CHEW THIS! Pretzel Biscuits

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, November 16th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Pretzel Biscuits
Blaise Doubman

Can anyone else believe that it is almost Thanksgiving! I can’t believe how fast this year has went! Soon we will be venturing into the year 2020! Which blows my mind even more because was it really twenty years ago that everyone was panicking over “Y2K”? Remember that? For those who are not old enough, Google it and you will be amazed. Ha! Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, not to mention Christmas and New Years’, I am already starting to plan the family meals. It is never a bad idea to start planning ahead, especially with the busy lives everyone lives today! For Holiday meals I have a few tips I would like to share with all of you! First off, I always say to start with a list. Make a list of the things you want to prepare and then cross off two or three different things. This will eliminate your stress, give you extra time to put love into the other dishes and will narrow the focus on what you would really like to serve. Secondly, write down the time and date of your Holiday party and start writing down what you need to do to prepare each dish, backwards, so that you will get an idea of when you actually need to start each dish. Thirdly, and maybe the most important, try to find recipes that you can make ahead of time and don’t be embarrassed or afraid to buy some good store-bought side dishes or even desserts! Yes, that is right, everything doesn’t have to be made from scratch. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has also given the same advice when it comes to good store-bought side dishes and desserts so if it is good enough for her, it is good enough for me!

When thinking about this year’s Thanksgiving I was researching different combinations of yeast rolls. I wanted something different, something that was easy and something that was a combination of sweet and salty. I thought about coming up with a recipe for salted rosemary yeast rolls, when I caught an episode of Ree Drummond’s show, The Pioneer Woman. She was making pretzel rolls and they looked delicious! Aha! How about making pretzel biscuits? I did some research and discovered that not many appealing recipes exist, so I got busy developing. These are wonderfully soft with the flavor of a pretzel without being too chewy, like a lot of the recent pretzel breads and rolls can be and have a wonderful deep flavor with minimal effort. I highly recommend you stir up a batch of these delicious rolls for something new and fun!

Pretzel Biscuits

These can be made ahead and then warmed up ahead of serving. If keeping these overnight and wanting to heat them the next day for serving, run cold water over the biscuits and place on baking sheet. Bake in 375 F degree oven for about 8 minutes until warmed through. This trick also works with stale or dry breads and rolls.

1 ¼ cups whole milk
1 stick, unsalted butter
1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups white all-purpose flour
1 package instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
10 cups water
½ cup baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Start by combining the whole milk, unsalted butter, packed light brown sugar and salt in a large pot over medium high heat. Bring to a near boil, but not boiling, and remove from the heat.

Allow to sit at room temperature to slightly cool for 8 minutes.

Add in the white all-purpose flour, instant dry yeast, baking soda and salt. Stir well. Cover this mixture with a clean, dry kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise for 60 minutes.

Divide the dough into 14 equal size balls and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

Cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In the meantime, place the water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a boil, stir in the baking soda. After the 30 minutes is up, place each ball of dough into the boiling water, working with about five balls at a time, and let them boil for 45 seconds.

After 45 seconds, remove and place back onto the baking sheet. You can form the balls at this point to appear a little “cleaner” by rolling in lightly floured hands, or just leave as they are for a more homemade, “rustic” appearance. This is up to you. I prefer a “rustic” appearance.

Brush each dough ball with the melted butter and sprinkle the tops with the Kosher salt.

Bake, in preheated oven, 14 minutes, until golden brown and delicious.

Ask and Answer: Do you have a family recipe that you would like to share with me, or perhaps a special recipe that you have developed or are “known for”? I would love to hear from you and would love to feature you in an upcoming column, right here! Please reach out and share with me! Visit my contact page located at, https://trailblaise.com/contact for more information.

CHEW THIS! Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake 

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, July 6th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake
Blaise Doubman

Indiana strawberry season seems to be short and fickle. I cannot tell you how many times my Dad, Jamie, has missed the season by just a day or two. “Bell’s Strawberry Farm” is where my family and I visit every strawberry season. Located in Hagerstown, Indiana at 16447 IN-38 it is a must see stop for anyone and everyone loving strawberries. They have a couple of options available at their business. You can “pick your own” or simply just buy what has already been picked. For those who know me, you can guess my favorite option! Ha! I buy what is picked. They also offer other delicious things such as local honey, Amish baked goods and homemade strawberry freezer jam. Let me talk about their jam for a minute. It is fabulous! I have made strawberry jam for years and even shared a recipe here with all of you for my version a couple of years ago. Their strawberry jam though, beats mine, yes there I said it! Ha! Delicious on toast, bagels, waffles, ice cream or even just a simple spoon.

Their strawberries and strawberry freezer jam got me to thinking about homemade strawberry shortcake. I usually buy an angel food cake to go with strawberries during that time of the year and always insist on buying one instead of making one from scratch! Why? There is literally very slim difference in taste, texture and even ingredients between the homemade and store-bought variety. Making an angel food cake from scratch is a very touchy thing because you cannot deflate the egg whites and you must keep things at a certain temperature. Plus, have you ever tried to cool one? Once removed from the oven, it must be turned upside down for several hours before removing and serving. Maybe it is just me but that just seems like so much work for something that tastes identical to something you can buy for less than $5! I have had taste test after taste test, and nobody could tell the difference between homemade and store-bought angel food cake. For this recipe though I was inspired by the old-fashioned flavors of an actual shortcake. I wanted the taste and texture from what I remembered when I was younger. This recipe is so easy to whip up and will keep at room temperature for several days. Warm a slice up or serve it cold and top with strawberries and whipped cream. I love this summertime dessert and is even delicious topped with frozen strawberries and ice cream! Happy Summer!

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

This can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. If chilled or frozen, remove and allow to thaw at room temperature before cutting and serving.

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a regular sized loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl beat the soft unsalted butter for at least 15 minutes until extra light.

Gently pour and beat in the white granulated sugar.

Beat in the large eggs, adding in only one egg at a time.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

In a glass measuring cup combine the milk, pure vanilla extract and pure almond extract.

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir the mixture well to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 65 minutes.

After baking, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully run a knife outside of the shortcake, loosening the edges. Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper to cool.

When cooled and ready to serve, cut thick slices with a serrated knife.

Store leftover pieces tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages about how to properly melt chocolate. There are lots of way to melt, or temper, chocolate and I find the easiest way in the microwave. Start by adding the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and add in a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening or coconut oil. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth, combined and melted. Use as desired.

CHEW THIS! Penny of Love Homemade Treats

Penny of Love Homemade Treats

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 5th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Penny of Love
Blaise Doubman

I would love to introduce everyone to my fur baby, Penny. She will be a year old this coming May 18th and she is such a sweet little baby. I have always loved Shelties and I honestly can not remember my life without one. When I was really young, Chloe was my first fur baby. She had a personality unique to her that is for sure! She was a little bit of a loner, did not really want to be held or petted much and just kept to herself. She had short legs and a broad bottom. She was so sweet and so shy. After she passed away, Macy entered our lives. She was total opposite of Chloe! Macy was larger, 49 pounds exactly, louder and required a lot more attention. She did not want to be left alone and always wanted to be the center of attention! Ha! She was a handful at times, but we would not have had it any other way. She passed away when she was 12 years old and there was a span of about 3 months where I did not have a fur baby. Time passed and I kept waiting for the pain to subside, but it only got worse. Things were bad.

After awhile I agreed to go with my family to see a new litter of Sheltie puppies. I told myself I would let one of them pick me, if it was meant to be. If not, I would just return home and wait for another sign that I should have another fur baby. Well, none of the Sheltie puppies wanted anything to do with me, except one! It was a little baby girl Sheltie that had, what looked like, 2 black eyes. I held her and she licked and licked and licked my fingers, my face and just simply did not want me to put her back down. When I would put her down, she would cry and cry. I held her the entire time my family and I were there looking at the puppies. She would look me in my eyes, lick my nose and want me to hold her against my chest, which she still does to this day. I knew immediately that this was a sign, this puppy had picked me! A few weeks later we went back, picked up our little girl and named her Penny. Penny also has a personality of her own! Spoiled rotten is how most people describe her! Ha! Has a mind of her own, does what she wants, when she wants, loves being held and loves being center of attention. I dedicate this newest recipe to Penny and to your fur babies! These treats are fabulous and delicious!

Penny of Love Homemade Treats

Dogs love these perfectly delicious homemade treats! For a crunchier treat, microwave 4 biscuits at a time on a microwave safe plate for about 60-90 seconds. Let cool before feeding to your fur baby. You can also microwave all the treats, allow them to cool and store them crispy in an airtight container.

1 cup beef broth
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup cornmeal

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl mix together the beef broth, smooth peanut butter and olive oil.

Add in the white all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ and cornmeal. Be sure to mix everything until very well combined. Use clean hands for this if necessary.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, until the dough is about ½-inch thick. Using a lightly floured cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out desired number of treats. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: A lot of people have been wondering about my favorite recipe for a strawberry pie. Personally, I keep it simple by making a homemade pie crust and then filling it with a mix of cleaned whole strawberries that have been tossed with strawberry glaze. You can find recipes for my homemade pie crust as well as homemade strawberry glaze on my website at http://trailblaise.com Keeping it simple is generally best with this type of summer pie.

CHEW THIS! Macy’s Favorite Biscuits

Macy’s Favorite Biscuits

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 15th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Dog Love, Biscuits and a Broken Heart…
Blaise Doubman

It has taken me countless attempts at this column and I am still writing through tears. Never did I imagine that I would be creating a column “in memory” of my little fur baby Macy. For the past 12 years Macy has been such a strong part of my family that I can hardly remember life before her. Of course, before Macy, came my first fur baby, Chloe. Both Shetland Sheepdogs and both have taught my family and I so much about life. Chloe was a huge part of my childhood, Macy a huge part of my young adulthood. Chloe seen so much life. She seen my brother Damon and I through Elementary School and even into High School. She was a huge part of my brother’s Senior photos and a huge part of my beginnings into real responsibility. So much life happened those 12 years we had Chloe and so much happened the 12 years after that we had Macy. Macy got to see my brother and I both graduate college with Bachelor’s Degrees, watch as my parents and grandparents grew, struggled, celebrated and learned new normals. There was so much life, so much living in those 24 years. 24 years! A lifetime of memories, both good and bad, but always with either Chloe or Macy right by my side. But now, neither.

I always told people that Macy was like my child. Why? Because she really was! She was my “fur baby”. I felt like she was a part of me just as much as I was a part of her. We went though everything together, the good and the bad. When “Blaise the Baker” first really took off I would get messages and comments about what a beautiful baby she was, so gorgeous, glamourous even. People from all over the Country would comment to me when I would post her picture online and talk about how she looked almost like a “living doll baby”. People would send her gifts for her Birthday and Christmas, but that was nothing unusual for her, because for 12 years I had thrown her a Birthday party, complete with cake and presents. She loved the attention. Chloe had more of my brother Damon’s personality. Macy had mine. She always wanted to be center of attention, laughed a lot, smiled, very rambunctious, barked a lot, never wanted to be left by herself and was full of nothing but love…and perhaps was a little bit of a troublemaker.

She was spoiled rotten to the very core. Around her 11th Birthday my family and I noticed the aging process starting to take its toll on her. She started having more and more trouble until on March 31st, 2018 she passed away. My heart will never be the same. I am heartbroken. I still look for her. Listen for her. Worry about her. My family and I are devastated. Things will never be the same I am sure and the only thing getting me though this is my family, friends and the good memories I will always carry with me of my sweet little Macy. So many friends have reached out to me, thank you. So many of my readers, followers and fans have reached out also, thank you. Thank you also to “Country Acre Animal Clinic” of New Castle and thank you to Veterinarians Rob and Nathan Rich who extended the life of Macy and helped her anyway that they could and were always there for us, day or night. As I type this the tears are flowing. I am not sure how my family and I will get through this, but we will. Together. If you are reading this and have a fur baby of your own, please stop right now and give them a hug from me – and from Macy. I love you Macy and I will never forget you. Thank you for everything.

Macy’s Favorite Biscuits

These biscuits can be made ahead and stored in an air tight container for up to two weeks. Feel free to use any type of cookie cutter design you would like, even using special ones for Holidays. If you do not own a cookie or biscuit cutter just use the bottom of a drinking glass. Be sure to flour the cutter, or glass, for easier cutting of biscuits. You can replace the vegetable oil with bacon grease for a richer biscuit. When adding in the broth feel free to use whatever style broth you wish – such as chicken broth or beef broth. The color of the dough will vary slightly.

1 ½ cups instant oatmeal
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup white all-purpose flour
½ cup broth

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine with clean hands, the instant oatmeal, vegetable oil, white all-purpose flour and broth. Once the dough comes together and forms a ball, transfer to a clean and slightly floured surface. Knead a couple of times and then allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough carefully into about ½-inch thickness.

Cut out shapes, using desired cutters, and place carefully onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 30 minutes until firm and slightly dry.

Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature before removing.

Ask and Answer: I received a question about why I specify in my recipes, that my sticks of butter, salted and unsalted, are “4 oz”. The reason I specify this is because not all stick butter is 4 oz. Some European or Amish butters are slightly more or less ounces per stick.

Sprite Biscuits

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” June 18th, 2015

When my Grandma Barbra and I first made these, we both fell in love with them! So tender, delicious and quick – you will not believe there are only 4 ingredients – and perfect for breakfast (with butter and jam) or dinner (with butter and honey). No rolling pin? No problem – for this recipe, one is not required.

Try these today…

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Sprite Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose baking mix, plus more for sprinkling (I use “Jiffy” brand)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Sprite
5 tablespoons salted butter

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F.

Put the five tablespoons of salted butter in a 9-inch square pan and place in oven to melt gently, while you prepare the biscuits. Be sure to keep an eye on it. You want the butter melted – not burnt. If the butter burns, throw it out and start again – with a better eye on it the second time.

In a large bowl, “cut together” the all-purpose baking mix and sour cream with a fork or two knives. Be careful with this part, and have a light hand about it. Do not over-mix the dough – very important.

Next, gently stir in the 1/2 cup of Sprite. Stir until a soft dough forms together.

Take about 1/2 cup of additional all-purpose baking mix, and spread it on a clean work surface, in preparation for rolling out your dough.

Knead and roll the dough in the all-purpose baking mix, until well coated. Use your fingers and hands to pat the dough out. Using a biscuit cutter (or the bottom of a drinking glass – which is what I use), to cut out the biscuits. (This recipe makes nine biscuits total.)

Take the 9-inch square pan from the oven, place the cut biscuits right in the pan, on top of the melted butter and return to the oven, until brown, which will take about 13 minutes total.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy!