Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Who does not love the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich? It is traditional, delicious and comforting all rolled into one. I got to thinking about that, and thought – why not transform that sandwich into a dessert? I thought about peanut butter and jelly cookies (my Grandma Barbra eats jelly on top of her peanut butter cookies) but decided for it to be portable, and less messy, it would need to be a “bar” of some kind. The first time I tried these with less jelly, but in the end, decided they needed more jelly. These are absolutely perfect!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, slightly melted
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups smooth peanut butter
3 cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups strawberry jam or jelly

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and spraying a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Next, line the pan with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. This will ensure the bars to be easily removed when finished baking.

In a large bowl, combine the slightly melted butter and white granulated sugar until throughly mixed, light in color and creamy.

Next, add in the pure vanilla extract, large eggs and smooth peanut butter. Combine this and mix together well.

Finally, add in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir this together just until everything is combined throughly.

Place over half of this mixture into the prepared pan, spread and push down evenly with clean fingers. You want the base to be as even as possible – this is important.

In a medium sized bowl, place the strawberry jam/jelly and stir well until it turns into a spreadable consistency.

Place the jam/jelly on top of the dough base and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon.

Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top of the jam/jelly. Don’t worry about consistency here – just crumble as evenly over the top as you can.

Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving. This is best kept refrigerated.

Enjoy!

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Potato Chip Monster Cookies

I love “monster cookies”, but I grew up with my Grandma Barbra calling them “Kitchen Sink Cookies”. Whatever you call them, call them delicious. These are the perfect combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. Very addictive! Feel free to substitute the Mini Reese Pieces for chocolate chips. Also feel free to add up to 1/2 cup of your favorite nut variety.

Potato Chip Monster Cookies

1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup crushed plain potato chips
1 10 oz. bag Mini Reece Pieces

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheets by lining each with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar and solid vegetable shortening. Mix in the two large eggs, pure vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda beat until light and fluffy.

Next add in the white all-purpose flour, and stir until combined. Stir in the quick cooking oats and stir.

Stir in the crushed potato chips.

Finally, stir in the mini Reese Pieces.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Roll the dough into balls, but don’t press flat. Keep dough balls about 3-4 inches from each other – giving them plenty of room to spread when baking.

Place in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on baking sheets before enjoying.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Mug

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! (And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!) As many of you already know, I have a food column in “The Courier-Times” on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s each month. It is a place where I can share my stories and recipes, and I love it! I am always trying to think of new and different recipes to share with everyone – and this one takes the cake! Or, well, cookie! Ha!

I spent longer than a person might think in developing this recipe, but the reward was well worth all the time, trouble and sink loads of dishes. The recipe produces a single chocolate chip cookie in less than two minutes. Two. Minutes! It is dangerous – it is fun – it is addictive – it is delicious!

This recipe was tested in your average microwave. Do not try and bake this in the oven – or a convection oven. If the cookie is still gooey after your 50 seconds, microwave 10 seconds longer. If too dry, microwave less. 50 seconds worked for me.



Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Mug

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 19th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A Single Serving of Chocolate Chip Cookie
Blaise Doubman

I love chocolate chip cookies! Ever since I was a little boy, there is nothing, to me, more satisfying than baking and eating chocolate chip cookies. My earliest memory of my love for these cookies had to be in Kindergarten. My Mom, Darla, would promise me that there would be a batch of chocolate chip cookies waiting on me when I got home from school, if I would go and behave. The trick worked every time. I can remember on some days, looking at my little Mickey Mouse watch, and counting down the minutes until it was time to go home. Which for me, meant going home to nice warm chocolate chip cookies. That memory is fond for me…

My love for the cookie has followed me for years now, and I just can’t seem to get enough! I’ve developed countless chocolate chip cookie recipes for my blog, so for this recipe I wanted to create something different and unique. Awhile back I developed a recipe for a chocolate cake in a mug, and put it on my blog. There were rave reviews, so it got me to thinking – why not have a chocolate chip cookie in a mug? The development for this took awhile, because I just couldn’t get that cookie consistency I was looking for. Then finally, I skipped the baking powder and baking soda, and just went right in with the rest of the ingredients. I also left out the egg white, but needed the egg yolk for binder and flavor. The result was fabulous! This recipe is short, easy and simple. I’ve made it so many times that I actually have it memorized, and don’t even have to use measuring equipment anymore! That could be a good thing…or a bad thing! Just think of this as a single serve size chocolate chip cookie, but warm from the microwave, not the oven.

Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Mug

You can use milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or even peanut butter chips for this recipe. Also feel free to substitute the light brown sugar, for dark brown. Experiment and have fun with this recipe! For a “Snickerdoodle” cookie in a mug, use this recipe but leave out the chocolate chips. Instead, sprinkle the top, before placing into the microwave, with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 large egg yolk
3 ½ tablespoons white all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by melting the butter completely in a medium sized mug in the microwave.

Next, add in the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and salt. Combine everything together with a fork.

Add in the large egg yolk, and combine before adding in the white all-purpose flour.

Finally, add in the semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir well.

Place in microwave, and on 100% power, microwave for exactly 50 seconds.

Remove from the microwave, and allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

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Coconut Chocolate Brownies

I am not the biggest can of coconut, but when mixed with sweetened condensed milk, topped and covered with chocolate – now maybe THIS I can do… AND the best part? It is easy – and tastes just like that popular candy bar you can grab up by the checkout counter. 

Try these today…

Coconut Chocolate Brownies

1 package brownie mix (13×9-inch)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, (mixed with 1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
5 cups shredded coconut, divided
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tub chocolate fudge frosting

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spraying a 13×9-inch pan with floured baking non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, prepare the brownie mix according to packaged directions. Mix in the chocolate chips and instant coffee granules. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 28 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine 4 cups of the shredded coconut with the can of sweetened condensed milk.

When the brownies finish baking, remove from the oven and immediately top with the shredded coconut mixture. Spread evenly with a knife.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the remaining 1 cup shredded coconut, stirring continuously, until the coconut becomes toasted and brown.

Spread the toasted coconut out over foil or parchment paper – and allow to cool slightly.

In the microwave, place the plastic tub of frosting (remove the lid and foil wrapper) for 1 minute.

Pour the melted frosting evenly over the brownies and coconut mixture. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon.

Finally, top with the toasted coconut. Refrigerate until firm, then cut and enjoy. If cutting while warm, enjoy with caution – the coconut brownie is hot! This is also perfect served with ice cream.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Skillet Meatballs

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! For those who already know – I have a food column in “The Courier-Times” on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s each month. It is a place where I share my recipes and the stories behind them. This one is fabulous, and I am so excited to be sharing it with everyone! Do you like meatballs in your spaghetti? What about as an appetizer? What about placed inside a sub bun, and topped with shredded cheese? Me? I think all ways sound delicious, and I can not wait to hear what you think about my “skillet meatballs”!


Skillet Meatballs

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 5th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Homemade meatballs are deliciously versatile…
Blaise Doubman

When developing a recipe, the first thing on my mind is flavor. What will add to the overall flavor of the recipe, what ingredients will contribute to the flavors I’m looking for and what will pair nicely with the flavors? Most of the time I’ll eat something I want to recreate and it will go from there. Take this recipe for skillet meatballs for example. There’s a popular restaurant chain that has a meatball sandwich on its menu. I’ve eaten this more times than I’m willing to admit, and after a friend and I got to thinking about what could possibly be the secret ingredient in their meatballs, I sat out to crack the code myself. It took a little experimentation, several recipe testers and lots of ground beef, but I can happily say, I cracked the code.

I have a recipe on my blog for hamburgers that are perfect on a charcoal grill and served with cooked onions and peppers. I remember developing that recipe and adding all kinds of things to the ground beef, to try and add flavor. Then I thought – why am I doing this? You want to be able to taste the freshness of the ground beef, right? So I went minimal, which is what I’ve done here. I’ve added bread crumbs to help bind the meatballs and hold them together, and added two main flavor components – yellow squirt mustard and fresh basil. The yellow squirt mustard gives the ground beef subtitle flavor, and the fresh basil combines nicely with the overall flavors and adds a fresh background note. This is my go to meatball recipe…

Skillet Meatballs

I prefer this method over baking them in the oven. These are very versatile. The recipe can be doubled, tripled or more! These are delicious served over warm spaghetti or, my personal favorite, placed into sub buns and served with homemade tomato sauce, or marinara sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan. These also make a perfect appetizer. Serve with toothpicks and a side dish of tomato sauce and/or barbecue sauce. Keep them warm by placing them in a low heated slow cooker. 

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon yellow squirt mustard
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Start by placing the panko bread crumbs in a small bowl and pouring over the whole milk. Allow the bread crumbs to soak for 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the ground beef and 1 tablespoon yellow squirt mustard, along with the diced onion, melted butter, eggs, chopped basil, salt, pepper and milk soaked bread crumbs.

Mix everything together using a fork, and a light hand. Be careful not the over mix the meat mixture.

Heat about 1/4-inch of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Allow to heat up 2 minutes.

Form the meat mixture into meatballs a little bigger than the size of your standard ping pong ball and place into the skillet.

Fry the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes. You will need to turn them occasionally.

Serve on spaghetti, as appetizers with toothpick holders or in sub-buns as meatball sub sandwiches, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

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Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Frosting

I am a huge fan of cupcakes! I love making them, eating them – but not decorating them… I am not the World’s Best Decorator by any means – I think it is because my focus is always on the eating of the dessert – and less on how it looks. Regardless, the perfect garnish can hide some imperfections – like the sliced banana garnish I use for these!

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart. You can Google her version of the recipe and see what changes I made. I added more cupcakes to the total amount baked, changed some of the measurements and added some flavorful ingrediants. I am always looking on how to improve a recioe – and in this case – I have done it!

Instead of making banana bread next time you have some ripe bananas to use – make these moist and delicious cupcakes!

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Frosting

For the cupcakes…
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
4 ripe bananas, mashed 
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

For the frosting…
4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
1 tablespoon pure honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 12-cup cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Lightly spray cups with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, mix together the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. 

Next, add in the melted and cooled unsalted butter, mashed bananas, large eggs and pure vanilla extract. 

Gently fold everything together, being very careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold until all the white streaks of flour have disappeared. 

Next, divide the batter evenly between the cupcake tins. This batter makes 18 cupcakes and you need to fill them each 3/4 of the way full to the top.

Pour a small amount of water into the remaining 4 empty cupcake cavities. 

Place in preheated oven for exactly 27 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the melted and cooled unsalted butter with the honey, ground cinnamon and salt. Add in enough powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. You’ll want a frosting that is thick, ice cream consistency, but yet easy spreadable. 

To frost the cupcakes, divide the frosting evenly between the cupcakes, and frost accordingly. 

Enjoy!

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Cookbook Corner – and Giveaway – Delicious Dump Cakes

I am SO excited to talk about my newest “Cookbook Corner”! I can not imagine how fun this book was to write – because it was a BLAST to taste a lot of the recipes inside. 


“Deliciois Dump Cakes” By: Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

This book is short in length, but HUGE in fun and flavor! I can not remember the last time I had such FUN recipe testing a book for my “Cookbook Corner”! I am highly HIGHLY recommending this to everyone who loves to bake. And do not let “dump cakes” scare you away – it is great! Trust me…

Let us start with QVC and “In the Kitchen with David”. That is where I first discovered this book – and my interest quickly peaked when I seen David take a bite of the “Peanut Butter Cup Dump Cake” – and did his famous “happy dance”. I had to learn more. And can we talk about Roxanne and Kathy? They are so cute! 

As soon as I got the book – I flipped over it, and knew that I would love it. For those of you who are wondering about a cookbook using cake mixes to make “dump cakes” – just admit it already – you use them – and you love them. But – if you really would rather NOT use a cake mix, Roxanne and Kathy have recipes to make your own homemade “cake mix”. 

The recipes in this book are fun, festive, versatile and delicious! So many different flavor combinations are profiled in this book – from cakes with blueberries, lemon, chocolate, peanut butter, orange, cherry, strawberry, and on and on. 

The photos are fabulous, the recipes foolproof and delicious, and one of my FAVORITE recipes? The “Peanut Butter Cup Dump Cake” on page 81. When you get this book – TRY IT FIRST! 

Here’s a picture…


Look delicious!? Look how it looks when it’s actually BAKED – 


IT. IS. DELICIOUS! And seriously – one of the best dump cakes I have ever had in my life. And guess what!? I used a cake mix! Yay! Ha!!! It was fun – and it was FABULOUS! 

To buy “Delicious Dump Cakes”, click here – http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Dump-Cakes-Desserts-Minutes/dp/1250082633

AND. GUESS. WHAT??? 


I loved this book so much – I immediately ordered another one – for YOU! My newest giveaway – is this book and you can enter to win! 

HOW!? 

Email me your name and address – blaisethebaker@gmail.com 

A random winner will be picked Monday June 6th, 2016. 

Good luck! 

Blaise

UPDATE: (06/06/16) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly!

Watch your emails…

-Blaise