ASK Blaise the Baker 09/29/15

Time for some new questions! 

Ask Blaise the Baker Logo

Q: Why don’t you use cream of tartar in your Snickerdoodle cookie recipe? (Recipe here:

A: Because I use vegetable shortening in my cookies to develop that perfect “chewiness” I am looking for, there is really no need to add cream of tartar. If you are afraid of using vegetable shortening for cookies such as these, use unsalted butter in its place, and add about 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.

Q: What other “mix-ins” can I add to your “no-churn” ice cream? (Recipe here:

A: ANYTHING! Seriously – anything! Gummy worms, crushed up peanut butter cookies, lemon peel, orange peel, lime peel, maple syrup, caramel, candied nuts, and on and on and on…

Q: Where can I follow you on Pinterest?


Q: Do you use parchment paper or silpats when baking cookies and why?

A: I have used both, but use parchment paper most often. I do not enjoy silpats… nothing against them, but they are just not my cup of tea.

Q: What is an easy way of converting US measurements to Metric?

A: I always send people to this website –

Q: I have an 8-inch (or 9-inch) round cake recipe that makes two of the desired size. I want to convert this to a 13×9-inch baking pan. How do I do this? Should I adjust the ingredient measurements?

A: No – leave the measurements alone. Two 8-inch (or 9-inch approx.) cakes are equal to a 13×9-inch cake. The amount of batter will be the same, just watch the baking time and adjust if necessary.

Q: What is the difference between a metal and glass baking pan?

A: Baking in a glass pan will take longer than baking in a metal pan. Metal pans also will heat up faster, and maintain their heat longer. Use the type of pan that’s listed in the recipe.

Q: Can I hire you to provide goodies for my wedding / baby shower / birthday / party?

A: Eventually, yes. Right now, no. I will alert everyone here, as well as on my Facebook page (see link above), Twitter page ( and Instagram page ( when my “Blaise the Baker POP-UP Shop” will be available to take orders. STAY TUNED!

Q: My chocolate chips always sink to the bottom of my cookies. Why?

A: To avoid this problem, I always coat my chocolate chips in about a tablespoon of flour before adding them to the batter. This also works for chocolate chunks, apples, blueberries, etc. (in muffins, scones…)

Q: What is the difference between “all purpose” flour and “self rising” flour?

A: “All purpose” flour doesn’t contain anything other than flour. “Self rising” flour contains flour, baking powder and salt. I always use “all purpose” flour in my recipes. If you want to make your own “self rising” flour, combine 1 cup “all-purpose” flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Q: How can I keep my chocolate from burning when I melt it?

A: The trick I have learned over the years, is that you take away the chocolate from the heat source BEFORE all of the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from the heat source before the chocolate is melted, and stir until completely melted. This has always worked for me…

Thanks everyone for your questions! If you have a question, please email me – for an answer. I will get directly back with you, and your question / answer may appear HERE in future posts to help other people who may have the same question.

Thanks for asking!



Cookbook Corner – Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook

I am in love with this cookbook, and I am so happy to be able to share my review and experience with all of you! My “Blaise the Baker” COOKBOOK CORNER is a place where I can share the cookbooks that I love and want to share. It is not about publicity or pushing a cookbook written by a friend of mine or trying to impress everyone with a “first look” or even trying to ramp up “numbers” for a group or a page. That is what I love about my COOKBOOK CORNER. It is a place where I can share what I love – or what I am currently loving – with all of you – my readers! So let us restart things here a bit and dive into…

Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corner

“Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook” By: Sarabeth Levine

You may recognize Sarabeth’s name from a variety of sources. She is the founder of “Sarabeth’s” restaurants and bakeries. She also has an award-winning line of spreadable fruits and specially food products sold nationwide – and abroad. She is also the author (along with Rick Rodgers), of the highly acclaimed and successful cookbook “Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hand to Yours”. She has also earned the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef”. Impressive right!? Perhaps that is where her name is ringing a bell with you. She’s also been featured in a variety of publications.

I remember picking up her first cookbook at my local library and admiring the cover. Simple and classic. I know – do not judge a book by its cover – but realistically we all do it. I opened the book, flipped over it, and decided to check it out.

Eventually I brought the book back – about 2 months late (no judging) and decided I would purchase a copy. Yes, I fell behind in returning the book – but I was an employee at the Library so I had extra benefits. Onto the book…
I baked my way through most of the recipes and was highly impressed. And not just with the recipes, but when Sarabeth’s way of conveying the recipes and stories to you. I absolutely loved it…

And now, I can say…I feel almost the exact same way with this one – her newest cookbook.

Why almost!? Well, I have to confess – I like this book better. Why? I love breakfast…and I got that love from my Grandpa Max.

He loved breakfast, but hated the early hours that came with it. So what did he do!? Had breakfast for dinner most times – and he loved experiencing and finding new recipes. His love for breakfast rubbed off on me because I too, love the first meal of the day and all that comes with it.

If you love breakfast (or brunch) or even having breakfast for dinner – this book is for you! I highly recommend you stop reading – and order it NOW! But – please feel free to continue – because I am about to tell you about one of the greatest breakfast books that I have ever come across…

The book is big in size – and big in flavor. The recipes are big and bold in flavor, and the photographs are beautifully done and polished.

This book is divided into twelve “chapters”, each one bursting with even more flavor and recipes than the one before it. There is also a lovely “introduction” and a very informative section called “Sarabeth’s Pantry”. The chapters are…

Fruity Beginnings / Whole Grains / Pancakes, Flaps and Blintzes / Waffles and French Toast / Muffins, Scones and Cakes / Breads and Yeasted Treats / Sauces, Spreads, Preserves and Pickles / Eggs Every Way / Frittatas and Stratas / Quiches and Savory Pasties / Potatoes, Meat and Fish / Soups and Salads.

Here is a quick glimpse into just some of the delicious recipes that fill this book…

“”Morning Fruit Bowl” (page 10), “Pear, Ginger and Yogurt Parfaits” (page 17), Vanilla Bean Lemonade” (page 19), “Slow-Cooked Steel Cut Oats” (page 29), “Creamy Wheat Cereal” (page 33), “Creamy Polenta with Peaches and Chestnut Honey” (page 36), “Milk Toasts: Comfort in a Bowl” (which brings back memories to me because my Grandpa Max enjoyed a similar concept – page 37), “Granola Bars” (page 40), “Morning Cookies” (page 43), Classic Buttermilk Pancakes” (page 57), “Corn Pancakes” (page 61), “Souffléd Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes” (page 64), “Cheese Blintzes” (page 69), “Buttermilk Waffles with Fresh Berries and Cream” (page 81), “Gingerbread-Coffee Waffles” (SO delicious and page 83), “Fat-and-Fluffy French Toast” (the best recipe I’ve found for French Toast and page 91), “Poppy Seed Muffins” (page 105), “Apple-Hazelnut Muffins” (page 110), “Cranberry Cream Scones” (page 113), “Water Mill Biscuits” (page 118), “Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake” (AMAZING and page 125), “Apple Custard Cake” (page 130), “Sarabeth’s House Bread” (page 140), “Popovers” (page 150), “Honey-Pecan Sticky Buns” (page 159), “Raspberry Maple Syrup” (page 167), “Strawberry Jam” (page 178), “Chunky Apple Butter” (page 181), “Deviled Egg Salad” (page 190), “Ultimate Scrambled Eggs” (page 195), “The Red Omelet” (page 202), “Shrimp and Tarragon Frittata” (page 212), “Vegetable Ricotta Frittata” (page 214), “Heirloom Tomato Crostata” (page 226), “Spinach-Gruyere Quiche” (page 233), “Potato Cake” (page 244), “Apple-Sausage Crumble” (page 248), “Roasted Chicken and Fennel Patties” (page 250), “Crunchy Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce” (A personal favorite and page 257), “Velvety Cream of Tomato Soup” (page 266), “Buttermilk Dressing” (page 271) and “Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Honey-Grapefruit Vinaigrette” (page 273).

How amazing do those recipes sound!? And let me tell you – that is only the tip of the iceberg… Fabulous, full of flavor recipes really fill out this book beautifully.

I highly recommend you buy this book, here…

Have a cookbook you would recommend or like to me take a look at!? Email me –

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 Sarabeth Levine for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.


Chew This! Mrs. Byrd Winters’ Yellow Angel Food Cake with Bitter Sweet Icing AND Jell-O Red Velvet Cupcakes

I am so excited to be sharing this “Chew This!” column with everyone! This one was a labor of love that involved quite a few people, and several recipes (that I narrowed down) and honestly – it was such a fun experience! Special thanks and shout out to Patricia McDaniel, Lisa Perry, Donna Cronk and, in passing, Charlene Perry and Catherine Winters. We may never know what happened to Catherine, but we do have some inspiring recipes.

The angel food cake with bitter sweet icing (original spelling) was a huge hit – as was my Jell-O red velvet cupcakes (which have appeared here before – but with different frosting). Such an interesting history presented itself with this column… And last but not least, thank you to YOU (the reader). Without you – I would not be able to do any of this…and words can not describe how much you all mean to me.

Thank you xo

Blaise the Baker Chew This Angel Food Cake and Red Velvet Cupcakes

Mrs. Byrd Winters’ Yellow Angel Food Cake with Bitter Sweet Icing AND Jell-O Red Velvet Cupcakes

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 20th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Recipe mix: Catherine Winters, Angel Food Cake and Cupcakes…
Blaise Doubman

Not that long ago, I was contacted by Patricia McDaniel, Chair of the Historic National Road Yard Sale, to let me know that two of my submitted recipes had made the upcoming cookbook the “Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook” – Volume 6. I expressed my excitement, and told her of my plans to write about it here for my column. We were discussing ideas and she asked if I had ever heard of Catherine Winters. I told her yes! While working at the New Castle – Henry County Public Library, I would hear questions about Catherine Winters from patrons several times a week. I always found the story fascinating. After talking about Catherine for awhile, Patricia sent me a few recipes that can be tracked down to that family and that time in history.

I’m sharing two of those recipes here with you. I am also including a recipe for my red velvet cupcakes – which will appear in Volume 6 of the “Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook”. Patricia told me that more of Catherine’s family recipes will be included in the cookbook, as well as my recipe for “Grandpa Max’s Stuffed Green Bell Peppers”. For more information please contact Patricia at

Mrs. Byrd Winters’ Yellow Angel Food Cake with Bitter Sweet Icing

This cake is an old recipe that was originally found in “Good Things To Eat” By: The Gleaner Glass. The old, brittle and coverless book was discovered by Charlene Perry in an antique store along route 40 one summer. Since then, the book and recipe have been shared by Charlene’s daughter, Lisa. The recipes have a connection with Catherine Winters – it was Byrd Winters’ who submitted this recipe, along with some other recipes that were published and shared by her Sunday school class…

For the cake…

1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cold water
½ cup hot water
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tarter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff

For the icing…

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz. dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Beat together the white granulated sugar, egg yolks and cold water until very light in color. Next, beat in the hot water. Sift together twice, the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, cream of tarter and salt, before adding to the mixture. Beat in pure vanilla extract before gently folding in the beaten egg whites. Place mixture in a tube-pan and bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and invert pan until cake has finished cooling.

To make the icing, mix together the powdered sugar, melted salted butter, cream and pure vanilla extract. Spread this on the cooled cake. Drizzle melted dark chocolate on top before serving.

Jello Red Velvet Cupcakes

This recipe was originally published on my “Blaise the Baker” blog, and went on to be one of my most popular recipes for 2014. It’s also one of the recipes that will be published in the upcoming “Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook” – Volume 6. For the publication of this column, I’ve changed my original recipe to include a delicious cinnamon cream cheese frosting, which is perfect for Autumn…

For the cupcakes…

1 package Red Velvet cake mix
1 3.9 oz. package of Jello Instant chocolate pudding

For the frosting…

1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 ½ – 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Whole milk

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake wrappers and lightly spray each cup with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together the cake mix according to the package directions, being sure when adding the water, the water is hot.

Once thoroughly mixed together, add in the package of Jello instant chocolate pudding, and mix to combine.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the unsalted butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Next, beat in the powdered sugar and pure vanilla extract. Add in the ground cinnamon and combine. To reach desired consistency, add a little whole milk if needed.

Frost cupcakes and serve.


Caramel Monkey Bread

My Grandma Barbra and I made “Caramel Monkey Bread” from the previous months’ issue of “Food Network Magazine”. It was pretty good – a little dry. I added some extra caramel syrup on top after slicing and serving. Next time I also believe I will add cream cheese to the middle of each biscuit piece. Here is the final recipe we ended up with…

Caramel Monkey Bread Blaise the Baker

Caramel Monkey Bread

4 (7 1/2 oz. each) tubes biscuit dough
1 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. and butter and flour a tube pan generously.

Open the biscuit dough and cut each biscuit into four pieces.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the white granulated sugar and ground cinnamon.

Roll half the biscuit pieces into the cinnamon and sugar mixture – placing them evenly in the prepared pan.

Pour over 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce evenly over the biscuit pieces.

Roll the other half of the biscuit pieces in the cinnamon and sugar mixture – and place these on top of the other biscuit pieces covered in caramel sauce.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of caramel sauce over all and bake in preheated oven for 37 minutes exactly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes before inverting onto a platter. Serve warm.



Old-Fashioned Chocolate Icebox Cake

This delicious, old-fashioned icebox cake, was a staple in my Great Grandma Flora’s recipe box. My Grandma Barbra said that, she too, used to serve it quite a bit. She also said she has used vanilla wafers and strawberry jam with the whipped cream to create a vanilla and strawberry version. Yum! My version is 2 ingredients – and no, no sugar or vanilla extract needs to be added to the whipping cream. Delicious…

Old Fashioned Icebox Cake Blaise the Baker

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Icebox Cake

1 package (9 oz.) “Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies”
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Start by making the whipped cream. Whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form and set aside.

Place about a teaspoon size amount of the whipped cream on top of a chocolate wafer cookie. Stack a cookie on top and repeat the process. Once you have several cookies high, carefully lay on a long plate or platter and continue laying cookies against each other. Be sure to keep the stacked cookies in a straight line. If they move a little – adjust them and line them up with your hands until even.

Once all the cookies are used, “frost” the cookie cake with the remaining whipped cream, being sure to enclose the entire cake.

Optional: top with crushed chocolate cookie crumbs.

Place in refrigerator for at least 7 hours. Remove and slice diagonally for presentation.



Chew This! Intense Chocolate Cake

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! This recipe I really really wanted to label a “health food” – but I just could not. Why would I want to label this rich, decadent and fudgey chocolate cake a “health food”?! Because the dark chocolate I have used in the cake is SO good for you – seriously! A little dark chocolate everyday is pretty much recommended by all Doctor’s now – right!?

Well, regardless of your beliefs, or how you feel about the health benefits of dark chocolate, I highly recommend you try this cake…

Intense Chocolate Cake

Intense Chocolate Cake

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 6th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Dark, dense and intense chocolate cake…
Blaise Doubman

Did you know that it’s been proven that a little dark chocolate is good for not only the body and mind, but for the soul also? It’s true! The benefits of chocolate are amazing! In my research I’ve found several interesting facts about chocolate. Did you know that chocolate may lower cholesterol levels? Chocolate may also prevent memory decline, and also may reduce the risk of heart disease. The chocolate that is studied in most scientific studies is dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate the better it is for health.

Discussing all of this almost makes me want to label this delicious, dense chocolate cake a “health” food – but I think that’s taking things a little too far. The chocolate used is considered “dark” (its 60% cacao) but the butter, sugar and flour may stray it from finding this anywhere near the word “health”. Given that, a small piece of this cake (says me) is the perfect prescription for someone needing a little slice of happiness and for someone needing an instant mood-boost. I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat chocolate, I instantly feel better. Maybe it’s just me…

Intense Chocolate Cake

This cake is beyond decadent. Serve small slices dusted with powdered sugar, or alongside some ice cream. Place the cake in the refrigerator for an even richer texture and crumb.

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 60% cacao chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch spring form cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour. (Or you can use “Baker’s Joy” non-stick spray that already has the flour in it.)

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Stir occasionally so the butter doesn’t burn. Once hot and bubbly, add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate and butter combine together and are smooth and velvety.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the large eggs, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, instant coffee granules, pure vanilla extract and salt until combined. Add in the melted butter and chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined.

Pour the finished batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool completely before removing, cutting and serving.