CHEW THIS! Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 9th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Like a granola bar, only better…
Blaise Doubman

I love a good granola bar! They are the perfect on the go snack and can taste pretty good for something that is supposed to be so healthy! I do have to say that some of my favorite granola bars are the ones dipped in dark chocolate, but dark chocolate is supposed to be good for us in moderation, right? I have tried several recipes for homemade granola bars and they always end up being too hard or too sticky. When developing this recipe, it started out to be something totally and underly different. It started out being a bar that contained raisins, cranberries and banana chips. It ended up being more of a dessert bar, more of a luxury than a necessity. Ha! I did leave the oatmeal but skipped out on the additional mix-ins. Instead I decided I would make a bar that was filled with something. Chocolate? No, even better, peanut butter!

The peanut butter filling in these bars really make the dessert what it is! The chocolate chips sprinkled along top really make a difference too because they add that extra punch to help you get through the thick and rich filling. I find that quick cooking oats work better than the old-fashioned variety because they soften up more and provide less chew. So, let us recap here a moment. These bars contain oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate which are all basically health foods, right? Now, the butter and the sweetened condensed milk may be a stretch in some health-conscious circles but everything in moderation, including moderation, right? Make these on a Sunday evening and snack on them throughout the week! They are delicious!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

These are best made ahead, wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator. Feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips for milk, dark or white chips. Smooth peanut butter works best here over crunchy.

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
½ cup smooth peanut butter
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

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.

In a large bowl combine the melted butter, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt until smooth and combined. Beat in the white all-purpose flour and quick cooking oats. Mixture needs to be combined thoroughly.

Reserve 1 ½ cups of the mixture and place into a separate bowl. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mixture and stir until combined well.

Press in the remaining mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly with clean hands. Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl combine the smooth peanut butter and the sweetened condensed milk. Pour this evenly over the baked base. Do this step easy and carefully with a gentle hand.

Take the remaining mix containing the semi-sweet chocolate chips and sprinkle evenly over the top. Place back into preheated oven and bake 30 minutes more. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap with aluminum foil and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares. Remove and serve.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about where to find me on my newest social media links. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all under the username, btrailblaise Find and follow me for recipes, cookbook reviews, kitchen tips and tricks.

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Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

The name of these may be a mouthful but they are delicious! These are thin and crisp. Filled with bittersweet chocolate, dried cranberries and sprinkled with Fleur de sel. Perfect for the upcoming Holidays!

Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1 3/4 cups white all-purpose flour
10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
6 oz dried cranberries
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

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

In a bowl cream together the soft unsalted butter with the light brown sugar and white granulated sugar until smooth in texture and light in color.

Add in the pure vanilla extract and beat in the large eggs, one at a time.

Beat in the baking soda, salt and quick cooking oats. Carefully add in the white all-purpose flour and combined until mixed.

Fold in the bittersweet chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Drop by tablespoon size balls onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes.

Remove, cool and serve.

CHEW THIS! Carol J Prosser’s Oatmeal Scotchies

Carol J Prosser’s Oatmeal Scotchies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Carol J Prosser’s Favorite Ever Cookies!
Blaise Doubman

When my “Blaise the Baker” social media accounts were hacked several weeks ago, the thing I missed most about being online was the special friendships I had forged over the course of many years. I am slowly getting all my family, friends and fans back on my new accounts and sharing with everyone my new website, “TRAIL BLAISE”. The several weeks I was without social media really got me thinking about some of the friendships I had forged without social media and immediately I thought about one of my best friends, Carol J Prosser. I think I have known Carol since I was born. Growing up she was always “The Good’s Candies Lady” because she was always up at the candy store in Kennard. Carol has worked for “Good’s Candies” for years and years and it just would not be the same up there without her! She IS “Good’s Candies”! Her friendly, smiling face is always there to greet you, along with the comforting smell of warm chocolate, as soon as you enter the front door. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

As I grew up and started seeing Carol more and more outside of the candy store, she really became a close friend. Whenever I see her I know that she will have some type of advice for me, a funny story to share or a kind word to mention. She has been best friends with my Grandma Barbra for years and years, way before I was born. My whole family knows and loves Carol and Carol knows and loves my whole family. I actually feel like, in a way, we ARE a family together. Carol and her daughters and their families are some of the sweetest people you will ever get to know. When Grandma Barbra was at Glen Oaks for a few months a couple of years ago, Carol would always go and visit, and I would always be there to laugh and talk right along with her. During the course of our friendship I have discovered her love of life, her strong faith, her strong and fighting spirit, love for friends and family, thoughtfulness and among many other wonderfully special qualities, her love for oatmeal scotchies. Every once in awhile she will ask me to stir up a batch and I happily hit the kitchen smiling. I am dedicating this special oatmeal scotchies recipe to a woman just as special, my friend Carol J Prosser. Love you Carol!

Carol J Prosser’s Oatmeal Scotchies

This recipe really is best made ahead. Stir up the cookie dough, cover and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 12 hours, overnight is even better. The flavors have time to get to know each other and the cookie is so much more flavorful and actually structurally different that cookies made with fresh dough. These are delicious!

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 ¼ cups white all-purpose flour
11 oz butterscotch chips

In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the packed light brown sugar and white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture.

Beat in the large eggs, pure vanilla extract and orange zest.

Add in the baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon and stir to combine.

Beat in the quick cooking oats before folding in the white all-purpose flour.

Fold in the butterscotch chips.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 12 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place tablespoon size balls of dough, about 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Ask and Answer: Within the past couple of months I have been getting questions about how to make your own self-rising flour. What you do is combine 1 cup white all-purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk together until combined.

CHEW THIS! Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 18th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies are a hit!
Blaise Doubman

Who doesn’t love an oatmeal cream pie? Everyone is familiar with those that you can buy in the store, right? You know the ones in the snack cake area that are individually wrapped and sold in a box? I have eaten my fair share of those over the years, and so has everyone else I’ve ever known, so one day I wondered if I could make my own version of this popular treat. I decided to go for it and give it a try, so I did, and much to my delight I came up with this recipe! It wasn’t an easy recipe to try and duplicate, but it was really fun trying! At first I wanted that same taste and texture of the ones I was familiar with from my childhood, but then I told myself that I could do better. I wanted to create the same experience, but with the volume turned up.

These are incredible! I had several people taste test them for me and they were blown away by the taste and the texture. A lot of people thought that the cream filling had cream cheese in it, but it does not. I think the Marshmallow Fluff mixed with the powdered sugar and pure vanilla extract, along with the unsalted butter, gives a welcome tangy taste to the filling that a lot of people don’t expect once they bite in and bite through. These are the perfect thing to make ahead because they will last 3 days in the refrigerator. The longer they have a chance to chill in the refrigerator the better and more complex the flavors have in developing their full potential. These are so much better than anything you can buy at the grocery store!

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

When baking the cookies, be sure to not overbake them or they will turn hard. Under baking them slightly and then having them cool on their baking sheets is an important step in the process. When making the filling the final consistency you want to end up with is a thick, but spreadable, ice cream thickness. It will appear very thick, but should even out after the Marshmallow Fluff is stirred in at the end. These can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 3 days or placed in the freezer for 2 months.

For the cookies…
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
½ cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups quick cooking oats

For the filling…
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk
¼ cup Marshmallow Fluff

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper on 2 large baking sheets.

In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter, light brown sugar and white granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract and combine well.

Next, add in the white all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt. Once combined, fold in the quick cooking oats.

Place large tablespoon size mounds of dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for the cookies to spread. Place each sheet, one at a time, into preheated oven for 12 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet.

To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the softened unsalted butter with the confectioner’s sugar. Once mixed together, add in the pure vanilla extract and whole milk. Finally, beat in the Marshmallow Fluff.

To assemble the cookies, take a cooled cookie and place top side down. Place a large amount of filling on the top, and sandwich another cookie on top of it, placing it bottom side down.

Wrap each cookie immediately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, remove and allow to come to room temperature or enjoy cold.