Chew This! Maddie Shelton’s Award Winning Baby Food Cake

Baking School

Thank you to all of those who picked up a copy of “The Courier-Times” last Sunday to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column feature and recipe. Your support and dedication really means everything to me!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, August 5th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Blaise the Baker Baking School, Blue Ribbon Baby Food Cake
Blaise Doubman

When my best friend, Cindy Shelton, asked if her granddaughter, Maddie Shelton, could bake with my Grandma Barbra and myself for a 4-H project, my answer right away was, yes! For the past several years I have been thinking about offering some type of cooking school or baking school and this was the perfect opportunity to test things out! The baking day went fabulous and even a recipe was born from the project! Maddie went above and beyond my Grandma Barbra and I’s expectations and was a pro in the kitchen. Beating, folding, sifting and pouring, Maddie really did great. The project called for a cake made from baby food and I had the perfect recipe. The addition of baby food in the cake really makes the cake flavorful and super moist. I know, lots of people hate that word but what other word should be used!?

A couple of days after our baking school, Cindy made sure to tell me Maddie had won a blue ribbon from the cake! There was no doubt in my mind that she would win, after all, I knew the recipe was a wonderful recipe because I had made it several times before. Our baking day ended with Maddie’s family stopping by and all of us sharing a piece of cake. Everyone loved it! My Mom, Darla, even stopped in for a little fun, as did my Dad, Jamie and the newest addition to my life, my little 8 week old Sheltie, Penny. Needless to say, wonderful memories were made and I was so proud of Maddie for doing a job well done! In my opinion, she really has a bright future ahead of her. Congratulations Maddie and thanks again for thinking of me!

Maddie Shelton’s Award Winning Baby Food Cake

This cake will last up to 5 days, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature with no frosting. If using the frosting, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

For the cake…
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs, beaten
1 4 oz jar applesauce baby food
1 4 oz jar carrot baby food
1 4 oz jar peach baby food
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour

For the frosting…
3 ounces cream cheese, soft
3/8 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a jellyroll pan, lightly, with solid vegetable shortening.

In a large bowl combine the white granulated sugar and vegetable oil.

Beat in the large eggs. Stir in the baby foods and combine well.

Stir in the ground cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour evenly into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 29 minutes.

Cool and then frost with frosting.

To make the frosting combine the soft cream cheese with the soft butter. Beat in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is thick but spreadable.

Ask and Answer: Lots of people have been wondering if my second cookbook will be available to purchase in the same locations as my first. The answer is yes! My cookbook is available through mail order as well as at Temptations, Glen Oaks Health Campus and The Book Nook all in New Castle, Indiana. Also available at Carousel Flowers and Gifts in Shirley, Indiana as well as Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centerville, Indiana.

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Chew This! Shredded BBQ Sandwiches

Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Thank you to all of those who picked up a copy of “The Courier-Times” last Sunday to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column feature and recipe. Your support and dedication really means everything to me!

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

Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Blaise Doubman

I love recipes that are not only simple but flavorful and versatile too, which is exactly what the recipe is that I am sharing with you today. Simply replace the boneless beef chuck roast with a boneless pork roast and you will have my “Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches”. Forgot the BBQ sauce for both recipes and add your favorite Italian salad dressing and you will have two very different and very delicious recipes to add to your recipe files! Recipes that can be changed and made a totally different way, with some of the same basic ingredients, are what people nowadays are looking for. A basic recipe that can be changed, easily and still be just as equally delicious, if not more so, than the original recipe that you started from.

On my Facebook fan page, Blaise the Baker, I surveyed about 900 people on what they looked for when selecting recipes. The number one answer across the board was “Ease of recipe”. Nobody is looking for a recipe with a hundred different ingredients. People are wanting short, simple recipes that have flavor with just a few flavorful ingredients. The second answer on what people were looking for was “Quick”. People are working more and more and seemingly spending less time at home so quick meals are very important. I believe that is why slow cooker meals are so popular anymore. People are wanting to throw something in a slow cooker, leave and have the slow cooker do all the work and come home to a finished meal. Among other things people are looking for in recipes are “familiar ingredients” as well as “flavorful meals”. I hope the recipe I am sharing here today will fit all of the categories you look for when selecting a recipe and I really hope you will try these and they will become a family favorite.

Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches

You can make this recipe by simply replacing my list of ingredients for BBQ sauce with your favorite BBQ sauce recipe or favorite bottled BBQ sauce. Add a little more light brown sugar to my recipe for a sweeter BBQ flavor or add a little more Worcestershire sauce for a more savory BBQ sauce flavor. Whatever you desire.

4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 ½ cups ketchup
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
2-4 dashes hot sauce, optional

Start by lining a slow cooker with a plastic slow cooker liner.

Cut the boneless beef chuck roast in half and place inside the slow cooker.

Sprinkle the prepared onions on top of the roast evenly.

In a large bowl whisk together the light brown sugar, ketchup, red wine vinegar, water, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, black pepper and hot sauce, if using.

Pour this mixture evenly over everything and cover the slow cooker. Cook on low for 9 hours.

Remove the roast to a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly.

Once cooled slightly, shred the beef with 2 large forks. Place the meat into a large sauce pot over medium heat and add a little of the slow cooker BBQ sauce to the mixture and stir.

Serve warm on toasted buns.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions concerning what to do with fresh Indiana strawberries. I have a couple of recipes on my blog for strawberry jam that I always recommend, as well as a recipe for pavlova sprinkled with fresh strawberries and drizzled with strawberry jam. I also have recipes for a delicious strawberry pie that people always go crazy for, as well as a strawberry cake. Visit blaisethebaker.com for recipe inspirations.

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Chew This! Celebration Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Blaise the Baker Celebrates Cover

Thank you to all of those who picked up a copy of “The Courier-Times” last Sunday to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column feature and recipe. Your support and dedication really means everything to me!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 17th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Blaise the Baker Celebrates!
Blaise Doubman

Well, here we go again and it is official! My second cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Celebrates” will be released on July 19th, 2018! In just a few short weeks. I am so excited about this and can not possibly put into words my thankfulness and gratitude that I get to do this all over again. This cookbook is all about celebrations and celebrating even the small things in life. Preorders start now. If you are interested in buying a copy, simply send $15 total, $12 for the cookbook and $3 shipping and handling, to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also purchase through PayPal. When sending payment though PayPal, use the email address blaisejdx@gmail.com If you buy 4 or more copies, shipping and handling is free!

“Blaise the Baker Celebrates” is filled with 200 recipes! I have selected a few of my most popular blog recipes to include in the cookbook as well as some of my most popular “Chew This!” columns. However, lots of the recipes that you will find inside have never before been published anywhere before! I am so excited to share recipes such as Brownie Batter Cheesecake, Broccoli Mac and Cheese Bake, Southern Style Corn Casserole, Delicious Chicken, Chicken Noodle Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup, Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Treats, Brownie Thins, Slow Cooker Cola Roast, Slow Cooker Salsa Treat and Quick Chicken Stir Fry. My Quick Chicken Stir Fry was one of the most talked about recipes between my recipe testers. Some loved it, some hated it, some took their own liberties with it and added what they liked but everyone agreed that it was really something to talk about. They could not believe it! Not all of the recipes I developed though could be used, which leads me to the recipe I am sharing today. These cupcakes are the perfect thing for a celebration and I highly recommend you try them!

Celebration Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

These are a fabulous addition to any summer party! Make these ahead and place them in the refrigerator to chill for up to 2 days before serving. These are fabulous served chilled and even better slightly frozen. They can also be served at room temperature but I find people like them better served cold. I love the looks of the pink frosting with the rainbow sprinkles decorating the tops. Fun, festive and perfect for a celebration!

For the cupcakes…
1 box vanilla cake mix
¾ cup thawed pink lemonade concentrate
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Few drops of pink food coloring
Rainbow sprinkles for decorating

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 12-cup cupcake tins with paper cupcake wrappers.

In a large bowl beat together the vanilla cake mix, thawed pink lemonade concentrate, vegetable oil, water, large eggs, pure vanilla extract and salt. Beat until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth and glossy.

Divide the batter, evenly, between the prepared cupcake cavities. Place into preheated oven and bake for 22 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the melted unsalted butter, thawed pink lemonade concentrate, pure vanilla extract and salt. Slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Add in the pink food coloring. Just a couple of drops depending on the color of frosting you are wanting.

Frost the cupcakes generously and sprinkle the tops with rainbow sprinkles.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages from people curious as to if my first cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” can still be purchased. Yes! Send $15 total to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. My cookbook is also available to purchase at Carousel Flowers and Gifts in Shirley, Indiana as well as The Book Nook, Glen Oaks Health Campus and Temptations in New Castle, Indiana. Also available at Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centerville, Indiana. Thank you for the continued dedication and support, I really appreciate all of you.

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Chew This! Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

Thank you to all of those who picked up a copy of “The Courier-Times” last Sunday to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column feature and recipe. Your support and dedication really means everything to me!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 3rd 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A Chocoholics Dream Come True!
Blaise Doubman

I have made a confession here before and today I am making it again. I am a chocoholic! There is not a day that goes by that I do not eat something chocolate. It could be a piece of candy, a piece of cake, a brownie, a handful of chocolate chips or my latest favorites, these chocolate chip butter cake squares! Gooey butter cakes, or butter cream cakes as they are sometimes called among other things, actually originated years and years ago. The original recipe started off with a fermented dough, believe it or not, but has progressed throughout the years for added convenience and flavor. The most popular method of making this delicious dessert is with a cake mix. Paula Deen started the cake mix method of this dessert and its popularity has risen rapidly over the years. I love the original recipe but wanted to turn things up a notch.

Like I said before, I am a chocoholic, so I wanted to create a chocolate version of the original gooey butter cake recipe. Sure I would have to use a chocolate cake mix, that is a given, but I wanted to go beyond just that particular chocolate flavor. I added chocolate fudge to the base, which did not work out. I added chocolate syrup in with the cream cheese mixture and that did not work out too well either. Then I tried sprinkling on some chocolate chips to the base of the dessert, before adding on the topping and guess what? It was wonderful! The chocolate chips melt slightly and create a layer of chocolate in between the chocolate base and the chocolate topping, it was perfect! I highly recommend you give this recipe a try! Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

This recipe can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. When serving these you can sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, drizzle with additional chocolate or serve as is. These are best served chilled but can be kept at room temperature for several hours. Use a sharp knife when cutting these for serving.

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, melted and divided
1 box chocolate cake mix
3 large eggs
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

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 chocolate cake mix, 1 large egg and 1 stick of the unsalted melted butter. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out smooth and even. Sprinkle the crust with the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In another large bowl beat together the softened cream cheese with the remaining 2 large eggs. Add in the unsweetened cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and pure vanilla extract, beating everything together well. Add in the remaining 1 cup unsalted melted butter and mix everything together until combined.

Pour this mixture over the crust in the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before cutting.

Ask and Answer: I have received a lot of emails from people wondering how they could be a part of my “recipe testing” group for my upcoming second cookbook. Unfortunately, the deadline for this particular request has passed. However, if you still would like to become a recipe tester for my other upcoming projects please send me an email. Thank you!

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Chew This! Jeanie Irwin’s Famous Cake

Blaise Doubman and Paula Irwin

Thank you to all of those who picked up a copy of “The Courier-Times” last Sunday to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column feature and recipe. Your support and dedication really means everything to me!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 20th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A Special Cake with Special Meaning
Blaise Doubman

I love sharing recipes that also evoke and carry special meanings. I have so many recipes that I consider my personal favorites, lots of them by my Grandma Barbra, Grandpa Max and my Mom, Darla that I go to when I am looking for comfort and warm memories. One of my dear friends, Paula Irwin, sent me a text message a few weeks ago with a picture of a cake she had made for her daughter, another dear friend of mine, Shelby. The cake looked delicious! Paula told me that she usually tries to make the cake for Shelby around her birthday. The original cake recipe came from Jeanie Irwin, who was Paula’s husband, David’s Mother. Jeanie was known for the cake and Shelby has such fond memories of her Grandma making it.

Jeanie passed away in 2008 right around Shelby’s birthday, which was especially difficult because Shelby and her Grandma Jeanie were really close but memories and recipes like this one has helped in the grieving process. As soon as Paula shared the story with me, I immediately asked for the recipe. As soon as she gave me the recipe, I knew that I had to make it. I hesitated to change anything in the original recipe, given the sentimental nature of the recipe, but guess what? No changes needed to be made! The recipe was perfect just the way it was. I loved the flavor of the almond in the cake and in the frosting. The taste was very familiar to me and very comforting. Shout out and special thanks to Paula and Shelby Irwin for allowing me to talk about and share such a special family recipe with all of my readers.

Jeanie Irwin’s Famous Cake

This cake can also be made in a standard 9×13-inch pan but needs to be baked a little longer. Be sure that if you are using this size pan, to check the cake for doneness around the 25 minute mark. This cake can also be made ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled in the refrigerator for up to three full days. Serve chilled if desired.

For the cake…
2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup water
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract

For the frosting…
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
¼ 2% milk
4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a small saucepan combine the cubed butter and water. Bring to a boil, over medium heat. Once at a boil, remove from heat and add to the flour mixture.

In a small bowl whisk together the large eggs, sour cream and almond extract until thoroughly blended together. Add this to the flour and butter mixture and whisk together well.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top evenly.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with no crumbs attached.

Remove from oven and cool for about 20 minutes while you prepare the frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the butter and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once at a boil, remove from heat and add in the confectioners’ sugar and almond extract. Beat until smooth and combined. Beat in walnuts.

Spread the frosting over the warm cake. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Ask and Answer: Several people have asked me about the chocolate chip cookie recipe that “The Cake Bake Shop” in Indianapolis uses for their cookies, so I am sharing it here. Beat together 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter with 1 cup light brown sugar and ½ cup white granulated sugar. Add in 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk. Beat in 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste. Add in ½ teaspoon each salt and baking soda. Fold in 2 cups white all-purpose flour. Fold in 1 ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips. Place 2 tablespoon size dough balls onto parchment lined baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven for exactly 15 minutes. Remove, cool and enjoy! These are delicious!

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Chew This! Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing

Thank you to all of those who picked up a copy of “The Courier-Times” last Sunday to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column feature and recipe. Your support and dedication really means everything to me!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 6th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Lemon Cupcakes Perfect for Spring
Blaise Doubman

I know that the weather for the past several weeks has been very unspring like, but spring is here, and we need to enjoy it before the heat and humidity of the summer lurks in. I have always been someone who loves all four seasons, but spring has always been my favorite, followed by the fall. Spring is a time where, after a long winter, trees and flowers start to bloom and the weather starts warming up, without the humidity, and it feels like Mother Nature is offering everyone everywhere a “rebirth” of sorts. When I think of spring flavors I think of citrus flavors like lemon, orange, lime and pineapple. I also think about lighter feeling meals and lighter desserts that are deliciously tasty but do not weight down your body or stomach. When developing recipes, I often think of the season they will be enjoyed in and some of the seasonal aspects of what is fresh for that time of year. That is where this recipe started.

In the past I have experimented with all types of “fruit brownies” such as orange brownies, lemon brownies, lime brownies, strawberry brownies and even tropical pineapple brownies but this time I wanted to change things up and create a light, but flavorful, cupcake. I also wanted to create a glaze, or an icing, instead of a thick heavy frosting for the top. The cupcakes call for fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, which is very important for the overall fresh flavor. Fresh lemon juice is also called for in my icing. You can decorate the tops of these with a piece of candied lemon, a sprinkling of lemon zest, a dash of lemon sugar or simply leave them undecorated and with a smooth and shiny top. The best part of these cupcakes may be that they are extremely versatile. If you do not care for lemon, simply replace the measurements below with fresh orange, lime or even pineapple! This recipe is simply amazing.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing

These cupcakes can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. I prefer eating these chilled, so feel free to store inside the refrigerator as well. Always use fresh lemon juice and never the bottled variety. There is no substitute for fresh lemon zest or fresh lemon juice. Also remember to zest your lemons first before cutting and juicing. To get the most juice from your lemons, roll the lemons back and forth across your cutting board before cutting or place in microwave for about 10 seconds to get the juices flowing.

For the cupcakes…
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

For the icing…
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
Fresh lemon juice

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-count cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and beat together until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth and glossy.

In a separate bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together well until all dry ingredients are combined and free of lumps.

Add the dry ingredients gradually to the beaten butter and sugar until combined, being careful not to over mix the batter. Add in the whole milk, fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice and beat just until the batter has come together and is light and glossy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Once baked, remove and allow to cool to room temperature before icing.

To make the icing, combine the confectioners’ sugar and whole milk in a bowl with a whisk. Slowly add in fresh lemon juice until the desired constancy is reached. I prefer a thinner icing for these cupcakes, but a thicker icing can be made by adding less fresh lemon juice.

Prepare the cupcakes by icing the tops, serve and enjoy.

Ask and Answer: I heard from so many of my readers with my previous column dedicated to my sweet fur baby Macy. Thank you all for your kind words and thoughtful messages. So many of you wanted to know if I had any more “doggie recipes” and I have a few but want to remind everyone to check with your dog’s veterinarians and ask about any possible food allergies. Dogs, just like humans, may have food allergies that a person would need to know about before providing or recommending any specific recipes. I will, however, recommend a cookbook for those interested. “Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook” By: The Bubba Rose Biscuit Company is a wonderful resource for those looking for safe and non-toxic “doggie recipes”.

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Chew This! Macy’s Favorite Biscuits

Macy Chloe Doubman

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 “Macy’s Favorite Biscuits”!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 15th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Dog Love, Biscuits and a Broken Heart…
Blaise Doubman

It has taken me countless attempts at this column and I am still writing through tears. Never did I imagine that I would be creating a column “in memory” of my little fur baby Macy. For the past 12 years Macy has been such a strong part of my family that I can hardly remember life before her. Of course, before Macy, came my first fur baby, Chloe. Both Shetland Sheepdogs and both have taught my family and I so much about life. Chloe was a huge part of my childhood, Macy a huge part of my young adulthood. Chloe seen so much life. She seen my brother Damon and I through Elementary School and even into High School. She was a huge part of my brother’s Senior photos and a huge part of my beginnings into real responsibility. So much life happened those 12 years we had Chloe and so much happened the 12 years after that we had Macy. Macy got to see my brother and I both graduate college with Bachelor’s Degrees, watch as my parents and grandparents grew, struggled, celebrated and learned new normals. There was so much life, so much living in those 24 years. 24 years! A lifetime of memories, both good and bad, but always with either Chloe or Macy right by my side. But now, neither.

I always told people that Macy was like my child. Why? Because she really was! She was my “fur baby”. I felt like she was a part of me just as much as I was a part of her. We went though everything together, the good and the bad. When “Blaise the Baker” first really took off I would get messages and comments about what a beautiful baby she was, so gorgeous, glamourous even. People from all over the Country would comment to me when I would post her picture online and talk about how she looked almost like a “living doll baby”. People would send her gifts for her Birthday and Christmas, but that was nothing unusual for her, because for 12 years I had thrown her a Birthday party, complete with cake and presents. She loved the attention. Chloe had more of my brother Damon’s personality. Macy had mine. She always wanted to be center of attention, laughed a lot, smiled, very rambunctious, barked a lot, never wanted to be left by herself and was full of nothing but love…and perhaps was a little bit of a troublemaker.

She was spoiled rotten to the very core. Around her 11th Birthday my family and I noticed the aging process starting to take its toll on her. She started having more and more trouble until on March 31st, 2018 she passed away. My heart will never be the same. I am heartbroken. I still look for her. Listen for her. Worry about her. My family and I are devastated. Things will never be the same I am sure and the only thing getting me though this is my family, friends and the good memories I will always carry with me of my sweet little Macy. So many friends have reached out to me, thank you. So many of my readers, followers and fans have reached out also, thank you. Thank you also to “Country Acre Animal Clinic” of New Castle and thank you to Veterinarians Rob and Nathan Rich who extended the life of Macy and helped her anyway that they could and were always there for us, day or night. As I type this the tears are flowing. I am not sure how my family and I will get through this, but we will. Together. If you are reading this and have a fur baby of your own, please stop right now and give them a hug from me – and from Macy. I love you Macy and I will never forget you. Thank you for everything.

Macy’s Favorite Biscuits

These biscuits can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container for up to two weeks. Feel free to use any type of cookie cutter design you would like, even using special ones for Holidays. If you do not own a cookie or biscuit cutter just use the bottom of a drinking glass. Be sure to flour the cutter, or glass, for easier cutting of biscuits. You can replace the vegetable oil with bacon grease for a richer biscuit. When adding in the broth feel free to use whatever style broth you wish – such as chicken broth or beef broth. The color of the dough will vary slightly.

1 ½ cups instant oatmeal
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup white all-purpose flour
½ cup broth

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine with clean hands, the instant oatmeal, vegetable oil, white all-purpose flour and broth. Once the dough comes together and forms a ball, transfer to a clean and slightly floured surface. Knead a couple of times and then allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough carefully into about ½-inch thickness.

Cut out shapes, using desired cutters, and place carefully onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 30 minutes until firm and slightly dry.

Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature before removing.

Ask and Answer: I received a question about why I specify in my recipes, that my sticks of butter, salted and unsalted, are “4 oz”. The reason I specify this is because not all stick butter is 4 oz. Some European or Amish butters are slightly more or less ounces per stick.

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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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