Tag Archive | Food

Moist Pumpkin Bread

One of my very favorite fall dishes is pumpkin bread. There’s just something about it which makes me feel like fall is actually here and the holidays right around the corner. The leaves start turning and sooner or later I have to make a few loaves. I started making pumpkin bread when I was a teenager after finding a recipe in a Celtic Cooking book which waxed poetic about the many festivities that featured various squash breads and walnuts. This always amused me because pumpkins, like many squashes, come from North America and wouldn’t have been used at that time, but I think someone just wanted to give the book flair, and the pumpkin bread recipe was pretty darn good.

The recipe I use now is a little more modern and uses Ultra Gel to help preserve the moisture and provide for a more tender crumb. I like this because it means the bread freezes even better than it did originally. It’s easy to make this bread in mini muffins or muffin sizes and freeze them now to have on hand for the holidays. I know there are times I really appreciate having a snack, or breakfast food on hand as the visitors start coming through. As well if you’re looking for a good gift for neighbors or to take to any holiday occasion this pumpkin bread can’t be beat.

Now, before I get to the pumpkin bread recipe, just a note about the last ingredient. It’s a general category called addins. Pumpkin bread is fantastic on its own, but it also works really nice with dried fruit, nuts or chocolate. So feel free to experiment in your kitchen and add upto three cups of complimentary flavors. I tend to stick to 1 to 2 types of additions, for instant mini chocolate chips and craisins, or just toasted pecans, or nuts in the batter and a drizzle of white chocolate on top. You get the idea. It’s fun to experiment and something you can involve younger chefs in planning too!

Moist pumpkin bread

Moist Pumpkin Bread

3 large eggs

2/3 cup unsalted butter or 1/3 cup unsalted butter and 1/3 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup white wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (fresh ground is the bomb!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 over ripe medium banana, mashed

3 cups add ins: dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candied ginger, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. In a stand mixer combine eggs, butter, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Add Ultra Gel and beat until entirely incorporated. In another bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add pumpkin and banana to the cream mixture. Add dried ingredients in three doses mixing until just combined each time. Do not over mix or the bread will be tough. Fold in add ins by hand. Divide batter filling each pan about 2/3rds full. Bake for 50-60 minutes and test with a toothpick inserted into the center. Bake additionally as needed depending on the size of your loaves. The more add ins in the batter the longer the total baking time. Once baked allow to cool for 10 minutes in pans before turning out and cooling fully before slicing. If you want to freeze loaves wrap air tight and freeze for upto three months.

 

Better for you Carrot Cake

It is a fact that of all the cakes I love carrot cake the most. Not that I don’t have many soft spots for other cakes, but there is something about the carrot cake that reigns supreme. Now, this is not to say that there are bad carrot cakes out there which are dry and stringy, but a good carrot cake is all of the best things in the world: moist, chewy, sweet without being too sweet, spicy, flavorful and balanced by the perfect cream cheese icing for a tart, creamy finish. Excuse me while I drool.

One of the fun things about carrot cake is that there are many recipes that cater to different tastes. You can have carrot cake with raisins, without raisins, with pineapple, or ginger, or nuts. It’s almost as much fun as ordering a drink at Starbucks. Now, this is a cake that CAN be a diet killer. Some versions have a lot of sugar and white flour and not nearly enough fruit and vegetable, so be aware of what you’re getting into. Now, the good news is that this can also be a very healthy cake with Ultra Gel to help hold the moisture, applesauce, loads of carrots and spices that tingle your tongue and your tummy! So here’s one of my favorite recipes. What’s yours?

Carrot cake

Cornaby’s Carrot Cake

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups grated carrots, (6-7 good sized ones – And don’t use the baby carrots. They tend not to have nearly the same flavor as whole long carrots!)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 Tbsp chopped sugared ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp Ultra Gel

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

6 ounce plain yogurt (Lemon is also good)

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and Ultra Gel. Combine with carrots and toss until carrots are well coated. In a food processor or stand mixer combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, yogurt and applesauce until well mixed. Drizzle in the oil. Pour sugar mixture into flour mixture and combine until just mixed. There may be a few lumps, but that’s fine. Pour into cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pan and allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out the cake. Cool completely and top with Cream Cheese Icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 ounces softened lite cream cheese

1/4 cup softened unsalted butter

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp Ultra Gel

1-2 pounds powdered sugar

milk as needed

Combine cream cheese, butter, salt and Ultra Gel until smooth. Add powdered sugar and milk until the desired thickeness is achieved. Keep any leftovers in the fridge.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut butter. What a lovely thing. A roasted, ground nut (technically a legume) full of good fats and is a good source of plant-based protein. Even better, according to the local news, as the price of other proteins continue to rise the price of peanut butter is dropping.

So this lead me to thinking about all the things I like peanut butter in. It’s great in a sandwich with one of Cornaby’s Low Sugar jams, or as the base for a lot of cookies. And, peanut butter bars with chocolate frosting is one of my favorite guilty pleasure. Thai food wouldn’t be the same without the peanut butter sauce. However, perhaps the pinnacle of peanut butter buttery is the peanut butter pie…or maybe that’s just the fall weather talking. It gets cold and crisp out there and I think pies. I can’t help myself and peanut butter pie is a decadent treat slightly off the beaten pie path.

When it comes to a Cornaby’s peanut butter pie we are referring to a pie with a chocolate cookie crust (can be homemade or purchased) and a very light and creamy center topped with chocolate pieces. I’ve also drizzled a peanut butter pie with peanut butter sauce in the past, but I found that was too much peanut butter to my chocolate. A chocolate drizzle works much better. The recipe here is for a 9 inch pie pan, but you can also very effectively make this pie in a 9×13 inch dripper pan. The biggest difference that makes is that the filling to crust ratio is more in favor of the crust and less to the filling. Either way it’s really yummy, fun for any seasonal party from Halloween, to Thanksgiving and Christmas! Choose a gluten-free crust, or omit the crust and you have a gluten-free dessert.

Remember to top with Ultra Gel Whipping Cream for the best stability in the fridge or on the counter!

peanut butter pie

Cornaby’s Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

1 (9 inch) chocolate cookie pie crust

1 (8 oz) pkg light cream cheese, softened

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp Ultra Gel

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups whipped cream (Ultra Gel recipe below)

Chocolate shavings or sauce

In a stand mixer, or with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and peanut butter until thoroughly combined. Add powdered sugar, salt, Ultra Gel and vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream and pour filling into prepared pie crust. Top with additional cream and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Ultra Gel Whipping Cream

1 pint whipping cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp Ultra Gel

Combine all ingredients and whip until thick and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

From the Mailbox: Ultra Gel Shelf Life and Storage

It’s a cold, rainy, September day here in Utah and so I decided it was a good time to address a couple of our most asked questions when it comes to storing Ultra Gel.

Ultra Gel

What is Ultra Gel?

For those who are new, Ultra Gel is a gluten free, non-GMO instant thickener made from a particular kind of corn called waxy maize. It can be added to hot or cold liquids for instant thickening which makes it good from everything from ranch dressing to gravy. Ultra Gel is fridge and freezer stable, meaning your products don’t turn into soup or harden up like a rock in the freezer or refrigerator. As well Ultra Gel is stable under high heats and thickens evenly which means it can safely be used for canning and storage and is approved by the Utah State Extension Service. Ultra Gel is known as a ‘magic mix in’ because just a little bit is so useful in so many situations from helping cookies to stay soft longer to making the perfect apple pie filling.

How long of a shelf life does Ultra Gel have?

This answer is for Ultra Gel itself and not products made from Ultra Gel, as those shelf lives vary. Ultra Gel itself has a very long shelf life. It doesn’t go rancid as there are no oils or fats in it and it does not break down quickly. Eventually (several years along) the thickening power of Ultra Gel can break down, but it is still safe to use. For absolutely best results, we advise rotating your Ultra Gel at least every five years, though properly stored it will remain usable for two to three times that long.

How do I store my Ultra Gel?

Because its water availability is so low Ultra Gel does not attract insects or vermin, and there are no oils so it will not go rancid. It is, however, very hygroscopic, which means Ultra Gel LOVES water. If it’s left in an open container it will actually start absorbing moisture from the air (even here in the desert!) and that top layer of starch will harden and get nasty, and open containers always invite cross contamination from dust or other items which could fall inside. So Ultra Gel should be stored in an air tight package. It’s even better if it can be kept in a dark, low moisture environment, but the key thing is keeping the air and the water out. It can be stored in containers from 5 gallon buckets down to zip lock bags, size doesn’t matter as long as it’s sealed.

If it happens that a container of Ultra Gel is left open you can recover. Simply remove the top layer of starch and discard. Anything under about the first 1/2 inch should be fine, as long as there hasn’t been a big contamination, IE: if water has been poured directly into the container or such you’ll likely have to throw it all out.

So there you go. Three things you may not have known about Ultra Gel. What is it? How long is Ultra Gel’s shelf life? And how do I store it?

Have more questions? Send them to us and we’ll get you answers!

Cornaby’s Apple Pie Bars and Perfect Pie Crust

When it comes to fruit filled pies there are many opinions about how much pie crust there should be in relationship to how much fruit filling. My sweet husband is a filling man. He wants a thick layer of fruit filling and enough crust to carry it along. I’m more of a middle ground girl. I want enough pie filling to be interesting but I hate it when all my fruit filling spills out of my crust because there’s not enough crust or the pie crust is too weak.

This is where apple pie bars, or other slab pies really, enter in. This recipe takes advantage of the Apple Pie Filling recipe we gave you a bit ago for a wonderful pie filling that bakes up perfectly, and uses Ultra Gel to help give tenderness and hold to a flaky, buttery crust. This recipe cooks very evenly and the resulting pieces keep the apple pie filling in place and are the perfect eat with one hand breakfast! For a lovely compliment try a little caramel ice cream or a poof of Ultra Gel Whipping Cream.

apple pie bars

Cornaby Apple Pie Bars

6 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

1 cup shortening

3/4 cup water, + a little as needed

2 quarts (4 -4.5 cups) apple pie filling

egg white

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and Ultra Gel, mix well. Add butter and shortening and cut into dry ingredients until the consistency of coarse meal. Add 3/4 cups ice water and toss until water is incorporated. Add additional water if necessary to bring dough together. Turn out and knead 5-10 times. Do not over knead. Split into two pieces and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

When cooled roll out the first piece of pie crust large enough to form to the bottom and sides of an 11×17 inch jelly roll pan. Transfer dough to pan and trim sides. Prepare top pie crust as bottom crust. Fill bottom with prepared apple pie filling, add top crust and crimp edges to seal (use a little water or milk if needed, but generally the dough sticks together really well). Whip egg whites to a froth and brush pastry surface. If desired sprinkle with coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar. Vent top crust by making decorative holes with a sharp knife. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until top begins to brown. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate anything that doesn’t get eaten the first night and serve cold for breakfast!

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