CHEW THIS! Chocolate Buckeye Cupcakes

Chocolate Buckeye Cupcakes 

Buckeye Chocolate Cupcakes.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 3rd 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Simply Scrumptious Cupcakes!
Blaise Doubman

I love developing recipes by combining two or more recipes to create one big fabulous recipe! That is exactly where this recipe came from. I took my recipe for chocolate cupcakes, developed a recipe for a smooth peanut butter frosting and combined it with my buckeye candy recipe for garnish and a new and exciting recipe was born! People go crazy when I make these! I have made these more times than I can count and every time I do, they never last more than 15 minutes. People who really know me, know that I cannot decorate a cupcake for anything! I have tried and tried, took a class, checked YouTube channels and just cannot do it! Decorating must not be in my DNA, but I have tried. I have even used fondant, disaster! So, when it comes to decorating, glitter and confetti are my best friends. Ha! Seriously though, I have worked my way around my “non-decorating” skills by trying to be clever about the situation. How?

Well for example, when making strawberry cupcakes, I simply place a huge strawberry on top of each. Malted milk ball cupcakes? I throw on some malted milk ball candy. Whatever is in the cupcake, or in the flavors, I place whatever that might be on top and guess what? People love it and it looks fabulous! I have done this method with Sour Patch Kid cupcakes, raspberry cupcakes and Red Velvet Oreo cupcakes. It is the same method with these cupcakes! Make the cupcakes, frost them and then top each with a big buckeye candy! How fabulous is that!? These must be one of my favorite cupcakes and I really think they will become your new favorites as well! These are perfect for parties, reunions, buffets and more! Whip up a batch today!

Buckeye Chocolate Cupcakes

These are best made and eaten the day they are baked. The buckeye candy, if any leftover, can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 4 days. This recipe is best if smooth peanut butter is used throughout.

For the cupcakes…
1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 cup mayonniase
1 cup water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

For the frosting…
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy cream

For the buckeyes…
2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening

Start by making the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 2, 12-cup capacity cupcake molds with cupcake paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the cake mix, mayonniase, water, large eggs and instant coffee granules until smooth and combined. The batter will be shiny and bubbly.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake in preheated oven, 23 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool. While cooling, make the frosting. In a large bowl combine the confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, soft unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract and salt until combined. This is best done using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Once combined, add in the heavy cream and mix only until smooth and combined. Do not over mix.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting and set aside at room temperature.

Next, make the buckeyes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, melted unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract and salt. Combine until the mixture is smooth and combine. Roll the mixture into larger size teaspoon sized balls and place onto prepared baking sheet. Place a toothpick into each. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. In a large bowl melt together the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening until smooth and glossy. Remove frozen peanut butter balls from freezer, dip the balls into the melted chocolate, leaving a little space on top, uncovered. Place dipped balls back onto parchment lined baking sheet. Place back into the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove and remove toothpicks from each. Using a knife gently scrap the holes closed on top of each buckeye candy.

Place a buckeye candy on top of each cupcake, pressing down gently. Serve immediately.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of questions about the new Kennard Senior Living facility in Kennard, located where the old Kennard Elementary School was located. Their “Olde School Café” is officially opened 8am-2pm Monday through Thursday for breakfast and lunch specials. Their pizza shop, located in the same area, is opened from 5pm-9pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My “Blaise the Baker” baked goods are baked fresh and available for purchase on the weekends in joint operation with their pizza shop! Please stop by and give everything a try! Call ahead your order by calling 765-781-CAFÉ (2233). Hope to see you all there!

CHEW THIS! Nana’s Fudge

Nana’s Fudge 

Jackie Coffman's Famous Fudge.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 3rd 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Jackie Coffman’s Famous Fudge, In Memory
Blaise Doubman

My family and I really got acquainted with Jackie Coffman during her stay at Glen Oaks Health Campus. However, her connection with my family goes back many years beforehand. Jackie and her husband, Howard, used to be best friends with my Grandma Deloris’ brother, Donald Davis, and his wife, Susie. They would travel the country and go on several vacations together every year. I remember hearing stories about how the four of them would have a general direction of which way they wanted to travel, how far and a budget and just take off. How fun does that sound? Talk about an adventure! My Grandma Deloris said that Donald would talk frequently about their travels and how much fun everyone had together. Growing up, I always thought those trips sounded so interesting. Who would know that years later Jackie would become almost a part of our extended family? It was a blessing to my family and I when Jackie entered our lives at Glen Oaks and made Grandma Deloris’ transition there that much smoother.

Jackie was always dressed in the most vibrant colors and always dressed up, a hair never out of place. I loved hearing her laugh, seeing her smile and walking around at Glen Oaks always being the first person to volunteer to help someone out. My family and I share so many good memories of Jackie, especially during our frequent BINGO games. I don’t know what it was about Jackie and BINGO, but she would win several times every game! Luck was on her side for sure. She would say I was her good luck charm, because I would sit with her and help her keep up with the numbers, but I can tell you, she brought to the room her own luck and charm. Her charm radiated every time you would talk to her. Throughout Jackie’s time at Glen Oaks we also got to know her daughters. Debbie, Brenda and Lori. All three of them just as equally loving, charming and friendly as their Mom. Jackie and her family have been such a bright spot in the lives of me and my families and we are so thankful for that. Jackie recently passed away and at her memorial was a recipe for “Nana’s Fudge”. It was a recipe she was known for and I just had to include it here to share with everyone. I know Jackie is up in Heaven, having adventures with my Uncle Donald, Aunt Susie and her husband, Howard, just like they did here on Earth. Thank you to Debbie, Brenda and especially Lori for your love and friendship. We love you all.

Nana’s Fudge

This recipe was displayed at the memorial service for Jackie Coffman. I copied it exactly the way it was presented. I wanted to respect and share her original recipe. For newer fudge makers I will help you out with a little more instruction. 3 cups white granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 ½ cups milk should be combined in a large pot over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Once at a boil, keep stirring. After about 5 minutes, check for the “softball stage”. Stir and cook another minute after. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, beat in 3 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and a heaping cup of smooth peanut butter. Pour into greased pan of choice. Smaller dish for thicker fudge, larger dish for thinner fudge. Let set and cut.

3 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup cocoa
1 ½ cups milk

Stir over medium heat with large spoon. Allow to boil, stir more.

Water / paper plate test.

Let cool before adding spoonful of butter, capful of vanilla, large scoop and 1 cup of peanut butter.

Stir, pour into greased pan. Enjoy!

Ask and Answer: Lots of people have been asking for air fryer recipes and I have the perfect recipe for air fryer donuts! Take a can of large flaky biscuits and using a milk cap, push holes into each of the biscuits. Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil spray. Place 3-4 donuts into the basket at a time and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the basket, flip the donuts and bake another 2-3 minutes. Remove and dip in melted butter, followed by either a sugar, brown sugar cinnamon mixture or powdered sugar. Serve warm. These are fabulous!

Microwave Sea Salt Caramels

These are easy AND delicious! How fabulous.

Microwave Sea Salt Caramels

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sea salt, for sprinkling

In a large microwave safe bowl combine the melted unsalted butter, white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, light corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk. Microwave on high 14 minutes, stirring the mixture about every 3 minutes.

Pour into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Smooth out the top. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove and place into the freezer for about 40 minutes. Remove and cut into pieces.

Chocolate Crisps

This are the perfect quick candy to stir up for a Holiday gift. The mixture of chocolate and cranberry pairs unbelievably well with the crunch of the corn flakes. If you are really in a hurry, pop these into the refrigerator to finish setting up and drying.

Chocolate Crisps

1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
3 cups corn flakes
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized microwave safe bowl combine the milk chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is smooth and melted.

In a large bowl pour corn flakes and dried cranberries. Pour melted chocolate over corn flakes and dried cranberries.

Combine well, coating every single corn flake and dried cranberry with the melted chocolate.

Place large scoops onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the top with salt if desired.

Allow to set up before enjoying.

Classic M&M Cookies

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” September 18th, 2017

I love the color – and taste – of these deliciously old-fashioned cookies! They take me right back to my childhood and buying cookies at the mall. These are chewy inside and have a slight crunch outside. I used dark chocolate M&M candies for these but you can use your favorite variety.

img_9255.jpg

Classic M&M Cookies

1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups M&M candy

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

In a large bowl combine the solid vegetable shortening, light brown sugar and white granulated sugar. Combine until no white shortening streaks are visable. Mixture will be thick.

Beat in the two large eggs.

Stir in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Gently fold in 1/2 cup of the M&M candy.

Roll dough into teaspoon size balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Top the rest of the cookies with the remaining cup of M&M candy.

Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 13 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Nancy’s Homemade Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Nancy’s Homemade Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

img_8919.jpg

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

Sharing Fabulous Memories and Recipes
Blaise Doubman

My Grandma Deloris was lucky enough to be selected for the “Live a Dream” program through Glen Oaks Health Campus, right here in New Castle! What happens is that a resident will be approached about “living their dreams” and Glen Oaks makes whatever they wish for a reality! I was in awe over this program and wanted to know more about it and I did so by actually being involved in the process! My Grandma Deloris belonged to several leagues over her 48 years of being a bowler but some of her greatest memories are those that she made at “Rose City Bowl” in New Castle. Bowling under the league name “Davis Chrysler” she held several records, both team wise and personally, at the bowling alley for many years. So naturally, when it came time for her to “live a dream” she immediately thought of her days in bowling. Glen Oaks Health Campus worked with her, my family and the local bowling alley to make her dream a reality and it touched my family and I in ways that I can only imagine in terms of how it made my Grandma Deloris feel. All day long she had a smile that I had not seen in many months.

The day of the party she was nervous but those nervous quickly disappeared when she entered the bowling alley and was acquainted again with the familiar sights, sounds and smells. Friends from all stages of her life stopped by to celebrate with her. Church friends, childhood friends, old bowling friends, Glen Oaks Health Campus friends and family all came out to watch her bowl. “Rose City Bowl” and Ann Knott from Glen Oaks Health Campus put together one of the most memorable bowling and pizza parties my family and I had ever been a part of. Grandma had the miraculous experience of bowling again, seeing friends both old and new, and making memories in a place in which she never thought she would see again – the bowling alley. While there of course we swapped stories and recipes. The recipe I am sharing today comes from my friend Nancy McCormack. She works for the “Senior Living at Forest Ridge” area in New Castle and these crunchy peanut butter cups are far better than anything you can buy. Great memories, great times, great stories and great recipes – who could ask for more!?

Nancy’s Homemade Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Feel free to substitute the crushed pretzels for graham crackers and feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips for milk or dark. Also sprinkle a little sea salt on these before chilling for an even bigger sweet and salty flavor. Crunchy peanut butter also works for those who would prefer it. A very versatile recipe and perfect for making ahead! These pair nicely with popcorn as well as with a cup of coffee.

For the base…
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter

For the topping…
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Start by placing the pretzel sticks in a large plastic food storage bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. Be sure there are no big chunks of pretzel – these need to be crushed fine.

Place the crushed pretzels in a large bowl and pour in the melted and cooled unsalted butter, confectioner’s sugar and smooth peanut butter. Stir until everything is combined.

Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the combined mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

In a large microwave safe bowl combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the smooth peanut butter and microwave on high for two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Remove and stir the mixture until smooth and glossy.

Pour this mixture over the prepared base and smooth out the top.

Place in the refrigerator to chill for one hour before removing and cutting to serve.

Ask and Answer: There have been a few questions about adding tarragon to the chicken salad that I wrote about in my previous column. A couple of emails expressed concern over the strong flavor and someone else mentioned that it was a very hard herb to find. The trick with tarragon is to use it in small amounts. It is a very strong herb but it pairs nicely with chicken to allow the chicken to taste more chicken like. It can usually be found in most supermarkets in the fresh herb section in the produce area. If you would rather leave it out all together, that is fine! Just use a little parsley and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. Experiment and have fun!

Rocky Road Bark

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” June 11th, 2017

I love the flavor combinations of rocky road and I love chocolate bark – so what could be better than combinding them together? The fabulous part about this recipe – aside from the fabulous results – is that the recipe can literally be transformed into millions of different flavor combinations! I use semi-sweet chocolate for the base but feel free to use bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate or even a combination of chocolates all swirled together. Also top with anything your heart desires. Crushed up potato chips, crushed peppermint candies, dried fruit, candy sprinkles – ANYTHING!

How fabulous is that!?

 

img_6568.jpg

Rocky Road Bark

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
2 cups chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place on top a sheet of parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening. Microwave on high power 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth and glossy.

Carefully pour the melted chocolate directly in the center of the parchment paper. Using the back side of a spoon spread the melted chocolate out into a rectangle about the size of 12 inches by 18 inches. You want the chocolate thin enough to snap when cooled but not too thin as to break when loading on the topping. Be careful not to make the chocolate too thick either or it will not form traditional bark.

Once the chocolate is formed sprinkle on the lightly toasted walnuts, mini marshmallows and the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In a microwave safe bowl combine the white chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening. Microwave on high power 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the white chocolate is melted and smooth and glossy.

Take a spoon and drizzle the melted white chocolate over the entire surface of the bark. Use whatever pattern you desire but I think that a single line back and forth across horizontally looks the best.

You may not use all of the white chocolate.

Place into the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove and carefully break the bark up into pieces. Store at room temperature.

Enjoy!