CHEW THIS! Darla’s Family Favorite Cookies

Darla’s Family Favorite Cookies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 7th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Darla Doubman shares secret cookie recipe…
Blaise Doubman

My Mom, Darla Doubman, is a bit shy when people ask her if she has helped develop my skills as a cook and baker. I am not sure why, perhaps she just does not give herself enough credit, but I am here to tell you that she 110% helped cultivate my love for the kitchen. I have so many memories of my Mom and I in the kitchen that continues today! When I was little, I remember helping her make chocolate cakes in the shape of hearts with chocolate frosting. I loved those cakes and miss those heart shaped pans. We made fudge together, brownies, which are her favorites, among several savory dishes as well. Spaghetti, homemade meatballs, meatloaf, cheesy potatoes with sausage, chili, tons of slow cooker meals and even recipes for the grill. No matter what she may unwillingly admit, my Mom is a wonderful cook and baker. I have so many recipes in my cookbooks that are her recipes and some of those recipes are some of my most popular. There is a recipe I shared for her goulash that I have in one of my cookbooks and I am not kidding, I have heard from more people about that recipe than just about any other! People saying it brought back childhood memories for them, people loving it and sharing it with others.

The recipe I am sharing here today is based off one of the recipes of my Mom’s that I shared with everyone in my second cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Celebrates!” and is a recipe that people just cannot believe because of its simplicity. The method I am sharing here is different that the cookbook version and is my favorite method in making these fabulous cookies! The secret to these is that you really need to chill the dough for awhile before rolling into balls because the final dough is very sticky. Chilling the dough firms up the dough and allows easier rolling and a lot less mess. 4 simple ingredients, 3 if you do not add the extract, and you will have one of the best cookies ever! I have fond childhood memories of this recipe and making them with my Mom. I also remember eating more of the dough than the cookies! Ha! The dough is dangerously addictive, so I am warning everyone now! Shout out and special thanks to my Mom, Darla Doubman, for allowing me to share this recipe and memory with everyone. My Mom is the wizard behind the curtain so to speak. I owe everything I am today to her and love her so much. I am so proud of the woman she has become, and I cannot even begin to thank her for everything she has done, not to mention putting up with me all these years! Ha!

Darla’s Family Favorite Cookies

This dough is best made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, so plan ahead with this recipe. Feel free to use any cake mix you would like but do not substitute anything fat free or low calorie. It will not only change the texture of the cookie but the taste as well. Do not double this recipe. If wanting to make more than the average number of cookies, simply start the recipe over from the beginning.

1 Devil’s Food cake mix
1 container frozen whipped topping
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar for rolling

In a large bowl combine the cake mix and frozen whipped topping until smooth and combined. Add in the large egg and pure vanilla extract and beat well. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls the size of a rough tablespoon and roll gently into confectioners’ sugar until coated on all sides.

Place prepared balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets and bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on their baking sheets until ready to remove. If you need them to firm up faster, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes.

Ask and Answer: I posted on my Facebook page that I was experimenting with “Air Fryer Donut Holes”. Lots of people messaged me wanting the recipe and it is my pleasure to share it here with everyone! Take a can of large flaky biscuits and cut them into fourths. Preheat the air fryer to 370 degrees. Spray the sectioned biscuits with a light olive oil mist made for using with air fryer machines. Load about 7 sections in the basket at a time. Air fry for 4 minutes, flip and air fry another 3 minutes. Carefully remove them and dip each into melted butter, followed by a dip in confectioners’ sugar. Allow them to cool slightly in the confectioners’ sugar. Remove, shake off the excess and enjoy. These are delicious hot, warm or even cold!

CHEW THIS! Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, March 17th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade Bread Memories…
Blaise Doubman

I have fond memories of my Grandma Barbra and I making homemade white bread in her kitchen on cold winter days with her giant white electronic bread maker. I remember thinking it was the coolest machine at the time and often wondered how it worked as it did. I think we only made white bread and never did expand into other kinds but that white bread was some of the best of my life. We would get the machine greased and ready, measure and pour everything in and prepare for the baking. It took hours, because the bread would be mixed, then it would rest, mixed again, rest, mixed again, baked and then finally cooled. Our first several loaves were always lopsided, but it did not matter. It was delicious! We did finally figure out how to maintain the shape of the loaf and then there was no stopping us! Ha! I still remember removing the bread from its container and placing it on a plate. We would try and slice the bread but would usually end up just breaking it up into chunks with our hands, buttering each piece with lots and lots of butter and eating it while still extremely hot. I have so many wonderful memories with my Grandma Barbra and I love her so much. She has taught me so much about life, in the kitchen and out of. I joke with her that I am writing a memoir of our crazy times together and that I am going to title it, “NUTS”. She always laughs at this.

When developing this recipe, I wanted to try and steer away from a bread machine, simply because a lot of people do not have them anymore. I think somewhere in the early 2000’s bread became “unfashionable” and people stopped eating, and making, bread as much. Therefore, almost eliminating bread machines completely. I am not a follower of diets, fad or otherwise, and I love bread! Of course, I limit myself, everything in moderation including moderation, but I love a slice of warm white bread with tons of butter on top. My friend, Cindy Shelton, also loves hot bread and butter. Maybe I will make her a loaf of this bread soon. If you know someone who loves bread, take a little time and make them a loaf of this bread! It makes 2 loaves so one for you and one for a friend! This also makes the perfect gift.

Grandma Barbra’s Homemade White Bread

I always use active dry yeast, not the refrigerated yeast packets that you can find at most grocery stores. I find the active dry yeast to be better, and fresher believe it or not, than the refrigerated version. I also use Kosher salt for this recipe, as well as all my other ones. I highly recommend investing in a large box of Kosher salt for your cooking and baking needs. The flakes of salt are larger, therefore you can use less salt in your finished dishes.

2 cups warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 package
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
5 cups white all-purpose flour

Start by combining the warm water with the active dry yeast in a large bowl. The water needs to be warm to the touch but not hot. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. However, if the water is too cold, the yeast will not bloom. I use the hottest tap water I have and then let it cool down for about 2 minutes. Add in the melted butter, white granulated sugar and salt. Stir.

Add in 2 cups of the white all-purpose flour and stir together well. Add in another 2 cups of the white all-purpose flour and stir together well, using clean dry hands if needed.

Take the dough and place onto a clean, dry, lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 20 minutes, adding in the remaining cup of white all-purpose flour.

The dough should not be dry at this stage but instead a slightly sticky and thick dough.

Place the dough into a buttered bowl and cover the top with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rest and rise for 1 hour without disturbing it.

After 1 hour, remove the dough and knead for another 5 minutes. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover the top with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place and let rice for 1 hour without disturbing it. In the meantime, spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Be sure to grease the loaf pans generously.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide the dough in half. Shape each half into loaf shapes and place each into their prepared pans. Cover the tops of both with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rise 1 hour without disturbing it.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the loaves, in preheated oven, for 35 minutes. Remove, cool, unmold, slice and serve.

Ask and Answer: People have been wondering if you can substitute unsweetened chocolate for bittersweet chocolate in recipes. The answer is, no! Unsweetened chocolate contains no sugar whatsoever, whereas, bittersweet contains anywhere from 10-50% sugar. If using unsweetened chocolate in recipes you will more than likely need to add sugar for sweetness. If using bittersweet chocolate, very little sugar may be asked for. They are not interchangeable.

Beef Manhattans

I love to order beef manhattans when I am out at local restaurants and often wondered if I could try to make my own homemade version. Well I did and they are fabulous! You will not believe how flavorful these are, or how simple! Use store bought or homemade mashed potatoes and brown gravy.

Beef Manhattans

4 pound boneless beef chuck roast
1 stick butter
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
1 package au jus gravy mix
2 cups homemade or jarred brown gravy
Prepared mashed potatoes
Texas Toast

Start by lining your slow cooker with a slow cooker liner. Place in the boneless beef chuck roast.

Place stick of butter on top of roast.

Sprinkle over package of dry Ranch dressing mix. Sprinkle over package of au jus gravy mix.

Place on lid and cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

After cooking, remove lid and shred meat using 2 forks.

Warm prepared brown gravy and prepared mashed potatoes.

Assemble the beef manhattans by placing 2 slices of Texas Toast on a plate. Top with shredded beef. Top with mashed potatoes and finish with brown gravy.

Peach Cobbler

This is really the only cobbler recipe you will ever need. Feel free to substitute your favorite fruit for the peaches in this recipe.

Peach Cobbler

4 cups sliced peaches, canned, undrained
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk

Start by place the stick of butter in a 9×13-inch baking pan. Place in oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and stir until just combined.

Remove the pan from the oven once the butter has melted. Pour over the batter and smooth out the top. Gently pour over the peaches and juice and spread evenly.

Bake in preheated oven until puffed and lightly golden brown, about 40 minutes.

CHEW THIS! Chocolate Buckeye Cupcakes

Chocolate Buckeye Cupcakes 

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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! Orange Bars

Orange Bars

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 17th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A Lost Recipe, Found!
Blaise Doubman

When testing and developing recipes for my cookbooks, website and this column, I keep a detailed list of all the recipes I have made, tried, tasted, developed, published and printed. Hardly ever do I misplace a recipe but within the last year or so, it happened! I searched and searched for my recipe for orange bars. I was so proud of the recipe and now where had it gone? I love lemon bars but wondered if I could somehow make an orange version. The recipe took about two weeks to figure out and I decided that I would share it in my second cookbook. Well, needless to say the recipe never materialized, and it did not make it into my second cookbook. I just told myself I would never find the recipe and would need to develop it again later, once I had the time. Several months passed and I decided that it was about time to develop the lost orange bars recipe. I tried, unsuccessfully, for a couple of weeks and then decided to move on to other recipes. I was disappointed but not discouraged.

Over the course of the last several months I have started “weeding” my cookbook collection. Going through and donating the cookbooks I know that I will never use or have duplicates of, etc. It was a huge task, but I did finally finish. I can not even fathom the number of cookbooks I donated but the number was easily in the thousands. As I was going through all those cookbooks, organizing, separating and trying to get them in order, I found several pieces of notebook paper that I had put inside of one of the cookbooks, sticking out on the sides. I pulled them out and low and behold! There was my orange bar recipe that I had lost several months back! What were they doing inside one of my cookbooks? I have no idea. I am a relatively organized person, so what I was thinking at the time I will never know. I was thrilled to find the recipe though and even though it did not make it into my second cookbook, I am excited and thankful to share it here with all of you! Try these, they are remarkably fabulous!

Orange Bars

These are best made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator, so plan ahead with this recipe.

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

For the filling…
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
¼ cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs

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 well the softened unsalted butter, white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar and salt. Once a dough forms, press into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 18 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

In a large bowl whisk well together the fresh squeezed orange juice, orange zest, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, baking powder and large eggs. You will know the mixture is well combined once bubbles start appearing in the filling.

Once the crust has finished baking, remove from the oven and pour in the filling.

Return to the oven, carefully, and continue to bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top part of the bars are no longer jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 30 minutes.

Wrap in aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Remove, dust with powdered sugar and cut into desired squares.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting so many air fryer questions that it has been hard for me to keep up with them all! Lot of people would like to know what brand and size I have. I have Target’s air fryer called the “Air Fryer XL” and is 5 quarts. Really when shopping for an air fryer, buy the brand and size that you think would be best for you. Lots of people have also wondered if my recipes are “air fryer friendly”. Yes! Just about any recipe is, you just have to take the time and patience in finding out the correct temperature and time. There are online charts that you can Google that will help you with this process. You can even bake in your air fryer!

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.