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No Bake White Bark Cookies

Five ingredients and no baking! Perfect!

No Bake White Bark Cookies

1 pound white bark
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup dry roasted peanuts

Start by combining the white bark and crunchy peanut butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and stir. Microwave on high, in 30 second intervals, until smooth and melted. Stir well to combine.

Add in the crispy rice cereal, miniature marshmallows and dry roasted peanuts.

Dollop cookies, using a tablespoon, onto parchment paper. Allow to cool and set up completely before enjoying.

Dark Brownies

These are dark and deliciously luscious.

Dark Brownies

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs
1 cup white all-purpose flour
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

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

Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa powder and instant coffee granules to a medium sized bowl.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter until bubbly.

Remove the melted butter from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for three minutes and then whisk smooth.

In a large bowl combine the white granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, salt and large eggs. Using an electric whisk beater, beat on high speed for 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer down slightly and add in the melted chocolate mixture. Beat until smooth, creamy and combined.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove and bang the pan of brownies on your counter top about five times. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Place back into the oven to bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool – and continue baking slightly – at room temperature.

Once cooled, lift brownies from the pan using the overhang of aluminum foil. Cut into desired size pieces. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

These may also be stored and eaten chilled.

Famed Chicken Sandwich

Try one of 2019’s biggest “food trends” from the comfort of your home!

Famed Chicken Sandwich

Famed Chicken Sandwich 

The following recipe is for the “spicy” version of the popular sandwich. If you prefer the “classic” version omit the cayenne pepper in the breading step and omit the hot sauce in the mayonnaise part. Both are delicious but the “spicy” really does have that hot kick that Popeyes is known for. Eat these hot and the same day they are made.

For the marinade…
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

For the breading…
1 cup white all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

For the spicy mayonnaise…
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of salt

To assemble…
4 brioche hamburger buns
Mayonnaise
Sliced dill pickles
4 cups canola oil

Start by cutting each chicken breast, crosswise, to make 2 smaller pieces. Once prepared, place the 4 fillets into a large bowl. Add in the buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.

When ready to fry the fillets, place the canola oil in a large heavy-duty pot over medium high heat and bring the oil up to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow dish, or a pie pan, combine the white all-purpose flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt. Place 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture into the dry mixture and combine.

Place each prepared chicken fillet into the mixture and press firmly on both sides. Place one fillet at a time into the preheated oil and fry about 5 minutes for each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. The outside of the fillet will be golden and crispy.

Remove and drain on a plate covered with a layer of thick paper towels. Continue working until all the chicken fillets have been fried and are draining and resting on the paper towels.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Place in the brioche buns, cut side down, and fry lightly until the edges are crispy. Remove.

In a small bowl, make the spicy mayonnaise by whisking together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and salt.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the toasted buns with the mayonnaise, placing the sliced dill pickles on the bottom bun and sandwiching the chicken fillets inside.

Serve these hot.

CHEW THIS! Chocolate Banana Bread

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, January 4th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Banana Bread with a Chocolate Twist 
Blaise Doubman

I love banana bread and I love coming up with new and different recipes that not really improve upon the original and familiar recipe but make it better and more flavorful. Did you know that if you use ripe bananas in banana bread, your bread will come out moister and more flavorful? Did you know that if you add extra banana, more than your recipe calls for, your bread will be raw in the middle, while the outside is overdone. Yes, like most everything else in baking, banana bread is a science. Over the years I’ve discovered that cinnamon and nutmeg are good additions to banana bread but so are cardamom, clove and even pumpkin pie spice! Banana bread is versatile, with some people adding a variety of nuts or fruits in the bread, while others may top the bread with a cream cheese frosting. All ways sound delicious, don’t you think? I have even taken leftover pieces of banana bread and transformed them into a delicious breakfast by turning the leftovers into banana bread french toast! Simply use your favorite french toast recipe and substitute the bread for your leftover banana bread! Serve alongside butter, maple syrup and maybe some sliced bananas and you have a delicious and simple breakfast that people will absolutely go crazy over.

When developing this recipe, I wanted something chocolate. I love chocolate and most things that are not chocolate, I wonder in the back of my mind, if they can be transformed into something chocolate. Who wouldn’t love chocolate banana bread? And I’m not talking about adding in some chocolate chips to your traditional banana bread batter. I am talking about turning the whole loaf into a deliciously chocolate banana bread loaf. I added cocoa powder to the batter, chocolate chips and sprinkled some chocolate chips on top just for good measure. Feel free to explore and have fun with this recipe by adding in your favorite flavors. Add a touch of instant coffee granules to exchange the chocolate flavor or add white chocolate chips and pecans to the batter and the top. You can even take this recipe and divide it into muffin cups and bake off little mini chocolate banana bread muffins! Have fun and enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Bread

To achieve oven ripe bananas, place your yellow firm bananas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place into preheated 300 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

3 large bananas, oven ripe and mashed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling

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

In a large bowl combine the mashed oven ripe bananas with the melted unsalted butter. Beat in the vegetable oil, packed light brown sugar, large egg and pure vanilla extract.

Add in the white all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and salt all at once. Gently stir until everything is combined.

Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Place the batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth out the top.

Sprinkle a generous handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips along the top.

Bake, in preheated oven, 60 minutes.

Once baked, remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Gently remove from the pan and place onto a piece of parchment paper to cool completely before cutting.

Leftover bread should be kept wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. Wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil if you want to freeze the bread which will last frozen for 1 month.

Ask and Answer: I have gotten a few questions about frying bacon in the past and would like to address them now. So many of you have wondered my favorite method to cooking bacon. Well, until recently, I didn’t care for bacon. Now that I do, I have a simple and delicious way of preparing it that I would like to share. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the bacon, in a single row, not overlapping, onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into preheated oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove and brush each slice with pure maple syrup. Sprinkle on black pepper. Return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until desired crispness. Replace and carefully drain on paper towels.

CHEW THIS! Perfect Blondies

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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.