Banana Bread Cookies

I love banana bread and these “bites”, or cookies, satisfy that craving without having to bake – and eat – and entire loaf of banana bread! Feel free to replace the chocolate chips with walnuts or simply add both – or leave both out. Totally up to your tastes!

Banana Bread Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed bananas or 3 bananas
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and packed light brown sugar until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in texture. This will take about 4 minutes.

Beat in the large eggs and mashed bananas. Beat in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt.

Fold in the white all-purpose flour and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Place in tablespoon size dollops onto the prepared baking sheets and leave about 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 13 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

CHEW THIS! Comforting Banana Bread

Comforting Banana Bread

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 2nd 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Facebook Questions and Comforting Banana Bread
Blaise Doubman

I have been getting several emails about my Blaise the Baker Facebook page. Let me clear the air on that subject first before we continue with my column and recipe for banana bread. My Facebook accounts, both private and public, were compromised about a month ago. I thought I had solved the various problems but the problems and issues reoccurred not long after the initial hacking. The safest thing for me to do, for my friends and followers, was to delete both accounts and start over. Facebook will not allow me to start over with my pages until a certain amount of time has passed. As soon as my pages are up and started again I will be sure to let you know the appropriate links so that you can follow along with me again.

There has been a bit of a silver lining in all of this though because it has given me a chance to really sit back and think about how I want to “relaunch” Blaise the Baker and it has also given me this wonderfully delicious recipe for banana bread! How? I needed some comfort after all the hacking news, etc. so I decided that I would develop a new recipe for one of my favorite comforting things – banana bread! This one is simple, delicious and very flavorful. I have several recipes for banana bread, one using a yellow cake mix, one calling for bits of toffee and another that uses sour cream and is studded with cranberries and walnuts. This one though is simple in process and fabulous in flavor. I take the finished bread and cut it into huge slices but feel free to cut the slices according to your tastes, or your level of comfort needed.

Comforting Banana Bread

This banana bread will last for several days when wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature. Lightly toast the bread and smear with unsalted butter or cream cheese for an even more delicious comforting treat.

1 ¾ cups white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

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 whisk together the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another large bowl beat together the softened unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the large eggs.

Stir in the mashed bananas and pure vanilla extract. Gently fold in the whisked dry ingredients.

Add in the toasted walnuts, if using, and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated oven for 44 minutes. The top will be split and golden brown in color.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto a piece of parchment paper to cool completely. Cut into large comforting slices and serve.

Ask and Answer: Several people have messaged me to ask more about my position as a “Glen Oaks Health Campus Family Ambassador” and what it means. Lots of you have had loved ones admitted into Glen Oaks in the last several months and remember reading about my position there. What an Ambassador does is basically help represent Glen Oaks Health Campus as a whole. I am here to answer any questions you may have about the facility or address any concerns you may have. I also have written a “business review” of Glen Oaks Health Campus, which can be found on my website, blaisethebaker.com

CHEW THIS! Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Take on Banana Bread…
Blaise Doubman

I love banana bread and I have experimented with countless recipes over the years. There has been banana bread with nuts, without nuts, with sour cream, with extra butter, melted butter, softened butter, a combination of butter and vegetable shortening, brown butter banana bread, banana bread with raisins and even a banana bread made with a yellow cake mix. If you think that is a lot, consider the fifty other versions I have tried but did not want to mention in fear of readership boredom and lack of room. Seriously though banana bread, to me, always needed something extra. No, not cinnamon and no, not extra bananas, that only makes the finished loaf tough in the end, I have tried it! I have always thought it was missing… chocolate!

Chocolate! Yes, chocolate. I am a registered chocoholic and proud of it. Anything and everything, to me, is better with chocolate and this recipe is no exception! It took a few rounds in the kitchen with this recipe before it was perfect but the finished result was well worth the extra time and extra work. My taste testers, shout out to Tiffany at Glen Oaks, loved this so much that they encouraged me to bring it again – that next day! Ha! The bread is baked in an untraditional way, in a 9×13-inch baking pan, but does so because you cut this bread into bars! The combination of the moist flavorful banana bread with the chocolate version is pure and utter heaven for banana and chocolate lovers! I highly recommend you stir up a batch of these!

Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

These really stretch when it comes to cutting serving sizes, so cut the bars small and serve for a large gathering! If you want to freeze the leftover bars, do so by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil before placing into a freezer safe zipper bag. Once frozen, bring to room temperature over night to gently thaw before eating.

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 large bananas, peeled and mashed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

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 spray containing flour.

Beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add in the prepared bananas, large egg and pure vanilla extract. Beat well.

Finally, fold in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Measure out a little less than 2 cups of this mixture and drop by large spoonful’s erratically around the inside of the prepared pan.

Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the remainder of the batter in the bowl and beat well.

Place the now chocolate banana batter in spoonful’s around the batter that has already been placed in the pan. Do not worry about being neat with this. You will see why in a minute.

Now, with the back of a spoon, carefully spread out all of the dollops so that they gently form together and come together into one large even batter service. Next, take a knife and gently swirl the batter together making a marble effect on the top.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before cutting, serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I heard from so many of you with my previous column of my chocolate mayonnaise cake and I love and appreciate your feedback! To answer a few of your questions, yes you can use water instead of the coffee, yes you can make the cake in 2 9-inch circle cake pans, the baking time will not change and you may frost the cake with whatever frosting you desire, or simply sprinkle over some powdered sugar and serve alongside a bowl of fruit. I loved hearing your memories of growing up with a cake very similar to mine in your household.

CHEW THIS! Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 5th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Twist on a Classic Pie
Blaise Doubman

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be here in just a couple of short weeks! 2017 has really flown by for me, how about for you? I love this time of year when there is a cold snap in the air, people start preparing for the Holidays and the long winter months ahead. There is something really comforting and soothing to me about the types of food that is prepared around this time of year too, such as warm bowls of soup, fresh baked breads, roasted vegetables, casserole dishes, homemade pies and cinnamon coffee. The time of year may be cold outside but I also find it warm inside with family and friends, sharing memories, good times and good foods. I love looking back over my childhood Holidays and remembering who brought what to the dinner table and who shared what recipe with me from their kitchens.

One of my favorite late Fall seasonal desserts would have to be apple pie. I have made apple pie in all different forms, sizes, flavors and textures. I have made hand held mini apple pies, apple slab pies, deep dish apple pies, with cornflakes sprinkled along the bottom to prevent a soggy pie and apple pies on a stick! My latest favorite version though would have to be my “Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie”! There is nothing to making the crust to this because the bottom and top crust is refrigerated cinnamon rolls! How easy is that? The filling is packed with flavor and the icing on the cake? Or pie in this case, is the icing or the frosting that comes with the cinnamon rolls! You use the already made frosting to frost the pie! It really is as good as it sounds! Bring this to your Thanksgiving table and people will be begging for more!

Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

I have made this pie using Granny Smith apples as well as McIntosh. I find that the type of apple used in this pie is up to the person who will be eating it. Most all apple pie recipes call for Granny Smith apples but I have found during my experimentation that several diverse types of apples can be used in baking perfectly fine and the results are delicious. I do find that the McIntosh apples bring out more sweetness to the pie, while Granny Smith brings out a certain tartness that pairs nicely with the ground cinnamon. Experiment and even use a combination of apples!

6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
2 refrigerated cans regular size cinnamon rolls
¼ cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. This recipe was developed using a 9-inch pie dish but will work with an 8-inch. This recipe will also work using a deep-dish pie dish, just adjust the cinnamon roll slices accordingly.

In a large bowl combine the prepared apples with the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, corn starch, maple syrup, ground cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.

Open both cans of refrigerated cinnamon rolls and cut each roll in half.

On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each cinnamon roll half until slightly thicker than a sheet of paper. Place a layer of the flattened cinnamon roll halves along the inside of the prepared pie dish, flattening them together to create a bottom crust.

Pour in the apple mixture and spread evenly.

Place the remainder of the flattened cinnamon roll halves along the top, crimping and closing off any holes that may appear, to create a top crust.

Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Carefully remove the aluminum foil and baking another 7 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and while still warm, frost the top with the frosting containers that come with each refrigerated cinnamon roll tube. Spread evenly.

Serve warm and alongside vanilla bean ice cream.

Ask and Answer: Janet Ward, a member of my Blaise the Baker Facebook community, wanted to know where she could find my recipe for “Drop Biscuits”. I am sharing that recipe here for her and for all of you. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl combine 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt and 1 stick (4 oz) cubed unsalted butter until the mixture resembles coarse pebbles. Add in ¾ cup whole milk and stir gently until combined. Drop the dough in ¼ cup measurements all along the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown. This recipe can also be used in making “Drop Dumplings” – just drop the dough by tablespoon size amounts into boiling chicken stock and cook until dumplings are floating and still tender in the middle.

Foolproof Omelet

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” September 16th, 2017

My Grandma Deloris has been on an “omelet kick” at Glen Oaks Health Campus in New Castle, Indiana and it got me thinking about where the omelet plays a role in my life. It really does not. Gasp! I know – I know. I decided it was time to change that so I told Grandma my plans on developing my own foolproof recipe, went home and got to work.

Developing this recipe was really not as complicated as I had originally thought. Just a few simple steps and a couple of simple techniques and you have one giant foolproof omelet!

You can stuff your omelet with anything and everything you can imagine. I used shredded cheese in mine. Feel free to use green peppers and onions, sausage, ham or even turkey and green onion. The sky is really the limit here – reach for the stars!

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Foolproof Omelet

4 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat a large 10-inch skillet over medium high heat for about a minute. Add in the butter and allow to melt evenly.

In a large bowl whisk together the large eggs with the salt and black pepper. Really whisk here – you want to incorporate a lot of air. Whisk, whisk, whisk.

Once the butter is bubbly and hot pour the whisked eggs directly into the center of the skillet and leave alone.

Watch closely but do not move the eggs.

Once your eggs resemble a giant yellow pancake – you will be able to tell the color and texture just by looking – add in your fillings to the center of the omelet.

If you are having trouble getting the “yellow pancake” outcome, use a rubber scrapper and gently pull on one side of the omelet, tilting the skillet down so the uncooked egg slides from the top to the bottom – therefore allowing it to cook.

Wait 20 seconds after adding your filling and then gently use a rubber scrapper to fold the omelet over onto itself. Be careful here of the fillings used.

Hold the omelet carefully with hot fingers and or rubber scrapper to drain out some of the fat from the skillet.

Place on plate and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Enjoy!