the recipes can be made in a mini donut maker appliance, a stovetop, or an oven, so all you’ll need to create these bite-sized snacks is a hankering for something sweet.

Inside this cookbook, you’ll find helpful step-by-step instructions and 100 yummy donut recipes, including:

White chocolate–red velvet
Pineapple upside-down cake
Chai tea

With Mini Donuts, you’ll never again have to wait in line for your favorite bakery treat!

BOTH of these cookbooks are personal favorites of mine – and I am so excited to be sharing them with one lucky winner! AND “Williams-Sonoma” – how AMAZING is that place!? 

SO – how do you enter to win!?



And again – THANK YOU for everything…

ONWARD we go – the best is yet to come!

Blaise =) xo

UPDATE: (02/14/2015) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly! Watch your emails…


Nigella Lawson’s Vanilla Fudge

A couple of weeks ago, I made a Nigella Lawson recipe for “Vanilla Fudge” that I found on her website. I had printed it out months ago and finally got around to making it – and WOW – SO rich, delicious and super addictive! If you are watching your weight – look away, because this recipe will make your blood race.

It makes a LOT – but share with your family and friends. Or – just make it last. This fudge will last about a week at room temperature. I shared most of mine… SOME of mine… OK – I shared a little…

Her recipe makes about “77 pieces” – which is about right, depending on how big you cut the pieces. I cut mine into smaller than normal pieces due to their richness and “full of sugar” flavor – which I enjoyed quite a bit…

ALSO – this recipe makes the PERFECT gift to give to your Valentine’s Day friends… xo

Nigella's Vanilla Fudge Blaise the Baker

Nigella’s Vanilla Fudge

2 sticks soft butter
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Fill a small bowl or jug with ice cold water and put near the stove. Grease a tin of approx. 30 x 20cm / 12 x 8 inch or 25cm / 10 inch square, or use a throwaway foil tin.

Put all the ingredients, apart from the vanilla, into a large, heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.

Boil for 12-20 minutes, still stirring all the time, until the mixture is golden and, when a bit is dropped into the water, it turns solid but still squidgy, i.e., till soft-ball stage. How long this takes depends on how ferociously it bubbles as well as on the properties and dimensions of the pan. This is hot work!

When the fudge is at soft-ball stage, very carefully remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla.

Preferably using an electric whisk beat for about five minutes, by which time the fudge will have thickened to the texture of stiff peanut butter – this is quite steamy and strenuous – and pour and push into the prepared tin. Smooth the top as well as you can.

Put in the fridge to cool, but don’t keep it there for more than 2 hours, or it will set too hard, then remove and using a sharp knife, cut into squares.


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