Polar Bear Paws

My friend Karen gifted me some of this delicious candy as a Christmas gift this year and she was kind enough to share the recipe with me. I highly recommend making these for your Holiday gifting!

Polar Bear Paws

11 oz caramel bits or unwrapped squares
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
24 oz white chocolate almond bark

Start by placing the caramel bits or unwrapped caramel squares in a medium sized microwave safe bowl and add in the whole milk and unsalted butter.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Stir in the pure vanilla extract. Add in the dry roasted peanuts and allow the mixture to sit and thicken for about 10 minutes.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Dollop out tablespoon size amounts of the caramel and peanut mixture onto the prepared baking sheets.

Place into the freezer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the white chocolate almond bark in a large microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Stir in one tablespoon solid vegetable shortening if the mixture needs to be slightly thinned out – which makes the dipping process easier.

Remove the mounds from the freezer and carefully pull off from the parchment paper. Using two forks, dip each piece into the melted white chocolate almond bark and coat evenly. Place back onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Allow the white chocolate almond bark to harden slightly before enjoying. If refrigerating or freezing these to speed up the hardening process, be sure to eat and serve at room temperature only.

Enjoy!

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HER Holiday Recipe Contest!


Attention “The Courier-Times” and “HER magazine” readers – HOLIDAY RECIPE CONTEST is in full swing! Enter NOW! The deadline is noon on Monday September 11th, 2017! There will be a tasting party, final judging and announcement of the $100 winner at 6:30pm Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 at “The Courier-Times” office in New Castle, Indiana. Each person may submit one original or family favorite recipe – with no known copyright. For details please check out – http://www.donnacronk.com/blog/a-new-recipe-contest-for-fall

Good luck! 

Blaise 

Holiday Cookbook Orders 


Reminder: NEXT WEEK is the last week you can order my cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” and have the delivery guaranteed before Christmas without paying any additional postage! To order simply send $15 total to Blaise Doubman – Box 47 – Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay online through http://paypal.com. Select “send money to family & friends” and use my email – blaisejdx@gmail.com If you need any help or have any questions please send me an email. Thanks again!

Blaise 

Perfect Holiday Gift!

Do you know what would make the perfect Holiday gift for your friends and family this year? My cookbook of course! “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” comes with 200 recipes, tons of family memories and stories, kitchen tips and tricks and so much more! My cookbook is filled with recipes for desserts (of course), main dishes, vegetables, soups, salads, breads, appetizers, drinks…anything you could possibly want! All cookbooks come autographed (and personalized if you wish.) Cookbooks are $15 total ($12 for the cookbook plus $3 shipping and handling). IF you buy FOUR OR MORE cookbooks the shipping and handling charges are dropped. Mail your payment to – Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay online via http://paypal.com. Use the email blaisejdx@gmail.com for ordering there. If you have any questions please contact me and let me know. 

Thank you!

Blaise 

Chew This! Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Happy “Chew This” Sunday! I am so excited to share this recipe with everyone for “Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies”! I have some of the best Holiday memories making, and decorating, these delicious cookies! I have never been the “world’s best decorator”, but with these, you do not need to be! That is how these are supposed to look, made from scratch and decorated with love…

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Chew This Blaise Doubman

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 20th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are perfect for any time of year…
Blaise Doubman

Last year, my friend and neighbor Brooke Trennepohl, asked if I could provide some cookies for a “Frozen” themed birthday party she was throwing, and I happily agreed. I immediately went to work on testing recipes for both cookie and frosting. I found that the basic sugar cookie lacked flavor so I went to work on what I could add or take away, to make the cookie taste better and more like the ones I remembered from my childhood. During my childhood my grandparents and I would always decorate sugar cookies about a week before Christmas. I remember my Grandma Deloris and I decorating the cookies with bright blue frosting and all colors of sprinkles and decorations before I would dig in and eat most before she could even box them for me, to take them home. My Grandma Barbra and I would decorate the cookies with different colored sugars before baking them. Both were equally delicious and memorable. Ever since, I bake some type of Holiday cookie around Christmas, decorated or not, and I always remember the times and memories tied in with each cookie baking experience.

After experimenting with several different flavorings and sugars for this recipe, I found that a little pure almond extract really added to the overall flavor of the cookie, and really paired nice with the pure vanilla extract that I found essential to the cookie. After adding a little more flour than most recipes, a little more salt and an extra egg, what I would consider to be the “perfect” cut-out sugar cookie recipe was born. I use this recipe for anytime I want a delicious cut-out sugar cookie. Birthdays, Holidays, or just every day, I hope this recipe brings you great memories like it has for me…

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting this recipe. There are a variety of ways to top these (if desired) but my favorite ways are by using royal icing, or a tinted buttercream frosting. Experiment and have fun! To make royal icing, beat 4 large egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in 4 cups powdered sugar and the juice from one lemon. Beat until thick and glossy. To make tinted buttercream frosting, beat 2 sticks of unsalted butter together with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. Next add 3 ½ cups powdered sugar and beat well. Finish by adding ¼ teaspoon salt and heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency. You will need around 3 tablespoons of heavy cream.

5 cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together 4 cups of the white all-purpose flour with the baking powder and salt until everything is combined. This is an easier and quicker way of “sifting” together the ingredients. Sit aside the other 1 cup of white all-purpose flour for sprinkling when ready to roll out the dough later.

In a separate large bowl, beat together the unsalted butter and white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture.

Next, add the 2 large eggs, pure almond extract and pure vanilla extract to the beaten butter and sugar mixture and combine until fully incorporated.

Gradually, add the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing a little at a time until a soft dough forms around your wooden spoon.

Turn the dough out onto the counter, and divide into two equal parts. Using the palms of your hands, flatten each out into a disk shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready to roll out and cut your cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow them to stand at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before rolling with your rolling pin.

When ready to roll out, lightly sprinkle a flat work surface and rolling pin with the reserved white all-purpose flour. Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll out the dough until about ¼-inch thick.

Cut out the cookies, using your desired cookie cutters, and transfer the cookies onto the parchment paper lined baking sheets. Repeat this process once with the leftover dough and discard the scraps. Repeat with the 2nd disc of dough.

When ready to bake off the cookies, place in preheated oven for 15 minutes until set and lightly golden brown in color.

Allow the cookies to cool on their baking sheets, before removing.

Decorate the cookies in any way that you desire before serving and eating.

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Chew This! Chocolate Brownie Truffles

Happy Sunday and Happy Holidays! Today is the official publication of my newest “CHEW THIS!” column for “The Courier-Times”! I am SO excited to share this recipe with everyone…

It is quick, easy, delicious, rich – perfect for last minute Holiday gift giving!

Be sure to pick up a copy TODAY and let me know what you think – and be sure to check out my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker) for by “step by step” photos.

Chocolate Brownie Truffles Chew This Blog

Chocolate Brownie Truffles

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 21st 2014 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Quick, unique and festive brownie truffles for the Holidays!
Blaise Doubman

I love giving (and receiving) homemade food gifts around the Holidays. Gifts like premeasured dry ingredients in clear glass jars for cookies (all you do is write the recipe on an index card, attach the card and have the receiver add the appropriate amount of wet ingredients) are both personal and charming. Nothing though says the Holidays like these delicious chocolate brownie truffles. They are easy to make, unique, fast and festive! Wrap these up in cellophane with a ribbon, or in a Holiday tin with tissue paper – and you have a perfect Holiday gift for giving! Just be sure to deliver the gift right away because if you’re like me – you’ll end up eating the gift before you can give it!

Everyone is familiar with the popular “cake pop” dessert (baked cake, crumbled into frosting, rolled into balls and then dipped in chocolate) but this brownie version is even more decadent and rich. It tastes more like a truffle candy once the chocolate coating is on it and set up. This treat would be a perfect for an office party or pitch-in! Just a warning though: these won’t last long wherever they are taken. They are perfect with a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk…

Chocolate Brownie Truffles

These are amazingly rich and decadent so eat and give only a few at a time. Unlike the popular “cake pop” this brownie version doesn’t require anything additional added to the brownies to help hold them together. These can be decorated in any way desired. Dessert sprinkles in any color, rolled in colored sugar, drizzled with melted white chocolate or even served plain with no decoration. It’s best to place the brownie truffles on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet before and after dipping in chocolate. Store truffles, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

1 box of good quality brownie mix (make sure it fits 13×9-inch pan) and ingredients called for on the box. (Usually water, vegetable oil and eggs)
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons milk
Dessert sprinkles for decoration

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray a 13×9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare the brownies according to the package directions, except instead of adding water, add milk. Add the 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to the batter and stir to combine.

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

Bake in preheated oven for 24 minutes and remove, allowing to cool completely before continuing on with the recipe.

Once the brownies have cooled, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Taking a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop out the brownies into balls, rolling and forming them tightly with your hands, placing them on the parchment paper lined baking sheet after they have been formed.

Once you’ve finished scooping and rolling (you should get about 18 brownie balls) place the sheet pan into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Place the 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Splash in the 3 tablespoons of milk and microwave on high 60 seconds and stir.

Microwave another 30 seconds and stir until completely melted and shiny. Allow this to cool slightly before continuing.

Using 2 forks (this is the easiest method) take the brownie balls, and roll them in the melted chocolate (one at a time) being sure to coat all sides evenly before placing them back on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Once all the brownie balls have been coated evenly in the chocolate, sprinkle the tops of each with dessert sprinkles.

Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator until the truffles are reading to be eaten, gifted or served. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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Cookbook Corner – The Big Book of Sides

My new “Cookbook Corner” is perfect and just in time for the approaching Holidays…

The Big Book of Sides Cookbook Corner Blog

“The Big Book of Sides” By: Rick Rodgers

I honestly was not for sure (at first) if I would like this cookbook… I mean, a cookbook about ALL side dishes?! How many different side dishes could a person create!? (And – I am a dessert guy…)

BUT – I was seriously blown away by this book… I LOVE IT!

The book does not have photographs for every single recipe…but with this book, I have really found it does not matter. The descriptions (as well as the recipes) more than make up for lack of photos.

(And I an a picture person too – and I did not seem to miss them with this book…) Do not get me wrong though – there ARE photos…and the photos that are included are absolutely gorgeous!

The book is sectioned off into several different chapters…

Getting It to the Table: which gives tips and tricks on baking, cooking, deep frying, etc. This section also provides sample menus to give inspiration to your Holiday planning.

Eat Your Vegetables: (I like how Rick goes into detail here about each vegetable and when it is in season, what you look for in choosing one at the market, and even how to store it – genius!) One of my favorite recipes from this section is the recipe for “Warm Shaved Asparagus With Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Basil” (page 25). I would have never thought about “shaving” the asparagus into ribbons – I love this idea! How perfect to add to salads, etc. I admit that I skipped the pine nut addition to this recipe – and it still turned out wonderfully!

I also enjoyed “Retro Green Bean Casserole” (page 37) just for the simple fact that he included it here. I love “retro” recipes that remind me of my childhood, of my Grandma and of simpler times.

Speaking of “retro” I also really enjoyed Rick’s “Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole” (page 49). I have been making a version of this for years and years – and enjoy it immensely every single time. It reminds me of my Mom’s broccoli and cheese casserole that she still makes to this day… Perhaps that is why the lack of pictures do not really bother me here with this cookbook – because I have my own “visual memories” when reading along to these recipes…

In this chapter you will also find recipes for Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, French chard, corn, eggplant, kale, wild mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, butternut squash, and on and on and on… It is easily one of my favorite chapters in this book. And it is about vegetables – imagine that! Ha! 

But I will tell you – I WILL “eat my vegetables” if they all taste as good as these recipes make them out to be. Yum!

From The Root Cellar: this section is about – you guessed it… root vegetables. Beets, carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, etc. fill this chapter with delicious recipes. Some of my favorites!? “Buttermilk Onion Rings” (page 165) and my ALL TIME FAVORITE from this book (for right now – that might change the more recipes I try…) is Rick’s recipe for “Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole” (page 179). What is not to love about mashed potatoes that you can make ahead and pop into the oven when guests arrive?! And they have cream cheese, butter and sour cream in them! Sounds like one of my recipes – and perfectly wonderful…

I also loved his “Classic Scalloped Potatoes” (page 185) and his simple recipe for “Classic French Fries” (page 205). I am a huge fan of potatoes (who’s not?) and these recipes make my mouth water.

A Hill of Beans: honestly – I am not that big of a fan of beans – but I have a feeling this chapter might just change my mind. Example – the “Beer and Maple Beans” (page 228) and “Root Beer Baked Beans” (page 230). I have both marked to try – and may try the “Root Beer Baked Beans” this Holiday season, to add to the table.

Righteous Rice and Great Grains: I love rice and this chapter is filled with amazing recipes such as “Spiced Basmati Rice” (page 252), “Classic Spanish Rice” (page 256) and “Wild Rice with Shallots and Thyme” (page 265). This chapter also contains recipes for polenta and grits – 2 of my favorite foods! I have 2 recipes I am going to try soon. The first is on page 269 “Cheese and Grits Souffle” (which I’m so excited about!) the other is on page 215, “Lemon Sweet Potatoes with Meringue Topping” – because I mean – how amazing does that sound!?

Anyways, the chapter continues with a recipe for “Crisp Quinoa Cakes” (page 279) that I would really like to try – and think sounds perfect serve along a pork dish of some kind.

The Side Salad Bowl: This chapter contains delicious sounding recipes for cold salads, coleslaw’s, original salads, warm salads and even bean salads! “Blue Ribbon Potato Salad” (page 282), “Loaded Potato Salad with Sour Cream, Bacon and Cheddar” (page 285 – and I will make WITHOUT the bacon…), “Coleslaw with Apples and Poppy Seeds” (page 289), “Bean Salad with Avocado, Grilled Corn, and Red Pepper” (page 299), and recipes for green beans salads, cucumber salads, pasta salads, apple salads and so much more…

The chapter also continues with recipes for salad dressings – which sound amazing. “The Best Ranch Dressing” (page 344) and “Thousand Island Dressing” (page 345) are both marked to try. I may also have to try the “Raspberry, Chipotle, and Poppy Seed Dressing” (page 342), just because I am wanting to know how the heat plays against the raspberry.

Pasta and Friends: The recipe found on page 349 “Stovetop Macaroni and Pimento Cheese” is worth the price of the book – there I said it! It is AMAZING! I have several other macaroni and cheese recipes in this chapter to try – and they all sound delicious! How about “French Macaroni and Cheese with Leeks” (page 350) or “Baked Ziti with Broccoli and Gorgonzola” (page 351)!? Amazing, right!?

The chapter continues with noodle recipes, orzo recipes and even covers couscous – which I LOVE!

The Bread Basket: I love bread, and this chapter contains amazing recipes for all types of bread! Cornbread, biscuits, yeasted dinner breads, quick breads, muffins and more! I particularly liked the recipes in this chapter for “Stuffings and Dressings” – perfect for Holiday time!

On page 401, it evens gives instructions for how to roast chestnuts – which I have always wondered!

Pickles, Relishes, and Sauces: I am not that big of a fan of pickles, but the chapter part that was focused on relishes and sauces are amazing. Pesto, salsa, ketchup, marmalade, mustard, mayonnaise, gravy, and pan sauces fill this chapter beautifully.

All in all – this book is beautiful and I highly recommend you pick it up – and not just for the Holidays! It WILL BE the perfect book for the Holidays – yes – but you will find yourself using it a LOT more that just around the Holidays. You will find yourself picking this book up a LOT for recipes and inspirational ideas.

To learn more about Rick Rodgers and to buy his book please, click here…

http://www.rickrodgers.com/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Ballantine Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise