CookbooksETC GIVEAWAY 

To celebrate the new SURGE in the fabulous Facebook group “CookbooksETC” I am offering a GIVEAWAY!!!

Two vintage “Southern Heritage” cookbooks – “Just Desserts” and “Family Gatherings”.

Enter to win – can enter once a day – by clicking this link –

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c78809ee15/?

Good luck!

Questions!? Email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Blaise

UPDATE: (07/10/2017) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly! Watch your emails…

-Blaise

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Where to buy!?

COOKBOOK REMINDER: My cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” is available to purchase at Carousel Flowers and Gifts in Shirley, Indiana! Limited supply – so make sure and stop in and get yours TODAY! Shoutout and special thanks to Janice Jessop Burton for giving me this opportunity!

ALSO

My cookbook is once again back in stock at “The Book Nook” in New Castle, Indiana! Stop by 1325 G. Ave. and pick up your copy TODAY! Call ahead at 765-521-2188. All copies available to purchase outside of my personal address are pre-autographed with my signature as well as Grandma Barbra’s and Grandma Deloris’.

You can also stop by Glen Oaks Health Campus in New Castle, Indiana – room 112 to buy your copy from my Grandma Deloris. She loves seeing everyone and selling them for me. She is a good business woman! Ha! Stop in and chat awhile…

You can also order my cookbook directly through me by sending $15 total ($12 for the cookbook / $3 shipping and handling) to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay online through http://paypal.com Use the email blaisejdx@gmail.com when sending money. If ordering 4 or more cookbooks – shipping and handling is FREE!

Message me, text me, call me, email me for any further questions. I would be happy to send invoice also for preorders, etc.

Thank you all again for the dedication and support!

Blaise 

A sweet GIVEAWAY!

Time for a GIVEAWAY!!!


Click the link below to enter for your chance to win “Hand-Crafted Candy Bars” By: Susie Norris and Susan Heeger AND “Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook” By: Deborah Harroun! These books are two of my personal favorites and I think you will love them too! They are so much fun!

Enter to win – click below – 

http://m.gvwy.io/?scale=0.9328&raflid=c78809ee14&template=&previous_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rafflecopter.com%2Frafl%2Fpreview%2F14%2F&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rafflecopter.com%2Frafl%2Fedit%2F14%2F

Good luck! 

Blaise 

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed and the winner is Gigi Cuccaro! Congratulations Gigi! I will be in contact with you shortly. Everybody else – thank you for entering and stay tuned for more future giveaways! 

THANK YOU ALL

Thank you all so much for the orders for the second printing of my cookbook! This makes me so happy!!! If you have sent me a check I will have them all cleared by tomorrow evening. If I have sent you an invoice and you have any questions please let me know. Also be aware that you can purchase my cookbook at “Carousel Flowers and Gifts” in Shirley, Indiana and “The Book Nook” in New Castle, Indiana. Stay tuned for more locations to carry my cookbook – so exciting! If you would like to order directly from me – send $15 total ($12 for the cookbook and $3 shipping and handling) to Blaise Doubman – Box 47 – Kennard, IN 47351. If you order FOUR OR MORE the shipping and handling is free! You can also request I send you an invoice through http://paypal.com or just send me a payment there at the email blaisejdx@gmail.com As always – contact me with questions and thank you all so much for the dedication and support!!!

Blaise

Round Two 

Guess what!? My cookbook is OFFICIALLY IN ITS SECOND PRINTING!!! I am so excited about this and want to say THANK YOU to all of you for your dedication and support! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought the first printing of my cookbook would have went so fast! It has only been 6 months since the release and my stock has been depleted almost completely. “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” (in its second printing) will be officially available THE FIRST PART OF MAY! I am still taking orders – and preorders – so GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY by sending $15 total ($12 for the cookbook and $3 shipping and handling) to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. Or pay online with PayPal at http://paypal.com and use the email blaisejdx@gmail.com when sending money. Order 4 or more cookbooks and the shipping and handling is FREE! I am so excited about this and can not thank you all enough! Round two! Here we go!!!

Blaise

Cookbooks full of Recipes – and Memories 

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

Blaise 

TWO Blaise the Baker GIVEAWAYS!

Guess what?! I am offering TWO “Blaise the Baker” giveaways!

I am so excited about this…

You can enter to win both – or just one or the other. It is completely up to you! Both run for the same amount of time (about a week), and the more ways you enter, the more chances you get! (Check the links for more info.)

Both of these are fabulous cookbooks – but how bad could a book about decadent chocolate – and a book about amazing pies – be!?

Enter to win by clicking the link under each picture…

Blaise The Baker Giveaway ONE

ENTER TO WIN CHOCOLATE COOKBOOK HERE – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blaise The Baker GIVEAWAY TWO

ENTER TO WIN PIE COOKBOOK HERE – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just click the link or links and follow the instructions. It is really very easy. If you have any questions please email me at blaisethebaker@gmail.com GOOD LUCK!

Blaise

UPDATE: (08/02/2015) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly! Watch your emails…


-Blaise

Favorite Things Friday – Pie Books and My Personal Pie Quest

I am on a QUEST to become a “master pie baker”. That is no joke… Ok – maybe I will never be a MASTER pie baker – but I at least want to be a very good one.

I have taken “pie lessons” with my Grandma Barbra – on several occasions (and even wrote a “CHEW THIS” column piece about one here – https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/01/18/chew-this-comedy-of-errors-apple-pie/) and let me tell you – pies are HAND MADE and HARD WORK. You can not throw some things in a bowl – make a batter (cookies, brownies, fudge) and bake – you have to MAKE the pie crust (yes I am aware you can buy one – but what fun is that!?) and you have to MAKE the filling – and then most times – BAKE the pie! There is a LOT involved. Pie crust, filling, crimping, rolling, etc.

And the crust!? Whew…do you use butter? Shortening? Both? Do you add ice water? Buttermilk? Vinegar and water? Confusing!

And – do not get me wrong – I know there is no “ONE correct recipe”. That is what I love about cooking and baking – the diversity of recipes – and I genuinely appreciate that. But I want to make (and create) some of the best PIES that’s ever hit your lips.

So – on my quest – I have also been hoarding pie cookbooks and reading through them like novels.

So far some that I have been reading – 

Pie Lesson Pie Books Blaise the Baker Blog

“Me, Myself, and Pie” By: Sherry Gore. This book is fabulous! Sherry takes readers on a trip through amazingly delicious Amish recipes and stories. Also included are delicious looking photographs of each pie – and let me tell you…I stopped marking recipes halfway through because for one thing – I was out of Post-It’s – and besides, I figured I might as well save time and just write “bake through this” on one Post-It and slap it on the cover. Sherry shares how to “blind bake” (page 10) and also shares her pie crimping techniques (page 12) which I found very appreciative – because I will be the first to admit – I can not crimp. She even covers “wash recipes” – egg wash techniques – on page 14. Comparing the different techniques with different “brownness” of the crust. Let me stop right here. THANK YOU SHERRY!!! That is genius. Just genius. Also genius – is how Sherry talks about different pie plates (page 16) and which ones work best for which pies. Recipes for different crusts start the book off – ️chocolate shortbread crust, chocolate cookie crust, all butter crust, shortbread crust, etc. Even offering a gluten free pie crust and a pretzel pie crust – delicious! I loved Sherry’s story (page 29) – her “pie story”. It really helped the book come to life. And I know what she means about the rubber cement – it has happened to me before too… Ha! What do I mean!? You will have to buy the book to find out… The book contains delicious recipes for “Orange Pie” (page 39), “Lemon Blueberry Cream Pie” (page 48), “Praline Cream Pie” (page 60), “Raisin Cream Pie” (page 67), “Apple Skillet Pie” (page 80), “Concord Grape Pie” (page 91), “Sour Cherry Crunch Pie” (page 100), “Lemon Sponge Pie” (page 123), “Double Chocolate Chess Pie” (page 154), “Bob Andy Pie” (page 170) and even “Blueberry Turnovers” (page 205) and “Pie Parfaits” (page 209). Like savory pies? Quiches? Hand pies? Homemade caramel candy!? Yep – Sherry’s got you covered. I highly recommend this book for those who love great recipes, great stories, and Amish history of their culture and pies. AND the “pie contest” piece she wrote (starting on page 113), was one of the many highlights in this delightful book.

“Vintage Pies” By: Anne Haynie Collins. This is a wonderful book filled with deliciously “old-fashioned” recipes. I loved looking over this book and seeing all of the pies I remembered from my childhood. Pies like “Pecan Pie” (page 35), “Boiled Cider Pie” (page 40), “Buttermilk Pie” (page 47), “Tears on Your Pillow Pie” (page 48), “Stack Pie” (page 54 – possibly one of my favorite pie recipes of all time), “Crumb Pie” (page 66), “Union Pie” (page 84), “Chocolate Cream Pie” (page 102), “Huckleberry Pie” (page 130) and “Mock Apple Pie” (page 148) all bring back delicious memories of watching my Grandma Barbra in the kitchen when I was younger. I recommend this book for those who want to add a perfect collection of old-fashioned and homespun pie recipes. This book is stained (chocolate cream pie) and will continue to get stained because it’s staying in my kitchen. Anne did a fabulous job putting together this delicious book of memorable pie recipes that will sure to be cherished.

“Ms. American Pie” By: Beth M. Howard. I loved this book from start to finish – which is how I read it – like a novel. Beth is a beautifully talented writer (I highly recommend reading her memoir “Love, Loss and Pie”) and her writing, along with the delicious recipes and beautiful photographs combined to make a beautiful – almost perfect – book. The beginning of the book “Make Your Own Damn Pie!” was a personal favorite of mine. She shares her personal journey – and anyone willing to share their journey gets a thumbs up in my book. Beth continues on with her “Pie-Deology” (page 14) and I agree with each and every one. Bravo! I also LOVED the part entitled “My Pie Principles” (page 16). Another part I LOVED!? Yes – I loved this book… Beth’s “Pie Myths, Busted” (page 19). My mouth literally dropped open – three times – when reading her myths – that she busted wide open. EVERYONE on a “pie journey” (like myself) needs to READ THIS! Buy the book – start on page 19… And continue right into page 21 – “Frequently Asked Questions” – also – life changing (at least to me) in the world of pie baking! Something else that changed my pie baking began on page 25. A section all about pie dough. Tips, tricks, tools needed, crusts, lattice variations and crimp crusting techniques – and all with pictures of each step – which I greatly appreciated for ease of use. Just a few of the delicious recipes that fill this book are “Cinnamon” (page 54), “Toffee Pecan” (page 62), “Mississippi Mud” (page 70), “Strawberry Rhubarb” (page 83), “Shaker Lemon” (page 90), “Avocado” (page 107), “Venison” (page 111), “Tomato Basil” (page 131), “French Silk” (page 156), “Banana Cream” (page 160), “Blueberry Crumble” (page 173) and “Pecan Oatmeal” (page 178). OH – and I can’t wait to try the “slab pies” (page 196) – I had not even thought of making a pie like that before! Genius! I highly recommend this cookbook to those who want good quality, simple, delicious, sweet AND savory pies – AND love a cookbook with a delicious story of love, loss and healing. Beth’s book not only warmed my heart and soul – but warmed and filled my stomach. Congratulations Beth on such a deliciously fabulous book!

“First Prize Pies” By: Allison Kave. The first part of this beautiful book is filled with techniques, crust recipes, ingredient lists, tools of the trade and other essential information in making the perfect pie – which I really appreciated. You know – so many pie books just jump right into the recipes. And – I am sure that’s fine for some – but I would prefer some instructors – some tips and tricks – to ensure that for one thing – I know what I am doing – and for another – to help give me the piece of mind that I will  end up with (using their recipe) the “perfect” pie. The book is sorted out into different seasons – love this! It gives you a “starting idea” of what to make just by simply looking it up BY MONTH! How genius is that!? March, for example, contains my favorite pie – “Samantha Bee’s Salty Caramel” (page 70). Why!? Delicious combination of sweet and salty and crunchy and indulgent – perfect! Some highlights from the book are – April’s “Avocado Cream” (page 82), May’s “Mint Julep Cream” (page 94), June’s “Hawaiian Delight” (page 106 and amazing!), July’s “Raspberry Vinegar Tart” (page 120), August’s “Banoffee” (page 136), September’s “Candy Apple” (page 144), October’s “Buttercrunch” (page 162), November’s “Sweet Potato” (page 179), December’s “Salty Dog Chess” (page 183), January’s “Oatmeal Molasses” (page 196) and February’s “Elvis” (page 208 – and a personal favorite of mine). And – of course – there are more recipes per month – I only listed my favorite recipe from each month…and that was hard to narrow down. This book had some of the most unique recipes I remember seeing in a pie book… I recommend this book for those who want to learn more about “pie stacks” and want a recipe outside the realms of “classic recipes”. This book thinks outside the box – and I appreciate that.

“The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book” By: Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen. This book. Wow! It completely blew away all expectations I had about what a pie book is supposed to be about in terms of techniques and recipes. This book is filled with delicious looking pictures and way WAY out of the box recipes – which I immediately fell in love with. The book is divided into “seasons” and for each season there are a slew of amazingly delicious and “out of the box” pies. Here are some examples.

Spring – “Rhubarb Custard Pie” (page 79), “Wild Ginger Strawberry Pie” (page 82), “Chamomile Buttermilk Custard Pie” (page 84), “Derby Pie” (page 91), “Apple Rose Pie” (page 94), “Lemon Verbena Raspberry Galette” (page 97) and “Farmer Cheese with Thyme Pie” (page 101).

Summer – “Black and Blueberry Upside Down Pie” (page 111), “Lavender Blueberry Pie” (page 117), “Paprika Peach Pie” (page 120), “White Nectarine and Red Currant Pie” (page 126), “Muskmelon Chiffon Pie” (page 139) and “Sweet Corn Custard Pie” (page 142).

Fall – “Bourbon Pear Crumble Pie” (page 152), “Honeyed Fig Crumble Pie” (page 158), “Maple Buttermilk Custard Pie” (page 161), “Pear Anise Pie” (page 164), “Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie” (page 168) and “Rosemary Honey Shoofly Pie” (page 173).

Winter – “Egg ‘n’ Grogg Pie” (page 185), “Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie” (page 188), “Salt Pork Apple Pie” (page 192), “Black Bottom Lemon Pie” (page 199) and “Green Chili Chocolate Pie” (page 204).

AND listen to these crust recipes… How delicious do these sound…
“Lard and Butter Crust” (page 208), “Animal Cracker Crumb Crust” (page 209 and genius! Why didn’t I think of that!?), “Cornmeal Crust” (page 211), “Pecan Biscotti Crust” (page 214) and “Saltine Crust” (page 215).

I loved this book – and highly highly recommend it for those who want a pie book with “out of the box” delicious recipes… Buy it! You will be so glad that you did.

So – all in all – that sums up my latest “pie lesson / research” information. I am always finding new pie books, new pie techniques, etc. I am well on my way – but from what I have read and from what I have heard – experience matters most. So…I will get there – with just a little more practice.

Apple Pie Blog

To buy these books or to find out more information, please click on the links below…

“Me, Myself, and Pie”http://www.amazon.com/Myself-Pie-The-Pinecraft-Collection/dp/0310335566

“Vintage Pies”http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Pies-Classic-American-Todays/dp/1581572646

“Ms. American Pie”http://www.amazon.com/Ms-American-Pie-Buttery-Recipes/dp/1937994686

“First Prize Pies”http://www.amazon.com/First-Prize-Pies-Deliciously-Inventive/dp/161769102X

“The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book”http://www.birdsblack.com/the-pie-book/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. More information can be found by emailing me your questions. Shout out and special thanks to The Pinecraft Collection, Sherry Gore, Countryman Press, Anne Collins, Stewart – Tabori and Chang, Allison Kave, Race Point Publishing, Beth Howard, Grand Central Life & Style and Emily and Melissa Elsen for the amazing opportunity to review these wonderful books, as I continue my pie quest.

Blaise

Blaise the Baker Cookbook Reviews

Guess what? You can now check out ALL of my Blaise the Baker “Cookbook Corner” reviews (some before they are even published here) as well as my exclusive “Instagram-only” reviews – on Amazon.com!

Bookmark it – for easy navigation back…

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A7RLSD9RSZ1G6/ref=cm_cr_rdp_pdp

Blaise

Cookbook Corner – Harvard Common Press

Today is a day unlike any other for my blog. Why? Because it is “Cookbook Corner” – and today I have SIX NEW cookbooks to talk about and I am so excited to share them with you! Let this start the excitement leading up to my big celebration and GIVEAWAY this coming Saturday for my ONE YEAR ANNIVESARY of this blog! 

(Stay tuned for more on that later…)

All of these are delicious reads and amazing books! Let us get started…

Blaise the Baker Six Cookbook Corner Reviews

“Flavored Butters” By: Lucy Vaserfirer

I absolutely loved this book and can not believe there are so many different combinations you can have for flavored butters! Who would have thought?! It is no secret that I LOVE butter – and FALVORED butter!? Yes, please! This book is beautifully put together and includes delicious recipes and great photographs.

Page 7 starts with “Butter Basics” which lets the reader know of all the different types of butter available and how they are different. For example, do you know the difference between salted butter, European-style butter and goat’s milk butter? How soft is too soft for “softened butter” – and what is “compound butter”? This chapter is filled with fun and fascinating things about (one of my favorite subjects) – butter.

I also learned in this chapter for difference between brown butter and clarified butter. I have been telling people for years that brown butter was clarified – and visa versa. Now I know – and will remember which is which. (How embarrassing is that!?)

The book then splits into two parts – savory butters and sweet butters.

Savory butters include some of my favorites – “Essential Garlic Butter” (page 24), “Rosemary-Roasted Garlic Butter” (page 29), “Mint Butter” (page 30 – and super delicious on green sweet peas), “Caramelized Onion Butter” (page 33 – and genius to add to freshly grilled hamburgers), “Smoked Butter” (page 38), “Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Butter” (page 50), “Chipotle Butter” (page 57 – for those who like heat) and even “Garlic Drawn Butter” (page 69 – and perfect for crab leg dipping).

Some of the sweet butters include “Bed and Breakfast Butter” (page 76 – I use black raspberry in mine and so delicious), “Maple-Cinnamon Butter with Brandied Raisins (page 83), “Whipped Vanilla Bean Butter” (page 85 – and amazing on croissants) and, my personal favorite, “Salted Caramel Butter” (page 88).

I highly recommend this book for those who love butter (like me) and would love to extend the flavors of their butters – and therefore their cooking – by making these simple and delicious (and very flavorful) flavored butters. A genius concept, made simple.

“Desserts in Jars” By: Shaina Olmanson

Who would have thought about desserts in jars?! What a cute and FUN way to make, bake and gift delicious desserts! This book contains 50 sweet treats “that share” (according to the cover) and it really does! Also, what’s great about desserts in jars is the portion control (which I admit not knowing much about – I have made no secret that greed is one thing I think about when thinking about recipes – especially desserts). Each individual “jar” is perfect for giving – or indulging. Some of my favorites include…

“Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes” (page 14), ‘Neapolitan Cakes” (page 23), “Caramel Crème Cheesecakes” (page 25 – and yes – cheesecakes!), “Flourless Chocolate Cakes” (page 35 – and so delicious! Like mini gooey brownie in a jar), “Classic Apple Pies” (page 45 – and such a fun and cute idea), “Fresh Strawberry Pies” (page 56 – which are going to be perfect come the summer to take to BBQs and picnics!), “Macarons in a Jar” (page 63), “Lemon-Blueberry Bread Puddings” (page 83), “Apple Pancake Puffs” (page 93), “Banana Buttermilk Trifles” (page 107), “Ice Cream Cakes in a Jar” (page 116), “Fried Ice Cream” (page 118 – and so so good!), and “Frozen Banana Splits” (page 122).

Towards the end of the book, in the chapter “Mixes for Giving” it gives seven excellent recipes for “mixes in jars”. You supply the jar, and dry ingredients, and the person you give it to, supplies the liquid ingredients and bowl and spoon to stir them up. I have LOVED gifts like this ever since I was a little boy making them with my Grandma Barbra. Some of the mixes include “Cinnamon Coffee Cake Mix” (page 133), “Espresso Brownies Mix” (page 134) and “Monster Cookies Mix” (page 137). After each recipe it also includes what you need to write on the attached card for that person to add – such as butter, milk, peanut butter, vanilla extract, etc.

I recommend this book to people who love to give “food gifts” and for people who love baking – with a twist. Desserts in jars is a fabulous “feel good” book that will have you baking (and giving) desserts in jars in no time.

“Cake Balls” By: Dede Wilson

I LOVE cake balls (and actually have developed my own recipe for “brownie balls” – search my blog) and this book is filled with delicious recipes!

Most recipes for “cake balls” that I have seen are from the cake mix and canned frosting creations – but not these. These have a homemade flavor that you just can not beat…

The beginning of the book “Baking and Creating Fabulous Cake Balls” (page 12) is essential reading to those who want to know more about how to make foolproof cake balls. Tips and tricks included are ingredients, equipment, techniques and other “lessons” that are a must read. I found it very interesting.

The book continues “The Basic Recipes” which includes just that – the basic recipes for the cakes and frostings that are used in the recipes that follow. “Yellow Buttermilk Cake” (page 29), “Red Velvet Cake” (page 33), “Banana Cake” (page 36), “Milk Chocolate Brownies” (page 38), “Cream Cheese Frosting” (page 40), “White Chocolate Ganache” (page 43) and “Pastry Cream” (page 46) are just some examples.

The “cake balls” start on page 48 and are filled with fun and flavor. “After-Dinner Chocolate-Mint Cake Balls” (page 49) are a delicious and fun twist on the after dinner mint that is served at the end of dinner parties.

“Apple Pie Cake Balls” (page 50) are a fabulous twist on apple pie! Who would have thought about an apple pie – cake ball!? Genius.

Also included are recipes for “Blackout Cake Balls” (page 57), “Chocolate-Cherry Cake Balls” (page 64), “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake Balls” (page 69), “Coffee Cake Balls” (page 73), “Confetti Cake Balls” (page 79), “Gingerbread Cake Balls” (page 88), “Fudgy Brownie Nut Cake Balls” (page 96), “Jam-Filled Cake Balls” (page 97), “Key Lime Cake Balls” (page 103), “Mudslide Cake Balls” (page 107), “Oreo Cake Balls” (page 115 and so delicious with the new red velvet Oreos out on the market), “Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls” (page 124), “Toffee – Brown Butter – Pecan Cake Balls” (page 132) and “Vanilla Bean Cake Balls” (page 136).

I have so many marked to try – and most of them are really simple and made with ingredients the average baker would already have on hand.

The book ends with a chapter on “Cake Ball Creations” (page 140), which takes the cake balls, and turns them into characters or images like teddy bears or dolls. I do not think I have the skill (or patience) to attempt anything like that – but fun to look at and read about anyways. I enjoyed them…

All in all, I would recommend this book to people who loved to bake, and for people who love to think outside the box. Cake balls are a delightful dessert that are easy to make, packed with flavor and something that when served, will be all the talk. A very charming book with delicious recipes and great photos!

“The Flying Brownie” By: Shirley Fan

This may very well become one of my favorite books in my collection! Shirley has put together a book about food that travels well! I mean – really – how genius is that!? I have always wondered what made a food good “travel wise” and what did not. Some things I know – like delicate cookies, etc. would be a bad idea to ship – but to create a book that centers on perfect delicious foods that travel well!? Like I said – genius!

On page 13, starts the chapter “Care Packages 101” and is a MUST read! Shirley talks about how to carefully (and properly) pack up packages to send, what materials to use, what techniques are the best, how to properly wrap up baked goods, what ideas could be put to use for cards included in the box, and even different tips and tricks on shipping my land, air and sea! I was really impressed with this section of the book. Everything was laid out perfectly and no question went unanswered.

The book is divided into the following categories – (I will highlight which recipes I have marked to try…and there are several!)

High-Flying Brownies and Bars – “Pecan Sandy Bars” (page 31), “Chocolate-Cherry Brownies” (page 35), “Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies” (page 37), “Chewy Gooey Blondies” (page 41), “Box Office Brownies” (page 47) and “Banana-Cranberry Oat Bars” (page 51).

Cookies for the Road – “Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 55), “Crunchy PB & J Cookies” (page 58 – and so so good!), “Kitchen Sink Cookies” (page 64), “Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Cookies” (page 68), “Raspberry-Lemon Linzer Cookies” (page 72), “Chinese Almond Cookies” (page 77 – and a favorite of mine from childhood!), “Dirty Snowballs” (page 80) and “Cornmeal-Blueberry Biscotti” (page 83).

Confections that go the Extra Mile – “Chewy Mocha Caramels” (page 86), “Peppermint Fantasy Fudge” (page 88), “Honey Granola Bars” (page 91), “Brown Sugar Crisps” (page 93), “Salted Nut Brittle” (page 95), “Cinnamon-Spice Popcorn” (page 100) and “Cinnamon Marshmallows” (page 102).

Packable Loaves and Breads – “Carrot-Zucchini Muffins” (page 106), “Almond-Pear Bread” (page 109), “Coffee and Spice Doughnut Loaf” (page 110), “Apple, Molasses, and Ginger Bread” (page 117), “Red Velvet Whoopie Pies” (page 120) and “Triple Chocolate Cake Pops” (page 123).

Shippable Savories – “Whole-Grain Pita Chips” (page 126), “Golden Cheddar Coins” (page 130), “Chicago-Style Nuts and Crackers” (page 133), “Oven-Baked Potato Crisps” (page 134), “Ridiculously Easy Bagel Chips” (page 138) and “Old Bay Nut Mix” (page 139).

Light as Air – “Sesame-Kale Chips” (page 143), “Cherry-Vanilla Granola” (page 147), “Baked Banana Chips” (page 151), “Everything Crackers” (page 153), “GORP” (page 157 and “Tropical Fruit Medley” (page 158).

Assemble Upon Arrival – “Classic Hot Chocolate in a Jar” (page 162), “Frosted Chocolate-Cinnamon Cupcakes” (page 164), “You Finish It! Brownies” (page 165) and “Nutmeg Butter Cookies with Caramel Spread” (page 166). This chapter includes “half done” desserts that you ship, and upon arrival, the recipient “finishes” the recipe by providing a certain number and amount of ingredients.

“Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook” By: Deborah Harroun

Let me start by saying OMG! I LOVED this cookbook! It simply blew me away. First – you have to LOVE red velvet to love this cookbook (obviously) and second – you need to NOT be worried about red food coloring! Ha! 

This book blew me away with the fabulous recipes, photographs and red velvet transformations! Every single recipe is red velvet “enhanced” and let me say – done beautifully!

The book is divided into eight categories – The Basics, Quick Breads and Breakfast Treats, Cakes and Cupcakes, Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Breads, Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert and Other Indulgences. I have several favorites from each section. I actually think there are only four or five recipes that I do not have marked… and those will probably sound good tomorrow! 

“The Ultimate Red Velvet Cake” (page 11 – and believe me – it is THE ultimate!), “Boiled Frosting” (page 16 – which reminds me of an old recipe my Grandma Barbra used to make), “White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting” (page 17 – and my FAVORITE!), “Glazed Fried Donuts” (page 22), “Red Velvet Waffles” (page 28), “Breakfast Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy” (page 36), “Red Velvet Cheesecake” (page 42), “Icebox Cake” (page 50), “Molten Lava Cakes” (page 53), “Red Velvet Snowballs” (page 58), “Gooey Butter Cookies” (page 62), “Cream Cheese Thumbprints” (page 71), “Seven-Layer Bars” (page 82), “Red Velvet Bread” (page 87 – YES! Bread!), “Frozen Cheesecake Pie” (page 100), “Red Velvet Truffles” (page 106), “Red Velvet Éclairs” (page 110) and “Red Velvet ‘Twinkies’” (page 120 – which would be incredible deep fried and drizzled in white chocolate…)

All in all – this cookbook will be having a permanent place in my stack of “favorite cookbooks”! I can not express how much I love this cookbook – and yes – I am obsessed with anything red velvet. I am not really sure where the love came from – perhaps from (much like the author of this cookbook) from the movie “Steel Magnolia’s” which I seen when I was younger – huge Dolly Parton fan!

I highly recommend this cookbook to all of my fellow RED VELVET LOVERS!

“A Baker’s Field Guide to Doughnuts” By: Dede Wilson

I LOVE doughnuts – and I LOVE this book! I becoming a huge fan of Dede Wilson – I really think the woman is a genius!

My love for doughnuts can be traced back to when I was growing up and my Grandma Barbra and I would visit Jack’s Donuts in New Castle, Indiana at least once a week on our way to get groceries. I remember (even then) I would order four or five donuts and my Grandma would say “WHO is going to eat all of those?!” I remember saying “I AM!” Ha! Some things never change…

(Do you spell it “doughnuts” OR “donuts”!? Shot me an email and let me know – SURVEY TIME – blaisethebaker@gmail.com)

This cookbook has every possible doughnut recipe you can imagine! From the original doughnuts, to the potato doughnut, all types of glazes, frying and baking methods, frostings and techniques. I am just in love with this book.

I could go on and on and tell you about the recipes in this book (apple fritters, blackout chocolate doughnuts, buttercream filled doughnuts, caramel-bourbon-pecan doughnuts, chocolate-salted caramel doughnuts, gingerbread, grape, lemon meringue, marshmallow fluff and peanut butter filled, old-fashioned lard-fried, pineapple filled, spiced chocolate, toffee crunch chocolate ganache, white chocolate truffle…) but just trust me when I say you NEED this book! If you love doughnuts – and you have always wanted a book filled with good recipes – this is it! This is the only doughnut cookbook you will need!

To find out more information about ANY of these books – or to BUY any of them – please click here… http://www.harvardcommonpress.com/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. More information can be found by emailing me your questions. Shout out and special thanks to Harvard Common Press for the incredible opportunity to review these delicious books.

Blaise