Homemade Croutons

I love homemade croutons!

Homemade Croutons

4 hamburger buns
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut up the hamburger buns into crouton size pieces and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

Toss together with clean hands.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 22 minutes. Remove and cool before using.

CHEW THIS! Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, January 18th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Old-Fashioned Southern Memories
Blaise Doubman

I remember several years ago my Grandma Barbra getting a satellite dish and telling me all about the new shows that she had found while browsing through one afternoon. With excitement she told me about a food channel that had “this older southern woman” and all the delicious food she fixed. She also told me about “this young woman who talks all the time” and compared her motor mouth to mine. Ha! Come to find out the two women she was talking about was Paula Deen and Rachael Ray. Who would have thought? I always say that my Grandma Barbra discovered both food personalities before anyone else in Kennard. For the record, I do believe she was one of the first people in Kennard to get a newer dish installed. On many occasions Grandma Barbra and I would sit and watch these food shows and write down different recipes to try, taking them into the kitchen and putting our own spins on them. Years later, all of Kennard would get what is now known as “The Food Network” and I remember my Grandma Deloris being just as thrilled with the new addition as anyone else. Her and my Grandpa Max would watch, write down recipes and put their own spins on things. I think about memories like this a lot, especially since both of my Grandma’s passing recently.

They say that during times of grief, it is the good memories that help pull you through. I am relying on that to be true because other than the support of my family and friends, these good memories are all that I have. Some of my favorite memories are both of my Grandma’s talking about their southern roots. The stories they shared were often remarkably similar, just perhaps different places and different people but they were just as comforting. Some of the stories they would tell were disturbing, taking place in an era that I can’t even seem to imagine, but most of their stories were not only uplifting and kind but incredibly fascinating. Grandma Deloris shared with me one time about how she would drink so much milk when she was a little girl that her Dad, my Great Grandpa Willie Davis, said it would be cheaper to buy a cow than to continue paying for all the milk he had to order! So, what did he do? Next thing my Grandma Deloris knew, there was a cow in the backyard! She loved telling that story. Same with my Grandma Barbra and the story she would tell about fixing my Great Grandma Flora and I pancakes every single day for lunchtime for years when I was younger. I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a giant pancake before I was 10! I can still see their smiles telling their stories to me. When developing the recipe, I am sharing with you today, I wanted something that was classically southern, the Bundt cake, but updated with not only better flavor but better texture. I love this recipe!

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This is best eaten the same day it is made. If any leftovers, wrap and chill in refrigerator for up to a day. Feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. Also feel free to add ½ cup chopped pecans. The dusting of powdered sugar is optional. This cake can even be frosted with homemade chocolate frosting.

1 package Devil’s Food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 heaping cup sour cream
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the Devil’s Food Cake Mix with the chocolate instant pudding mix. Add in vegetable oil, warm water, slightly beaten eggs and pure vanilla extract. Mix with a fork until light and combined before adding in the sour cream. Mix the sour cream in well using a spatula, being sure to get the bottom and the sides of the bowl.

Finally, add in the semi-sweet chocolate chips and gently fold them in using the spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Lightly hit the pan on the counter a few times to loosen any air bubbles.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 47 minutes.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, run a knife around the outside of the cake and flip out onto a serving plate.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve this warm, room temperature or cold.

Ask and Answer: I have gotten several questions about quick frostings and what the ratio of butter to powdered sugar should be. This really depends on how thick you like your frostings. I like mine thick enough to hold shape but thin enough to spread easily. If the consistency is like that of slightly melted ice cream, it is perfect. The base for the perfect frosting is 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened beaten together with 3 ¾ cups powdered sugar, or the amount of powdered sugar that is found in the rectangular boxes you will find in some stores. Beat both together and add in 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and a teaspoon of salt. This is vanilla buttercream. Add in melted chocolate for chocolate buttercream, or other flavorings such as orange juice and orange zest, lemon juice and lemon zest, maple flavoring, peppermint flavoring or anything that sounds good to you. If you like your frosting extra thick, add more powdered sugar. If you like your frosting thinner, slightly add in milk until desired consistency.

No Bake White Bark Cookies

Five ingredients and no baking! Perfect!

No Bake White Bark Cookies

1 pound white bark
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup dry roasted peanuts

Start by combining the white bark and crunchy peanut butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and stir. Microwave on high, in 30 second intervals, until smooth and melted. Stir well to combine.

Add in the crispy rice cereal, miniature marshmallows and dry roasted peanuts.

Dollop cookies, using a tablespoon, onto parchment paper. Allow to cool and set up completely before enjoying.

Dark Brownies

These are dark and deliciously luscious.

Dark Brownies

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs
1 cup white all-purpose flour
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

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

Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa powder and instant coffee granules to a medium sized bowl.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter until bubbly.

Remove the melted butter from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for three minutes and then whisk smooth.

In a large bowl combine the white granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, salt and large eggs. Using an electric whisk beater, beat on high speed for 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer down slightly and add in the melted chocolate mixture. Beat until smooth, creamy and combined.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove and bang the pan of brownies on your counter top about five times. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Place back into the oven to bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool – and continue baking slightly – at room temperature.

Once cooled, lift brownies from the pan using the overhang of aluminum foil. Cut into desired size pieces. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

These may also be stored and eaten chilled.

Famed Chicken Sandwich

Try one of 2019’s biggest “food trends” from the comfort of your home!

Famed Chicken Sandwich

Famed Chicken Sandwich 

The following recipe is for the “spicy” version of the popular sandwich. If you prefer the “classic” version omit the cayenne pepper in the breading step and omit the hot sauce in the mayonnaise part. Both are delicious but the “spicy” really does have that hot kick that Popeyes is known for. Eat these hot and the same day they are made.

For the marinade…
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

For the breading…
1 cup white all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

For the spicy mayonnaise…
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of salt

To assemble…
4 brioche hamburger buns
Sliced dill pickles
4 cups canola oil

Start by cutting each chicken breast, crosswise, to make 2 smaller pieces. Once prepared, place the 4 fillets into a large bowl. Add in the buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.

When ready to fry the fillets, place the canola oil in a large heavy-duty pot over medium high heat and bring the oil up to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow dish, or a pie pan, combine the white all-purpose flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt. Place 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture into the dry mixture and combine.

Place each prepared chicken fillet into the mixture and press firmly on both sides. Place one fillet at a time into the preheated oil and fry about 5 minutes for each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. The outside of the fillet will be golden and crispy.

Remove and drain on a plate covered with a layer of thick paper towels. Continue working until all the chicken fillets have been fried and are draining and resting on the paper towels.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Place in the brioche buns, cut side down, and fry lightly until the edges are crispy. Remove.

In a small bowl, make the spicy mayonnaise by whisking together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and salt.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the toasted buns with the mayonnaise, placing the sliced dill pickles on the bottom bun and sandwiching the chicken fillets inside.

Serve these hot.