Chew This! Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes 

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 my “Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes” which when served in gold wrappers and a huge strawberry on top of each for garnish, makes one glamourous dessert! These were so fun to develop and my taste testers loved these! Do not worry about the champagne in these – the alcohol bakes off – while leaving a special “bubbly” flavor. Feel free to replace with white grape juice if you so desire. These are perfect for baby showers, birthdays or just an everyday celebration!

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature contains information on where I buy the lemon sugar that I feature so often in my recipes.

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


Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_37f30710-8ac4-5f04-b1a7-75f7f6c097d9.html

Enjoy!

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2 Minute Chocolate Fudge 

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

2 Minute Chocolate Fudge

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

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

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

Microwave on high for 1 minute, 30 seconds.

Remove and whisk until smooth.

Add in the pure vanilla extract and salt.

Whisk again.

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

Remove and cut. Serve.

Enjoy!

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Vanilla Pudding Snickerdoodles 

Lately I have been obsessed with instant vanilla pudding and adding it to baked goods and seeing – and tasting – the results. These “Vanilla Pudding Snickerdoodles” are quickly becoming a favorite around here and I highly recommend you try them!

Vanilla Pudding Snickerdoodles

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup vanilla instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter, light brown sugar and white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. 

Stir in the vanilla instant pudding mix. 

Stir in the large eggs. 

Beat in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt. Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. 

Combine 1/4 cup white granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a small bowl. 

Roll tablespoon size balls of dough into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on prepared baking sheets. 

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

Remove and allow to cool. 

Enjoy!

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Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chunk Cookies 

I have a slight obsession with chocolate chip cookies. I have a LOT of recipes for chocolate chip cookies – several of them here on my blog. This version is different because of the vanilla pudding and chocolate chunks. I have had vanilla pudding chocolate chip cookies before and I really just was not impressed because the dough was rather bland. This recipe though is nowhere near bland! I have taken the flavor levels up a notch with extra vanilla and lots of brown sugar and added chocolate chunks instead of chips. The results are fabulous! THIS recipe is my newest “go to” FAVORITE chocolate chunk cookie recipe! Highly recommend these!

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large (5.1 oz.) vanilla instant pudding mix
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks mixed with 1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter, light brown sugar and white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. 

Stir in the vanilla instant pudding mix. 

Beat in the large eggs and large egg yolk. 

Stir in the baking soda and salt. 

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. 

Gently fold in the chocolate chunks. 

Roll the dough into tablespoon size balls and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. 

Remove and allow to cool slightly. 

Enjoy! 

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Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies

This recipe is basically what you have when you mix oats into your typical old-fashioned peanut butter fudge – cookies! These are so delicious.

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies

2 cups white granulated sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 heaping tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Start by spraying an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. 

In a large pot over medium heat melt and combine together the white granulated sugar, unsalted butter and milk. 

Bring to a boil. 

Boil for 2 minutes stirring continuously. 

Remove from heat and add in the pure vanilla extract and salt. 

Add in the smooth peanut butter and stir. 

Fold in the quick cooking oatmeal. 

Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. 

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Celebration Monster Cookies

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

My newest column is all about celebrations – planned and unplanned and never having to find an excuse to celebrate LIFE! To help everyone celebrate my featured recipe is for “Celebration Monster Cookies”! These cookies are fabulous and are full of all kinds of delicious flavors – ground cinnamon, oatmeal, potato chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, candy pieces and sprinkles! Now really, how bad could that be!? I am highly recommending you stir up a batch of these for your next celebration! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is all about chocolate chip cookies and how to keep them from spreading. Shoutout and special thanks to Tomi White from Texas for the question. 

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


Celebration Monster Cookies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_c4089461-a0f0-57c0-8998-c88e253cf964.html

Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

Seriously – this is the BEST banana bread I have EVER had! My Grandma Barbra LOVED it – as did some of my local taste testers. I wanted to develop a recipe that takes your typical old-fashioned banana bread and have it be transformed into something almost magical! The cinnamon really balances well with the bananas and the toffee is just enough to take it over the top! The special mixing combination of the butter and bananas is one of the secrets to this recipe. Magical – flavorful – fabulous!

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 large bananas, peeled
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 bag toffee bits
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a regular size loaf / bread pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the bananas. Mash the bananas with the butter and mix well.

Add in the white granulated sugar and light brown sugar and cream well before beating in the 2 large eggs. 

Stir in the sour cream. 

Next stir in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt. Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. Fold in 3/4 of the bag of toffee bits. 

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle evenly on top the remaining 1/4 bag of toffee bits. Sprinkle on the Turbinado sugar evenly. 

Place in preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once baked remove and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the loaf / bread pan. Cut with sharp knife and serve. 

Enjoy!

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My favorite toffee bits –

Red Raspberry Cake

Awhile back my family and I went to “The Gather” restaurant and gift shop that is located in Alexandria, Indiana. It is a beautiful location and I am highly recommending those who have not been to go and experience it! Inside their gift shop they have some of the most unique and extraordinary things – for the inside and outside of your home. They also have one of the most charming cafe / restaurant areas that I have ever seen locally. Their menu is expansive, incentive and delicious! One of the items they are most known for is their famous “Red Raspberry Cake” that was developed by Gloria Gather. I decided I would see if I could make a similar version and try and duplicate their recipe. What I found was a deliciously pink, delightfully flavorful and crowd pleasing dessert! My family and friends went crazy for this!

Red Raspberry Cake

For the cake…
1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box raspberry Jello
3 heaping tablespoons white all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 package (10 oz) frozen red raspberries

For the frosting…
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted 
Remaining frozen red raspberries
4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Start by spraying 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Line the bottoms of each cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and then spray generously again with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl whisk together the dry cake mix, dry raspberry Jello and white all-purpose flour. 

In a glass measuring cup combine the vegetable oil, large eggs and water. Whisk to combine everything together well. 

In small increments add the wet mixture to the dry, whisking to incorporate well. After all the wet has been added to the dry whisk well before gently folding in half the bag of frozen red raspberries. 

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Even out the batter with the back of a spoon and gently slam the pans on the counter to release the air bubbles. 

Place in preheated oven for exactly for 40 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them inside of the refrigerator to stop the baking and allow them to chill. These cakes need to be completely chilled ice cold before attempting to frost. 

To make the frosting combine the melted unsalted butter and the remaining 1/2 bag of frozen red raspberries. 

Add the confectioner’s sugar, little at a time, incorporating well after each addition. You want the frosting to be the consistency of a thick ice cream. Spreadable but thick. 

Remove the chilled cakes from their pans, generously frost the inside layer and outside of the cake with the frosting. 

Place back into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Keep and serve chilled. 

Enjoy! 

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Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies 

About a year ago I made a recipe for cream cheese chocolate chip cookies. They were good but not one of my favorites. I put the recipe away and did not think much of it until a friend and neighbor of mine, Jan Lines, mentioned something to me about them. It got me thinking – and hungry – for them again – so I searched online and found a recipe that looked similar to the one I had tried a year ago. I found the recipe a little time consuming and the dough just did not have that much flavor, so I changed it to fit my taste buds. My taste testers, family and friends went CRAZY for them – so I just had to share the recipe here with all of you!

These are best made in advance and chilled in the refrigerator overnight. You can actually make the dough and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days! These are the perfect make ahead cookie and wonderful for parties and cookie exchanges.

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature – especially the cream cheese. Also make sure you use chocolate chips AND chocolate chunks for this recipe. The combination of the 2 are magical!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
2 oz cream cheese – full fat original
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 heaping teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Start by combinding the unsalted butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. 

Add in the light brown sugar and white granulated sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in texture. 

Beat in the large egg. 

Add in the pure vanilla extract, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. 

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. 

Gently fold in the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. 

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Roll dough into balls the size of two tablespoons and gently press them down with the palms of your hands before placing them onto the prepared baking sheets. 

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, for exactly 13 minutes. Remove and allow them to cool on their baking sheets. 

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Debra’s Red Velvet White Chocolate Muffins

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 recipe is a recipe inspired by a loyal reader and friend – Debra Kirkpatrick. She mentioned to me about some delicious red velvet white chocolate muffins she had – that she could no longer find – and wondered if I could develop a recipe. I love a challenge – and here it is! I thought about adding cream cheese – but did not want to go to far from the taste and textures she was familiar with – so I left it out. I think these will quickly become a family favorite! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature spotlights my favorite way of ripening bananas! There is an oven involved – you really need to check this out! 

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


Debra’s Red Velvet White Chocolate Muffins

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_3412344f-479c-54c7-9efa-59238fdecaab.html

Enjoy!

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