Guest Blogger – Donna Cronk – White Cloud World Teas

I am so excited to announce that “Blaise the Baker” has joined “White Cloud World Teas” to bring you some of the most fabulous teas – and new and delicious recipes – that I know you will go crazy for! Check out http://whitecloudworldteas.com for more information, ordering information and more – and follow us along on social media for new and exciting things coming soon!

First up!? My very dear friend, Donna Cronk, as a special GUEST BLOGGER for Blaise the Baker, discussing her reactions to the fabulous tea presented by White Cloud World Teas! Shoutout and special thanks to Donna Cronk for being a part of this journey as well as providing excellent feedback and gorgeous photographs!

Take it away Donna…

“Flavorful scented sips on an early spring evening” By: Donna Cronk

If there is the slightest nip in the air, no matter the month of the year, you can expect to find me sipping a cup of hot tea on any given evening in my home. Or, when visiting someone else’s home overnight or even when staying in a motel. It’s a favorite ritual.

So when I got home from work one Tuesday recently, and I discovered that Blaise had sent me not one but two delicious teas to try from White Cloud World Teas, the timing was perfect; the agenda set.

It was a damp-and-chilly early April day here in Indiana so following supper, I headed to the bathtub for my other favorite evening ritual – a hot bath.

As soon as I warmed up in the soapy soak, I put on my most cozy animal-print jammies and headed for the kitchen. First up was the intoxicatingly scented Lavender Vanilla Earl Grey. This stuff smells so great that it would make a fine potpourri if it weren’t meant for sipping.

Oh, but a cuppa tea was in the plan. Nothing quite relaxes me or finishes my day like a delicious tea. For Christmas, my husband Brian bought me an electric kettle. It quickly boils my water and then into a ceramic teapot it went, along with a teabag filled with the aromatic blend.

I could hardly wait the couple of minutes required for a good steep to try the finished brew. The scent was lovely and the color a golden brown. The steaming cup of tea hit the spot! The flavor was subtle. Better have a second cup. I liked it even better after a few more minutes of steeping as I prefer a stout tea.

Like a kid on Christmas, I couldn’t wait to try my second offering of the evening. But I wasn’t about to waste the rest of my pot of tea. So I poured it off into a glass, covered it with plastic and tomorrow I’ll make an iced version of the brew.

Then I went through the quick and easy process of brewing a pot of my second featured flavor – Lavender Berry. This one had a fruity scent that reminded me of summer. The flavor echoed that thought as I sipped and let my mind wander to the spring and summer nights to come, and in particular, the ones where I’ll warm up from my husband’s over-zealous cooling of the house with an evening brew. This would be delicious iced as well!

I’ll be checking out http://www.whitecloudworldteas.com and seeing what other flavors and goodies are available. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the last sip from this evening’s samples of fine teas. Thanks for the taste, Blaise and White Cloud World Teas!

Donna Cronk is a community journalist and author of two inspirational novels. She and her husband are empty nesters who live in Indiana. Check her out on http://donnacronk.com

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White Cloud World Teas

THE SECRET IS OUT!!! I am so excited to announce that Blaise the Baker has joined White Cloud World Teas to bring you some of the most fabulous teas – and new and delicious recipes – that I know you’ll go crazy for! Check out http://whitecloudworldteas.com for more information, ordering information and more – and follow us along on social media for new and exciting things coming soon!

(photos provided by White Cloud World Teas)

Blaise

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! I am SO EXCITED to finally be able to announce that for the past 18 months I have been working on my SECOND COOKBOOK!!! There are SO many more recipes and stories that I CAN NOT WAIT to share with all of you! I am talking with a publisher now and my cookbook will be released later this year! I AM BURSTING with excitement and have SO MANY new and fun ideas planned for this one but will keep the surprises secret – for now! Stay tuned HERE and to http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker for updates! I am so thankful for this opportunity and I am so thankful for all of YOU who have made this journey possible! ROUND TWO – here we goooooooo!!! AND yes – you will still be able to buy my first cookbook for those wondering – which is officially in a NEW PRINTING SEASON!!! So thankful and grateful. Love you all!

Blaise

FOUR YEARS

FOUR YEARS TODAY I officially launched my website “Blaise the Baker”! Thousands and thousands of followers, hundreds of recipes, so many extraordinary opportunities, my “Chew This!” column, my cookbook “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” and all of your amazing feedback and dedication has made this one awesome journey!!! Through everything – new things, changes, difficult decisions, surveys, taste and recipe testers, and on and on – your dedication and unwavering support and feedback has meant everything to me! Thank you to my friends, my fans, my readers, my followers, my subscribers and my family. Thank you for everything. I am SO EXCITED for so many projects I have open and going at the moment – most I can’t really talk about yet – I think the best is still yet to come and without you – none of this would have been possible.

THANK YOU for everything – I truly love you all!

Blaise

My Cookbook – Refresher

COOKBOOK REMINDER: My cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” is still available to purchase in a variety of ways! I’ve been getting lots of questions / emails about this so I’ll post a refresher –

You can also order my cookbook directly through me by sending $15 total ($12 for the cookbook / $3 shipping and handling) to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay online through http://paypal.com Use the email blaisejdx@gmail.com when sending money. You can also send me your mailing address and I’ll send you a copy along with an invoice that would need to be paid 30 days after receiving your order. If ordering 4 or more cookbooks – shipping and handling is FREE!

My cookbook is available for purchase in a retail setting in the following shops –

“The Book Nook” in New Castle, Indiana. Located at 1325 G. Ave. Call ahead for hours – 765-521-2188

“Carousel Flowers and Gifts” in Shirley, Indiana. Located at 205 Main Street. Call ahead for hours – 765-738-1500

“Glen Oaks Health Campus” in New Castle, Indiana. Located at 601 W. CR 200 S. Visit Room 112 and buy your copy from my Grandma Deloris. She loves seeing everyone and selling them for me. She’s a good business woman! Ha! Stop in and chat awhile and taste test some of my fresh goodies while you’re there.

“Warm Glow Candle Outlet” in Centerville, Indiana. Located at 2131 North Centerville Road. Regular hours are daily 9am-7pm. Come and find me in their “Artisans and Java” storefront area.

“Temptations” in New Castle, Indiana. Temptations is located at 535 N Memorial Drive and open Monday through Friday 11-2.

All copies available to purchase outside of my personal address are already pre-autographed with my signature as well as Grandma Barbra’s and Grandma Deloris’. Copies can be personalized by request.

Message me, text me, call me, email me for any further questions. Thank you all again for the dedication and support!

Blaise

What kind of recipes are inside my cookbook?

Take a look below –

Chew This! Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column and recipe for my “Chocolate Banana Bread Bars”! They are deliciously simple, effortlessly easy and unbelievably scrumptious! My taste testers went wild for these – and I think you will too! Enjoy!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Take on Banana Bread…
Blaise Doubman

I love banana bread and I have experimented with countless recipes over the years. There has been banana bread with nuts, without nuts, with sour cream, with extra butter, melted butter, softened butter, a combination of butter and vegetable shortening, brown butter banana bread, banana bread with raisins and even a banana bread made with a yellow cake mix. If you think that is a lot, consider the fifty other versions I have tried but did not want to mention in fear of readership boredom and lack of room. Seriously though banana bread, to me, always needed something extra. No, not cinnamon and no, not extra bananas, that only makes the finished loaf tough in the end, I have tried it! I have always thought it was missing… chocolate!

Chocolate! Yes, chocolate. I am a registered chocoholic and proud of it. Anything and everything, to me, is better with chocolate and this recipe is no exception! It took a few rounds in the kitchen with this recipe before it was perfect but the finished result was well worth the extra time and extra work. My taste testers, shout out to Tiffany at Glen Oaks, loved this so much that they encouraged me to bring it again – that next day! Ha! The bread is baked in an untraditional way, in a 9×13-inch baking pan, but does so because you cut this bread into bars! The combination of the moist flavorful banana bread with the chocolate version is pure and utter heaven for banana and chocolate lovers! I highly recommend you stir up a batch of these!

Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

These really stretch when it comes to cutting serving sizes, so cut the bars small and serve for a large gathering! If you want to freeze the leftover bars, do so by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil before placing into a freezer safe zipper bag. Once frozen, bring to room temperature over night to gently thaw before eating.

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 large bananas, peeled and mashed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with a non-stick spray containing flour.

Beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add in the prepared bananas, large egg and pure vanilla extract. Beat well.

Finally, fold in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Measure out a little less than 2 cups of this mixture and drop by large spoonful’s erratically around the inside of the prepared pan.

Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the remainder of the batter in the bowl and beat well.

Place the now chocolate banana batter in spoonful’s around the batter that has already been placed in the pan. Do not worry about being neat with this. You will see why in a minute.

Now, with the back of a spoon, carefully spread out all of the dollops so that they gently form together and come together into one large even batter service. Next, take a knife and gently swirl the batter together making a marble effect on the top.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before cutting, serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I heard from so many of you with my previous column of my chocolate mayonnaise cake and I love and appreciate your feedback! To answer a few of your questions, yes you can use water instead of the coffee, yes you can make the cake in 2 9-inch circle cake pans, the baking time will not change and you may frost the cake with whatever frosting you desire, or simply sprinkle over some powdered sugar and serve alongside a bowl of fruit. I loved hearing your memories of growing up with a cake very similar to mine in your household.

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Easy Cheese Danish

I love a good cheese Danish and I used to make Ina Garten’s cheese danish that uses puff pastry – that was, until I developed this recipe! It is really easy, just a few ingredients and is delicious served hot or cold. I am currently experimenting with other flavors but so far the cheese is my favorite. Also be sure you include the fresh lemon zest with this recipe. It really makes all the difference!

Easy Cheese Danish

For the danish…
2 cans crescent rolls
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1 large egg
1 large egg white, splash of water

For the glaze…
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

Unwrap one of the crescent rolls tubes and place the crescent rolls into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Pinch together the seems to create a solid sheet of dough.

In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, white granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract, fresh lemon zest and large egg until smooth, combined and shiny.

Pour this mixture over the sheet of dough.

Unwrap the other crescent roll tube and place the crescent roll sheet over the top of the mixture and carefully pinch together the seems to create a solid sheet of dough.

In a small bowl combine the large egg white with a splash of water. Brush this on top of the pastry and place in preheated oven to bake for 40 minutes. Once golden brown remove and cool for 15 minutes before pouring on the glaze.

To make the glaze combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk and pure vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour and spread evenly over the danish.

Allow to cool slightly and serve. Leftovers can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Enjoy!

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Pizza in a Mug

I just made pizza. In a mug. In the microwave. No – this is not a joke! It is so easy and deliciously fabulous! I topped mine with cheese but feel free to top with whatever you desire! Precooked sausage, precooked hamburger, pepperoni – endless possibilities! Here it is, step by step…

Enjoy!

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Trisha Yearwood!!!

So yesterday my parents and I attended a Trisha Yearwood book signing / meet and greet at the Williams-Sonoma in the Keystone Mall in Indianapolis. We were not sure what to expect but I think we were all shocked when THIS moment happened! I am still SO EXCITED about it! Wow…

SOMEONE PINCH ME!!! No – this is not photoshopped! Ha! Mom gave Trisha Yearwood a copy of my cookbook and she LOVED IT! She turned to me and asked ME for my autograph! Told her I had already autographed it! She said “Good!” Ha! She was flipping over it and talking about how she really appreciated it – said she would read it “like a novel” and said she loved cookbooks! She said she would read it on her tour bus! Someone PINCH ME!!! We chatted for a bit about our mutual cookbook love and then she thanked me again and gave me another hug! She was the sweetest and so friendly! LOVE HER!!!

Blaise

Foolproof Omelet

My Grandma Deloris has been on an “omelet kick” at Glen Oaks Health Campus in New Castle, Indiana and it got me thinking about where the omelet plays a role in my life. It really does not. Gasp! I know – I know. I decided it was time to change that so I told Grandma my plans on developing my own foolproof recipe, went home and got to work.

Developing this recipe was really not as complicated as I had originally thought. Just a few simple steps and a couple of simple techniques and you have one giant foolproof omelet!

You can stuff your omelet with anything and everything you can imagine. I used shredded cheese in mine. Feel free to use green peppers and onions, sausage, ham or even turkey and green onion. The sky is really the limit here – reach for the stars!

Foolproof Omelet

4 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat a large 10-inch skillet over medium high heat for about a minute. Add in the butter and allow to melt evenly. 

In a large bowl whisk together the large eggs with the salt and black pepper. Really whisk here – you want to incorporate a lot of air. Whisk, whisk, whisk. 

Once the butter is bubbly and hot pour the whisked eggs directly into the center of the skillet and leave alone. 

Watch closely but do not move the eggs. 

Once your eggs resemble a giant yellow pancake – you will be able to tell the color and texture just by looking – add in your fillings to the center of the omelet. 

If you are having trouble getting the “yellow pancake” outcome, use a rubber scrapper and gently pull on one side of the omelet, tilting the skillet down so the uncooked egg slides from the top to the bottom – therefore allowing it to cook. 

Wait 20 seconds after adding your filling and then gently use a rubber scrapper to fold the omelet over onto itself. Be careful here of the fillings used. 

Hold the omelet carefully with hot fingers and or rubber scrapper to drain out some of the fat from the skillet. 

Place on plate and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. 

Enjoy! 

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