Chew This! Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

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

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

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

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

Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_4ae6e796-4f9f-5d26-94a3-fdf4f5dd58b0.html

Enjoy!

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Knock You Naked Brownies

I found a Facebook video a couple days ago for “Knock You Naked Brownies” and they looked so delicious! I had heard of them before from Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman”, and have had them on my “to try” list for awhile now. I decided that I needed these in my life NOW – so I made them – and oh my! I am so glad that I did! What took me so long to try these? They are fabulous! They are also made with a CAKE mix – not a brownie mix like what you may think – but the finished result tastes just like a brownie and I PROMISE people will never know you started with a boxed mix! Layers of chocolate, caramel, chocolate and more caramel make for a decadent dessert that you will want to make again and again!

Knock You Naked Brownies

1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup evaporated milk
11 oz caramel squares, unwrapped
1/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, melted unsalted butter and cup of evaporated milk. The mixture will be thick and this is desirable.

Spread half of this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

While the base is baking, make the caramel by combining the prepared caramel squares and 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted, smooth and glossy.

After the base has baked, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Next, drizzle over the caramel. Take teaspoons full of the remaining cake batter and dollop on top. Do not worry about spreading the batter out because it will spread as it bakes. Plus you want to see a little caramel peaking through, right?

Place back into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool at room temperature. You can cut these after they have cooled slightly and serve or you can do like what I like to do and wrap with aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator for several hours before cutting.

Enjoy!

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TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…

Coca-Cola Cake 

For years I have enjoyed the Coca-Cola Cake from “Cracker Barrel”. It is served warm and with a side of vanilla ice cream if you like, and I always do, and it is fabulous! It got me thinking that perhaps I could make my own? I have been playing around with recipes for awhile with this cake and I just could not get the taste I was looking for. Until I figured out the appropriate ratio of sugar, Coca-Cola, buttermilk and the secret to frosting the cake while still hot! This cake may very well be BETTER than Cracker Barrel’s version PLUS it makes a whole 9×13-inch pan full! That is dangerous for me! Most of this will be sent to my taste testers – I mean, what is left – I will not share how many pieces I have already eaten but let me say, I HIGHLY recommend you make this cake! Serve warm and with vanilla ice cream. What I do, is cut a piece, plate it, microwave it and immediately scoop some vanilla bean ice cream alongside. Fabulous!


Coca-Cola Cake

For the cake…
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 (4 oz.) stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk with 1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting…
1 (4 oz.) stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

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 whisk together the white granulated sugar and white all-purpose flour. Add in the marshmallows. 

In a saucepan mix the Coca-Cola, unsalted butter and vegetable oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat and pour over marshmallows and dry ingredients. Beat well and continue to beat until marshmallows have melted. 

Combine the baking soda with the buttermilk. Add to the mixture and beat. Add in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract. Beat well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. 

With about 10 minutes of bake time left on the cake, start the frosting. In a saucepan combine the stick of unsalted butter with the Coca-Cola and unsweetened cocoa powder. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Pour this mixture into a bowl containing the powdered sugar. Beat. Add in the milk. Beat again. Add in the pure vanilla extract and beat until creamy. Add more powdered sugar to get desired consistency. 

Frost the cake while the cake is still hot from the oven. Allow to cool before serving. 

Enjoy! 

TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…
















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Apple Dump Cake

Lately I have been obsessed with “dump cakes”. I know, terrible name, but the reason for the name is essentially because you “dump” the ingredients into a dish, pan, etc. I guess it sounds better than a “plop cake” or something like a “throw it in cake”. Aside from the name, I am utterly fascinated by them. I have my favorite recipe for a “dump cake” in my cookbook – it is a cherry and pineapple dump cake that is beyond incredible – but the recipe I am sharing today is incredible in its own way.

I have also been obsessed with “step by step” pictures lately when it comes to recipes – I am blaming Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Mine are not nearly as “professionally done” as her photos but they get the job – and the point across. I have updated a lot of the recipes here on my blog to include my “step by step” photos and here are their links –

https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/04/28/sour-cream-noodle-bake/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2016/08/07/chew-this-chocolate-fudge-whoopie-pies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2017/09/29/2-minute-chocolate-fudge/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/06/19/old-fashioned-oatmeal-raisin-cookies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/03/13/perfect-hard-boiled-eggs/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/07/13/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2016/09/18/chew-this-homemade-oatmeal-cream-pies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/05/28/kys-chocolate-pixie-cookies/

I will be updating a lot more of them in the future to contain this feature so follow me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook to get the “updated recipe” alerts.

Oh – and speaking of Facebook, I am currently in “Facebook Jail” for sharing too many recipes! Can you believe that!? Is there such thing as TOO MANY recipes? According to Facebook I guess the answer is yes. What can I do to get out of “Jail”!? Anyone have any recommendations? Email me and in the meantime – try this delicious recipe – and feel free to substitute the apple pie filling for another favorite fruit flavor.

Apple Dump Cake

TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…











Enjoy!

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Cookbook Corner – Desserts LaBelle

I am LOVING this fabulous dessert cookbook from the one and only Patti LaBelle and I think you will too! Check out my review below AND check out the recipe for one of my personal favorites from the book, Patti’s “Sprinkledoodles”! 


“Desserts LaBelle” By: Patti LaBelle

This is easily one of my favorite dessert cookbooks of 2017! I know you may be thinking – “Patti LaBelle? The woman who served as a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association? You mean, Patti the diabetic?” (Part from the introduction) Yes! Also add multi-talented superstar and story teller extraordinaire to your list and yes – you have Patti LaBelle! She is such a talented woman and her talents go above and beyond her vocal range in this standout dessert cookbook!

There are so many fabulous recipes included in this book including “THE Sweet Potato Pie”! You know what I am talking about, right? YouTube or Google, “Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie” – watch, read, learn and thank me later!

Just to name a few recipes throughout there includes – “Jammin’ Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing” (page 17), “Jackie’s Redemptive Red Velvet Marble Cake” (page 29), “Lemon Meringue Cake” (page 43), “Blackberry Corn Muffins” (page 73), “Berry Mini-Cheesecake Cups” (page 99), “The Very Best Lemon Bars” (page 101), “Caramel and Pecan Turtle Brownies” (page 106), “Sprinkledoodles” (page 113), “Cherry Crumble Pie” (page 119), “Patti’s Perfect Pineapple Pudding Pie” (page 129), “THE Sweet Potato Pie” (page 132 and like I mentioned earlier – Google the story!), “Pear and Cranberry Crisp with Oat-Walnut Topping” (page 150), “Lemon Mousse with Blackberries” (page 176), “Mile-High Biscuits” (page 203), and “Fresh Strawberry Pie” (page 223).

Now remember, this is only a select few of the fabulous recipes offered!

To buy your copy and learn more, click this link – https://www.amazon.com/Desserts-LaBelle-Soulful-Sweets-About/dp/1455543403

BUT before you go – you MUST check out one of my personal favorite recipes from the book, “Sprinkledoodles”! They are FUN – foolproof – fabulous – and festive! Not to mention delicious and versitle. Everytime I make these – people go crazy! 


Sprinkledoodles


Snickerdoodles are very easy cookies—make balls of dough, roll in sugar, and bake.They are usually flavored with cinnamon, but I love my spices, so I also add some nutmeg and cloves. The only problem with them is that they look a little plain. So to jazz them up, I roll them in colored sprinkles. Hence, sprinkledoodles. It’s a simple trick, and you can change the colors for various holidays—red and green for Christmas is a no-brainer.


Makes about 3 1⁄2 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar (see Patti’s Pointers)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 2/3 cup multicolored sprinkles (jimmies), for decorating

1. Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves together. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed. One at a time, beat in the eggs and then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.

2. Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Have two large ungreased rimmed baking sheets ready.

3. Using a tablespoon for each cookie (a 1-tablespoon portion scoop works best), shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and freeze until chilled, 10 to 15 minutes. (This trick keeps the cookies from spreading too much during baking.)

4. One at a time, press one side of a dough ball into the sprinkles, being sure they adhere. Reshape the dough into a ball. Place, sprinkle-side up, on a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart on the two sheets. Bake, switching the position of the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotating front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are barely browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cake racks and cool completely.


Patti’s Pointers:
This is an old cookie recipe, and before folks could buy baking powder easily in stores, they used a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda as leavening. If you don’t have cream of tartar (and not everyone has it in their pantry), substitute 1 tablespoon baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda mixture.

Recipe excerpted from the DESSERTS LABELLE by Patti LaBelle. Copyright © 2017 by Pattonium Inc. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. Shoutout and special thanks to Grand Central Life & Style for the opportunity to review this fabulous book! For any questions, please email me. 

Classic M&M Cookies 

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

Classic M&M Cookies

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

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

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

Beat in the two large eggs.

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

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

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

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

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

Remove and allow to cool.

Enjoy!

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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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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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Rue McClanahan’s Orange Poppy Seed Cake

I LOVE “The Golden Girls”! I have loved this classic show ever since I was a young boy. People always ask me what character I am and I always tell them I am 80% Blanche and 20% Sophia. Ha!

A friend of mine recently send me the following newspaper article –

In the article it says that Blanche (Rue McClanahan) made an orange poppy seed cake that was made from a yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding, orange juice, orange peel and poppy seeds. They also mentioned it was an old recipe that originated from Oklahoma.

After a LOT of research I finally found a recipe that sounded just exactly like what the article described. I was so excited! I made it – and guess what!?

Fabulous! Delicious!

I am so excited to share this recipe with everyone! The cake is moist, flavorful and so easy to make!

Highly recommending this one…


Rue McClanahan’s Orange Poppy Seed Cake

For the cake…
1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 small box Jello instant vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Tropicana orange juice
1/2 cup canola oil

For the streusel…
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 heaping tablespoon poppy seeds

For the glaze…
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons Tropicana orange juice
2 tablespoons whole milk

Orange peel (orange zest) for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In large bowl whisk together the yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, lightly beaten eggs, orange juice and canola oil. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

In a seperate bowl combine the white granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and poppy seeds with a fork.

Pour half the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly. Next, sprinkle over half the streusel evenly on top. Top that with the remaining batter and then finally top that with the remaining streusel.

Take a sharp knife and run it through the batter a few times to combine the batter and streusel creating a marble effect in the finished cake.

Place in preheated oven for 60 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes before flipping over onto a serving plate. Allow to cool before drizzling with glaze.

To make the glaze combine the confectioner’s sugar, orange juice and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together. You want this to be on the thick side.

Drizzle over cooled cake. Top with fresh orange peel (orange zest). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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Tasty Recipe Box

I am so excited to announce the formation of a brand new Facebook group! “Tasty Recipe Box” is a NEW recipe sharing group for people who love to cook, love to bake and love to eat! Anything and everything food related can be talked about and shared there. Please – I encourage you – to post recipes, share and encourage each other with kitchen tips and tricks, share pictures, ask questions, invite your family and friends, spread the word and above all else – have fun! I love collecting recipes – cookbooks – hearing, seeing and sharing new recipes – and this new space is perfect for that! I have invited a lot of you – who I think will enjoy the group – if not just opt out. If you did not get an invite – join us by searching for “Tasty Recipe Box” in the Facebook group search engine. Here we go!!! 

Blaise