Foolproof Chocolate Truffles

I love truffles and this made from scratch version can be transformed into hundreds of different flavors! Stir in different extracts, roll in different sugars, roll in a variety of nuts or simply use different types of good quality chocolate. Fabulous!

Foolproof Chocolate Truffles

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Desired mix-ins, dippers and roll-ons

Start by lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, bittersweet chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips and pure vanilla extract in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Stir and microwave again 30 seconds. Stir this mixture until smooth and combined. Microwave an additional 30 seconds if needed, watching not to burn the chocolate.

Once combined, wrap bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate 40 minutes. Remove and roll firm chocolate mixture into small ball the size of two teaspoons. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Once all rolled, formed and placed, place baking sheet in freezer for 40 minutes.

Remove and decorate accordingly. Dip in melted chocolate, melted almond bark, roll in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, nuts etc. Let your imagination soar with this one!

Eat and serve immediately. Leave these truffles at room temperature.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: https://pin.it/mwg5o7dblvqdh3

Advertisements

Polar Bear Paws

My friend Karen gifted me some of this delicious candy as a Christmas gift this year and she was kind enough to share the recipe with me. I highly recommend making these for your Holiday gifting!

Polar Bear Paws

11 oz caramel bits or unwrapped squares
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
24 oz white chocolate almond bark

Start by placing the caramel bits or unwrapped caramel squares in a medium sized microwave safe bowl and add in the whole milk and unsalted butter.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Stir in the pure vanilla extract. Add in the dry roasted peanuts and allow the mixture to sit and thicken for about 10 minutes.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Dollop out tablespoon size amounts of the caramel and peanut mixture onto the prepared baking sheets.

Place into the freezer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the white chocolate almond bark in a large microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Stir in one tablespoon solid vegetable shortening if the mixture needs to be slightly thinned out – which makes the dipping process easier.

Remove the mounds from the freezer and carefully pull off from the parchment paper. Using two forks, dip each piece into the melted white chocolate almond bark and coat evenly. Place back onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Allow the white chocolate almond bark to harden slightly before enjoying. If refrigerating or freezing these to speed up the hardening process, be sure to eat and serve at room temperature only.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: https://pin.it/7oo637n34y3psz

Saltine Cracker Candy

My “Saltine Cracker Candy” can be found in my cookbook but since there’s been a lot of talk about it, I decided to share it here with all of you – step by step. This recipe can also be made using pretzels, pretzel chips, graham crackers, Ritz crackers, club crackers or sourdough thins. Feel free to use dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate or a variety. Also feel free to top with a variety of chopped nuts.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: https://pin.it/3ov6w3k7nfneq7

2 Minute Chocolate Fudge 

I love chocolate fudge and have a made from scratch version in my cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” as well as a “quicker” version that uses sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. This newest version though is quickly becoming my favorite one! I am highly recommending everyone to try this! It literally takes two minutes to stir it up. The longest – and hardest part – is having to wait for the fudge to chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Patience is a virtue! I am sharing this recipe – with step by step photographs – on my Facebook page which can be found by clicking here – http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker

2 Minute Chocolate Fudge

4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cubed fine
1/4 cup chocolate milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Start by lining a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spray the plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl sift together the confectioner’s sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder. Add in the prepared unsalted butter and the chocolate milk.

Microwave on high for 1 minute, 30 seconds.

Remove and whisk until smooth.

Add in the pure vanilla extract and salt.

Whisk again.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and wrap with sides of plastic wrap. Place into the refrigerator for one hour.

Remove and cut. Serve.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: http://pin.it/hhRJc4e

TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…











Classic M&M Cookies 

I love the color – and taste – of these deliciously old-fashioned cookies! They take me right back to my childhood and buying cookies at the mall. These are chewy inside and have a slight crunch outside. I used dark chocolate M&M candies for these but you can use your favorite variety.

Classic M&M Cookies

1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups M&M candy

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the solid vegetable shortening, light brown sugar and white granulated sugar. Combine until no white shortening streaks are visable. Mixture will be thick.

Beat in the two large eggs.

Stir in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Gently fold in 1/2 cup of the M&M candy.

Roll dough into teaspoon size balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Top the rest of the cookies with the remaining cup of M&M candy.

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 13 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool.

Enjoy!

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

Chew This! Sharing Recipes

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column is all about celebrating love with recipes and memories! I love celebrating life by doing things for the ones you love, sharing memories with one another, making new memories and by swapping classic family recipes. I have known Theresa Pierce for many years now and over time have gotten to know her family as well. She is an excellent cook and the gene runs in her family. Today I am sharing not one – not two – but THREE recipes from Theresa’s family. Two from Theresa’s Grandma Mary and one from Theresa’s Mom, Grace. All of the recipes I am sharing my family and I love as well – and I hope you and your family will make these, enjoy them and pass them along!

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is about casseroles and sharing even more recipes!

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!

Grandma Mary’s Graham Cracker Treats

Grace’s Cap’n Crunch Treats


Grandma Mary’s Cheesy Chicken Casserole

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 17th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Celebrating Love with Recipes and Memories
Blaise Doubman

I love recipes that have a history of family and memories attached to them. The recipes I am sharing today come to me from a very good friend of mine, Theresa Pierce. We got to know each other by working together a few years ago and have been close ever since. A lot of people know Theresa as a smart, hardworking, caring person who would go out of her way for any of her friends. But guess what? Not that many people know that she is also very talented in the kitchen! Do not let her tell you otherwise, she really is a talented and very creative person in the kitchen! But she is quick to mention that all credit for that would go to her Mom and Grandma. Over the last few years she has gone from not wanting to enter the kitchen much, to baking muffins, cakes and pies! She even made a pumpkin roll a couple years back and ever since I still cannot use cheesecloth without thinking of her. She did, however, say that she would never make another pumpkin roll again… and so far she has kept that promise! Ha!

Over the course of knowing her, I also got to know her family – her husband, Rick; her Mom , Grace and her Grandma Mary. She loves and respects her family and her friends and I really admire that. I’ve admired her for years and even though I have only told her a time or two, I really think she knows how I feel. The recipe I am sharing today comes from her late grandmother, Mary (Matney) George. Even though I never got the chance to meet her, I feel like I knew her very well. She was kind, funny, warm and caring. I loved telling Theresa stories about my latest kitchen adventures, or misadventures, so that she could go and relay them to her Grandma Mary. I think one of Mary’s favorite stories was the one where I was cleaning green beans for the first time and I was using craft scissors to cut them off the vine and to cut the ends and snap their middles. Theresa said her Grandma Mary laughed and laughed over how I got them off the vine! I can only imagine some of the other stories that Theresa told her Grandma over the course of the several years we worked together! Grandma Mary is missed but her recipes, such as the ones I have shared here, will live on. That is what I love about sharing family recipes! Shout out and special thanks to Theresa Pierce for sharing with me her deliciously memorable family recipes for all to share and for all to enjoy.

Grandma Mary’s Graham Cracker Treats
Cover a 17-inch x 11 ½-inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil (Grandma Mary was VERY specific on size). Arrange graham crackers on the baking sheet, filling the sheet fully. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a saucepan melt 1 stick of butter, 1 stick of margarine and ½ cup sugar. Bring to rolling boil and stir for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers, being sure to cover evenly. Sprinkle with finely chopped nuts – pecans work well here. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and remove treats from sheet but leave on aluminum foil. Cool completely and break into pieces. Do not try and make these on a humid day – they will not get crispy!

Grace’s Cap’n Crunch Treats
Theresa’s Mom, Grace, adds broken up pretzel sticks to the following mixture. If using the pretzels add them at the same time you add the cereal and nuts.

16 2 oz. blocks white almond bark
1 box Cap’n Crunch peanut butter flavored cereal
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 16oz. jar dry-roasted peanuts

Start by lining two large baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly spray evenly with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the white almond bark and the smooth peanut butter in a large microwave safe plastic bowl in the microwave on high power for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

Stir in the cereal and dry-roasted peanuts. When well mixed, spread evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Allow the mixture to cool and set up for about 30 minutes.

After it has set, break up into pieces and store in plastic food storage bags at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: I have had questions about quick and easy casseroles so I thought I would share a recipe that Theresa’s Grandma Mary would make her frequently. Theresa said her Grandma’s “Cheesy Chicken Casserole” is delicious and whenever it was made she would polish off most of it! Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Combine 2 cups chopped cooked chicken with 12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup Quaker 100% natural cereal, 1 10 ¾ oz. can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup chopped celery, ½ cup chopped onion, ¼ cup milk and sprinkle of pepper. Spread into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Combine 1 cup Quaker 100% natural cereal with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle over top of chicken mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 24 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before enjoying.

PIN IT: http://pin.it/uQXZYkW

Chew This! Nancy’s Homemade Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com


My newest column is all about sharing recipes and memories with family and friends. A couple weeks ago my Grandma Deloris had the chance to “Live A Dream” and she did so by visiting “Rose City Bowl” in New Castle, Indiana! Grandma was a professional bowler for 48 years and did not think she would ever get the chance to bowl again. It was an emotional – and memorable – experience that we are so thankful for. Huge shoutout and special thanks to Glen Oaks Health Campus for making her dream a reality! Shoutout and special thanks also to Nancy McCormack for sharing with me her recipe for homemade crunchy peanut butter cups! These are delicious and I highly recommend them!

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is about chicken salad, tarragon, lemon and more tips. Check it out!

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Nancy’s Homemade Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 3rd 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Sharing Fabulous Memories and Recipes
Blaise Doubman

My Grandma Deloris was lucky enough to be selected for the “Live a Dream” program through Glen Oaks Health Campus, right here in New Castle! What happens is that a resident will be approached about “living their dreams” and Glen Oaks makes whatever they wish for a reality! I was in awe over this program and wanted to know more about it and I did so by actually being involved in the process! My Grandma Deloris belonged to several leagues over her 48 years of being a bowler but some of her greatest memories are those that she made at “Rose City Bowl” in New Castle. Bowling under the league name “Davis Chrysler” she held several records, both team wise and personally, at the bowling alley for many years. So naturally, when it came time for her to “live a dream” she immediately thought of her days in bowling. Glen Oaks Health Campus worked with her, my family and the local bowling alley to make her dream a reality and it touched my family and I in ways that I can only imagine in terms of how it made my Grandma Deloris feel. All day long she had a smile that I had not seen in many months.

The day of the party she was nervous but those nervous quickly disappeared when she entered the bowling alley and was acquainted again with the familiar sights, sounds and smells. Friends from all stages of her life stopped by to celebrate with her. Church friends, childhood friends, old bowling friends, Glen Oaks Health Campus friends and family all came out to watch her bowl. “Rose City Bowl” and Ann Knott from Glen Oaks Health Campus put together one of the most memorable bowling and pizza parties my family and I had ever been a part of. Grandma had the miraculous experience of bowling again, seeing friends both old and new, and making memories in a place in which she never thought she would see again – the bowling alley. While there of course we swapped stories and recipes. The recipe I am sharing today comes from my friend Nancy McCormack. She works for the “Senior Living at Forest Ridge” area in New Castle and these crunchy peanut butter cups are far better than anything you can buy. Great memories, great times, great stories and great recipes – who could ask for more!?

Nancy’s Homemade Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Feel free to substitute the crushed pretzels for graham crackers and feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips for milk or dark. Also sprinkle a little sea salt on these before chilling for an even bigger sweet and salty flavor. Crunchy peanut butter also works for those who would prefer it. A very versatile recipe and perfect for making ahead! These pair nicely with popcorn as well as with a cup of coffee.

For the base…
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter

For the topping…
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Start by placing the pretzel sticks in a large plastic food storage bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. Be sure there are no big chunks of pretzel – these need to be crushed fine.

Place the crushed pretzels in a large bowl and pour in the melted and cooled unsalted butter, confectioner’s sugar and smooth peanut butter. Stir until everything is combined.

Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the combined mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

In a large microwave safe bowl combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the smooth peanut butter and microwave on high for two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Remove and stir the mixture until smooth and glossy.

Pour this mixture over the prepared base and smooth out the top.

Place in the refrigerator to chill for one hour before removing and cutting to serve.

Ask and Answer: There have been a few questions about adding tarragon to the chicken salad that I wrote about in my previous column. A couple of emails expressed concern over the strong flavor and someone else mentioned that it was a very hard herb to find. The trick with tarragon is to use it in small amounts. It is a very strong herb but it pairs nicely with chicken to allow the chicken to taste more chicken like. It can usually be found in most supermarkets in the fresh herb section in the produce area. If you would rather leave it out all together, that is fine! Just use a little parsley and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. Experiment and have fun!

PIN IT: http://pin.it/ucpJXgi

Rocky Road Bark

I love the flavor combinations of rocky road and I love chocolate bark – so what could be better than combinding them together? The fabulous part about this recipe – aside from the fabulous results – is that the recipe can literally be transformed into millions of different flavor combinations! I use semi-sweet chocolate for the base but feel free to use bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate or even a combination of chocolates all swirled together. Also top with anything your heart desires. Crushed up potato chips, crushed peppermint candies, dried fruit, candy sprinkles – ANYTHING! 

How fabulous is that!?

Rocky Road Bark

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
2 cups chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on top a sheet of parchment paper. 

In a large bowl combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening. Microwave on high power 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth and glossy. 

Carefully pour the melted chocolate directly in the center of the parchment paper. Using the back side of a spoon spread the melted chocolate out into a rectangle about the size of 12 inches by 18 inches. You want the chocolate thin enough to snap when cooled but not too thin as to break when loading on the topping. Be careful not to make the chocolate too thick either or it will not form traditional bark. 

Once the chocolate is formed sprinkle on the lightly toasted walnuts, mini marshmallows and the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In a microwave safe bowl combine the white chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening. Microwave on high power 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the white chocolate is melted and smooth and glossy. 

Take a spoon and drizzle the melted white chocolate over the entire surface of the bark. Use whatever pattern you desire but I think that a single line back and forth across horizontally looks the best. 

You may not use all of the white chocolate. 

Place into the refrigerator for 2 hours. 

Remove and carefully break the bark up into pieces. Store at room temperature. 

Enjoy!

PIN IT: http://pin.it/z1y2mML

Pretzel Candy Buttons

Anyone ever had these!? Delicious!

“Pretzel Candy Buttons”

Place dark salted round pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place a HERSHEY’S KISS in the middle. Bake at 275 degree F. for 3 minutes. Remove and place a M&M’s candy in the center. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove. 

Enjoy! 

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

Chew This! Christmas Divinity 

Christmas is just around the corner and one of my favorite Christmas memories is that of old-fashioned Christmas candy. Ribbon candy, lemon drops, chocolate covered cherries, candied pecans and made from scratch divinity are just some of the Christmas candies that fill my dreams around this time of year.

Have you ever had divinity? Divinity is an old-fashioned beaten candy that is typically made with egg whites. It is a personal favorite in my household around the Holidays and I really think after you try this recipe, it will become a personal favorite of you and yours as well.


Christmas Divinity

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 20th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Candy
Blaise Doubman

I love old-fashioned Christmas candy! There is something so warm and comforting to me about seeing a bowl full of colorful ribbon candy in a glass dish or rainbow colored gumballs. I have so many memories of Christmas candy that whenever the season rolls around I sometimes find myself dreaming in candy. I’m a huge chocoholic, but with Christmas candy, I want chocolate to take a back seat. Just this once. I want candy that is warm, familiar and seasonal in taste. Candy that is flavored with cinnamon, clove, anise and cardamom; scents and flavors that take me right back to my childhood. I can still remember eating my way through my Grandma Deloris and Grandpa Max’s crystal bowl full of ribbon candy and yellow sanded lemon drops. Or having to present, and explain, a naked gingerbread house because I had eaten all of the adornments.

My Mom, Darla and my Grandma Barbra also enjoy Christmas candy and it is from them that I fell in love with a candy known as divinity. Divinity is a creamy confection made using stiffly beaten egg whites. Although, there are some recipes that do not call for egg whites – such as the recipe for divinity I have in my cookbook. My first experience with this candy was in Metamora, Indiana at the Little Red School House. The confectioners’ factory is gone, only the memory remains, but it was there that I first fell in love with this candy. Once my Grandma Barbra and I made this for the first time, I was skeptical. Egg whites? But, at first taste, it was love! Since then I have experimented with all types of recipes and honestly, most are hard and time consuming! I wanted a recipe that would be fairly simple and foolproof. After many trials and errors I came up with the recipe I am sharing with you here today. I love making this and passing it out for Christmas gifts. Everyone loves it and it creates a great Holiday memory!

Christmas Divinity

The chopped nuts in this recipe are completely optional. If you are a fan of nuts, by all means, use them! If you are not that big of a fan, leave them out. Some people prefer the nuts stirred into the actual candy mixture, while others place the nut on top. For example, once the candy is formed and placed on the parchment paper, press a pecan half on top, or a walnut, etc. Also something that is optional is dusting the final candy with confectioners’ sugar. By dusting the candy you take away the initial stickiness of the candy while adding a hint of flavor. I am not a fan of candy thermometers; most of the people I have talked to are not either, so use the cold water test. Drizzle a little of the cooked candy into a mug with cold water and feel it. If it can be turned into a soft ball it is around 235 degrees F. If it can be turned into a hard ball it is around 250 degrees F. Follow the minutes given for the recipe and you will end up with the exact temperature needed for the recipe.

3 large egg whites
3 cups white granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

In a large bowl beat the large egg whites until they hold a stiff peak. Using a hand mixer this will take several minutes. Anywhere from 5 minutes to 7 minutes. Once the egg whites are stiff, and hold their attention when the beaters are removed from the bowl, sit the bowl aside.

In a large heavy bottom saucepan, combine the white granulated sugar, light corn syrup and water. Stir this continuously until it reaches a boil. Continue stirring while the mixture boils for exactly 5 minutes. The mixture will form a hard ball when dropped in cold water.

Add the hot boiled mixture, carefully, into the stiffly beaten egg whites while beating with a hand mixer at medium speed. This is hot and dangerous work so please work carefully.

Beat in the pure vanilla extract, salt and chopped nuts, if using. Beat this mixture several more minutes until the mixture starts to hold its own shape. This will take around 5 minutes.

Drop teaspoon size amounts onto parchment paper. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

To store this delicate candy, place in tightly sealed plastic container at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: Donna Cronk asked if my “Tomi’s Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie” could be frozen and transformed into an ice cream pie / frozen treat. Absolutely! This would work great in the summer months when such a treat would be a cool welcome to the table. If freezing, snap on plastic pie lid and wrap well with aluminum foil. Also on the subject of that particular column, let me clarify that the location I was referring to that sells the peanut butter pies is actually called “Top Hat” which is located on Broad Street in New Castle.

 

PIN IT: http://pin.it/hH_Vb7L