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.

PB Bars

There are a lot of names for this dessert. PB Bars, Buckeye Bars, Bucky Bars, Hardy Bars, No-Bake Bars, Lunch Lady Bars and on and on. I think I must have at least two recipes for bars similar to this listed on my website but these may be my favorites! Some people top these with chocolate frosting, which is delicious too but I would rather top them with melted chocolate!

PB Bars

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening

Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter, powdered sugar and lightly packed light brown sugar until mixed and well combined. You may need to add about 2 tablespoons milk or water.

Beat in the smooth peanut butter.

Place the mixture into the prepared pan and pat out evenly with clean hands.

In a medium sized microwave safe bowl combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.

Pour the mixture over the peanut butter base and smooth out the top.

Chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Remove, lift from pan using sides of aluminum foil and cut into desired number of pieces. Chocolate sets hard so jagged pieces are not only desired but necessary.

Serve and store at room temperature.

Microwave Chocolate Fudge

Quick, easy and delicious! Try it!

Microwave Chocolate Fudge

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup chocolate milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large, microwave safe bowl, place the powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder. Whisk together well with a whisk until combined and lump free.

Add in the diced unsalted butter and the chocolate milk.

Place in microwave and microwave on high for 90 seconds.

Remove and stir. Add in pure vanilla extract and stir together.

Place back in microwave for 30 seconds.

Remove and stir. Add up to 3/4 cup more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Place in the refrigerator to chill for no more than 60 minutes.

Remove, unmold and cut into pieces.

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.

RITZ Cracker Cookies

These are sweet, salty, buttery and crunchy! Deliciously addictive. Love them!

RITZ Cracker Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 sleeve RITZ crackers, whole

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the large egg.

Beat in the white all-purpose flour, milk powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add in the RITZ crackers and mix only until crackers break up. You do not want cracker crumbs, just broken up crackers into small to medium sized pieces.

Place tablespoon size balls of dough into the parchment lined baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.