CHEW THIS! TRAIL BLAISE The Baker Cookies

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, October 19th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Blaise the Baker and TRAIL BLAISE
Blaise Doubman

Well I would like to officially announce the “comeback” of my Blaise the Baker brand! For those who do not know, my original brand and blog website, Blaise the Baker was hacked, along with my attached social media accounts, just a little over a year ago. I started Blaise the Baker in February of 2014 and had it for years without any problems whatsoever. As my numbers, views and followers grew, that is when problem struck. My website and all attached social media was compromised, therefore giving me no choice but to rebrand. I chose to rebrand as, TRAIL BLAISE. Jump to present day and I am now, once again, the proud owner of Blaise the Baker. When you visit my old website, or their social media sites, you are now automatically taken to TRAIL BLAISE. I am so happy and thrilled with this outcome, I cannot even possibly say! Several people were involved in making the transition and for that, I thank you all so very much.

When developing this recipe, I wanted to create something that was fun, colorful and delicious. Immediately my mind drifted to monster cookies! They are delicious, huge, colorful and fun! I’ve developed a few recipes for monster cookies, but these are by far my favorites! They have everything that makes a cookie delicious. They are full of peanut butter, oats, potato chips and even M&M’s! Not to mention the delicious ingredients of sugar and pure vanilla extract. Ha! Several people eating these say that the potato chips in the cookie really make the flavor and texture really something extraordinary. It is hard to explain but the potato chips really give the cookies an almost buttery flavor and crunch like texture. Celebrate my Blaise the Baker and TRAIL BLAISE brands coming together as one, by creating these fabulously addictive cookies!

TRAIL BLAISE The Baker Cookies

These are basically a version of the famous “monster cookie” that you can find in certain bakeries and Amish stores across the midwestern US. Feel free to play around with the recipe and try different flavor combinations and different candy combinations. These are also fun to make “plate size” but be sure to adjust the cooking time.

1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup crushed plain potato chips
1 10 oz. bag M&M candy pieces

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

In a large bowl, beat together the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar and solid vegetable shortening until smooth and combined.

Beat in the two large eggs, pure vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda until thoroughly combined.

Next add in the white all-purpose flour and stir until combined, no white streaks visible.

Finally, stir in the quick cooking oats, crushed potato chips and M&M candy pieces until everything is thoroughly combined and well mixed.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Roll the dough into balls, but don’t press flat. Keep dough balls about 3-4 inches from each other – giving them plenty of room to spread out when baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

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

Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about chilling and freezing cookie dough. Just about any cookie dough I have found, aside from peanut butter for some reason, can be made ahead, chilled in the refrigerator or frozen in the freezer. Peanut butter cookie dough is best not made ahead and only made fresh. I have tried all kinds of methods and none has ever worked for peanut butter cookie dough. Other doughs though can be wrapped well, chilled in the refrigerator for five days or frozen for up to three months. When baking the frozen dough, add a couple of extra minutes to the cookies while they are baking in the oven.

Norma Beavers’ Chocolate Chip Brownies

I found this recipe while browsing through my Grandma Barbra’s old “Kennard Friends Church” cookbook. Norma Beavers is a friend to my Grandma and has been for countless years. This recipe is like a giant chewy chocolate chip cookie but in bar form. Highly recommend you try them! I kept the recipe basically the same but changed up the method of sifting the dry ingredients.

Norma Beavers’ Chocolate Chip Brownies

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray containing flour.

In a large bowl cream together the softened unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and water.

Beat in the large eggs.

Beat in the baking soda and salt.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the semi-sweet chocolate chips along the top of the batter.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. 10 minutes into the baking time, remove from the oven and gently swirl the chocolate chips into the batter. Place back into the oven to finish baking.

Once baked, remove and allow to cool before cutting into squares.

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.

CHEW THIS! New Favorite Lemon Bars

New Favorite Lemon Bars

New Favorite Lemon Bars.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 21st 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

My new favorite lemon bars, updated!
Blaise Doubman

When developing recipes, I love creating something that becomes a new favorite, such as these lemon bars. Sometimes I take a favorite recipe and see if I can somehow make it even easier or tastier. Take for instance my chocolate mayonniase cake. I replaced the water in the recipe with freshly brewed coffee and the recipe instantly transformed into something even better than before! It is amazing what a little change here or there does to transform a recipe! People ask me all the time what they can do to make their baked goods taste better. My first question back to them is if they use salt in their baked good recipes. Most of the time they look at me puzzled and tell me no, salt is for savory items only! No! This is not true! Salt is very important in baked products and makes the final result taste so much better than something with no salt added. Sometimes I even sprinkle a little finishing salt on my final dessert.

I have shared a couple of lemon bar recipes in my cookbooks as well as a lemon bar recipe in a previous column that I shared here with everyone, but these lemon bars are my new favorites! I love the easy shortbread crust and the easy filling. These lemon bars are sweet and tangy without being overbearing in taste or texture. I could go on and on about how fabulous these are but I really think you need to make them so you can see for yourselves! These are also the perfect make ahead dessert bars because when left at room temperature, or even chilled in the refrigerator, the filling firms up and transforms into almost like a thicker pudding texture. Dust the final bars with powdered sugar if desired or even sprinkle a little powdered sugar and lemon zest combination on top for a little extra punch! These are perfect for the spring time!

New Favorite Lemon Bars

Feel free to dust as much, or as little, powdered sugar on top of these as you desire. I personally love them with a mountain of powdered sugar sprinkled on top but not everybody likes the taste or texture.

For the crust…
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt

For the filling…
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¾ cups white granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
½ cup fresh lemon juice

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

In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter, white all-purpose flour, powdered sugar and salt with a fork. You may even want to use your hands for this. Once the mixture is combined, press lightly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 33 minutes.

Once baked remove from oven. In a large bowl whisk together the lightly beaten large eggs, white granulated sugar, lemon zest and white all-purpose flour. Whisk in the lemon juice last and immediately pour the filling over the prebaked crust.

Place back into preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

The filling should be slightly giggly but still rather firm. The lemon bars will slightly thicken and firm up as they cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar, if desired and cut into squares. Leftovers should be kept refrigerated and will last 4 days if chilled.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a few questions about a previous column and recipe for orange bars. People have been curious if they can freeze them in advance and then bring them to room temperature before serving. Yes! You absolutely can. What I would do, is bake the bars, cool and precut them. Wrap them well in aluminum foil and freeze them either in the pan or individually. Bring them to room temperature and then dust them with powdered sugar.

Mississippi Mud Brownies

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

I still sing the song when I spell out Mississippi. Do you? Do you know which song I am talking about? You know, the one that helps you remember how to spell it? No!? Ok. Maybe it is just me then. Anyways, these “Mississippi Mud Brownies” are delicious any way you spell them! Some people add toasted pecans to the tops of the brownies (with the marshmallows) but I prefer to leave them out for a number of reasons. Highly recommend you try these! Homemade brownie, topped with smooth peanut butter, marshmallows and a silky chocolate frosting. Hello, YUM!

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Mississippi Mud Brownies

For the brownies…
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups mini marshmallows

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

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

In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, white granulated sugar, large eggs and pure vanilla extract. The mixture will be bright colored, smooth and glossy.

Next, whisk in the pure vanilla extract.

Whisk in the white all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

After baking, leave oven on and remove brownies. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Spread evenly the smooth peanut butter all over the top of the brownies.

Sprinkle on the marshmallows. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting whisk together the melted butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, whole milk, pure vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth and glossy.

Frost the brownies evenly then refrigerate for one hour before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!