Chew This! Monica’s Love Brownies

Monica's Love Brownies

Thank you to all of those who pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sunday’s of each month to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column features and recipes. Really means a lot to me. I appreciate your support and dedication. My newest column, last Sunday, was a recipe for “Monica’s Love Brownies”!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 1st 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Spreading Love and Brownies
Blaise Doubman

I am a huge cookbook lover and collect cookbooks the way some people may collect stamps, coins or knickknacks. One of my current favorite cookbooks is “The Best of Better Baking.com” written by: Marcy Goldman. It is filled with delicious, and easy, recipes that I turn to time and time again for foolproof baking. She is one of my culinary inspirations who has written, and self-published, several cookbooks on a variety of topics. When I was shopping around my debut cookbook I remember speaking to Marcy about it and asking for her help. She was more than happy to take me under her wing and share some of her greatest advice as a baker, a cookbook author and a self-publisher. After I spoke to her, I immediately called and emailed the publishers that were looking over my cookbook and pulled out of all possible deals. My goal was clear to me and that was to self-publish my cookbook and expand my brand on my own. If a publisher got wind of my success and offered to publish, great! If not, the time would come, and things would fall into place as they should. Between Marcy and my friend Donna Cronk, I had all the self-publishing guidelines and tips that I needed to make a clear-headed decision. My gut instinct was right and here we are!

In expanding my brand, I decided to try a “Blaise the Baker Mail Order Dessert Delivery” service. Without going into detail, there needs to be more research done! Ha! It was an enjoyable experimentation, but right now food writing and recipe developing keep me busy enough. Plus, there was something lacking in it to me and that was the hand to hand, eye to eye, delivery to the actual customer. I missed seeing someone’s eyes sparkle at the delivery of a fabulous dessert or their big bright smile when they see a dessert delivery coming their way. Take for example my friend and taste tester, Dr. Monica Price Kowaleski. She is one of the most trusted eye care professionals in Greenfield, an optometrist operating a family owned business (Price Eye Care Inc. located at 946 N State Street in Greenfield) and a very dear friend to my family and I. A few months back, during an eye visit, I brought in some brownies that I had developed based off one of Marcy Goldman’s brownie recipes. Monica and her staff flipped over them and that was all I needed to know that the recipe I was tinkering with was perfect. I named this recipe after my friend Monica and would highly recommend you stir up a batch of these! Feel free to leave out the chocolate chips and walnuts for a smoother finish brownie but be sure to make these in advance. These delicious brownies take time and prepping ahead!

Monica’s Love Brownies

These brownies are best made in advance because they need to set up properly and rest awhile before enjoying. At first look you may think these brownies may be too rich but they really are not! They are thick and chewy with a delicious chocolate flavor that the coffee really helps carry through. These also freeze beautifully! Some of my taste testers prefer to eat them directly from the freezer! Regardless, these need to be eaten chilled.

4 sticks (16 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
6 large eggs
1 cup, plus 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda, heaping
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional
2 cups chopped nuts, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lightly spray again with the non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the unsalted butter until melted, about 2 minutes. Remove and add in the white granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and instant coffee granules. Beat well until the mixture is thick and combined.

Beat in the large eggs, one at a time, beating about 50 strokes to incorporate each egg before adding another egg. Once all the eggs are thoroughly beaten in, beat another minute.

Add in the unsweetened cocoa powder, white all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt all at once. Gently, and patiently, fold in until no dry ingredients remain in the batter.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips and or walnuts, if using.

Scoop the batter gently into the prepared pan and spread well and even out the top.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 43 minutes. The top will be set but will not look dry.

Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, place, uncovered, in the freezer for 2 hours. After gently frozen, flip brownies, or lift out, onto a clean work surface. Peel off the parchment paper and cut brownies into desired sizes.

Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer or refrigerator.

Ask and Answer: I have received several questions about my previous column for “Funfetti Cake Balls” and if you can use different flavors of cake mix for this recipe. The answer? Yes! Use whatever flavor of cake mix you would like, just adjust the outer coating to match the cake ball flavor. Also, lots of questions pertaining to my upcoming second cookbook. To answer your questions, there is currently no release date sat and no preorders being taken. All I can say is that the book is scheduled to be released later this year, 2018. Thank you for the interest.

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Chew This! Funfetti Cake Balls

Funfetti Cake Balls

Thank you to all of those who pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sunday’s of each month to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column features and recipes. Really means a lot to me. I appreciate your support and dedication. My newest column, last Sunday, was a recipe for “Funfetti Cake Balls”! So fun!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 18th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Funfetti Cake Balls Bring Big Smiles
Blaise Doubman

Recently I announced publicly on my social media pages, that for the past 18 months I have been secretly writing my second cookbook! The responses I got back were overwhelming! So many people were just as enthused and excited as I was sharing the news! After I wrote my first cookbook, I never did think I was “finished” with writing and sharing recipes in that way. At the same time though, I could not really tell you when my second cookbook would come together, if at all. People would ask me about it and I would just shrug my shoulders and tell them to stay tuned. I guess in the back of my mind, I knew after the first cookbook was published, that I was not done with things because I had so many more family recipes and stories to share. Developing recipes, testing recipes and sharing recipes is something that I truly love. When I find something good, read something I love, taste something out of the ordinary, see a movie I think is fascinating or hear a song that puts me in a good mood the first thing I want to do is share it! I want to share it with anyone and everyone I know, and sometimes, more often than not, share it with people I do not know! Ha! I love to share the things I love with people.

I love it too, when I bake something and immediately it puts a big smile on people’s faces! This is exactly what happened with my newest creation, “Funfetti Cake Balls”! Cake balls and even cake pops for that matter, are nothing new, but my newest creation combines one of America’s most loved cakes, Funfetti, with a delicious white almond bark coating and a sprinkling of rainbow sprinkles, just for fun. These are perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, wedding showers, anniversary parties, pitch-ins, get togethers, anything and everything you name it! Sprinkle the tops with rainbow sprinkles or even get creative with crushed up chocolate cookies, chocolate sprinkles or different flavors and colors of sanding sugars. Most often when making cake pops, or even brownie pops, you first must bake the cake, or brownies, allow to cool, crumble in a bowl, add frosting, and on and on. Not these! These are simple, foolproof and fun to make. This recipe would be a perfect hands on activity for children in the kitchen. And as far as my second cookbook, it will be released sometime in 2018, still not sure on an exact release date, but once I know more about it I will share the details here with all you.

Funfetti Cake Balls

These are best eaten the day they are made but can be kept covered, at room temperature, for 48 hours. The leftover white almond bark can be used in a variety of ways such as dipping wavy-style potato chips, pretzel rods or a vast array of cut fruits. Simple dip away your desired edible and immediately sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles. Allow to set up at room temperature for several minutes before serving and enjoying.

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups Funfetti cake mix
½ cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Rainbow sprinkles
2 boxes white almond bark candy coating
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening

Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter with the Funfetti cake mix, white granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract. Feel free to mix in a few heaping tablespoons of the rainbow sprinkles to the mix if you want sprinkles throughout the cake balls.

Once the ingredients are combined and a dough is formed, roll into balls slightly smaller than a tablespoon. Place the rolled balls onto the parchment lined baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Prepare the candy coating by placing both boxes into a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Towards the end of the melting process, add in the tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening and stir well to combine. Continue microwaving until the candy coating is smooth and glossy, being careful not to scorch the coating.

Remove the balls from the freezer and start to dip them in the melted candy coating. This needs to be a fast job because the candy coating starts to harden quickly. What you need to do is place a couple of the frozen balls into the melted coating, roll around using two forks to ensure even coating, carefully remove excess candy and place balls back onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle over the rainbow sprinkles.

Continue with this method until all the balls are dipped and adored with sprinkles.

Allow the coating to set up completely before serving and enjoying, about 15 minutes.

Ask and Answer: Inga Brown Neal, of local “Temptations” fame, had a suggestion with my previous column for “Mini Baked Apple Pies”. She said that she would fill the pies with apple butter and she wouldn’t use glaze, instead she would use just sugar. I thought this was a fabulous idea and promised her if I used the recipe I would credit her, so here it is! Shout out and special thanks to Inga for the suggestion. Also, some special thanks go out to Inga for delivering some of the best potato soup I have ever had from her business “Temptations”. Thanks again Inga!

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Chew This! Mini Baked Apple Pies

Mini Baked Apple Pies

Thank you to all of those who pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sunday’s of each month to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column features and recipes. Really means a lot to me. I appreciate your support and dedication. My newest column, last Sunday, was a recipe for “Mini Baked Apple Pies”! When I tested these, my taste testers went crazy!

Highly recommend you try these…

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

A Mini Twist on Apple Pie
Blaise Doubman

Spring is just around the corner and with a new season, new recipes always enter my mind. Spring, to me, means not only warmer weather and flowers blooming, but also fresh fruits and garden planting season, lemonade and brisk evenings. I have been on a “pie quest” for several months now, trying to learn more about pies, their history, different crusts, fillings, new and delightful taste combinations, not to mention delightful recipe tests – and I have still a way to go, but continuous learning is the way of life. Take your basic apple pie for example. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that people make their apple pies! Some people add raisins to their filling, while others add a little blueberry or a twist of lemon. Some people pile their apples high and add maple syrup over the top before placing on the crust, while others cook down the apples until almost a thick glaze forms around the bottom and dots butter over the top before placing on the crust. And, let us take the crust for example! Do you make your crust with lard? Butter? Shortening? A combination? Do you add cheese? Mayonnaise? I am fascinated by this and why people use and add what they do.

When developing the recipe, I am sharing here today with all of you, I wanted something basic and simple, but something that was new yet familiar. You can, by all means, make your own pie crust for this recipe, but I wanted to make it easy. As Food Network star Nancy Fuller always says, “Scratch made is best, unless you are stressed”. And that is so true! Do not be intimidated in the kitchen by making your own pie crust and do not be ashamed of buying refrigerated pie crust! A shortcut is a shortcut and there is nothing wrong with wanting to save time! I wanted this recipe to make mini pies that were baked in the oven and not fried. You can fry them if you wish. I also wanted to create a glaze for them, but these are also delicious eaten plain. They are also delicious crumbled up on vanilla ice cream but that is another story. I love recipes that are familiar, foolproof, delicious and flavorful and I hope you will enjoy these mini baked apple pies.

Mini Baked Apple Pies

These hand pies can be made with homemade dough rather than refrigerated dough, can be made with your favorite fruit filling and can be deep fried if desired. That is the beauty of this recipe, it is very versatile! The finished pies should be kept covered at room temperature and will last up to 3 days.

2 boxes refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl blend and mash the apple pie filling with a fork. Add in the ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract, stirring to incorporate.

Unroll the pie crusts onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or bottom of a narrow glass, cut out 6 circles from each pie crust. You should end up with 24 total circles and will have to work carefully in batches.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture in the middle of each of the cut-out circles. Fold the circles over, crimping the sides tightly with a fork. Using the fork, poke the tops of each pie once to allow them to bake and steam evenly.

Brush the tops of each prepared pie with the large egg white. Place the pies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool only slightly before glazing.

In a large bowl whisk together, the confectioner’s sugar and whole milk to make the glaze. Drop the slightly warm pies into the large bowl of glaze and coat evenly. The easiest way to do this, is by using two forks and working carefully. Place the glazed pies onto the parchment lined baking sheets and allow to cool completely and allow the glaze to set up before serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I posted a picture of some homemade croutons awhile back on my social media and several people wanted the recipe, so I thought I would share it here with everyone. The secret to good homemade croutons is in the kind of bread you use, and it may not be what you think! The secret? Hamburger buns! Take a pack of hamburger buns, cut into desired size and place on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and choice of seasoning mix, if any. Toss together with clean hands. Bake in 425-degree oven until crisp, stirring every 5 minutes. Desired baking time, and crispness, is up to you. I bake mine about 20-25 minutes, stirring and flipping the croutons often. Serve in air-tight container for 3 days.

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Chew This! Cindy’s Colossal Cookies

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column featuring my friend Cindy and the recipe for “Cindy’s Colossal Cookies”! Also my “Ask and Answer” features my answer to your questions about my peanut butter brownies! Thank you all for your continuous support and dedication! Enjoy!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 18th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Friends Sharing Recipes…
Blaise Doubman

People always talk about the good and bad aspects of social media, Facebook for example, and really wonder if we have progressed because of this, or perhaps been taken back. I can see the good, as well as the bad, that social media presents, and I can see how some people will never fully understand what social media is capable of. I would like to think that social media is a tool best used in business and marketing development, as well as keeping close contact with family and friends who may live afar. I believe it is also a strong factor in forming friendships and strong bonds that without it, may have never existed. Take my friend Cindy Shelton and I for example. Both of us have lived in Kennard all our lives, yet only on occasion would see each other, wave across the street, then go about our busy lives, not really getting the chance to know one another. About 5 years ago though, that all changed when we became friends on Facebook. One thing led to another and before long we were like long lost friends. I consider Cindy to be one of my best friends today. She is one of the sweetest people I know, one of the most caring, compassionate and giving individuals that I have ever met. Ask anyone that knows her and they will mention her warmth, her smile or her infectious laugh. She is a devoted friend and a true gem of a woman and I have learned so much from her, including being a better and more understanding Christian person. Her husband, Pastor Danny Shelton and their family has become more like family than friends to my family and I and we cherish them so.

It is an ongoing joke that Cindy and the kitchen just do not get along, but let me tell you, I have seen, tasted and heard from many people that she is a good cook, just maybe lacks the confidence. So, imagine my surprise when she presented me with a handwritten recipe for part of my Christmas gift last year! It was a recipe handed down to her from a colleague she used to work with in Shirley, Indiana. The recipe was for “Colossal Cookies” and they sounded delicious! I could not wait to try them and within a week, I did. They were extraordinary! I usually pass out my treats and goodies, one reason being if not I would eat them all, but these cookies could not be shared! I simply had to eat every single last one! Ha! I am sharing this recipe with everyone here today and encouraging you to make these the next time you have a “cookie craving”! I am also naming them after my best friend Cindy and I want to give her a special shout out and thank you for allowing me to do so. Thank you Cindy!

Cindy’s Colossal Cookies

This dough can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Refrigerating the dough turns the baked cookie into a thicker style cookie that is crispy outside and chewy on the inside. This dough also freezes well. Just take the dough and roll into tablespoon size balls and place on a baking sheet. Place into the freezer for one hour, until the dough balls are frozen solid. Pack away the frozen dough balls into freezer safe plastic storage bags and place in freezer. When ready to bake, remove however many you wish and bake in preheated oven!

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 cups chunky peanut butter
6 cups quick cooking oats
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter, white granulated sugar and light brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in the large eggs, pure vanilla extract and baking soda.

Beat in the peanut butter and combined until all ingredients are well mixed.

Add in the quick cooking oats, followed by the semi-sweet chocolate chips. This will take a little effort and can be done in batches if you wish. Just be sure to have the ingredients mixed well.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between each cookie. Bake one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven, for 12 minutes. Remove and allow the cookies to cool slightly before enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a few questions concerning the peanut butter brownies I posted to my social media networks a couple of weeks back. People are anxious to know how I made them, so I thought I would share my technique here. Start with your favorite brownie recipe and pour that into a prepared pan. In a bowl combine 1 cup peanut butter with ¼ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Dollop the peanut butter mixture all over the top of the brownies and then gently swirl together with a knife. Bake as directed.

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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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Chew This! Sweet Surprise Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Happy “CHEW THIS!” Sunday! I am SO EXCITED to share this recipe with everyone today! My “Sweet Surprise Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake” may not be what you expect! Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think! My Grandma Deloris LOVES this cake and I think you will too! Also my “Ask and Answer” feature, features some answers to your questions about my baked spaghetti! Enjoy!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 21st 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Mayonnaise is sweet secret ingredient…
Blaise Doubman

My very first post on my blog was a recipe for chocolate mayonnaise cake. It started with a cake mix and detailed instructions on what to do and how to achieve the perfect cake. That post was nearly four years ago now, believe it or not, and I still refer to it for inspiration. Over the course of four years, since posting that original piece, I have come to find that the best mayonnaise cakes always start with a cake mix! I know, I am not the biggest fan of premade boxed mixes myself and I hardly ever use them, but you must understand that in the world of mayonnaise cakes, you simply must start with one. I have tried mayonnaise cakes from scratch, for instance I am sharing a “from scratch” version in the comments to this column, and they are delicious do not get me wrong, but there is something in the boxed mix you can not find or duplicate anywhere else. Believe me, I have tried and tasted my fair share of mayonnaise cakes. Ha!

In developing this recipe, I wanted to take the flavor to another level, so I added freshly brewed coffee to the cake instead of water and decided to bake the cakes a little less than I had previously. The result was a fabulously moist cake with deep chocolate flavor! If you are not a fan of coffee, do not despair, you can honestly hardly taste it! Coffee, when added to chocolate, does not overpower, but instead adds to the overall flavor. My Grandma Deloris is a huge fan of this cake and whenever we have something to celebrate together, I bring this cake along with me. The frosting is simple too! Simply sift together 3 ½ cups powdered sugar with ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. In another bowl combine a stick of melted butter with 4 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa mixture to the melted butter mixture and stir until everything is smooth and combined. Add a splash or two of milk if the frosting needs to be more spreadable. For special occasions I will make a separate vanilla buttercream frosting that goes in the middle of the layers, and in a circle on top of the cake. Then I sprinkle the top with chocolate sprinkles. It is fun, festive and delicious!

Sweet Surprise Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

If you prefer to make the recipe from scratch, stir together 3 cups white all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups white granulated sugar, 6 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 3 teaspoons baking soda. In a separate bowl combine 1 ½ cups mayonnaise with 1 ½ cups warm water and 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend together until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 13×9-inch cake pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree F oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before frosting. You can also make this cake using 2 9-inch round cake pans if you desire or about 18 medium sized cupcakes.

1 Duncan Hines “Devil’s Food” cake mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup brewed coffee
3 large eggs

Start by spraying 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line each cake pan with parchment paper and spray again if you want to take extra precautions, which is never a bad idea.

In a large bowl beat together the cake mix, mayonnaise, brewed coffee and large eggs until the mixture is combined, smooth and glossy with a few air bubbles.

Pour this mixture evenly between the 2 cake pans. Take each pan and wrap steadily on your counter top to release the air bubbles and to ensure even baking.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes exactly.

Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

When ready to assemble, gently remove one of the cakes from their pans and place onto a plate. Place some frosting on the top and smooth evenly. Remove the other cake from its pan and place on top. Place frosting on top of cake, smooth and gently bring down the sides of the cake to ensure an even coating around the perimeter of the cake.

Ask and Answer: I received a few emails about my column prior to this one for “Baked Spaghetti” and thought I would answer your questions here. The dish can be made ahead, wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerated until ready to bake. You can also substitute diverse types of pasta, such as whole grain, etc. Also, there was a reader that said she had made my baked spaghetti for her husband and added a pinch of red pepper flake and sea salt to the top of the baked dish and it was a huge success! Sounds good to me!

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Chew This! Baked Spaghetti

Happy “Chew This” Sunday! I am so excited to share my recipe for “Baked Spaghetti” with everyone! Please pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think of my newest column. Also check out my “Ask and Answer” section featuring my recipe and tips for my “quick biscuits” – only 2 ingredients! Enjoy!

Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 7th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Baked Spaghetti is an Italian Classic
Blaise Doubman

If I had to pick my favorite food nationality it would have to be Italian. Although Chinese would have to play an important second role, as well as traditional American food. I love anything and everything Italian, from Ziti to Stuffed Shells and every single one of their desserts. Has anyone tried their lady finger and espresso soaked dessert known as “tiramisu”? Heavenly! Every time there is a celebration around here, and I just do not feel like cooking, which is rare, but it happens, I always pick a nice Italian restaurant. There is something in me that thinks I perhaps have some Italian roots, or maybe even an Italian background somewhere years and years in my background. Maybe I will try one of the ancestry websites and poke around some. Although, I am not really keen on the popular ancestry website where you send in a sample of your blood! I do not want my blood going to some big company that may get hacked or something later. And how is it not guaranteed that my blood will not be used years down the road for cloning purposes! Ha! Can you imagine two of me? My family and friends would not know what to do!

But in all honesty, Italian food makes me think of warmth and comfort, celebrations and togetherness. It may also have to do with the fact that my Grandpa Max and Grandma Deloris ate out quite a bit at Italian places when I was growing up, and I would tag along with them. Recently, when I found out that my cookbook was going to start being sold over at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centerville, Indiana, I immediately wanted to celebrate with my family and friends. I had been working on a baked spaghetti recipe for awhile and decided to perfect it and serve it in celebration. I tinkered around for a while and came up with a recipe that is simple, easy, classic and flavorful! Next time you are thinking about what to make for a celebratory meal, I hope your mind drifts to this recipe and you try it with your family and friends! Feel free to experiment with your favorites types of cheeses and herbs.

Baked Spaghetti with Mozzarella and Parmesan

This dish can be made ahead, wrapped with aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to two days. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two days. Feel free to substitute different types of cheese for the Mozzarella and Parmesan, such as Ricotta. This is perfect served with a side salad and garlic bread.

16 oz spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasonings
28 oz crushed tomatoes
½ cup basil, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmesan

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until al dente, drain and set aside. Be sure to boil the spaghetti in lots of boiling salted water. Also add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the boiling water. I do this sometimes to prevent the spaghetti from sticking together once the pasta is cooled.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil for about one minute. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until you can smell the warmth, which will take about 2 more minutes. Add the ground beef and season to your liking with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Cook the meat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Drain the mixture and then return to the skillet, still over medium heat. Add in the crushed tomatoes, chopped basil and chopped parsley until thickened and reduced, which will take about 12 minutes in total. You can taste the mixture at this point and add more seasonings if desired.

Toss this with the cooked spaghetti and pour into prepared baking dish.

Top the dish evenly with the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and serve hot.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages about my favorite type of “quick biscuits”. I would have to say my favorite recipe would be on page 83 in my cookbook and calls for only 2 simple ingredients. Self-rising flour and heavy cream. You take the 2 ingredients, roll out and cut, place in preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 14 minutes. People will not believe that the biscuits are only 2 simple ingredients and you will have a new secret recipe!

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Chew This! Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

So excited to share my recipe for homemade “Nutter Butter” cookies in my newest “CHEW THIS!” column in TODAY’S “The Courier-Times”! These peanut butter sandwich cookies are THREE INGREDIENTS for the cookie and THREE INGREDIENTS for the filling! Foolproof – simple and delicious! Highly recommend you pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think! Also, my “Ask and Answer” section is all about your Holiday cookie plates! Enjoy!

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

The Perfect Cookie for your Holiday Cookie Plate
Blaise Doubman

The Holiday season is in full swing and Christmas will be here before you know it! I hope that as you are reading this you have finished your shopping, tucked away your lists and have the presents wrapped and under the Christmas tree! No? Well, join the club! It seems that with each passing year, the Holidays just keep getting more and more stressful. Do you think? Whenever I think of the Holidays I try to distance myself from the “give me, give me” nature of things and shift more towards the true, real meaning of the Holiday season. I love to present people with Christmas cards, cookie platters and little things here and there that say “thank you for all that you have done for me this year”, or “thank you for being there”. People just want to be acknowledged and I love showing my thanks for people all year around, but especially during the Holiday season. There are so many people in my life who I am truly thankful for and I want to show them that. Not because it is Christmas and I “have to” but because I want to!

My holiday cookie plates this year will be a combined effort between my Mom, Darla and myself. We have big plans but are keeping it simple with traditional favorites as well as with some unexpected goodies. The Original Good’s Candies in Kennard are helping us out with a certain “token” of appreciation but I can not say anything further yet, for I want to keep the surprise. The recipe I am sharing today of my “Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies” are fabulous in not only that the cookies are literally only 3 ingredients but fabulous in a way that they are so simple and so delicious! Are you a fan of the peanut butter “Nutter Butter” cookies that you find in the grocery store? These are like those but with the volume turned way up! I could just eat the filling by itself and my taste testers agreed that these were perhaps the very best peanut butter cookies they had ever had! Make these for your Holiday cookie plates and even include this column or recipe! There is nothing like cookies to show someone you care.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

These peanut butter sandwich cookies are best kept covered at room temperature. They can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a container as well. They will last for 5 days but I do not think they will sit around that long. For an even richer cookie dip one side of the cookie into melted chocolate or white chocolate ganache. To make the ganache add 2 cups chocolate chips to a bowl and pour over 3/4 cup hot heavy cream. Allow to sit for a full minute before whisking together. The ganache will be smooth and glossy when ready to use.

For the cookies…
2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten

For the filling…
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the smooth peanut butter with the granulated sugar and beaten eggs. The finished dough will be thick, this is desirable, with no flakes of sugar left to combine.

Using a tablespoon as your measure, measure out the dough and roll into balls. Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2-inches of space between each.

Using a wet fork, make a “cross hatch” mark on each cookie dough ball, slightly pressing down.

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

Remove and allow the cookies to cool on their baking sheets at room temperature before removing or continuing with the recipe.

To make the filling, combine the smooth peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and pure vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl. The finished filling will be light colored and semi-thick.

To assemble the cookies, spread the filling over the bottom of a cookie, and top with another cookie, crosshatch mark facing up and press together gently. Serve or prepare to store.

Ask and Answer: I have received a few emails from people wondering what the perfect “Christmas Cookie Plate” would have on it and how they should go about preparing one. Well, first I would say that if you are making a lot of plates to pass out, make cookie dough that can be made well in advance! Which would be almost any cookie, aside from peanut butter. Make up the dough, when you find the time, place it into the refrigerator and bake them when you are getting ready to prepare the cookie platters. Most cookie doughs can be made, and chilled, up to 4 days before baking off. I would also recommend baking only three or four types of cookies so not to overwhelm. I usually will add a few chocolates, or pieces of fudge around the plate for decoration but it really is not necessary. I would also recommend using a nice festive Holiday plate and wrapping the plate in plastic wrap and perhaps topping each with some ribbon and a festive bow with frills. People usually eat with their eyes first.

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Under Construction

Hello everyone! Over the past several days I have received quite a number of messages and emails about the online version of my “Chew This!” column for “The Courier-Times”. When you click the links to direct you to my column and recipes, there is an error message that appears. This is because “The Courier-Times” website is currently undergoing construction and the archives have not appeared yet. Please be patient with this. If there is a column or recipe you are trying to locate please send me an email – blaisethebaker@gmail.com or send me a text message – 765-520-8332 and I will help you the best that I can. Sorry for the inconvenience and please stay tuned here as I will update you when I can.

Blaise

UPDATE: All of my past columns should now be available, here, through my website. What will happen in the future will be my “Chew This!” columns will appear in “The Courier-Times” as regular, then appear here on my website a few days later. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me. Thanks again for your feedback and support! I could not do this without you and you all mean everything to me! XO

Chew This! Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

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 features not one but TWO delicious recipes for foolproof bar desserts! My “Pecan Pie Bars” and my “Rice Krispie Treat Brownies” are both fabulous and perfect for your Holiday table!

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is all about my recommendation for a different cookbook when it comes to baking and different types of flour! Send me a message, call or text me – even email – with your questions and I will be happy to help! 765-520-8332 or blaisethebaker@gmail.com

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

Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

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

Dessert Bars are perfect for Holidays
Blaise Doubman

Lately I have been testing and developing recipes using the “bar” method, whereas you create some type of dough, and or filling, and bake in a large 9×13-inch pan and cut into bars once baked and cooled. You can take just about any type of cookie dough recipe and transform the cookies into “bars” by using this method, and when pressed for time, it is so much easier to spread into one pan instead of dolloping up each cookie. Same goes for cakes! People ask me all the time if you can take a recipe for a cake, calling for two 8 or 9-inch pans, and bake it instead in a 9x-13-inch pan. Yes, you can! This method of baking got me thinking about different types of pies that could be made into “bars”, as well as brownies that could be “bars, yet brownies”. Yes, this is how my mind works most of the time. Ha! The results were fantastic!

I started with the pecan pie bars. Pecan pie is my favorite pie on earth and my favorite recipe is that of a traditional, old-fashioned pecan pie that I shared with everyone several columns ago, right here! I do have a recipe in my cookbook for a “Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie” which is tasty and delightful too, but for my bar recipe I wanted to stick with traditional. I made a crust recipe, placed it into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan, baked the crust, made the filling, baked the filling, allowed it to sit awhile and chill and the results were fantastic! Better than a traditional pecan pie because transformed into “bars”, the pie suddenly becomes a portable food. Portable pecan pie, how bad could that be? When developing the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies I wanted to combine the two, brownies and the cereal treats, but could not think of a way of holding them together. Then I thought about marshmallow cream and it worked! The combination of and texture of the brownie with the crunch of the cereal treats and the marshmallow sandwiched inside really makes for something fun and different. I would recommend trying both of these desserts to serve to your family and friends at your Holiday table!

Pecan Bars and Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Each of these dessert bars are the perfect make ahead dessert! Whip up a batch of both, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to three days. You will find that after both of these dessert bars chill they are not only easier to cut and serve, but the flavors really have a chance to come together. The Rice Krispie topping on the brownies can also be made with Cheerio cereal or Frosted Flake cereal. Each makes one 9×13-inch pan and serves about 20-25 people depending on the size of pieces cut for each. These are deliciously rich desserts!

For the Pecan Bars…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
½ cup white granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups white corn syrup
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecan pieces

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. In a large bowl beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the white all-purpose flour and mix until it becomes a soft dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan with clean wet hands. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

To make the filling, combine the beaten eggs, white corn syrup, light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and pecan pieces in a large bowl. Whisk this together until small bubbles appear in the mixture. Pour the filling over the warm crust and place bake into the 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes. You will know when it is done because the filling will be firm and not jiggly. Remove and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. Chill at least 4 hours before cutting and serving the bars. Serve alongside vanilla ice cream if desired.

For the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 jar (7.5 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups Rice Krispie cereal

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract. Fold in the unsweetened cocoa powder, white all-purpose flour and the salt. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan. Once bake remove and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, frost the top with the Marshmallow Fluff, spreading evenly along the top and sides. Place into the refrigerator while you finish making the topping.

To make the topping, combine the peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir until melted and glossy. If you need to microwave more, do so in 30 second intervals. Once melted and glossy, add in the Rice Krispie cereal and stir well to combine and coat all of the cereal. Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and top with the topping, spreading evenly.

Wrap with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: Sheila Cole Dellinger would like to know what recipes or cookbook I would recommend for someone who has allergies against regular all-purpose flours. Shelia, I would recommend “Flavor Flours” By: Alice Medrich. You can find this cookbook available online and wherever books are sold. Alice is a genius in the kitchen is known for her extensive work on pastries and chocolates. Recently she has been winning awards and gaining followers for her newest venture into diverse types of flours, ranging from almond, coconut and rice flours.

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