CHEW THIS! Perfect Blondies

Perfect Blondies.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, December 21st 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

The Secret to Perfect Blondies
Blaise Doubman

I have had so many people reach out to me regarding my last column piece and I wanted to first and foremost thank all of you for your emails, calls, texts and messages. I have read them all and responded to those that I could. Grief is a hard, odd and confusing thing to go though to begin with, but when a person goes through it twice in ten days; overwhelming may be a better word to describe what it feels like. I know that my Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barbra will always be with me, but it is hard for me to imagine a future without them being in it. There are seven stages of grief. Shock and denial are first, followed by pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression and reflection and loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, followed then by the last stage being acceptance and hope. I am not sure what stage I am currently in, but it does help for me to know that I am not alone in the struggle. There was an email I read that was sent through my website from Jesse, a reader. Jesse lives in New Castle and the email shared a story of grief through the eyes of parents and through the eyes of a marriage. It is emails and messages like this that allow me to not feel as alone.

Moving forward, I would love to continue sharing my family memories, stories and recipes here with all of you. Also, I would love to hear from you, my readers, regarding your family recipes and keepsake moments! Do you have a family recipe and story you would like to share? I love connecting with all of you through my Facebook and website and would love to dive in more! Reach out to me via Facebook or my contact page, https://trailblaise.com/contact and drop me a line about your favorite family recipe and I may feature you right here in my column! It would be a fun way to get to know you all better and to share delicious and memorable recipes. Speaking of delicious recipes, I am sharing with you today my foolproof recipe for blondies! I love a good chocolate brownie, but blondies may be becoming my new favorites. A lot of the times blondies can turn out dry and tasteless, but I have a solution for that. First, fill them full of pure vanilla extract and chocolate chunks, not chips. Secondly, under bake them slightly and once cooled, wrap with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. They will be full of flavor and so dense and fudgy you will not believe it. Make this blondie recipe your new go-to favorite!

Perfect Blondies

These need to be made in advance to get the right texture, so prepare in advance for this recipe.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

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

In a large bowl beat together the softened unsalted butter with the packed light brown sugar and white granulated sugar until soft in texture and light in color. Add in the pure vanilla extract and large eggs. Beat these into the batter and then add in the baking soda and salt.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chunks.

Fold in the chopped nuts, if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated oven for exactly 30 minutes, no longer. They may appear underdone, but they are not.

Allow them to cool at room temperature. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place them into the refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve, remove aluminum foil and cut into desired size and number of pieces. Store leftover pieces in refrigerator for up to three days.

Ask and Answer: A few people have wondered about fruit cakes for the upcoming Holiday season and wondered my thoughts on them. I do not care for the traditional fruit cakes that are often served but do have a recipe in my first cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” for fruit cake cookies that are delicious and fabulous! They are a personal favorite of my family, can be made in advance and make enough to share with your friends and family.

CHEW THIS! Family Memory Brownies

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, December 7th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A special recipe, in memory…
Blaise Doubman

As I sat down to write this column, words kept escaping me. I am not sure what to say in all honesty, as the shock still has not worn off and I am not sure if it ever will. Within the course of 10 days, both my Grandma Deloris and my Grandma Barbra passed away. Just when this year had been testing me in all ways, this happened – a double loss. My Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barba were not just my Grandmas; they were also both my best friends, life teachers, therapists, critics, motivational speakers and so much more. There was not a day of my entire life that went by that I didn’t somehow see them, call them or talk to them. Even on my most depressing days I knew that somehow, they would be able to reach into my soul and drag me out of whatever it was I was facing and whatever it was that was holding me down. Now, as some of the realization is coming to me about what has really happened, and so quick, the first thing that comes to my mind is fear. Fear of facing life without them. Fear that maybe somewhere deep inside, I won’t be able to continue without my best friends. Also, a fear of never being able to really open up honestly with anyone else in my life, or to feel again that special “grandmotherly” connection that I have had all my life. I have, especially this year, been reading and learning more about the “seasons” we go through as humans. It seems that life is a continuous progression of different phases, or “seasons” and sometimes I think of them as weather patterns. Sometimes there will be a phase in life of perfectly sunny weather, maybe a few clouds roll by but all in all things are pretty good. The current season I am in, and have been in for what seems like awhile, I would classify as hurricane season and just within the last few weeks, 2 large category 5 hurricanes have rolled through, one right after the other, completely demolishing the landscape and everything in it’s path. How do you recover from devastation?

I know that both of my Grandmas would want me to be strong and not just for me but for my family. Sometimes a person has to be strong so that other people can see the strength in that person and allow themselves to be stronger and pull themselves through because of it. I will be the first to admit that being strong is hard and trying to be strong for someone else is harder. My Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barbra were both Believers and had countless talks with me on Faith, God and what it means to not only believe what you believe but act it out on the world. Storms make trees grow deeper roots is something that both believed and talked about. One of my favorite things though lately has been the saying that sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction. I believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and I believe that everything happens for a reason but sometimes it is hard to find the “why” in the mist of heartache and sorrow. What lesson was this to teach? Why did this happen? Eternal questions that I may be forever asking myself. All I know, is that right now, I need time. I need time to heal, to process, to question and to wonder. I have so many memories to hold and to cherish of these two fabulously wonderful, loving human beings. If you have been a reader of my website and column, from day one, these two women have played a huge role in everything that I do and I believe that even though they are gone, they will still be loving me and guiding me.

Family Memory Brownies

These brownies are delicious on their own but if you are a fan of a frosted brownie, use this recipe. Beat 6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter with 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract until smooth and combined. Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and add in 4 tablespoons milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled brownies and enjoy.

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

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

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract. Beat until combine.

Beat in the large eggs, one at a time. Stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder.

Gently stir in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

Fold in the milk chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly, smoothing out the top.

Bake for 33 minutes.

Remove and cool. Frost if desired.

Ask and Answer: So many of you have reached out and written, texted, emailed, messaged and called with condolences and I want to thank each and every one of you. My gratitude for your kindness and words of encouragement are immeasurable. Thank you.