Tag Archive | Cooking

Brown Sugar Peach Pie Filling

This last weekend I was lucky enough to find some beautiful peaches at one of the local farms up here. I bought a half bushel (abt 22 pounds) and brought it home to a happy household. Naturally we had to do some taste testing so several of the peaches were immediately devoured, they were scrumptious, then I got down to some serious canning.

My first goal was some peach jam as I was all out from last year, but I wanted something a little different. So I made my jam with Jam in a Jiffy, but I added 2 tsp vanilla and 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice to each 2 pound batch. OH MY GOODNESS, so much yum! It’s a perfect fall flavor and delicious on toast, or waffles, or french toast, or crepes, or cake or on a spoon. So if you like peach, make sure you pick up a bag or three of Jam in a Jiffy and get your peaches jammed! (This is a particularly good way to save your fruit if you have peaches that have a little bruising or are a little old.)

Now, the rest of the box I turned into bottled Peach Pie Filling, but again I wanted something a little…richer, because really how can pie filling ever be too much? Don’t answer that question please. But I used our Thick Gel thickened Peach Pie Filling, which is approved for canning, and swapped out part of the regular sugar for brown sugar. Oh my holy pie! This stuff is gonna make me very very popular come Thanksgiving! For one bottle I was a little short on fruit, so I added some thawed blueberries and adjusted my thickness a little. So I’m thinking a peach blueberry tart is on the schedule too.

I use Thick Gel in my pie fillings, even though both Thick Gel and Ultra Gel WILL work. Thick Gel has a little bit smoother final set, which I prefer for pies and by the pound it’s a little cheaper. Since my pie filling is done in large batches and must be cooked anyway this means it’s a little more economical to use Thick Gel as well. Just remember that the two are not always interchangeable. Thick Gel MUST be cooked and Ultra Gel CAN be cooked, but will also thicken cold liquids.

So what’s your peachy delight?

Brown Sugar Peach Pie Filling

For seven quarts:

6 qts. (24-26 cups) peeled sliced fresh peaches/apricots or nectarines

1 c. lemon juice (Do not use fresh lemons. Bottled lemon juice has a consistent pH which is what we are looking for here)

water as needed

3 cups brown sugar

3 cups white sugar

1 1/2 c. Thick Gel (2-2 1/2 c Ultra Gel)

2 t. nutmeg (opt)

Combine peaches and lemon juice in large bowl. Sprinkle 3 cups sugar over peaches and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain accumulated juice, reserving peaches, and add water to equal 5 cups. Combine remaining sugar with Thick Gel. Add to juice and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in nutmeg and gelatin. Fold in reserved peach slices and continue to cook until thick and bubbly. Immediately fill jars with mixture, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately in water bath canner for 35 minutes (sea level).

Canning with Ultra Gel and Thick Gel

I love this time of year when so many fruits and vegetables are ready for harvest! My kitchen is quickly filling up with things that need processing: tomatoes, squash, peaches, beans, apples. It just keeps coming! Not that I’m complaining, mind you. :)

So one of the big questions we get this time of year is how Ultra Gel and Thick Gel can be used in canning, and, even more specifically how they compare to products such as Clear Jel.

Clear Jel, like Ultra Gel and Thick Gel is a modified food starch. It has been on the market for many years and is often available through online resources and at Amish stores. However, many people find Clear Jel difficult to locate and hard to use, as well there is concerns about whether or not Clear Jel contains GMO products.

Now, backing up a bit, the first question when it comes to any of these products is: Why do I need to use modified food starch anyway? Can’t I use flour or cornstarch?

The problem you get with some traditional thickeners and methods is that they do not thicken canned goods evenly or consistently. Relying on only natural pectin, for example, means a different result with each batch of fruit, so you often end up cooking a canned product for a lot longer than you really want to, ending up with mushy fruit and loss of flavor and health benefits, in order to get your product to set. As well, pectin breaks down over time and products begin to weep and break apart so you’ll have some sections which are very juicy and some that are over thick.

When dealing with flour and cornstarch they do not thicken evenly, so the processing heat does not move through the bottle evenly and may or may not be able to kill all bacteria, yeasts and molds. As well you can see the same weeping and spotty thickness problems that you see with pectin.

Thick Gel and Ultra Gel are unique in the canning world because of how evenly they thicken products and because if their very high stability under acidic conditions, high heat, and their freeze/thaw stability. This allows for safe canning of items such as soups, sauce, pie fillings, jams and just about anything else which traditionally calls for Clear Jel, flour or cornstarch. These starches have been tested in commercial laboratories and are canning approved by the Utah State Extension service.

Thick Gel and Ultra Gel can be purchased through the Cornaby’s Website, or through Amazon. Locally they can be found at your local Associated Food Stores, Bosch Kitchen Centers and Harmons Food Stores.

Recipe Conversions: If recipes are given by weight instead of volume use the same weight of Thick Gel or Ultra Gel to Clear Jel.

1 Tablespoon Clear Jel=3/4 Tablespoon Thick Gel=2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon Thick Gel=2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Thick Gel apple pie filling

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Yield: 8 servings per quart

For one quart or one pie:

3 ½ cup blanched peeled and cored cooking apples sliced ¼” thick

¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (opt.)

½ cup cold water

¾ cup apple juice

2 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice

1 drop yellow food coloring (opt.)

3 Tablespoons Thick Gel OR 6 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

For seven quarts:

6 qts. blanched peeled and cored cooking apples sliced ¼” thick

5 ½ cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg (opt.)

2 ½ cups cold water

5 cups apple juice

¾ cup bottled lemon juice

7 drops yellow food coloring (opt.)

1 cup Thick Gel OR 2 ½ cup Ultra Gel

 

Peel, core and slice apples; place in water containing ascorbic acid. Blanch no more than 2 quarts at a time for 1 minute in boiling water and keep warm.

Combine sugar, spices, water, apple juice, lemon juice and coloring in heavy 10-12 quart pan. Bring to a boil and gradually stir in Ultra Gel with a wire whisk – If using Thick Gel, combine listed Thick Gel with enough additional apple juice to form a thin slurry and whisk into boiling liquid. Cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Fold in drained apple slices. Fill jars, leaving ½” headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately in water bath canner for 35 minutes (sea level). Add five minutes processing time for elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet and ten minutes for elevations from 3,000 to 5,000 feet.

Nutrition info/serving: 128 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat 33 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 0 g protein, 2 mg sodium

Cornaby Texas Sheetcake

If you look around there are a lot of versions of Texas Sheetcake floating around in family recipe books and on various cooking blogs. The similarity here is that the title refers to a rich, but tender from scratch chocolate sheetcake with chocolate frosting which has traditionally been served at many events from weddings to school lunch.

I have long loved this recipe, but I find that I love it even more after adding Ultra Gel to the mix. Because of altitude issue I previously always had to muck just a little with the flour to liquid ratio trying to get things right so the very center of this cake didn’t fall, but with the Ultra Gel to balance the liquid issues it comes out lovely every time! I topped my cake with the traditional chocolate frosting, then did some decorating with a little bit of left over raspberry mango buttercream which was a really fun contrast flavor. I’ve also baked the cake and topped it with raspberry jam and served it up with ice cream and that was a killer application too!

Keep an eye on this spot this weekend as we’ll be bringing our Labor Day edition of Canning secrets with Ultra Gel and Thick Gel, including replacing Clear Gel in your recipes and our killer apple pie filling recipe!

Cornaby Texas Sheetcake

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbl Ultra Gel

2 cup butter

1 cup water

1/4 cup baking cocoa

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and Ultra Gel together and set aside. Combine butter, cocoa and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil (This can also be done in the microwave). Add butter mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. Add eggs, vanilla and butter milk and stir to combine. Pour into greased and floured jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tests done. Cool and frost with your choice of toppings.

If you want to use this batter for cupcakes or a 9×13 dripper pan increase the baking soda to 2 tsp and the buttermilk to 3/4 cups.

Quick Berry Compote

Earlier this week we decided to have Amazing French Toast for dinner. This means making french toast with Texas Toast slices, or a nice chewy french bread, and serving it with cool toppings like nutella and real maple syrup.

One of our favorite topping is a simple berry compote from fresh berries. It’s easy to make this in about 5-7 minutes on your stove top, or you could even do it in the microwave. The compote can be served warm or cold on french toast, ice cream, cake, cheesecake, yogurt, or anywhere else you’d like a burst of fruit and sauce.A little bit of whipping cream on top wouldn’t go badly either, but I like to keep it simple for breakfast.

I use sugar in the recipe but the sugar is to taste and can be swapped out with sugar substitutes such as honey, maple syrup, agave, Truvia, Splenda, etc.

What would you spread it on?

 

blueberry compote

Fresh Berry Compote

8 ounces fresh berries (blueberries pictured)

1/4 cup lemonade or fruit juice

1/4-1/2 cup sugar (to taste)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, turn down to low and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add 1-3 Tablespoons of Ultra Gel to reach desired thickness. It works best to add the Ultra Gel one Tablespoon at a time and allow the mixture to achieve full thickness before adding additional Ultra Gel. If you over thicken, no fear, just add a little more juice to bring the mixture back to the desired thickness. This can be frozen for upto 6 months or kept in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Snickerdoodlechips Three Ways

I know we’ve been teasing you about raspberry pie. I promise it’s still in the works, but I’m waiting for pictures from two other folks so we can display the many faces of raspberry pie.

So…in the meantime…I was having a giant cookie craving. I wanted snickerdoodles…and chocolate chip cookies. As I couldn’t decide between the two I finally ended up doing a snickerdoodle batter which I baked three ways. The first was classic snickerdoodles with no chocolate chips and lots of cinnamon sugar on the outside. The second was snickerdoodles with chocolate chips, snickerdoodlechips if you will, and cinnamon sugar on the outside. And the last is snickerdoodles with chocolate chips and no cinnamon sugar.

The family tried all of the versions and we decided a few things. First we decided all three varieties were better the next day after they’d cooled and had a chance for the flavor to really develop. Second we decided all the varieties were good, but that snickerdoodlechips should be made with a lighter flavor of chocolate, milk or white, as the semi-sweet chips fought a little with the cinnamon. However, all the cookies got eaten so I’m counting all three varieties a win in the long run.

This is another place where we use Ultra Gel in baking as it helps give us a nice tenderness to the cookie and would preserve them longer, except that we ate them all before I could see how long. :) Let me know if yours make it long enough to be a good test.

Snickerdoodlechips

Snickerdoodlechips

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

2 Tbp Ultra Gel

1 – 2 cups chocolate chips or white chocolate chips

Cinnamon sugar for coating

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix well. In a small bowl combine cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and Ultra Gel. Add to cream mixture and combine well. ((I prefer this method so that I am certain the leavening is evenly dispersed without over beating the flour and creating too much gluten.)) Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chips if desired.

Scoop by tablespoons and coat with cinnamon sugar before moving onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. ((We liked them better closer to 9:30.)) Cool on cooling rack. Devour.

Raspberry Mango Buttercream

Today is National Milk Chocolate day…however, this weekend I made some killer cupcakes for a friend’s daughter’s wedding reception and I really need to share the recipe for this icing. The cake itself was a quick box cake, don’t judge me it was a really busy weekend, in this case lemon, though I think this icing would go well with yellow cake, lemon cake, white cake, angel foodcake…anything that can take a bright punch of mango. It’s an easy easy icing that starts with 6 ounces of raspberry mango freezer jam. I used the jam I made with Jam in a Jiffy a few weeks ago and I love the hold and the brightness it gives to the whole thing. If you choose a non jam in a jiffy jam you’ll want to add extra Ultra Gel to the recipe to guarantee stability.

So without further ado…

raspberry mango icing

Raspberry Mango Buttercream Icing

6 ounces raspberry mango freezer jam

1/3 cup softened butter

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbl Ultra Gel (2-3 if using a non JinaJ jam)

milk as needed to achieve desired consistency

Combine jam, butter and salt and whip in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and Ultra Gel. Mix in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with milk if needed to achieve a spreadable consistency. Save any unused portion in the refrigerator. Yum!

Raspberry Filled Sweet Rolls

My husband has been craving sweet rolls and since we aren’t quite ready to share our raspberry pie recipes I thought this would be a fun recipe to share. This is a very rich dough which can be used for sweet filled rolls or dinner rolls just by changing the amount of sugar a little. I like to use a combination of whole wheat and bread flour which gives the end product a little bit more weight and balance against the filling. While I love a good filling as much as anyone I want my dough to compete!

The filling I used was a batch of Jam in a Jiffy raspberry freezer jam. You may have noticed I used this last week too. The reason for using this jam in baked goods is because of the starch based thickener in the Jam in a Jiffy. When you bake a product that is thickened with pectin alone it goes very liquid in the heat and will bake onto your baking sheet and stay there FOREVER! I kid you not. I have old pans that still have baked on jams from the early days before we learned about starch thickeners. Now, in contrast, when you bake a starch based jam it thins a little bit, but generally holds it’s thickness and stays inside of the product you’re baking. As well if it gets onto your baking sheets it washes right off! I’m always happy about anything that washes right away!

So there you go…lots of reasons to add this decadent treat to your menu.

Rich Sweet Rolls

Rich Sweet Rolls

2 Tablespoons yeast

1/2 cup warm water (~103 degrees)

1 1/2 cups warm milk

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/4-3/4 cup sugar (1/4 for dinner rolls, 1/2-3/4 cups for sweet rolls)

2 eggs

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

6-7 cups flour, split between whole wheat and bread flour

Bloom yeast in warm water with a pinch of Ultra Gel or sugar and set aside. Combine milk, butter and sugar and blend well. Add two cups of flour and mix to combine. Add eggs one at a time and then yeast mixture along with another cup of flour. Add salt and additional flour to make a soft dough. Let sit for 10 minutes before kneading by machine or hand for 10-15 minutes until smooth and small bubbles appear just under the skin. Move to an oiled bowl and place in a warm environment to rise until double, about 1 hour. Shape as desired and let rise until double. Bake dinner rolls at 350 degrees, and filled rolls at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Internal temp should be around 200-210.

Glaze sweet rolls with a powdered sugar glaze or cream cheese frosting!