Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of “fixer upper” shows because let me be honest, I am not sure I would know which end of a hammer to use! Ha! Much less how to rebuild a bathroom, tear down a wall or build on a whole other level to a house! Are you kidding me!? So when Joanna Gaines released her debut cookbook, “Magnolia Table” I skipped it. That all changed when I found a copy at my local Cracker Barrel store and decided to give it a look. I was impressed! The first recipe I tried – for her chocolate chip cookies – was fabulous! I have several more recipes marked to try but had to rush in and share the chocolate chip cookie recipe with everyone! This cookie has zero white sugar – and all light brown sugar. Less butter too, which surprised me. The cookie is a bit crisp outside and tender inside. The dough is possibly the best I have ever had too! Luckily there was enough dough left after my snacking to bake a few off! Ha!

Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
Heaping teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

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

In a large bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.

Beat the soft unsalted butter with the packed light brown sugar until lighter and fluffier than starting – and combined.

Beat in the large eggs followed by the pure vanilla extract.

Once the mixture is smooth and silky add in the flour mixture all at once and beat until slightly crumbled but combined.

Beat in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Place larger tablespoon size balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving some room between each dough ball.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.

This recipe was adapted from “Magnolia Table” by: Joanna Gaines. All rights reserved.

CHEW THIS! Brown Sugar Cookies and COOKBOOK!

Brown Sugar Cookies & Cookbook!

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, August 21st 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Blaise the Baker, Dessert First!
Blaise Doubman

Words can not quite describe how I feel writing this column! It is a sensory experience, a feeling of excitement and yet, nervousness. I am officially announcing my cookbook “Blaise the Baker Dessert First”! It has been a long time coming and for those who have followed along with me on this journey, I thank you. There is a lot that goes into the makings of a cookbook. A cookbook is more than just a collection of recipes held together on paper, a cookbook tells a story. My cookbook tells the story of my family, memories, what we eat, how we eat it and why. This cookbook represents my life, my journey, so far in my career of food and I am overjoyed that I can finally share it with all of you! It has not been as easy task putting my cookbook together, and like I said before, there was a lot that went into creating one. I start with an idea, or a taste that I want to create. That leads to countless experimentation, recipe testers, taste testers, and so on and so forth, until the recipe is finally what I had originally envisioned. Each recipe takes at least a couple of weeks to get right, longer than that more often times that not. Now, imagine doing that with hundreds of recipes several times over.

Creating this cookbook has been a labor of love and I have loved every minute of it. Every trial, error, success and victory has been a memory made and I would not change a thing. I am just beyond thrilled to finally be sharing this cookbook with everyone! Inside you will find recipes that have been tested over and over, by my recipe testers and I, as well as family memories, notes, my observations on ingredients, tools and techniques and so much more! My cookbook is called Dessert First for a reason. It literally starts with the dessert section first and works its way back throughout the course of your meal. Allowing you to really eat dessert first! Of course, some of the recipes I developed did not make the cookbook for one reason or another. Mainly because of space or simply too much of one item. The recipe I am sharing with you today is one that was cut from the book last minute, due to several cookie recipes, but is beyond delicious and one of the most flavorful brown sugar based cookies that I have ever had! These cookies are also particularly good when rolled in cinnamon-sugar before baking. Try them with or without the cinnamon-sugar, but please try them. They are fabulous!

There are 200 recipes included in my cookbook and the cost is $15 total, including shipping and handling. It is available by mail order only. The release date is Tuesday September 27th, but you can preorder it now! Just send your check or money order to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay through PayPal, and my account there is blaisejdx@gmail.com Be sure to include your mailing address and if and whom you would like the cookbook autographed. If you are interested in 4 or more copies, I will drop the shipping and handling charges. Preorder now and I guarantee to postmark your order within 2 business days of the official release. Or you can wait and buy once they come in. Totally up to you! I am so excited about this and I want to thank each and every one of you who have supported and encouraged me. Thank you all so much, it really means a lot.

Brown Sugar Cookies

I have been known to eat brown sugar right out of the box. This cookie is packed with all of the brown sugar flavor you love, without the guilt of actually eating it straight from the box. These are easily thrown together last minute and will last, covered, for several days at room temperature. If you want a darker, richer flavored cookie substitute the light brown sugar for dark brown sugar, which has more of a molasses flavor.

3/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour

In a large bowl combine the light brown sugar with the softened unsalted butter. Stir this until light in color and fluffy in texture. Next, add in the large egg yolk and salt. Stir everything to combine. Finally, fold in the white all-purpose flour, being careful not to over mix the dough.

Place, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts and place on the prepared baking sheets, allowing about 2 inches between each cookie.

When all of the balls have been rolled, prepared and placed, press down gently on the top of each using the prongs of a fork.

Place, one sheet at a time, into the preheated oven and bake for 11 minutes.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets before removing and enjoying.

Cookbook Corner

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” October 21st, 2015

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“The Vermont Country Store Cookbook” By: Ellen Ecker Odgen and Andrea Diehl with The Orton Family

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this cookbook!? LOVE!

The stories – the recipes – the family history – the photographs – the heirloom loveliness that is on every single page brings you a feeling of warmth that no other cookbook has provided for me and I can not recommend this book highly enough! (I am actually buying several copies for some of my friends for Christmas…)

This fabulous book is divided up into eleven “chapters”. I am going to list the chapters, and only some of the recipes (my personal favorites) so you can get an idea of how delicious this book is…

Chapter 1 – The Dairy Barn / Breakfast and Brunch
“Buttermilk Doughnut Puffs” (page 5), “Farmhouse Yogurt” (page 11), “Sunday Morning Frittata” (page 16), “Cranberry-Orange Country Scones” (page 19) and “Blueberry and Zucchini Quick Bread” (page 20).

Chapter 2 – The Kitchen Garden / Soups, Salads and Sides
“Farmers’ Market Gazpacho, Two Ways” (page 27), “Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup” (page 30), “Corn and Cucumber Summer Salad” (page 35), “Roasted Vegetable Platter” (page 38), “Green Goddess Dressing and Potato Salad” (page 43) and “Vermont Cheddar and Spinach Custard” (page 49).

Chapter 3 – Small Family Farms / Chicken, Turkey and Pork
“Roasted Herb Chicken with Lemon” (page 56), “Traditional Roast Turkey with Apple-Sage Dressing” (page 64), “Turkey Burgers with Basil Mayo” (page 70), “Hunters’ Pork Pocket Pies” (page 71), “Grandma Hamilton’s Sausage” (page 77) and “Mildred’s Maple-Glazed Ham with Maple Mustard” (page 78).

Chapter 4 – Streams and Fields / Fish, Beef and Lamb
“Pan-Seared Cornmeal-Crusted Whole Trout” (page 86), “Yankee Cod Cakes” (page 92), “Marinated Grilled Flank Steak” (page 98), “Vermont Shepherd’s Pie” (page 101) and “Maple-Mustard Grilled Rack of Lamb” (page 107).

Chapter 5 – Wilds and Woods / Mushrooms, Quail, Duck, Rabbit, Venison and Berries
“Crispy Wild Rice Cakes” (page 116), “Vermont Glazed Quail with Cranberry Stuffing” (page 120), “Rabbit Braised in Hard Cider” (page 126), “Award-Winning Venison and Apple Chili” (page 129), “Elderberry Shrub” (page 134) and “Blackberry Cordial” (page 135).

Chapter 6 – The Gristmill / Breads and Whole Grains
“German Cocoa Rye Bread” (page 145), “Farmhouse Whole Wheat Honey Bread” (page 148), “Lumberjack Granola” (page 153), “New England Pesto Spiral Rolls” (page 154) and “Quinoa Salad with Pan-Grilled Radicchio” (page 163).

Chapter 7 – Potlucks and Crowd-Pleasers / Dishes and Desserts for Gatherings and Celebrations
“Summer Roasted Caponata Dip” (page 169), “Maple and Molasses Baked Beans” (page 173), “Roasted Vegetable Lasagna” (page 174), “Swiss Chard Phyllo Pie” (page 176), “Old-Fashioned Jelly Roll” (page 178), “Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Custard: Strawberry and Maple-Walnut” (page 185) and “Home Sweet Home Gingerbread House” (page 188).

Chapter 8 – The Pantry / Condiments, Jams and Jellies
“Bread-and-Butter Pickles” (page 201), “Raspberry-Peach Jam” (page 205), “Better Homemade Ketchup” (page 208), “Bryant House Maple Barbecue Glaze” (page 212), “Hot Pepper Jelly” (page 213) and “Green Tomato and Pepper Piccalilli” (page 214).

Chapter 9 – The Cookie and Candy Jars / Cookies, Brownies, Fudge and Brittle
“Grandma’s Best Brownies” (page 221), “Homemade Fig Newtons” (page 225), “Mildred’s Maple Bonbons” (page 228), “Salted Caramel Buttermilk Fudge” (page 231), “Date Nut Squares” (page 237) and “Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 240).

Chapter 10 – The Cake and Pie Safe / Pies, Crisps, Cobblers and Cakes
“Farmhouse Cider Apple Pie” (page 246), “Summer Fruit Cobbler” (page 256), “Gingerbread with Lemon Curd” (page 258), “Angel Food Crunch Cake” (page 267), “Not Your Grandmother’s Fruitcake” (page 270) and “Mocha Fudge Cake with Mocha Fudge Frosting” (pages 274 and 276).

Chapter 11 – Vermont, a Way of Life
I love this chapter. It ties everything nicely together, while preserving family (and business) traditions.

A wonderful cookbook!

Cookbook Corner

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” December 10th, 2014

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“The Big Book of Sides” By: Rick Rodgers

I honestly was not for sure (at first) if I would like this cookbook… I mean, a cookbook about ALL side dishes?! How many different side dishes could a person create!? (And – I am a dessert guy…)

BUT – I was seriously blown away by this book… I LOVE IT!

The book does not have photographs for every single recipe…but with this book, I have really found it does not matter. The descriptions (as well as the recipes) more than make up for lack of photos.

(And I an a picture person too – and I did not seem to miss them with this book…) Do not get me wrong though – there ARE photos…and the photos that are included are absolutely gorgeous!

The book is sectioned off into several different chapters…

Getting It to the Table: which gives tips and tricks on baking, cooking, deep frying, etc. This section also provides sample menus to give inspiration to your Holiday planning.

Eat Your Vegetables: (I like how Rick goes into detail here about each vegetable and when it is in season, what you look for in choosing one at the market, and even how to store it – genius!) One of my favorite recipes from this section is the recipe for “Warm Shaved Asparagus With Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Basil” (page 25). I would have never thought about “shaving” the asparagus into ribbons – I love this idea! How perfect to add to salads, etc. I admit that I skipped the pine nut addition to this recipe – and it still turned out wonderfully!

I also enjoyed “Retro Green Bean Casserole” (page 37) just for the simple fact that he included it here. I love “retro” recipes that remind me of my childhood, of my Grandma and of simpler times.

Speaking of “retro” I also really enjoyed Rick’s “Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole” (page 49). I have been making a version of this for years and years – and enjoy it immensely every single time. It reminds me of my Mom’s broccoli and cheese casserole that she still makes to this day… Perhaps that is why the lack of pictures do not really bother me here with this cookbook – because I have my own “visual memories” when reading along to these recipes…

In this chapter you will also find recipes for Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, French chard, corn, eggplant, kale, wild mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, butternut squash, and on and on and on… It is easily one of my favorite chapters in this book. And it is about vegetables – imagine that! Ha!

But I will tell you – I WILL “eat my vegetables” if they all taste as good as these recipes make them out to be. Yum!

From The Root Cellar: this section is about – you guessed it… root vegetables. Beets, carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, etc. fill this chapter with delicious recipes. Some of my favorites!? “Buttermilk Onion Rings” (page 165) and my ALL TIME FAVORITE from this book (for right now – that might change the more recipes I try…) is Rick’s recipe for “Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole” (page 179). What is not to love about mashed potatoes that you can make ahead and pop into the oven when guests arrive?! And they have cream cheese, butter and sour cream in them! Sounds like one of my recipes – and perfectly wonderful…

I also loved his “Classic Scalloped Potatoes” (page 185) and his simple recipe for “Classic French Fries” (page 205). I am a huge fan of potatoes (who’s not?) and these recipes make my mouth water.

A Hill of Beans: honestly – I am not that big of a fan of beans – but I have a feeling this chapter might just change my mind. Example – the “Beer and Maple Beans” (page 228) and “Root Beer Baked Beans” (page 230). I have both marked to try – and may try the “Root Beer Baked Beans” this Holiday season, to add to the table.

Righteous Rice and Great Grains: I love rice and this chapter is filled with amazing recipes such as “Spiced Basmati Rice” (page 252), “Classic Spanish Rice” (page 256) and “Wild Rice with Shallots and Thyme” (page 265). This chapter also contains recipes for polenta and grits – 2 of my favorite foods! I have 2 recipes I am going to try soon. The first is on page 269 “Cheese and Grits Souffle” (which I’m so excited about!) the other is on page 215, “Lemon Sweet Potatoes with Meringue Topping” – because I mean – how amazing does that sound!?

Anyways, the chapter continues with a recipe for “Crisp Quinoa Cakes” (page 279) that I would really like to try – and think sounds perfect serve along a pork dish of some kind.

The Side Salad Bowl: This chapter contains delicious sounding recipes for cold salads, coleslaw’s, original salads, warm salads and even bean salads! “Blue Ribbon Potato Salad” (page 282), “Loaded Potato Salad with Sour Cream, Bacon and Cheddar” (page 285 – and I will make WITHOUT the bacon…), “Coleslaw with Apples and Poppy Seeds” (page 289), “Bean Salad with Avocado, Grilled Corn, and Red Pepper” (page 299), and recipes for green beans salads, cucumber salads, pasta salads, apple salads and so much more…

The chapter also continues with recipes for salad dressings – which sound amazing. “The Best Ranch Dressing” (page 344) and “Thousand Island Dressing” (page 345) are both marked to try. I may also have to try the “Raspberry, Chipotle, and Poppy Seed Dressing” (page 342), just because I am wanting to know how the heat plays against the raspberry.

Pasta and Friends: The recipe found on page 349 “Stovetop Macaroni and Pimento Cheese” is worth the price of the book – there I said it! It is AMAZING! I have several other macaroni and cheese recipes in this chapter to try – and they all sound delicious! How about “French Macaroni and Cheese with Leeks” (page 350) or “Baked Ziti with Broccoli and Gorgonzola” (page 351)!? Amazing, right!?

The chapter continues with noodle recipes, orzo recipes and even covers couscous – which I LOVE!

The Bread Basket: I love bread, and this chapter contains amazing recipes for all types of bread! Cornbread, biscuits, yeasted dinner breads, quick breads, muffins and more! I particularly liked the recipes in this chapter for “Stuffings and Dressings” – perfect for Holiday time!

On page 401, it evens gives instructions for how to roast chestnuts – which I have always wondered!

Pickles, Relishes, and Sauces: I am not that big of a fan of pickles, but the chapter part that was focused on relishes and sauces are amazing. Pesto, salsa, ketchup, marmalade, mustard, mayonnaise, gravy, and pan sauces fill this chapter beautifully.

All in all – this book is beautiful and I highly recommend you pick it up – and not just for the Holidays! It WILL BE the perfect book for the Holidays – yes – but you will find yourself using it a LOT more that just around the Holidays. You will find yourself picking this book up a LOT for recipes and inspirational ideas.

Cookbook Corner

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” October 8th, 2014

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“Sugar Rush” By: Johnny Iuzzini

Let me just start off by saying that if you buy this book for nothing more than the photograph on page 197 I will NOT hold it against you! Ha!

I absolutely LOVED this book! To start with, I am a huge Johnny Iuzzini fan and have followed his career for the past several years. I was SO excited when his first cookbook “Dessert Fourplay” came out that I preordered it immediately as it became available. As soon as it came, I ripped into the packaging, took out the book and flipped through it. I was (I will admit) a little…disappointed! It was “gourmet” desserts that required special equipment, ingredients and patience that I just simply did not have. Where are the recipes for cookies, brownies, cakes or pies!? I enjoyed the pictures in “Dessert Fourplay” but that was about it… I put it on my book shelf and it has been there ever since.

THIS book though (his 2nd and follow up) is BEYOND what I was wanting (and hoping for) with the first! It is made more for the “home baker”. Everywhere, scattered throughout the book, are the recipes I was looking for the first time around! Brownies, cakes, cookies, pies and tarts fill this beautifully done book!

It is divided into the following categories…

Custards and Creamy Desserts such as “Malted Chocolate Ice Cream” (page 35), “Banana Pastry Cream” (page 44), “Chocolate Pudding” (page 59) and “Apricot Custard Tart” (page 64).

Eggs and Meringue recipes such as “Champagne Sabayon” (page 87), “Blackberry Soufflés” (page 108), “Espresso Marshmallows” (page 116) and “Coffee-Cardamom Éclairs” (page 123).

Caramel recipes like “Salted Caramels” (page 152), “Individual Caramel Apple and Sweet Potato Bread Puddings” (page 156), “Sticky Caramel Date Cake” (page 158 and more on this later…) and “Smack Caramel Corn” (page 165).

Cakes, Cupcakes, Brownies, and Muffin recipes such as “Banana-Walnut Sheet Cake” (page 178), “Crumb Cake” (page 184), “Pineapple Upside Down Cakes” (page 189), “Chocolate Cupcakes” (page 196), “Olive Oil Sponge Cake” (page 201), “Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake” (page 205) and “Zucchini Roasted Corn Muffins (page 214).

Cookies, Tea Cakes, and Biscuit recipes like “Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 220), “Pecan Shortbread” (page 232), “Play Date Cookies” (page 240), “Chocolate Snowballs” (page 245) and “Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits” (page 250).

Tarts, Cobblers, and Crisp recipes such as “Double-Lemon Tarts” (page 268), “Strawberry-Tarragon Tart” (page 275), “Smoky Chocolate-Ginger Ganache Tart” (page 281), and “Cherry Crisp” (page 286).

Yeast Dough recipes like “Brioche” (page 292), “Panettone” (page 299), “Cinnamon Rolls” (page 304) and “Fresh Yeast Donuts” (page 306).

Glazes, Frostings, Fillings, and Sauce recipes such as “Vanilla Buttercream” (page 319), “Orange Curd” (page 324), “Shiny Chocolate Glaze” (page 328), and “Candied Citrus Peel” (page 332).

Building a Balanced Dessert recipes like “Tropical Pavlova” (page 338), “Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte” (page 339) and “Vanilla-Banana Caramel Cake” (page 340).

All sound delicious, right!? Tell me about it…and you should see the pictures! The book is worth the price alone just for the deliciously photographed desserts.

Oh – and the introduction is written by Dorie Greenspan! I found the introduction to be warmly written, and found Dorie’s personal story about her and her son calling on Johnny for help to be truly heart warming…

Ok – back to the “Sticky Caramel Date Cake” (page 158) that I was discussing earlier… I LOVE this cake and love this recipe! It turned out perfectly…although I am not sure I did the “water bath” part correctly…but it still turned out good! I remember when Haagen-Dazs had an ice cream called “Sticky Toffee Pudding”. Anyone remember that!? It was AMAZING! It was “limited edition” and is not around anymore (unfortunately) but I remember eating at least 20 containers that summer! Ha! No joke… THAT started my love for the sticky toffee cake, the date cakes, etc.

Anyways – back to the book – buy it! I highly recommend those that love baking to buy this book! It is one of the most beautifully photographed cookbooks I have seen in awhile…