Ky’s Chocolate Pixie Cookies

About a week ago, I made another visit to “Jungle Jim’s International Grocery Store” (more information here – http://www.junglejims.com/) and stocked up on what I usually do when I visit. Butter, European chocolate, butter, Chinese noodles, butter, German tea cookies, butter, their famous “brownie cookies”, butter, English candy, butter, fresh seafood, butter and some other miscellaneous things. (Notice a pattern!? – butter!)

Their famous “brownie cookies” are fabulous to say the least. They are the richest chocolate “cake-like” cookie you’ve ever had, filled with chocolate chips and rolled in powdered sugar. I decided I was going to try and duplicate them…for better or worse! 

I have tried a couple of times, but nothing really came close. I then decided to start completely over, and go back to my research. I found that a lot of these “brownie cookies” are made by using a boxed mix of some kind – either cake or brownie. I have done the cake mix type before (recipe here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/03/08/whipped-cream-and-lemon-cookies/) but they were “lighter” in texture than what I was looking for. The brownie mix version I tried, was frankly not good. It was dry and tasted like it was made from a box mix…which it was.

Then – I posted my latest adventure on Facebook, and my cousin Kylie said she had a recipe that I could try that she thought was pretty similar to the “brownie cookie”! I was so excited – and could not wait to try them.

She said I could change the recipe any way I needed to, but I told her that the recipe she gave me looked pretty good the way it was. I made them – and fabulous! Honestly – there was not much dough left to even bake after I had eaten my way through the dough! I decided I would make them again, but with a few changes. I replaced the margarine with unsalted butter, added more pure vanilla extract, added some instant coffee granules (just to bring out the chocolate flavor – these DO NOT taste anything remotely close to coffee) and added a full 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (mixed with about a tablespoon of flour, of course, so that the chips would not sink to the bottom of the cookie).

I was not sure what to expect – but WOW! Amazing! And so much better than anything made from a box. Trust me on this one – you need to try these… NOW! So so good… And so easy to throw together!

I would recommend making them in advance though. For best results, these need to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I chilled mine overnight.

Ky's Chocolate Pixie Cookies Blaise the Baker

Ky’s Chocolate Pixie Cookies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup (half of a stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups white granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, mixed with 1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar (enough to coat balls of dough – about 2 cups)

In a large bowl, mix together vegetable oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, melted butter and white granulated sugar. Be sure that everything is well mixed.

Next, add the 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring about 50 strokes between each addition. This is the easiest way of making sure each egg is completely combined into the batter.

After the addition of the eggs, add the pure vanilla extract, instant coffee granules, baking powder and salt. Stir together until well combined.

When everything is combined and the batter is thick and glossy, add the 2 cups of white flour all at once. Stir just until there are no white steaks in the batter – be very careful not to over mix the batter.

Finally, gently fold in the all-purpose flour coated semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Cover your bowl with a lid, plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate AT LEAST 4 hours – or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 320-degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and pour your powdered sugar into a medium sized bowl.

Using a tablespoon, (I used two regular sized cereal spoons), scoop the refrigerated dough into balls, place and roll them in the bowl with the powdered sugar, and place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake them, one sheet at a time, in a preheated oven for exactly 14 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Enjoy!

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Double Batch Lasagna

I am telling you – this is the BEST lasagna recipe, and the only one you will ever need! Seriously – it is absolutely incredible! And you know what? The best part is it makes a DOUBLE BATCH! This means, one for now, and one for later! Yes, I am using a lot of exclamation points!!! See – here are more!!!

You COULD half this recipe, and only make one pan of lasagna, but why? Let us be honest – you will have the mess anyways, why not make TWO – one for now, and one for later!? Pop the other one in the refrigerator (for up to 3 days), or freezer (for up to 3 months) and throw the other one in the oven for one of the best lasagnas you have ever had! I promise…

Now, this lasagna is very “classic” in flavor. There is not any veal, and there is not any fire roasted tomatoes in this version. It is just a clean, classic and simple version that my family and friends LOVE! Anytime someone is sick, or happy, or pregnant, or divorcing, or ANYTHING in life – I always make and deliver this lasagna! (I took this to my friend Judy – who LOVED it and has requested it at least twice a month…) I typically serve this with garlic cheese bread and a salad. It is also good the next day – cold…or on bread…or toast…or battered and deep fried… Ha! Perfect anyway you slice it…

TRY IT! (You can thank me later…)

I got the inspiration from this recipe from my Aunt…Ree Drummond. You all may know her as “The Pioneer Woman”, but to me, she’s my “Aunt Ree Ree”.

Ok – so I stretched the truth a little. She’s not my Aunt…and I do not know her…but I tell people she is my Aunt just to get a reaction! Ha! Anyways, her recipe can be found here – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/the_best_lasagn/ – but honestly, I DO like mine better. I have changed it to fit what works for ME. MY taste, what I like, how I like to make it and mine makes a DOUBLE batch – DOUBLE the fun!

Before you start – it is easier to get everything together in bowls, sections, however you lay out ingredients before hand…and then start and follow the recipe. Chop the fresh parsley, the basil, beat the eggs, etc. It will be SO much easier. Also – use foil pans. Seriously – it will be so much easier for storage, refrigerating, freezing, etc. Keep in mind though that you really need to keep the foil trays on a baking sheet while in the oven, cutting, etc. – just for safety reasons, spillage, etc. Carry on…

Double Batch Lasagna Blaise the Baker

Double Batch Lasagna

2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds hot sausage
4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cans crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
4 cans tomato paste (6 oz each)
6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
7 cups cottage cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 packages lasagna noodles (10 oz each)

Start by spraying 2 13×9-inch foil baking pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, and salt the water heavily with Kosher salt, or in a pinch, regular table salt.

Once the water is boiling, put in both packages of lasagna noodles, and coax them all down into the boiling water. Be careful not to break them – in a few minutes time, the noodles will all fit – as long as your pot is big enough – I promise.

Boil them just until firm to the tooth – about 10 minutes. Read the package instructions just to double check on the time for your particular brand.

Drain them, allow to cool slightly, and arrange the noodles individually side by side (over lapping is fine) on your strainer. This is the best way of “laying out the noodles”.

Next, in a large skillet brown the ground beef and hot sausage, over medium-high heat. About half way through the cooking process, add in the minced garlic, and continue cooking the meat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Drain a little of the fat, and then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 tablespoons of the fresh parsley, the fresh basil, salt and black pepper. Stir, carefully, to combine and allow to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – and tasting occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated parmesan cheese, and (why not?) a little more salt and black pepper.

Now – you are ready to layer! The fun part…

Start by arranging four noodles on the bottom of each pan. Layer like this…

About 4 noodles first – on the bottom. Then, a little of the cottage cheese mixture, then the shredded mozzarella cheese, then the meat mixture. Layer and layer in BOTH PANS like this, until you are out of ingredients, and END with the meat mixture on top. Sprinkle on more grated parmesan cheese all over the top of both.

IF BAKING – Place in preheated 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes on a flat baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes for a “softer” edge lasagna, 40 minutes for a more “crunchy” edge lasagna… I prefer the 40 minute option…

IF FREEZING – Snap on plastic lid that comes with foil container, and place in freezer for up to 3 months.

IF REFRIGERATING – Snap on plastic lid that comes with foil container, and place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

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Lisa’s Lemon Pucker Brownies

My friend, Lisa Schneider, recently asked me if I had a recipe for lemon brownies, and I told her YES! Well, instead of just sending her the recipe, I figured I would make them (because let us be honest – I LOVE THESE), and that way I could share the recipe here with all of you! (Oh, and I named them after her too…)

These are delicious and PACKED with lemon flavor. These are also made with lemon juice and lemon zest – nothing artificial here…no extracts, etc. – just delicious natural lemon flavor. AND these are, what I would call, “one bowl” brownies. Only one bowl needed. Now…the mixing technique may be a little odd, but trust me – it works.

The glaze just makes these even better – and when chilled in the refrigerator, WOW! Unbelievably delicious… If you are a lemon fan – you MUST make these… NOW!

Lisa's Lemon Pucker Brownies Blaise the Baker

Lisa’s Lemon Pucker Brownies

For the brownies…

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
Juice from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 lemon

For the glaze…

1 cup powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons whole milk

Start by preheating the oven to 350-degrees F.

Line an 8×8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the softened butter with the all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar and fine sea salt. Beat until a smooth consistency is formed – and everything is combined together.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and stir at least 50 times if mixing by hand.

Next, beat in the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth and top and place in preheated oven for 29 minutes exactly. They will appear underbaked – they are not.

While the brownies are in the oven, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and whole milk in a medium sized bowl and whisking until glaze is formed.

As soon as the brownies are baked, remove from oven and pour on glaze. Smooth out evenly with a spoon and allow to cool before cutting. Once they are cut, store in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Enjoy!

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Chew This – Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings

I am SO excited to share this recipe with everyone! Yes, it calls for a can of crescent rolls, and yes it calls for a can of Sprite, but trust me – TRUST ME… This. Is. Amazing! You have to try it…

This is the perfect combination of apple, cinnamon, sweet and savory – all at the same time.

Before I share this recipe – let me take a minute to say THANK YOU for all of the support and positive feedback I have been getting from my “Chew This!” column! I absolutely LOVE hearing from all of you, and it makes me happy when so many of you say that YOU are happy because of my recipes. Drop me a line at blaisethebaker@gmail.com if you have a question, comment, suggestion – anything! And thank you again for the dedication and support…it means a lot.

Now – on to the recipe…

Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings Chew This Blaise Doubman

Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_7baf0206-f8c5-11e4-a49a-f37a57395eb5.html

Enjoy!

Blaise

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ASK Blaise the Baker 05/15/15

It’s been awhile since I have posted an “ASK Blaise the Baker” update, so I decided today would be a good day for that. I get questions all the time – several times a day, and I try my best to answer them all to the best of my ability. I enjoy them, and love sharing some of the most “popular” ones here with you…

ask-blaise-the-baker-blog-logo

Q: How long do you recommend keeping your Snickerdoodle cookie dough in the refrigerator?
(Recipe here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/10/05/chew-this-snickerdoodles/)

A: I always keep my dough no longer that about 3-4 days. After I bake them – I store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

Q: Do you prefer chocolate chips or chocolate chunks? Why?

A: It actually depends on what I need them for. Chocolate chunks for my chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate chips for my brownies. When making ganache or frosting, etc. it really does not matter because both will melt about the same.

Q: Do you have any recipes for salads? Something quick – fresh?

A: Yes! Just recently, in my “Chew This” column. “Judi’s Red Cabbage Salad” can be found here – (https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/05/03/chew-this-judis-red-cabbage-salad/) and it is very flavorful, fresh and delicious!

Q: Are you taking baked goods orders? I would like to buy some things if available.

A: Unfortunately, no – not at the moment. About a year ago I experimented with a “pop up shop” that went pretty well, but when I made the decision to focus on my cookbook, my “pop up shop” took a backseat. In the future I have plans on opening it back up – so stay tuned here for more details later.

Q: Can I use coconut flour (almond flour, rice flour, etc.) in place of white all-purpose flour?

A: Honestly, I do not have that much experience with different types of flour. I am currently experimenting but I have not really been that impressed. For more information on this I would Google Alice Medrich’s new book about flours. 

Q: Do you have a magazine?

A: Seriously? No. I wish. I HAVE been featured in one though. Here – (https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/09/01/district-magazine/)

Q: What do you cook on? Bake in?

A: I am assuming you mean what type of stove – oven I use!? I use a gas range and an electric oven – those are my two favorites if I had to pick.

Q: Where can I contact you?

A: Twitter, FB and Instagram under “blaisethebaker” or blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Q: Is it true that you were going to school to be a meteorologist!? You would have made a great weatherman!

A: Yes. After high school, my attention was focused on meteorology schools. I switched my majors to English / Journalism at the last minute thinking I would enjoy that more. I am glad I picked the path I did – but the weather (especially clouds) still fascinates me.

Q: Do you have your own cookbook?

A: Not yet, but I am working on it.

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

Thanks for asking!

Blaise

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Ok – I will admit that I might not be the first person you turn to for a good “salad” recipe, but you have to trust me on this one – this recipe is amazing! This was developed, by me of course, last summer when around the house I had more broccoli and cauliflower than I knew what to do with.

(I also had a lot of cucumbers and onions, which led to the first recipe for my column, “Chew This”, which you can view here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/08/17/chew-this-feature/).

I was “saving” this recipe to go into my cookbook, but I have had so many of you write to me and ask for the recipe, I decided to go ahead and share it with you here. You CAN add some cooked and crumbled bacon to this recipe, but I prefer against it, because I am not that big of a bacon fan. This is one of my Grandma Barbra’s favorite salads – she absolutely loves it!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad Blaise the Baker

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Start by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream, white granulated sugar, salt and black pepper in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Place the chopped broccoli and cauliflower in a larger bowl, and pour over the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture, and stir together to evenly coat the vegetables.

Next, add in the shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese and stir.

Keep covered in refrigerator until ready to serve. Leftovers can be kept, in the refrigerator, for up to four days.

Enjoy!

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Cookbook Corner – Milk Bar Life

I am in LOVE with this cookbook and in LOVE with Christina Tosi. Anyone know her phone number!? Seriously – if I had the chance to talk with her, I think one of the first things that would come out of my mouth would be “Would you marry me!?”

Christina Tosi is a GENIUS in my opinion…a genius!

Milk Bar Life Cookbook Corner Blaise the Baker

“Milk Bar Life” By: Christina Tosi

I loved Christina’s first book “Momofuku Milk Bar”, but let me be honest – I almost needed a chemistry set to make ANY of the recipes. AND – I have never really been a fan of the “cereal milk” – just not my cup of tea…or milk. BUT this book – fabulous! Playful and delicious recipes that really bring a sense of who Christina really is. As soon as I opened the book, the title page “Milk Bar Life” RECIPES AND STORIES really called my attention. I love books with recipes AND STORIES! I want to get to know the author, get to know their history, family history and why and how the recipes they are presenting were developed.

Christina has divided her newest cookbook up into several chapters. Hand-Me-Downs (recipes that were handed down), A Cookie A Day… (how bad could that be?), Supermarket (MY FAVORITE CHAPTER that honestly uses cheap supermarket junk to make fabulous and delicious dishes!), We Are Family, Weak Nights (spelled right), Cookout and more and more and more. I just love this book, and have looked at it for weeks… Just thought I would throw that out.

Some of the amazing recipes presented!?

“Cocktail Meatballs” (page 19), “Chicken Puffs” (page 23), “Cornbake” (page 30 and WONDERFUL!), “Sour Cream Cookies” (page 38), “Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 53), “Ritz Cookies” (page 59), “Banana Cookies” (page 64), “Salt and Pepper Cookies” (page 70), “Ritz Cracker Icebox Cake” (page 74 and FABULOUS – try this recipe first!), “Cake-Mix Coffee Cake” (page 78), “Beef Roast with Gravy” (page 85), “Haute Dogs” (page 94), “Cookie Dough Cookie” (page 118 which is where the GENIUS part comes into play with Christina!), “Brown Butter Cinnamon Toast” (page 119), “Tang Toast” (page 131), “Crock-Pot Cake” (page 139), “Kitchen-Sink Quiche” (page 151), “Chicken Potpie” (page 157), “Lemon Bars” (page 170), “Marky’s Butter Burgers” (page 176), “Smoked Turkey Breast” (page 182), “Party Nachos” (page 207), “Cinnamon Buns” (page 220) AND get ready for this… “Mac and Cheese Pancakes” (page 246)!

So, what are you waiting for!? BUY. THIS. BOOK.

To buy “Milk Bar Life”, please click here…

http://milkbarstore.com/main/press/milk-bar-cookbook/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Blogging for Books for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Deep Chocolate Fudge

I call this my “deep chocolate fudge” not because it uses dark chocolate (in fact it uses semi-sweet chocolate), but because the flavor is so “deep” and rich. It may sound like a typical “never fail fudge” recipe, but it is really so much more than that. It is quick, easy, versatile and oh so delicious.

I have made this in a variety of ways (my favorite just the “traditional approach”) and it is amazing any way you choose. Make it the tradition way (recipe follows) or add 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon for a spicy Mexican flavored approach, or sprinkle on a dusting of French sea salt at the end for a more unique French style. Stir in toasted walnuts, pecans or almonds, or even swirl in a homemade caramel – heavenly!

This recipe is based off of my Grandma Barbra’s “secret” chocolate fudge recipe. Only her and I know where the recipe originally developed… It is a fun (and delicious) memory from my childhood.

Deep Chocoalte Fudge Blaise the Baker

Deep Chocolate Fudge

2 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 jar of “Marshmallow Fluff” (regular size)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by buttering either an 8×8-inch pan or a 9×9-inch pan – round or square will work fine.

Combine the white granulated sugar, unsalted butter, evaporated milk, “Marshmallow Fluff” and fine sea salt in a heavy bottomed medium sized pot over medium heat and stir together until melted and mixed.

Bring melted mixture to a boil, and stir continuously for 5 minutes.

Immediately remove from heat, and add pure vanilla extract and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Beat well until combined. (This is also the step where you would add desired mix-ins – cinnamon, white chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)

Pour mixture into prepared buttered pan and smooth top.

Allow to cool before cutting.

Enjoy!

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Chew This – Judi’s Red Cabbage Salad

Sharing recipes (and memories) with friends and family are really special moments. My “Chew This!” column today is dedicated to a near and dear friend of mine – Judi. She is one of the strongest women I know, in many ways.

My Grandma Barbra and I first met her awhile back, while we were out cookbook shopping. Ever since that first meeting, we have been close friends. She was so excited to share this recipe with me – and even MORE excited when I told her it was going to be a future column piece…she could not wait for it to be shared with everyone! I took the recipe, added some of my favorite seasonings, and it has been on rotation at the dinner table ever since.

It is simple, fresh and so delicious!

Judi's Red Cabbage Salad Chew This Blaise Doubman

Judi’s Red Cabbage Salad

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_71e994f8-ed11-11e4-a718-9f49e677b0d1.html

Thanks again Judi! Recipe collector, story sharer and friend.

Blaise

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