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.

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.

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.

Uglies But Goodies

These are ugly but super delicious! Buttery, thin, crispy outside, chewy inside and full of chocolate chips. You can not eat just one.

Uglies But Goodies

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup white granuated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and packed light brown sugar.

Beat in the large egg and pure vanilla extract.

Stir in the salt and baking soda.

Fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Place into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove and roll dough into tablespoon size balls. Place, two inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and immediately place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove, remove cookies and enjoy.