Bookmarks 

When my cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” was released, several of the first few hundred copies did not include my Grandma Deloris’ autograph – her autograph came in the later edition. If you have an “early edition” (the version without her autograph) and would like her autograph, I have released limited edition “Blaise the Baker” bookmarks that are stamped with her autograph. If you would like one to go with your “early edition” cookbook please message me – or email me – and let me know. Please include your mailing address. Thank you! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Blaise 

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HER magazine feature – Honey Bun Cake

Thank you all so much for the lovely feedback and support that I have received today concerning my feature in the latest “HER magazine”. Your encouraging words and dedication mean everything to me and I could not be more grateful.

If you are an online subscriber to “The Courier-Times” and would like a copy of “HER magazine” – featuring my article, please email me your mailing address and I will send along a complimentary copy.

blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Thank you again!

Blaise

The following special feature has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times” magazine “HER magazine” Fall 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Life’s Journey: Three Influential Women in, and out, of the Kitchen…
Blaise Doubman

I look at my life as a long journey, like a road with twists and turns, a few bumps here and there, lots of surface and road signs along the way. Lots of people look at their lives in sections, chapters if you will, and most share the fact that life is all about the journey and to enjoy things as they come. I try to not worry about the future, the unknown, and take life as it comes. This philosophy in life was taught to me when I was younger by all three of the most influential women in my life. All three are wise, so I decided I had better listen, and follow their wisdom. Their words of wisdom have helped me a lot throughout my life, and my journey, especially my latest journey of “cookbook author”. It all started much earlier though, from about the time I was old enough to talk, and still continues with me to this day.

I was lucky enough to be born into a food loving family. My Mom, Darla Doubman, was always in the kitchen making recipes that had been handed down to her from her Mom, my Grandma, Deloris Bolinger, and my Grandma Deloris’ Mom, my Great Grandma, Viola Davis. Some of my favorite dishes that my Mom would make, and still continues to make, would have to be her Cheesy Potatoes with Sausage Casserole, Chili, Vegetable Beef Stew, Salmon Patties, Meatloaf and Baked Chicken just to name a few. She is also the Queen of side dishes, literally transforming the basic staples of all ingredients, into a mouthwatering side dish! I love her version of green bean casserole and I love the way she makes her mashed potatoes.

Growing up, six days a week, there would be a home cooked meal on the table for my Dad, Jamie, my brother, Damon, and I. It did not matter what my Mom had going on that day, she would always have a meal on the table just in time for dinner. For years my Mom worked as a substitute teacher at a local Christian school. Later on, she would become a sales associate for a large department store, as well as an independent beauty consultant. I remember wondering when I was younger how she found the time to create a from-scratch meal with her schedule! But she would work magic everytime and always delivered something memorable and delicious to the table, no matter what she had going on previous with the day’s events.

My Mom taught me a lot of what I know in the kitchen. My Mom’s a perfectionist, and the cooking and baking lessons got a little rocky – I like to clean up the kitchen when everything is done, whereas my Mom likes to clean up along the way – but we managed to work it out.

I remember her bribing me with chocolate cake to try and get me to go to school when I was younger. But I did not want to go to school! I wanted to stay home and bake, cook and eat! I already knew what the teachers were teaching and it bored me. Not a good enough excuse though, and I could not fool anyone – off to school I went, but to make a note here, I did most days come home to chocolate cake. This might explain why now, even to this day, I make a chocolate cake for myself whenever I feel like I have truly accomplished something.

Thinking back to my childhood memories, and my love for chocolate cake, brings me to the next influential woman in my life, none of them in any particular order because they have all helped me on an equal and balanced scale, my Grandma Barbra, Barbra Doubman.

My Grandma Barbra grew up telling everyone that her dream home would consist of “no kitchen” and that cooking was not really one of her biggest passions. Skip ahead to a marriage, to my Grandpa Junior Doubman, and three sons, Jamie, my Dad, and my two uncles, Brett and Troy, and her views in and out of the kitchen started to change. The more she was in the kitchen, the more she liked it and the better she got. The better she got, the more she enjoyed it! I still cannot believe that my Grandma Barbra once wished for a house with no kitchen! It is an inside joke in the Doubman family that if my Grandma is not in bed, she is in the kitchen. No matter the day, time of day, weather or mood, that is where you will find her.

My Grandma Barbra is a self-trained home cook, in every sense of the word. She prides herself on that, and that is exactly what I tell people I am, because I too pride myself on those words. Home cook. A home cook is more, to me and in my opinion, than a trained chef.

Now, you may be wondering why. Let me explain. When you’re a trained chef there are certain ways to chop, dice, etc. There are “rules” that you must follow. Not to say there’s not in being a home cook, but the flow and teaching in being a home cook are much more loose, personal and individualized. Nothing again chefs at all! I admire them, but in my view being a chef and being a home cook is like comparing day to night. There are similarities, sure, but they both stand apart in their own ways.

My Grandma Barbra is in every aspect a true home cook. She can literally take a handful of ingredients, add a few spices and turn it into something new and yet memorable in flavor. I often ask how she knows to add something acidic to this, or savory to that, or sweet to this and she just says “It just makes sense.” I credit a lot of it to trial and error I’m sure, but a certain part of that is magic to me. I’ve developed a taste and a feel in the kitchen that often reminds me of this. For example, I make a chocolate chip cookie recipe where I can literally “feel” the weight of the ingredients and know how much is there. I’ve made it so often, at least one thousand times, that it just comes naturally. I’ve also developed a “taste” for what a certain dish needs. For example, when making my fresh tomato salsa, more times than not, I’ll add white granulated sugar to take away some of that acidic flavor. I’ll also add in some lime juice and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Why? It just makes sense.

Repetitiveness is essential when developing your skills in the kitchen. There is no teacher quite like that of trial and error. I try not to take anything to seriously either though. If you fail making a batch of peanut butter cookies for example, what is the worst that can happen? You throw out the dough and start over? Yes, you have wasted some ingredients, but you have an experience, a moment, that you can take and learn from.

Do not give up. Another tidbit offered again and again by my three influential women. No matter what happens, have purpose, passion, follow through and do not give up or give in. Keep fighting.

This was proven true by my Grandma Barbra when I witnessed her fighting for her life over a year ago. Suddenly she was in the eye of the storm, fighting for her life, the unknown a fear for everyone. She embodied what it meant to have faith, compassion and understanding. It was a difficult time for everyone involved, but faith never wavered. Through faith, love, prayer and yes, food, we got through the difficult path and still continue to this day the fight and determination that is needed to live a healthy and positive life. There are so many times when all you need is a good life, good food and good company to get through some of the most difficult times. Her strength and determination have helped me through some difficult times of my own, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Her determination comes through in the kitchen as well. I remember one time we were making a new type of cake (a “bake and fill cake”) that required different cake pans. We read the instructions, made the cake and then discovered halfway through the baking time that we did not put in the “dome” part of the cake! The “dome” part of the cake was essential to “filling” the cake with candy later on, because it created a space in the cake to fill! It was a disaster. We finished baking the cake and I remember Grandma taking a spoon and digging out the center of the cake, where the “dome” should have been! I laughed and laughed and that got her tickled and she laughed and laughed. It was awful. Then to make matters worse, we put the second cake into the oven, went back to take it out after the timer had went off, and the cake was liquid! Grandma had turned off the oven completely after she had removed the first cake! That “bake and fill cake” didn’t have a chance. I was ready to give up, but Grandma kept on and finished the cake! It didn’t look very good, but we had finished it! It didn’t taste bad either so that was a plus. So many “accidents” like this in the kitchen can lead to great memories.

Another life lesson from another influential woman in my life comes from my Grandma Deloris, Deloris Bolinger. She taught me to always do the best you can with what you’ve got and never settle for anything less than your best.
I remember vividly when I was in the 6th grade getting an assignment to turn an igloo into some type of presentation. I was at a complete loss and was overwhelmed with what do to and how to do it when Grandma Deloris stepped in with an idea. She knew the project didn’t hold my attention, so to have it hold my attention; she turned it into a food type assignment. She took a large piece of foam board and covered it in aluminum foil. On top of the board she flipped a bowl upside down and placed it in the middle. Next, she cut in half a small paper cup and placed it outside of the bowl. I looked at her and wondered where this was going. Then, she got my attention. She brought out a huge bowl of sugar cubes and several tubes of vanilla frosting. She explained that to make an igloo we were going to cover the bowl, and the cut paper cup, with sugar cubes to make it look like ice. For the glue we would use the vanilla frosting! I had never been more excited and I started to work immediately. The project came together beautifully, impressed the teacher and got me an “A” on the assignment. It wasn’t known to many, but Grandma Deloris had to run to the grocery a little over half way through the project so she could buy more sugar cubes and vanilla frosting. Why? For every three or four I would place on the bowl, I would pop one into my mouth. Same goes for the frosting. There was not any doubt that I had somewhere along the line, developed a serious sweet tooth.

I also have fond memories of my Grandma Deloris and Grandpa Max working tirelessly in the kitchen for days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. New Year’s Eve was my thing and I would bring the maple and brown sugar bacon wrapped smokies, cheeseballs, party mix, punch and cupcakes. The Holidays were always a time for love, food and laughter at the Bolinger household as well as the Doubman household. Similar foods would be served at each, but each being made and severed in their own unique ways. Homemade dumplings for instance! My Grandma Barbra makes her dumplings in “drop” fashion, meaning that you literally take the dough and “drop” it into the boiling stock. The dumplings cook and puff up and are eaten that way. My Grandma Deloris takes her dumplings, like my Mom, and rolls them out onto the table, slicing them into long strips and then stirring them into the hot stock. These also puff up some and cook completely in the hot liquid. Both are totally different tastes and textures, but both are equally delicious and both are a wonderful Holiday memory for me.

One thing is for sure, my Mom, and both of my Grandma’s have been unwavering in their support in my career as a food writer and recipe developer. Blogging and networking is a difficult, sometimes confusing and time consuming thing to discuss. So I will just skip right to the fun stuff. I write about food and develop recipes for my job! How cool is that? I post some of the recipes on my blog (blaisethebaker.com) and some of the recipes I use for my twice monthly food column “Chew This” that appears on the first and third Sunday’s of each month in “The Courier-Times”! What do I do with the other recipes? Well, up until about two months ago, I was saving them for my cookbook!

My cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First”, my first cookbook, came out September 9th, 2016. It was a labor of love that is for sure! Two-hundred recipes! One hundred of those recipes, never before published anywhere else. It took me about five years to develop, test, analyze, sample and write about the recipes. My family stood by me through thick and thin, through cake and pie, and through nights when everyone I knew came over and had ranch dressing and pickle taste tests! Some of the food lifestyle is glamorous, other parts, not so much. It is something where the good parts outweigh the bad or negative.

Writing my cookbook was a fun and memorable experience. So far, it has gained several top position reviews and people have been raving about the cookbook’s simple, yet friendly and warm, memorable family recipes. Nothing makes me happier then when someone comes up to me and shares a story about how they have tried a recipe of mine and love it. It warms my heart to know that my memories are creating new memories for someone else!

My cookbook is $15 total and can be purchased by mailing a check or money order to, Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also purchase online via PayPal. My email account there to use is blaisejdx@gmail.com. My cookbook is also available at New Castle’s own “The Book Nook”, located on G Avenue. Call ahead for days open and hours.

All three of the women I have mentioned and talked about here have supported me, encouraged me, stood by me and even shared with me some of their secret recipes. One of my personal favorite recipes from my cookbook is the “Honey Bun Cake” (page 7). Every time anyone in my family makes this, people go crazy! It is the most flavorful, moist, rich cake you will ever put in your mouth – I promise you that! I try and come up with an excuse to make this cake, not that you need one, and it always satisfies everyone! I am lucky enough to share my life with the three most influential women I know, and I’m lucky to be able to share their stories, their memories and recipes, along with all of mine, to all of you. Enjoy!

Honey Bun Cake

Honey Bun Cake 

For the cake…

1 Betty Crocker “Butter Recipe Yellow” cake mix
1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz sour cream
2/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the crumble…

5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
For the glaze…
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, vanilla instant pudding mix, 4 large eggs, sour cream, whole milk and vegetable oil. Pour half of this mixture into the prepared pan.

Prepare the crumble mixture by mixing together the ground cinnamon and light brown sugar until throughout combined in a small bowl. Take half of the crumble mixture and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Gently take a knife and swirl the crumble and cake batter together. Pour the remainder of the cake batter over the top, spreading out evenly. Top the cake with the remaining cinnamon and brown sugar mixture.

Place in preheated oven for 43 minutes. While the cake is baking, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioner’s sugar, whole milk, pure vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl until smooth and lump free. Once the bake has finished baking, remove from the oven and immediately pour the glaze evenly over the entire cake.

Allow the cake to sit for about 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

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HER magazine 

SO EXCITED to finally be able to announce this!!! Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and inside you will find HER magazine – which is filled with columns, articles, recipes and features. And guess what!? I have a feature in this issue!!! Featuring the 3 most influential women in my life – and I could not be anymore thankful or excited. Shoutout and special thanks to Donna Jobe Cronk for including my family and I in this issue. And guess what!? Included in my feature is a recipe – and ordering information for my cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” along with some of my favorite photos as of recently.

Blaise 

Cookbook! 


Lots of people have been asking if I have any cookbooks left – YES! I do! I am also reordering for the Holiday season to make sure everyone that wants a copy – can get a copy! Each copy will be autographed by my Grandma Barbra, Grandma Deloris – and myself – if you want! I have heard from so many people who have tried the recipes inside – and love them!!! This makes me so HAPPY! Thank you all! Ordering information – send $15 total ($12 for the cookbook plus $3 shipping and handling) cash, check or money order to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay via PayPal. The email for you to send money to is – blaisejdx@gmail.com IF you order FOUR or more books – shipping and handling is FREE!!! Can I also say these would make FABULOUS Holiday gifts!? 

Blaise 

Chew This! Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I have a food column called “Chew This!” that appears in “The Courier-Times” on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s each month. It is a place where I share my recipes, stories and family memories. I love it and love getting feeedback from my readers. Email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Today’s recipe is a recipe handed down to me that is generations old. “Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili” is perfect for the upcoming cold weather. It is simple, flavorful and, for me, full of memories!

I have been crossing my fingers for colder weather so I can make this with my favorite “chili side item” – saltine crackers and a peanut butter sandwich. Delicious!

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” today and let me know what you think! Also available online to those who subscribe. Interested in subscribing? Email me and I will help you out! Many thanks in advance.


Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 16th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Chili season is just around the corner…
Blaise Doubman

I do not know about you but I think of the four seasons in terms of food. Spring is the time for light and fruity desserts, small appetizer courses and sparkling fruit drinks. Summer is the time of year for cookouts, potato salads, pasta salads, ice cream desserts and lemonade. Fall, to me, always means sweet and cinnamon filled snickerdoodle cookies baking in the oven, hot apple cider and warm and comforting types of soups and stews, like chili! Same goes for the cold and dark winter months. In that type of environment who would want anything other than a warm, hearty and filling meal? I know that I may be in the minority here, but I love Fall and Winter. Those seasons bring so many fun and exciting times! The beautiful leaves changing colors, a much welcome cooler breeze and an overwhelming sense of excitement leading up to a flurry of Holidays, get togethers, meals and pitch-ins that last well into the New Year.

The first few cool days of Fall always takes me right back to the first time my Mom, Darla, taught me how to make chili in our family kitchen. She explained that chili was something that everybody made differently and it was really up to the taste buds of the person making it. She described how some people add pasta to their chili, some people add lots of spice, some add ground cinnamon and some even add a little unsweetened cocoa powder to add a hint of savory to the back note of the overall flavor. I remember being amazed that almost anything could work in chili! Years later I experimented with stirring in a little peanut butter at the end of the cooking time and guess what? Fabulous! I highly recommend you give it a try, but first, try mastering this classic recipe. Once you have this down, add your favorite flavors and see what happens! Perhaps a new and exciting dish to get you through the chili season…

Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili

This recipe has been handed down in my family for generations. My Great Grandma Viola Davis handed it down to my Grandma Deloris Bolinger, who handed it down to my Mom, Darla Doubman, who over the years has handed it down to me! These are the best recipes in my opinion because they have history behind them. Cooking is not an exact science, like baking is, so everything can be leveled out according to personal taste and preference. The measurements listed below are the exact measurements that have been passed down to me. Feel free to change, or add, whatever your taste buds desire. Cooking is all about experimenting and having fun!

1 pound ground beef
2 cans black beans
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans red kidney beans
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Spanish onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large can tomato juice
1 cup elbow macaroni
Chili seasoning mix
Hot sauce
Salt
Black pepper

Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet. Once browned, drain the fat and return the ground beef to the skillet. Over medium heat, add in the tomato paste, diced green bell pepper, diced Spanish onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes before adding in the chili seasoning mix, hot sauce, salt and black pepper. Add in the seasonings to your specific tastes. I use about 3 tablespoons of the seasoning mix, 2 teaspoons hot sauce and 2 teaspoons each of the salt and black pepper. Feel free to add and taste for your personal preferences.

In a large stock pot, add the large can of tomato juice and the cans of undrained black beans, kidney beans, red kidney beans and stewed tomatoes. Stir this together over medium heat.

Add the hamburger mixture into the large stock pot. Stir everything together and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Once it comes to a boil, stir in the elbow macaroni and continue a boil, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium/low and cook until macaroni is cooked and the chili has slightly thickened. Stir often to avoid burning the bottom.

When ready to serve, serve over a layer of corn chips and top with shredded cheese, chili powder and sour cream.

Ask and Answer: Theresa Pierce of Mooreland wrote to me with a question about my “Chocolate Banana Pudding” that was featured most recently in my column. She wondered if the recipe could be made sugar-free. Absolutely! There are several recipes online for a sugar-free chocolate pudding. My favorite version uses ripe avocados in the base. Substitute that recipe for mine and add sugar-free vanilla wafers as well as sugar-free whipped topping!

PIN IT: http://pin.it/Ws1HXFI

Cookbook Corner – Butter and Chocolate

As many of you already know, I also review some of my most favorite, fabulous cookbooks, right here on my blog – or my website as I have been calling it lately. I do not review a cookbook unless it is one that I personally love myself! My tastes may be different than your tastes, that is great! And then again, maybe we enjoy some of the same books? I read and go over hundreds of cookbooks a year, but I only give the ones I REALLY LOVE the honor of making it into my “Cookbook Corner”. Browse around my website, search “Cookbook Corner” in my search engine, or Google “Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corners” for a full list of all of the wonderful books that I have in my collection.

The latest cookbook I am obsessed with is…

butter-and-chocolate

“Butter and Chocolate” By: Sheila G. Mains

Let me start off by saying that this book is FABULOUS! Well, of course it is, or I would not have been giving it center spot in my “Cookbook Corner” feature. I may even go as far as saying it is in my TOP 5 FAVORITE COOKBOOKS OF ALL YEAR – 2016! Yes, I am serious! I love the recipes in this book, I love the format, the photography, the stories, everything! Sheila is a GENIUS and I love her for coming up with such user friendly recipes using butter and chocolate – my two favorite food groups I feel the need to mention.

If you have heard of Sheila before it is perhaps because of this…

brownie-brittle

She is the creator of “Brownie Brittle”! I had not tried this treat until recently and let me tell you – O.M.G.! IT IS DELICIOUS! I am highly recommending everyone reading this post go out and buy a bag (I found mine at my local “Cracker Barrel” store) and TRY IT! Yes, I am going crazy and using all CAPS because IT IS THAT GOOD! Can I tell you a secret? I am buying a bag of this for everyone I know for the Holidays to include in their “Foodie Gift Baskets”. If you have never had it before it is a thin, crisp, flavorful chocolate brownie. Comes in a lot of flavors – the chocolate chip is my favorite. IF you can not find it in your local area, order it here – http://browniebrittle.com/

Anyways, she is the creator of this fabulous treat…so if you have heard her name from somewhere, chances are – it is from this!

Her cookbook is chopped FULL of recipes ranging from BROWNIES (my favorite section) to cheesecakes, candies, donut holes, bread pudding, bars, cookies, cake pops, parfaits and just about everything else you can think of. And – the best part? All of the treats inside use BROWNIE BATTER! Yes, and some even call for her “Brownie Brittle”.

Some of my favorite recipes are…

cookie-dough-brownies

“Cookie Dough Brownies” (page 26) and also featured on the cover. They are a delicious brownie, topped with cookie dough (egg free) and a frosting made from chocolate chips. I served these with family and friends (and some taste testers) and they were blown away! I can not tell you how many times I have made these since I have gotten this cookbook! This recipe will be in my rotation from now on, very delicious and I highly recommend!

Another recipe I am enjoying is…

salted-caramel-brownies

“Salted Caramel Brownies” (page 33). If you love salted caramel (like I do) you will love these! My friends and family went wild for these too! Great flavor and the salt really sets them apart from the other brownies that you may find in the stores.

Some other recipes I have been enjoying are…

“Signature Brownies” (page 19) – This recipe is the base recipe for the other recipes in the book. Some call for this recipe in a smaller size pan, and some in a larger. Sheila will go over which recipe to use, in each recipe these brownies are called for. They are delicious because they combine semi-sweet chocolate chips with unsweetened cocoa powder.

“Red Velvet Brownies” (page 30) – I LOVE anything red velvet – these are no exception.

“Peanut Butter Cup Brownies” (page 34) – If you love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter you must try these! And of course, use real peanut butter for them!

“White Chocolate Cinnamon Blondies” (page 40) – These are delicious! I love the flavor combination of white chocolate and cinnamon and I can not wait to serve these this Thanksgiving! I think they will be something new and fun added to the table.

“Brownie Filled Donut Holes” (page 51) – The name says it all!

“Brownie Banana Bread” (page 58) – This chocolate banana bread is quickly becoming one of my favorite recipes! I love banana bread and this recipe is really over the top!

“White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars” (page 74) – I love the incredible combination of white chocolate and raspberry! Think of that combination and add the flavors and textures of a cheesecake – fabulous!

“Brownie Whoopie Pies” (page 87) – A new take on the traditional.

“Pumpkin Pie with Brownie Brittle Crust” (page 102) – I may never make a traditional chocolate crust again! I love her version using her incredible “Brownie Brittle”!

“Cannoli Brownie Bites” (page 135) – A cannoli and a brownie = incredible!

“Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches” (page 150) – Perfect for the summer!

“Lava Cakes” (page 169) – You must try these! Foolproof and decadent…

AND guess what!? I get to SHARE WITH YOU ALL one of my favorite recipes from the book! “Brownie Bread Pudding” (page 62) IS A MUST TRY!

And yes – their photos are so much better than mine! I do not pretend to be a professional food photographer, and until I have a friend who can send me free props, give me lessons, lend me a camera, lighting and professional style tips – you are stuck with MY photos! Ha! Seriously though – if you can help me out with my photos – blaisethebaker@gmail.com Until then, I guess I will have to settle with “food writer, recipe developer, columnist and cookbook author” – I like the sound of that, what about you!?

brownie_bread_pudding-image

Brownie Bread Pudding

Several years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house for brunch. When I asked what I could bring, she replied without even taking a breath, “Why dessert, of course. That’s your specialty!” Wow! No pressure, right? Now, I had to come up with something different, something spectacular. Hmmm, I thought. Bread pudding is pretty popular. I bet if I “brownied” it up a bit, it would pass muster. Well, my bread pudding never even made it to the dessert table. It was served along with the main course, and there wasn’t a crumb left when it was time for coffee and sweets. I took my empty bowl home—with my brownie queen reputation still intact.

YIELD 6 servings
PREP 30 to 35 minutes
BAKE 45 to 50 minutes

Unsalted butter for greasing pan
Brownie Filling recipe (page 43)
12 slices brioche bread or challah, at least 1 day old
PUDDING MIXTURE…
2 cups light cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 °— 8-inch baking dish with unsalted butter.

Prepare the brownie filling according to directions. Spread it on 6 slices of the bread, then top each one with another slice of bread to form 6 sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into 6 to 8 pieces and pile the sandwich pieces into the greased baking dish.

Prepare the pudding mixture: Combine the cream, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat until warm. Whisk together the sugar and eggs. Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture gradually, stirring constantly to make sure the eggs do not cook.

Pour the pudding mixture over the bread pieces and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil after about 20 minutes and check every few minutes until golden brown on top. Allow the pudding to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

Taken, with permission, from Sheila G’s Butter and Chocolate by Sheila G. Maines. Published by Kyle Books, photography by Tina Rupp. Shout out and special thanks to Sheila G. Maines and Kyle Books.

To see even MORE recipes and to buy “Butter and Chocolate” please click here…

http://www.kylebooks.com/page/detail/Sheila-Gs-Butter-Chocolate/?K=e201607041734251265

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.

Blaise 

Banana Walnut Bread with a Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Swirl

I made this a few days ago for a friend and she flipped out over it! She said she had never had banana bread that was so tender, moist, flavorful and “hit the spot” like this one did!

I love banana bread too and usually fold in semi-sweet chocolate chunks, but this time I really decided to give it everything I had and add cream cheese, walnuts, cinnamon and Turbinado sugar.

It is everything you might have hoped for!

blaise-the-baker-banana-bread

Banana Walnut Bread with a Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Swirl

For the bread…
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about 4 bananas
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped, plus 1/2 cup aside

For the filling (swirl)…
1 large egg
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9×5-inch bread pan with non-stick spray with flour.

In a large bowl combine the large egg, light brown sugar, white granulated sugar, vegetable oil, sour cream, pure vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Stir until well combined.

Stir in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chopped walnuts.

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

Make the filling by combining the large egg, cream cheese, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, pure vanilla extract and ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Spread this mixture evenly over the banana bread batter. Swirl gently with a knife.

Place the other half of the banana bread batter over the top and spread evenly.

Sprinkle on the reserved 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and sprinkle with a layer of Turbinado Sugar.

Place in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil about 40 minutes through the baking time if you are worried the edges may burn.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing and slicing.

Enjoy!

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Cookbooks full of Recipes – and Memories 

There were 7 main cookbooks that my Grandma Barbra and I cooked and baked from when I was growing up – and actually still to this day. These 7 cookbooks have been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. My cookbook now joins those 7 and words can not express or even begin to describe the emotion I feel over this. From the very second that my cookbook “idea” came to me, I told myself I wanted it to be spiral bound, resembling those special cookbooks from my childhood, and I wanted it to be personal, familiar, warm and accessible. I absolutely love this picture and thought I would share it with all of you! Thank you all for the continued love and support.

Blaise 

Chew This! Chocolate Banana Pudding

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! Awhile back, I took a survey about what people would rather have – the classic, southern banana pudding – or – a chocolate version! Can you believe that not very many people had heard of the chocolate variety? How is this possible? Every time I make my chocolate banana pudding, people go crazy! This recipe makes enough homemade pudding for one large dessert, but can be easily doubled for parties or reunions. I do not use homemade vanilla wafers, but if you would like – find your favorite cookie recipe and use it in place of the boxed kind. This dessert is decadent and delicious! Can not wait to hear what you all think! Email me – blaisethebaker@gmail.com

ALSO – be sure to look today for my NEW feature, included in my column, called “Ask & Answer”! You ask the questions – I answer! Write to me your question / questions and your answer, and name, could be included in my next column! Really excited about this!


Chocolate Banana Pudding

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 2nd 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A chocolate twist on banana pudding…
Blaise Doubman

I have a confession to make! I am a raging, full-fledged, chocoholic! I have tried to control my temptations and I have tried to trace the roots of this problem back as far as my family tree will go, but I have yet to find a reason. I just love chocolate! My Grandma Barbra does not like chocolate that much, nor does my Mom, Darla, or my Grandma Deloris. The men in my family are none dessert lovers and a majority of my family say that chocolate is not even listed on their list of their favorite foods! What? Where did I get this obsession? People often squirm when I tell them my favorite food is chocolate. It really is! I eat chocolate at least twice a day, every day. I love milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, you name it! Unsweetened chocolate? No. I have tried this with my Mom and given the face I made, no wonder she laughed and laughed. Side note – chocolate is terrible with no sugar!

Everytime I make something, even savory things (chili for example), I often think to myself, “How would this be with chocolate”. No matter what it is, I am always wondering how I can add chocolate! True story. I know, it may be a problem, but with some desserts, like the one I am sharing here, it can be a good thing! Chocolate Banana Pudding! Have you heard of anything like this before? If not, that is ok. A lot of the people I surveyed had no idea either so do not feel bad about it. I love the classic, southern staple that is banana pudding. I even have a recipe in my cookbook and on my blog about turning this classic, southern staple into a cake! It is delicious! You should try that too. But first, try this recipe! It is banana pudding, but the chocolate version! Chocoholics rejoice! Finally a banana pudding for you…

Chocolate Banana Pudding

If making this dessert, prepare for people to start talking! A lot of people love this dessert, but it seems that even more people have not heard of it before. My taste testers were a little skeptical about this but once they tried the recipe and tasted for themselves this chocolate version of the classic banana pudding, they fell in love! You can replace the vanilla wafers with chocolate wafers for a “chocoholics” version or even add some sliced strawberries into the mix, which results in a more “chocolate tropical” banana pudding.

For the pudding…
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 3/4 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the whipped cream…
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 large box vanilla wafer cookies

6 large bananas, prepared and sliced

Start by stirring together the white granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat with a wooden spoon.

Add the whole milk, and stir constantly until a full boil is reached. This will take several minutes, but you will know when it’s ready because the mixture will appear thick, and will easily coat the back of your spoon.

After thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the unsalted butter and pure vanilla extract. Once combined, let cool slightly. Pour into a large bowl and apply plastic wrap to the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to assemble the banana pudding, remove the pudding from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Add about 1 cup of the sliced bananas to the chocolate pudding and stir together very gently, being careful not to break up the sliced bananas.

Make the whipped cream by beating the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. After stiff peaks form, stir in the white granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract. Beat for a few additional minutes until the cream is thick and holds a firm peak.

Layer a single layer of vanilla wafer cookies along the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Pour a little of the chocolate pudding mixture over the top and spread evenly. Spread over a layer of the whipped cream and spread evenly. Place a few of the sliced bananas on top. Repeat these processes until all of the ingredients are used up, ending with the whipped cream on top. Finish by layering vanilla wafer cookies all over the top, and slightly crushing a few and sprinkling over.

Serve immediately, or place in the refrigerator, covered, to chill for up to two days.

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