Chew This! Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Happy “Chew This” Sunday! I am so excited to share this recipe with everyone for “Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies”! I have some of the best Holiday memories making, and decorating, these delicious cookies! I have never been the “world’s best decorator”, but with these, you do not need to be! That is how these are supposed to look, made from scratch and decorated with love…

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Chew This Blaise Doubman

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are perfect for any time of year…
Blaise Doubman

Last year, my friend and neighbor Brooke Trennepohl, asked if I could provide some cookies for a “Frozen” themed birthday party she was throwing, and I happily agreed. I immediately went to work on testing recipes for both cookie and frosting. I found that the basic sugar cookie lacked flavor so I went to work on what I could add or take away, to make the cookie taste better and more like the ones I remembered from my childhood. During my childhood my grandparents and I would always decorate sugar cookies about a week before Christmas. I remember my Grandma Deloris and I decorating the cookies with bright blue frosting and all colors of sprinkles and decorations before I would dig in and eat most before she could even box them for me, to take them home. My Grandma Barbra and I would decorate the cookies with different colored sugars before baking them. Both were equally delicious and memorable. Ever since, I bake some type of Holiday cookie around Christmas, decorated or not, and I always remember the times and memories tied in with each cookie baking experience.

After experimenting with several different flavorings and sugars for this recipe, I found that a little pure almond extract really added to the overall flavor of the cookie, and really paired nice with the pure vanilla extract that I found essential to the cookie. After adding a little more flour than most recipes, a little more salt and an extra egg, what I would consider to be the “perfect” cut-out sugar cookie recipe was born. I use this recipe for anytime I want a delicious cut-out sugar cookie. Birthdays, Holidays, or just every day, I hope this recipe brings you great memories like it has for me…

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting this recipe. There are a variety of ways to top these (if desired) but my favorite ways are by using royal icing, or a tinted buttercream frosting. Experiment and have fun! To make royal icing, beat 4 large egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in 4 cups powdered sugar and the juice from one lemon. Beat until thick and glossy. To make tinted buttercream frosting, beat 2 sticks of unsalted butter together with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Next add 3 ½ cups powdered sugar and beat well. Finish by adding ¼ teaspoon salt and heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency. You will need around 3 tablespoons of heavy cream.

5 cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together 4 cups of the white all-purpose flour with the baking powder and salt until everything is combined. This is an easier and quicker way of “sifting” together the ingredients. Sit aside the other 1 cup of white all-purpose flour for sprinkling when ready to roll out the dough later.

In a separate large bowl, beat together the unsalted butter and white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture.

Next, add the 2 large eggs, pure almond extract and pure vanilla extract to the beaten butter and sugar mixture and combine until fully incorporated.

Gradually, add the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing a little at a time until a soft dough forms around your wooden spoon.

Turn the dough out onto the counter, and divide into two equal parts. Using the palms of your hands, flatten each out into a disk shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready to roll out and cut your cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow them to stand at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before rolling with your rolling pin.

When ready to roll out, lightly sprinkle a flat work surface and rolling pin with the reserved white all-purpose flour. Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll out the dough until about ¼-inch thick.

Cut out the cookies, using your desired cookie cutters, and transfer the cookies onto the parchment paper lined baking sheets. Repeat this process once with the leftover dough and discard the scraps. Repeat with the 2nd disc of dough.

When ready to bake off the cookies, place in preheated oven for 15 minutes until set and lightly golden brown in color.

Allow the cookies to cool on their baking sheets, before removing.

Decorate the cookies in any way that you desire before serving and eating.

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Foolproof Caramel Frosting

I have decided to share with everyone my recipe for a “foolproof” caramel frosting. My Grandma Barbra and I have been using this recipe for years, and she originally got it from her friend and neighbor, Mitzi.

  

Foolproof Caramel Frosting

1 (4 oz.) stick salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole white milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Melt the salted stick of butter with the light brown sugar and pinch of salt in a large pot over medium heat and allow to cook for two minutes.

Add the whole white milk and stir until it comes to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, off the heat, add the tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and all four cups of powdered sugar. Using a wire whisk, beat until everything is smooth and combined, and no lumps are visible.

Pour immediately on cake and allow to sit until it comes to room temperature.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

There has been a lot of people write to me and ask if I had a recipe for a complete “slow cooker” meal. I have a few slow cooker recipes, but nothing that could be labeled a “complete meal”. I decided to have some fun with this one, and add potatoes, carrots and pearl onions. The result? Fantastic! Of course, I made it several more times just to be sure – and, my hunches were right…fabulous!

This recipe is versatile and can be made with other vegetables, of course, but I find the combination of potatoes, carrots and pearl onions to be perfectly mouthwatering and perfect. I LOVE pearl onions, and really need to use them more in my cooking…but more on that later.

Save, print and share this recipe! You will be making it for years to come…

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables Chew This Blaise Doubman

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

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

A warm and delicious slow cooker meal, perfect for cold weather…
Blaise Doubman

I have to admit that I’ve never been a slow cooker fan, until recently. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because of the “slow cooking” process? I’ve never been one to have an extreme amount of patience, and the whole concept of cooking something over the course of several hours never really appealed to me. If you feel the same way, let me reassure you of something that I’m sure will change your mind. When you cook food low and slow, especially meat, you will have the most succulent and tender piece of meat you can ever imagine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the process of “slow cooking” and this method can actually be used to benefit you in the long run by eliminating the clean up of several pots and pans, and by adding time to your day.

If you are like almost every single person in the world today, you need more hours in the day, am I right? You work a hectic job, try and get everything done for everybody else and don’t have that much time to cook when you finally get home in the evenings. And believe me, after a full, hectic and stressful day, a warm home cooked meal is exactly what is needed. Grabbing something from a fast food chain just will not warm and comfort the soul like something fresh and made at home where you control what goes in, and stays out, of the finished dish. Prepare this complete meal in the morning, go about your daily life, and come home to a meal that is warm, soothing, flavorful and completely satisfying. Try this worry and hassle free meal for a surefire hit!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

It’s essential that you cut the beef roast in half to ensure even cooking. This recipe is very versatile and can be made with a variety of vegetables other than potatoes and carrots. For something different try fennel with the onions, or even fennel, onions, celery and garlic. Experiment with whatever vegetable and flavors you desire. You can also experiment with the types of beef used, and use any boneless cut from the chuck or round – such as a rump roast or a bottom round roast. It’s really about preference. I have found, though, that the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast results in the most tender and succulent result. If you want to add even more flavor to the recipe, brown all sides of the roast in a skillet with a little flour before adding it to your slow cooker. This will develop a “crust” which will help lock in the final juices.

1, 4-5 pound boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
4 large potatoes, washed, peeled, and medium diced
4 large carrots, washed and medium diced
2 cups white pearl onions
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 ½ cups water
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package au jus gravy mix

Start by spraying your slow cooker liner with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray.

Place the diced potatoes, diced carrots and pearl onions in the slow cooker, and sprinkle them evenly with the salt and black pepper.

Cut the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast in half with a sharp knife and place it in the slow cooker, on top of the vegetables. Depending on the size of the roast, you may need to push it down into the center of the vegetables, to make sure the lid fits.

Pour in the water, and sprinkle in the dry onion soup mix, brown gravy mix and au jus gravy mix. Place the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4 hours, or cook on low for 8 hours.

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Karen’s Molten Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is dedicated to my “Blaise the Baker FAN OF THE YEAR 2015”. It is a recipe for delicious and foolproof molten chocolate cake – in cupcake form! The instant coffee granules and extra splash of pure vanilla extract really gives these cakes that unmistakable rich chocolate flavor.

Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature before starting. You will want to save this one… Perfect for the upcoming Holiday season AND easy to make ahead.

If making ahead – bake and allow to cool. Wrap each individually in aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to reheat, place cupcakes, still in foil, into preheated 200 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 

  

  
Karen’s Molten Chocolate Cupcakes 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup white granulated sugar
4 large eggs
½ cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, mix together the unsalted butter, and white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. If hand-mixing, beat about 75 strokes after each egg addition. 

Next, add in the white-all purpose flour and salt. Mix well.

Gently stir in the pure vanilla extract and instant coffee granules. 

Finally, add in the melted chocolate and stir just until combined together.

Divide the batter evenly between all 12 cupcake cups. 

Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes exactly. Once baked, remove cupcakes carefully, and allow to cool slightly – but not too long. Cut into and eat. 

Enjoy!

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Photo credit: Karen Wirima