CHEW THIS! Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake 

Strawberry Shortcake.JPG

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, July 6th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake
Blaise Doubman

Indiana strawberry season seems to be short and fickle. I cannot tell you how many times my Dad, Jamie, has missed the season by just a day or two. “Bell’s Strawberry Farm” is where my family and I visit every strawberry season. Located in Hagerstown, Indiana at 16447 IN-38 it is a must see stop for anyone and everyone loving strawberries. They have a couple of options available at their business. You can “pick your own” or simply just buy what has already been picked. For those who know me, you can guess my favorite option! Ha! I buy what is picked. They also offer other delicious things such as local honey, Amish baked goods and homemade strawberry freezer jam. Let me talk about their jam for a minute. It is fabulous! I have made strawberry jam for years and even shared a recipe here with all of you for my version a couple of years ago. Their strawberry jam though, beats mine, yes there I said it! Ha! Delicious on toast, bagels, waffles, ice cream or even just a simple spoon.

Their strawberries and strawberry freezer jam got me to thinking about homemade strawberry shortcake. I usually buy an angel food cake to go with strawberries during that time of the year and always insist on buying one instead of making one from scratch! Why? There is literally very slim difference in taste, texture and even ingredients between the homemade and store-bought variety. Making an angel food cake from scratch is a very touchy thing because you cannot deflate the egg whites and you must keep things at a certain temperature. Plus, have you ever tried to cool one? Once removed from the oven, it must be turned upside down for several hours before removing and serving. Maybe it is just me but that just seems like so much work for something that tastes identical to something you can buy for less than $5! I have had taste test after taste test, and nobody could tell the difference between homemade and store-bought angel food cake. For this recipe though I was inspired by the old-fashioned flavors of an actual shortcake. I wanted the taste and texture from what I remembered when I was younger. This recipe is so easy to whip up and will keep at room temperature for several days. Warm a slice up or serve it cold and top with strawberries and whipped cream. I love this summertime dessert and is even delicious topped with frozen strawberries and ice cream! Happy Summer!

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

This can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. If chilled or frozen, remove and allow to thaw at room temperature before cutting and serving.

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a regular sized loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl beat the soft unsalted butter for at least 15 minutes until extra light.

Gently pour and beat in the white granulated sugar.

Beat in the large eggs, adding in only one egg at a time.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

In a glass measuring cup combine the milk, pure vanilla extract and pure almond extract.

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir the mixture well to combine after each addition.

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

Bake in preheated oven for 65 minutes.

After baking, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully run a knife outside of the shortcake, loosening the edges. Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper to cool.

When cooled and ready to serve, cut thick slices with a serrated knife.

Store leftover pieces tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages about how to properly melt chocolate. There are lots of way to melt, or temper, chocolate and I find the easiest way in the microwave. Start by adding the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and add in a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening or coconut oil. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth, combined and melted. Use as desired.

CHEW THIS! Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

img_9233

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 1st 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Glamorous Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes
Blaise Doubman

A couple of months back my family and I went to Alexandria, Indiana and had a nice meal at the Gather’s Family Resource Center Café. I had their root beer based bbq chicken, small red potatoes, salad and of course dessert. They are famous for their “Red Raspberry Cake”. I tried a piece and immediately set out to make my own version. Gloria Gather, the matriarch and one of the founding Gather family members, said that her secret was in using a white cake mix mixed with the raspberry Jello. I set out, found her recipe in a cookbook and made one myself. It was delicious! I posted the recipe on my blog and people went crazy! Since then I have adapted the recipe in many ways, such as cupcakes and even a Bundt cake using assorted flavors of Jello and different corresponding types of fruit.

The recipe I am sharing here today is my favorite adaption of the original recipe I posted on blog. By turning the cake into a strawberry based cake, transforming them into cupcakes and adding a small splash of champagne, it elevates the dessert into something glamourous and fun. I just love the looks of these – and the taste! The alcohol in the champagne is baked out of the cupcakes when baked so have no fear when serving these to the underage crowd. I have made these several times and people go crazy! It is best to use frozen strawberries in the cake and the frosting but best to use fresh strawberries for the garnish. Sometimes I will dip the strawberries in melted chocolate before garnishing the top of each cupcake or simply roll them in a little edible glitter or a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Serve these and enjoy!

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

These are perfect for movie parties, graduation celebrations, showers and birthday parties. You can substitute the champagne for white grape fruit juice, sparkling cider or diluted strawberry syrup. You can find the glamourous gold liners I have used here in specialty shops and online.

For the cake…
1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box strawberry Jello
3 heaping tablespoons white all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup water
2 tablespoons champagne
1 package (10 oz) frozen strawberries

For the frosting…
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
Remaining frozen strawberries
5 cups confectioner’s sugar

Fresh strawberries for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners. I used the glamorous gold foil liners but feel free to use any liner you would like. Spray pans evenly and lightly with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the white cake mix, strawberry Jello and white all-purpose flour.

In a glass measuring cup whisk together the vegetable oil, large eggs, water and champagne.

In small increments add the wet mixture to the dry. After all of the wet ingredients have been added, gently fold in half of the bag of frozen strawberries.

Divide the batter evenly between the 24 cupcake liners. Bake in preheated oven for 24 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the melted unsalted butter with the remaining half bag of frozen strawberries. Add in the confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition, until the desired consistency is reached. What you are looking for here is a consistency much like that of a thick, but spreadable, ice cream.

Remove the cupcakes from their pans, frost generously and top with a whole fresh strawberry.

These may be chilled for up to six hours before removing and serving.

Ask and Answer: Several people have written to me wondering where I bought the “sweet and sassy lemon sugar” that I use on or in most of my lemon baked goods. The answer? It can be bought online through “King Arthur Flour”. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you have probably seen me using it on and in lemon bread, lemon cookies and lemon frostings. It is a fine powder and lives up to the name! It is very much sweet and sassy – a little goes a long way!

CHEW THIS! Strawberry Pizza, From Scratch

Strawberry Pizza, From Scratch

img_6090.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 4th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Updating A Classic, From Scratch
Blaise Doubman

Every strawberry season my Aunt makes a strawberry pizza and I love them! I could sit down and eat the entire pizza in one sitting, no problem. Matter of fact, I loved it so much I included the recipe for it in my cookbook – page 39. But really, strawberries, cream cheese, sugar cookie crust; who wouldn’t love it? Whenever I make it I think of strawberry season, farmers markets, Bell’s Strawberry Farm and of course the famous strawberry shortcake at Ivanhoe’s Restaurant in Upland, Indiana. If you have not tried the strawberries at Bell’s or the strawberry shortcake from Ivanhoe’s I highly recommend searching out both for a full strawberry experience.

Strawberries are really versatile and pair beautifully with a wide variety of flavors. Blueberries, orange, lemon, lime and even balsamic vinegar to name just a few perfect pairings. There isn’t anything more comforting to me though than strawberries, cream cheese and sugar cookies. When developing this recipe I really wanted to create a recipe truly from scratch. I did not want to use store bought sugar cookie dough or the strawberry glaze that you can buy in a pouch. I wanted something that was still familiar, yet updated and seasonal. I think that you will find this recipe quite delicious and I hope it gives you the good strawberry summer memories it has for me. This is the perfect recipe for entertaining, reunions or cookouts.

Strawberry Pizza, From Scratch

It is important that the cream cheese be at room temperature before starting this recipe. If the cream cheese has any type of chill on it, you will never be able to get the grainy texture away from the end result. The lemon juice in the filling really brightens up the overall flavor and pairs wonderfully with the vanilla and strawberries.

For the crust…
1 cup white all-purpose flour
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt

For the filling…
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup white granulated sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice

For the topping…
1 cup strawberries, cut in half
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, confectioner’s sugar, softened butter and salt. Stir until the mixture forms a soft ball.

With gentle fingers, form dough into ball and place in the middle of the prepared baking sheet. Press the dough into a 14-inch circle making sure the surface and edges are evenly proportioned. Bake this in preheated oven for 15 minutes exactly. Remove and cool.

To make the filling combine the cream cheese, pure vanilla extract, white granulated sugar and squeeze of lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together until lump free and smooth. Spread this mixture onto the cool crust and spread evenly.

To make the topping combine the prepared strawberries, white granulated sugar and cornstarch in a pot over medium heat. Stir until the mixture begins to simmer. Simmer until the mixture turns thick and glossy which should take about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before spreading on top of the filling.

Place into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Best stored and served chilled.

Ask and Answer: Pat Bogue from Spiceland would like to know more about freezing cookie dough to make ahead, freeze and then bake off later. It is simple Pat, just make the cookie dough and roll into balls, placing on a baking sheet. Freeze the baking sheet until the dough balls are firm and frozen. Remove from freezer and place frozen cookie dough balls into a plastic storage bag. Store in freezer until ready to bake. When ready to bake simply place and bake. Bake a couple minutes longer than the recipe suggests for fresh dough. Almost all cookie dough can be frozen easily with very few exceptions. Certain peanut butter cookies and certain oatmeal raisin cookies tend to turn out dry when frozen and baked. Hope this helps!

CHEW THIS! Simple Strawberry Pie

Simple Strawberry Pie

simple-strawberry-pie.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 21st 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Strawberry season is here!
Blaise Doubman

Strawberry season is here and there is nothing more (aside from homemade strawberry jam) that I love more than strawberry pie! Usually strawberry pie is just simply strawberries and strawberry glaze, all poured into a pie shell and topped with whipped cream. I wanted to create something more than that. I wanted to create something that would be simple to make, have depth in flavor and was something that reminded me of the old-fashioned pies of my childhood. My Grandma Barbra makes the best strawberry pies, and that is because she makes them using a homemade crust, and lots of sugar.

I still remember when I was younger, my Grandma Barbra and I stopping at the Farmer’s Markets in New Castle, early in the season, and stocking up on strawberries, asparagus and peaches. I would always help prepare the strawberries by rinsing them in water (before cutting into them because my Grandma said they wouldn’t absorb water that way), and then cutting off the tops. Naturally, I would be so excited that I would end up almost cutting the strawberry in half in order to take off the green stem and leaves. After all of the strawberries were prepared, we followed along with her recipe. I loved eating a cold piece with vanilla bean ice cream, and sometimes a homemade shortcake biscuit on the side. It was the perfect dessert in celebration of the coming summer months!

Simple Strawberry Pie

This can be made with a store bought pie shell, but may not taste as good. I really wanted an old-fashioned feeling for this pie, and homemade crust is the only way to properly do that. The amount of sugar in this recipe really depends on how sweet your strawberries are, so please taste as you go along. You may need to add a little more – or even a little less. When starting to cook the strawberries over the stove, feel free to mash some of them up before adding in the sugar. It will help “loosen” some of the pie. It’s really all about preference. The pure vanilla extract gives a warm back-note to the strawberries. Also, the cornstarch and water mixture is called a “slurry” – a thickener for the pie. This pie is delicious eaten alone, but feel free to serve alongside some vanilla ice cream. Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

For the strawberry pie filling…

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and diced
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup water

For the pie crust…

1 cup white all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the pie crust first, by combining the white all-purpose flour, shortening and salt with a fork until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Next, add the ice water and mix together until a dough forms.

Once the dough is formed, form a ball and place on a piece of floured parchment paper. Take another piece of parchment paper, place on top, and roll out the dough to the size of your pie dish using a rolling pin.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the top and flip the dough that’s on the parchment paper dough side down into your pie dish.

Remove the parchment paper, and smooth out the dough. If there’s any excess on the sides, remove. If part of the pie tears, repair it with your finger and a little water. This works almost like a glue for the pie shell.

Once the dough is in the pie pan, using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom of the pie dough so that it will not puff up when baked.

Place in preheated oven for 27 minutes exactly and then remove to cool slightly.

Next, take the diced strawberries and place them in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in the white granulated sugar and bring this to a boil, stirring often.

Once the mixture is at a boil, allow to boil for about one minute.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and pour it into the boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and stir continuously for about five minutes, until the mixture has thickened.

Once the mixture has thickened, incorporate the pure vanilla extract, and then pour it into the baked pie shell.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.

Top with your favorite whipped cream and enjoy!

Strawberry Brownies

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” January 5th, 2015

A friend of mine sent me a recipe via Facebook several days ago for “Strawberry Brownies” that looked and sounded pretty good – so I decided to try them. I was a little worried that the recipe would not have enough strawberry flavor so I decided to use fresh strawberries in the brownies – but quickly discovered that somehow it threw off the recipe – possibly due to the strawberries being too watery? So instead, I added a little strawberry syrup to the brownies…and they turned out amazing! I also tweaked the glaze recipe a little by adding some vanilla extract. Here is the recipe and what I did…

strawberry-brownies-blaise-the-baker-blog

Strawberry Brownies

For the brownies…
1 box strawberry cake mix (Duncan Hines)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons strawberry ice cream syrup
½ teaspoon salt

For the glaze…
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start first by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Next, spray a 13×9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place a sheet of parchment paper down inside the pan and run your hand over to make sure it “sticks” to the pan. Then, spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. (This will all make sure that the brownies can be easily removed from the pan.)

In a large bowl, combine the strawberry cake mix, eggs, oil, strawberry syrup and salt. Stir until everything is combined – which is about 50 strokes around the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out using clean hands. Gently press and push the dough evenly in the pan – being sure to get the corners and level out the middle.

Place into preheated oven for 17 minutes exactly – being sure not to over bake.

While the brownies are in the oven make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, whole milk and vanilla extract – stirring until smooth.

Once the brownies have finished baking, remove from oven and immediately pour glaze on top. Smooth out with the back of a spoon – being sure to cover the entire surface of the hot brownies with the glaze.

Allow to cool before cutting.

Leftovers can be kept sealed at room temperature for up to four days.

Enjoy!