The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Shelbyville News”. By: Blaise Doubman.
Getting to know, Family Recipes
Editor’s note: The Shelbyville News recently welcomed central-Indiana resident Blaise Doubman’s column, Chew This! to its pages. His column has been a long-time favorite in the New Castle Courier-Times, a sister paper to this newspaper. We thought you might like to get to know Blaise better. He does love to hear from readers so feel free to reach out to him.
Blaise, you are such a creative person in the kitchen! How did you get this interest?
Thank you! Well, it all started when I was very young, probably about 5 or 6. My Mom, Darla Doubman, would always have me in the kitchen helping her out with things. Stirring the pot, adding ingredients or forming cookies into balls. Both of my Grandmas, Barbra Doubman and Deloris Bolinger, would also welcome me into their kitchens. Everything I learned I learned from the three of them. My earliest memory of working in the kitchen is when I was helping my Grandma Barbra in the kitchen and I was standing on a chair stirring batter. I was not tall enough to see, hence the chair, but I remember feeling so grown up helping her with brownies.
As a Knightstown High School and Indiana University East graduate, you still live in your small hometown of Kennard. Tell us about your small-town values and why you love living there.
I love the community togetherness and I love the fact that most all of my immediate family lives within just a few square blocks, which makes it really nice. I also enjoy the history of the area and hearing about it from people who actually lived it. I have always loved learning about what used to be here and how people used to live years ago. I was raised to respect my elders, listen to learn, always ask questions and treat people the way I would like to be treated. I am so thankful that my family raised me with the values they did because they have made me the person that I am today. The values I learned growing up really helped mold me.
How did you start developing recipes and what or who are your greatest influences in the kitchen?
I started the process of learning how I wanted to go about developing my recipes, in a professional manner, when I started my Blaise the Baker blog in February 2014. I wanted to make sure that every single recipe I was sharing with everyone actually worked. I could write a book on how I test each of my recipes, but I am sure it would bore everyone to death! Basically, I test each recipe multiple times and it involves multiple taste testings, flavor pairings and written descriptions. I try to write my descriptions in clear and simple language. When I write a recipe, I always write it the way I wish all recipes would read – correct and simple. My greatest influences in the kitchen are easily my Mom and both of my Grandmothers. Now, as far as my “celebrity” influencers that would have to be Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson. I love them!
As an entrepreneur, tell us how you developed your brand and share how you came to write your cookbooks. (Are copies still available Blaise?)
When I first started my blog, my intent was to just simply share recipes with everyone that was asking for them on Facebook. It was a terrible winter that year and it seemed that everyone was always online, I was always posting food pictures and people were always wanting the recipes. I figured that if I started a blog, I could send them the recipe link which would be easier for them to print, instead of trying to type the recipe out through Facebook. Not long after starting my blog, I got the opportunity to start a new food column for The Courier-Times called “CHEW THIS!” It was a dream come true for me and honestly, I still pinch myself over it. After awhile of sharing recipes, people started writing to be and asking about a cookbook. A cookbook had always been simmering in the back of my mind but that is always where it stayed. After thinking things over, I decided to go for it! I created a vision for what I wanted the cookbook to be like and told myself I would stick with my vision no matter what. After careful consideration, I decided the only way to ensure that my original vision was kept intact for my cookbook, was to enter the world of self-publishing. It was a scary leap but so challenging and exciting at the same time! My friend and self-published author, Donna Cronk, helped me with behind the scenes information, what to expect, words of encouragement and industry secrets. My friend Marcy Goldman, self-published cookbook author, encouraged my online presence and helped me expand my online brand into a physical cookbook. “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” came out in 2016 and two years later, “Blaise the Baker Celebrates” followed. Both of my cookbooks are still available to purchase, in a limited number supply. If you are interested, the easier thing to do would be to write to me via the contact page on my website.
How can readers connect with you? Are you open to sharing favorite recipes from Shelbyville readers?
Readers can connect with me through my various social media platforms and of course my blog and website which can be found through blaisethebaker.com and trailblaise.com Click on the contact page and it will take you to where you can write to me. I would love to share the recipes of my new Shelbyville readers! If you have a recipe you would like for me to share, an old family heirloom recipe or even a new recipe you have created, please contact me!
What else would you like folks to know about you and your column?
I would like people to know how grateful and thankful I am for my food journey. What started out as a way to share recipes with a few people on Facebook has completely changed my life in some of the best and unexpected ways possible! It still blows my mind that so many people turn to my recipes for their family dinners, reunions, pitch-ins and Church parties. It also still blows my mind that I have sold cookbooks in Africa, Europe, Canada and even Australia! It still thrills and excites me to see my column in print in the newspaper and it still thrills and excites me when someone writes in to me with a food question. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people throughout this journey and have made so many memories with my friends and with my family. For those reading this and following along with me – thank you!
Chocolate, Caramel and Sea Salt Brownies
These brownies are delicious served warm and just as delicious served cold. Be sure to use a good quality caramel sauce, or if you are feeling extra special, make your own by using one of your favorite recipes. If desired, you can add pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts to this recipe but be sure to lightly toast them before adding.
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter
¾ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
Caramel sauce, for drizzling
Sea Salt, for sprinkling
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 microwave safe bowl combine 12 oz of the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the unsalted butter. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and combined. Sit this mixture aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Add in the white granulated sugar and firmly packed light brown sugar to the cooled mixture.
Whisk in the large eggs, one at a time, until each is well incorporated.
Add in the instant coffee granules, pure vanilla extract and salt.
Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour along with the remaining 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Folding them in together will ensure that the chocolate chips will not all sink to the bottom of the brownie, instead they will be evenly distributed throughout each brownie.
Bake, in preheated oven, for 30 minutes.
Remove and drizzle the top of the brownies with caramel sauce. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Cool slightly before serving and enjoying.
Ask and Answer: I posted a recipe for “Butterscotch Crispy Rice Treats” on my website the other day and it caused a lot of confusion. People did not realize you could add any flavor of instant pudding to your treats! Let me share my recipe. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt 1 stick of butter. Then add 10 oz mini marshmallows and a small box of instant butterscotch pudding mix. Stir and melt together. Once melted, add 6 cups crispy rice cereal and coat well. Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan and push down, smoothing out the top. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cutting and enjoying. These are amazing!