Peanut Butter Brownies with Peanut Brittle Topping

I love a good peanut butter brownie and what could make one better than topping with homemade peanut brittle candy? The peanut brittle this time, instead of turning hard and brittle like, retains the taste of the candy but takes form into some of the most delicious candy topping ever!

Peanut Butter Brownies with Peanut Brittle Topping

3/4 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups white all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

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

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

Beat in each large egg separately.

Add in the pure vanilla extract, baking powder and salt. Beat together well.

Fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Fold in the chopped peanuts.

Place batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top evenly. Bake in preheated oven 35 minutes.

In the meantime combine 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon honey in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and boil slowly for 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add 1 cup chopped peanuts. Allow to cool slightly.

Remove brownies from oven and top with above topping. Spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Remove, cut and serve.

Peanut Crisp Cookies

These peanut packed cookies are an old-fashioned bakeries secret cookie!

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Peanut Crisp Cookies

1 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 large eggs
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the white granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, solid vegetable shortening, baking powder, baking soda and salt until smooth and creamy.

Add in the light corn syrup and large eggs. Beat until combined.

Fold in the quick cooking oats, followed by the white all-purpose flour, followed by the dry roasted peanuts.

Drop tablespoon size amounts onto the prepared baking sheets and bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven 17 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

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! Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 3rd 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Dessert Bars are perfect for Holidays
Blaise Doubman

Lately I have been testing and developing recipes using the “bar” method, whereas you create some type of dough, and or filling, and bake in a large 9×13-inch pan and cut into bars once baked and cooled. You can take just about any type of cookie dough recipe and transform the cookies into “bars” by using this method, and when pressed for time, it is so much easier to spread into one pan instead of dolloping up each cookie. Same goes for cakes! People ask me all the time if you can take a recipe for a cake, calling for two 8 or 9-inch pans, and bake it instead in a 9x-13-inch pan. Yes, you can! This method of baking got me thinking about different types of pies that could be made into “bars”, as well as brownies that could be “bars, yet brownies”. Yes, this is how my mind works most of the time. Ha! The results were fantastic!

I started with the pecan pie bars. Pecan pie is my favorite pie on earth and my favorite recipe is that of a traditional, old-fashioned pecan pie that I shared with everyone several columns ago, right here! I do have a recipe in my cookbook for a “Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie” which is tasty and delightful too, but for my bar recipe I wanted to stick with traditional. I made a crust recipe, placed it into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan, baked the crust, made the filling, baked the filling, allowed it to sit awhile and chill and the results were fantastic! Better than a traditional pecan pie because transformed into “bars”, the pie suddenly becomes a portable food. Portable pecan pie, how bad could that be? When developing the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies I wanted to combine the two, brownies and the cereal treats, but could not think of a way of holding them together. Then I thought about marshmallow cream and it worked! The combination of and texture of the brownie with the crunch of the cereal treats and the marshmallow sandwiched inside really makes for something fun and different. I would recommend trying both of these desserts to serve to your family and friends at your Holiday table!

Pecan Bars and Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Each of these dessert bars are the perfect make ahead dessert! Whip up a batch of both, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to three days. You will find that after both of these dessert bars chill they are not only easier to cut and serve, but the flavors really have a chance to come together. The Rice Krispie topping on the brownies can also be made with Cheerio cereal or Frosted Flake cereal. Each makes one 9×13-inch pan and serves about 20-25 people depending on the size of pieces cut for each. These are deliciously rich desserts!

For the Pecan Bars…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
½ cup white granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups white corn syrup
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecan pieces

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 bowl beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the white all-purpose flour and mix until it becomes a soft dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan with clean wet hands. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

To make the filling, combine the beaten eggs, white corn syrup, light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and pecan pieces in a large bowl. Whisk this together until small bubbles appear in the mixture. Pour the filling over the warm crust and place bake into the 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes. You will know when it is done because the filling will be firm and not jiggly. Remove and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. Chill at least 4 hours before cutting and serving the bars. Serve alongside vanilla ice cream if desired.

For the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 jar (7.5 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups Rice Krispie cereal

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 bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract. Fold in the unsweetened cocoa powder, white all-purpose flour and the salt. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan. Once bake remove and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, frost the top with the Marshmallow Fluff, spreading evenly along the top and sides. Place into the refrigerator while you finish making the topping.

To make the topping, combine the peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir until melted and glossy. If you need to microwave more, do so in 30 second intervals. Once melted and glossy, add in the Rice Krispie cereal and stir well to combine and coat all of the cereal. Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and top with the topping, spreading evenly.

Wrap with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: Sheila Cole Dellinger would like to know what recipes or cookbook I would recommend for someone who has allergies against regular all-purpose flours. Shelia, I would recommend “Flavor Flours” By: Alice Medrich. You can find this cookbook available online and wherever books are sold. Alice is a genius in the kitchen is known for her extensive work on pastries and chocolates. Recently she has been winning awards and gaining followers for her newest venture into diverse types of flours, ranging from almond, coconut and rice flours.

CHEW THIS! Celebration Party Mix

Celebration Party Mix

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 1st 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Party Mix to celebrate the New Year!
Blaise Doubman

For years and years my family and I would all make “New Year’s Resolutions” but after awhile we stopped. It was almost like no matter what the “resolution” would be, it would automatically fail within the first few weeks. Once we stopped doing it, it was almost like a weight had been lifted. There was no restraints on what we should or should not be doing and we were all able to come into the New Year without any heavy expectations. Celebrating the New Year was just an all around more enjoyable experience. I always admired people who made a resolution and stuck with them – good for them! And if you do now – good for you! I, however, gave up on that tradition long ago. However, I do let myself make “New Years Goals” for the coming year, which always seems to help guide me over the course of the coming year. Life happens unexpectedly most of the time but it does help when there is a little bit of a navigational course you plan for yourself. This year some of my goals are personal, some professional. Personally I am wanting to make more time for spontaneous things. Professionally I am wanting to expand my knowledge of foreign cuisine and customs.

I am also setting the goal of making and developing more recipes that are “seasonal” in aspect of ingredients and taste. I love celebrating the Holidays with family and friends and so many of our recipes are geared towards certain Holidays, without even really thinking about it. I am going to try and make more of a point to make certain recipes for certain Holiday celebrations and I am going to start here with this one! My “Celebration Party Mix” was inspired by a recipe that my Grandma Barbra and I have been making for years that was originally found in an old children’s cookbook that my Grandma bought at a book sale. Over the years we have added and subtracted all kinds of ingredients and what is listed below is our favorite combination of flavors and textures. Save this recipe and stir up a batch anytime there’s a celebration!

Celebration Party Mix

This recipe is one of the most versatile recipes I think I have ever created. You can literally add anything you want to this mix, customizable in thousands of different options. Add your favorite cereal, granola, raisins, dates, dried fruits or nuts. The flavor is customizable as well! Add your favorite hot sauce, seasoning packet or favorite powder staple. The sky is really the limit with this mix! This is best served warm but can also be served at room temperature. Feel free to double or even triple this recipe. Experiment and have fun with the flavors and textures!

4 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup salted mixed nuts
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1 cup wheat squares cereal
1 cup cheddar square crackers
1 cup large wheat crackers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
5 drops hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Start by preheating your oven to 250 degrees F.

Place the butter in a large 9×13-inch shallow baking pan and place in the oven.

Once the oven has preheated and the butter has completely melted, carefully remove the pan and add the salted mixed nuts, pretzel sticks and cereal. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir everything together well to coat.

Place mixture in preheated oven for 30 minutes, removing and stirring every 10 minutes.

After baking, remove from the oven and pour the snack mix into a large serving bowl.

Leftovers can be kept at room temperature, in a covered container for 5 days.

Ask and Answer: Several readers have been asking how to properly melt chocolate chips in the microwave. The answer is simple – always add a little bit of solid vegetable shortening to the chips. In a microwave safe bowl, add the desired amount of chocolate chips and add a little less than 1 tablespoon of pure solid vegetable shortening for every 1 ½ cups of chips. Microwave on 100% power in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is smooth and silky when you stir it.