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Happy Preparing for Thanksgiving Day

For our friend out of the US I know that tomorrow is just another Thursday, but for those in the US it’s Thanksgiving and here at Cornaby’s we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

Today I’m making pies. I love baking and I love how much easier Cornaby’s products have made it to accomplish a lot of pie making in a short period of time. All this baking is not only fun, but it gives me a connection to a lot of people who won’t be with us this year. Those who are far away, and those who are close only in our hearts. So we’re thankful for them, and for good food and for family.

Now…on to the pies. Today has started with pumpkin, Black Forest pie and caramel apple cheesecake. Pumpkin cake is next on the list, followed by pecan bars and a couple of chocolate ganache pies. We’ll see if custard pies happen, just depends on how the rest of the afternoon goes.

So that gives us a lot of recipes to choose from as far as what I’m sharing today, but I think I’ll go with my take on the classic pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie with Cornaby’s Ultra Gel

30 ounce can of Libby’s pumpkin (Or any other good quality pumpkin puree)

3/4 cups sugar

3/4 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

4 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 eggs

2 cans evaporated milk

2 unbaked 9 inch pie shells (I use this no fail recipe, which gives me 4 single crusts!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line glass pie tins with crust, trim and flute edges. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine all filling ingredients in order listed. Whisk well after each addition. The final custard should be smooth and sweet. Divide custard between pie shells and put into the oven. I don’t often get over flow, but I do put a cookie tray on the rack under my pies to catch any drips during baking. Bake for 15 minutes. Then drop temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes until the custard sets and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve with Ultra Gel whipping cream, ice cream or just eat it plain.

Yum!

Applesauce Cake with Ultra Gel

I know this may seem like a strange post headed into Thanksgiving, but it sometimes happens that you’ll have a holiday guest who is not fond of pie. I know…it seems like blasphemy to me, but there are folks who like cake better. So I wanted to share this beautiful Applesauce Cake recipe. It has all the flavors of fall and is moist and tender and really right up there with pie as a favorite.

I like to top this Applesauce Cake with a cream cheese frosting flavored with apple juice and cinnamon. I’ll put that recipe here too.

As is often the case in baked goods the Ultra Gel helps to hold the moisture in this cake and makes for a very tender crumb. As well it allows us to decrease the fat without losing a bit of flavor or tenderness. We ate the one I made in about two days flat. It’s a really good cake!

Applesauce Cake with Ultra Gel

2 cups wheat flour

1 1/2 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves, ground ginger and ground allspice)

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup caramel sauce (Optional, but really good. I like Smuckers or homemade)

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 in pan or two 9 inch round pans.

In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, soda, spices, salt and Ultra Gel. In a second bowl, I like to use a stand mixer for this part, beat together the sugar and melted oil until well combined and light. Add applesauce, caramel sauce and vanilla and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add dry mixture alternating with buttermilk and beat until well combined, but not overmixed.

Pour batter into pans and bake until golden brown and toothpick tests clean. 30-45 minutes. Let cool for ten minutes. You can either flip the cake out of the pan and stack or just apply icing to the cake in the pan.

Cream Cheese Apple Icing

4 ounces low fat cream cheese, soft

1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft

2 pounds powdered sugar

1/2 cup apple juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine cream cheese and butter and beat until well combined. Slow the mixer and add half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined. Add apple juice, spices, Ultra Gel and salt and mix well. Add additional powdered sugar (You may need a little more or less depending on the day) until the desired consistency is reached. This is a great icing for this cake, but is also awesome as a filling in pumpkin whoopie pies or on a banana or carrot cake.

Bea’s Buttermilk Rolls with Ultra Gel

My great Grandmother, Mom Taylor, was famous for her bread and was heard to say that if you had good rolls or bread with a meal you only needed half as much meat. She knew that there’s just nothing like the soft chew of a warm roll. Unless, maybe, it’s the soft chew of a warm roll with Cornaby’s jam on it.🙂

This recipe is an old favorite and makes fantastic Thanksgiving rolls. They get a double lift from the combination of yeast, buttermilk and baking soda, and the Ultra Gel adds tenderness and holds the moisture so these are an easy roll to bake a day or two ahead. According to my husband these are a perfect roll to fix up with a slice of leftover turkey and a little cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving snack.

Bea’s Buttermilk Rolls with Ultra Gel

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

3 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons soft butter

1 Tablespoon yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2-3 1/2 cups bread flour

Heat buttermilk to lukewarm. Add soda, sugar, Ultra Gel and butter. Beat well and add 1 cup flour. Add dissolved yeast, 1/2 cup flour and salt. Add remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. Let rise until double. Shape into rolls and let rise until double. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes until golden brown.

Yield: 2 dozen

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Ultra Gel

It occurred to me today that somehow in several years of writing this blog I have never shared a true pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe. We’ve done some close versions, like our pumpkin oat cookies, but as this is one of my absolute favorite Halloween cookies I’m certain you need the real thing.

My favorite things about this cookie are how moist it is and the perfect balance of pumpkin to chocolate chip. This is achieved by combining pumpkin and Ultra Gel in the batter and then using mini, semi-sweet chocolate chips. I know there are a lot of folks who are fans of big chips, but for me I want the chocolate to melt in my mouth and meld with the soft pumpkin for this perfect little moment. Big chocolate chips don’t melt just right. Yeah, color me a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie snob. I’ll take it.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Ultra Gel

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 teaspoons good vanilla

2 cups (1 15 ounce can) pumpkin puree

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour

2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add Ultra Gel, vanilla and pumpkin. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients and spoon into pumpkin mixture, stirring until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

This is a very soft dough and easiest to work with using a disher that helps you release the dough. I like to use a 2 teaspoon disher, which makes slightly smaller cookies because I don’t feel as guilty about eating more of them. It has pumpkin in it, it’s healthy right?

Scoop dough balls onto a cookie sheet, spacing at least an inch apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned and your desired firmness is attained. Some folks like these cookies really soft, and others want them more set. You’ll need to play with your oven to find the exact right time for your cookies.

Let sit on the tray for 2-3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack and cooling completely. Do not stack these without waxed paper between them as they will stick to each other and you’ll get one mondo stack of cookie.🙂

Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Ultra Gel

Tis the season of pumpkin spice everything and I admit I’m a fan of the trend. So much so that when we ran out of oat waffles (which I make in a large batch and freeze for easy breakfasts) I turned the new batch into pumpkin spice waffles. It was a straight forward change and makes the waffles even more healthy (Lots of fiber and beta-carotene in pumpkin) and delicious.

As a reminder we use Ultra Gel in quick breads like waffles for increased tenderness and it keeps them from drying out when frozen.

Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Ultra Gel

(This recipe makes about 2 dozen waffles. It can be halved if you don’t need that many at once.)

11 ounces ground oats

8 ounces flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

6 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

4 cups buttermilk (at room temp)

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling, just plain old pumpkin.)

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. You just want to bring these together, so be careful not to over mix. It’ll be lumpy and that’s a good thing.

Cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions. I use a Belgium waffle maker so I get two thick waffles at about 1/4 cup of batter each per batch. Eat warm with fruit, jam or syrup (Cornaby’s Raspberry Syrup is really good. Apple Syrup is really good, and plain old maple syrup is smashing). Alternatively package waffles into layers in a freezer bag and freeze flat. To reheat toss waffles into a toaster.

Halloween Swirl Cake with Cornaby’s Raspberry Syrup

One of my favorite parts about October is Halloween. This year in particular is fun because my little girl is finally old enough to really enjoy the festivities. She’s dressing up as a “good witch” and totally ready to go. Another benefit of October is that it’s both my own and my best friend’s birthday, so there are birthday parties piled onto Halloween and a lot of treats around the house.

This year I wanted to combine birthday cake and Halloween cake and put together this Halloween Swirl Cake infused with Cornaby’s Raspberry Syrup. This is a very easy cake, but is visually amazing and tasty. For even more fun you can add candy eyes which are available at local grocery stores, Gygi’s kitchen store in Salt Lake City, and can even be homemade.

This recipe comes in a lot of steps, but is a great Halloween cake to make with your kids. They can help with almost every step. My little girl had a great time with ours, even if I think many of the monster eyes got devoured!

Halloween Swirl Cake with Cornaby’s Raspberry Syrup

1 chocolate cake mix

1 white cake mix

Ultra Gel

Butter

Milk

eggs

orange, purple and black food coloring

Cornaby’s Raspberry Syrup

white buttercream icing (homemade or from a can will work)

Monster eyes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I know the measurements aren’t precise on this, which is because they change depending on the cake mixes you choose. This is much more about the process. So we’ll start with the chocolate cake. The first thing to do is to look at the high altitude directions on your cake mix, yeah even if you don’t live at altitude. It will say something like Add 2 Tblsp Flour to dry mix. Replace whatever this amount is with the same amount of Ultra Gel. So in my cakes it was one chocolate cake mix + 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel, which I mixed well. Then I continued to follow the cake mix directions, but swapped out the water for milk and the oil for melted butter. Once the mix was all together I added some black gel food coloring to darken up the chocolate batter.

Repeat this process with the white cake mix, but split it into two bowls at the end and color one batch of cake mix orange and the other purple. At this point look at all of your batters and make sure they aren’t too thick. I’ve never had one too thin, but I had one in the several times I’ve made this cake which was very thick (I suspect I missed something). If this happens add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to thin.

Now, grease and flour a bundt pan VERY well. Pour in about 1/3 of the black mixture, followed by all of the orange, all of the purple and more black to cover the colors. A standard bundt pan will only use about 2/3rd of the total batter, so repeat the process to make swirled cupcakes or in a loaf pan to use the rest of the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes until cake tests done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cardboard or decorative tray. Cool completely.

Once the swirl cake is cool we get to the syrup. The point of using the Raspberry syrup is two fold. First we’re adding a burst of flavor to our cakes and second we’re adding a spooky red drizzle to the center of our swirl. In order to get this effect we want to inject the syrup into the cake with a small baster, injector or syringe. I keep a couple of medical syringes on hand which are marked to be used for kitchen use. They’re easy to get from your local pharmacy or online. So I inject half a teaspoon of raspberry syrup in several locations around the cake, all of which will be covered with frosting to hide the syrup until the cake is cut. Do not OVER inject or the cake will be soggy. The point here is mild flavor and some fun color, not to drench the cake. I use between 1/4-1/3 cup raspberry syrup maximum.

Finally, split your white icing into two and color orange and purple. If it’s too thick to work with easily place the icing in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to color and drizzle. Drizzle the cake with alternating stripes of purple and orange, letting it pool around the sides. Add sprinkles, monster eyes or other decorations.

Yum and double yum!

Bottled Cherry Pie Filling with Thick Gel

Technically cherry season is past, since most cherries including pie cherries come on earlier in the year. However, they’re not hard to find frozen. You can even visit places like the Rowleys Red Barn and get them frozen in bulk, so it’s not too late to can cherry pie filling! Especially with the holidays around the corner (Pies, cakes, cookies!) having beautiful bottles of pie filling on hand is a very good thing.

Our recipe for pie filling is a recipe which is thickened before it goes into the bottle, which raises a lot of concerns for some people. It is true that you should NOT use thickeners such as flour or traditional corn starch to thicken product which will be canned. These thickeners do not thicken evenly or hold up to the temperatures of canning. However products such as Thick Gel are approved for home canning as tested by the Utah State Extension service and the labs at Cornabys.

I use tart pie cherries for this recipe, though you could use pitted bing cherries or a combination of sweet and pie cherries. It’s all down to what you like. And while we give you measurements for both Thick Gel and Ultra Gel I have to admit that I like Thick Gel the most for this use, especially in this large recipe. Thick Gel thickens a little more evenly and has a smoother finish. Price per ounce Thick Gel is also a little less expensive. As a reminder Thick Gel has to be heated to thicken but in all of our pie filling recipes this happens anyway, so it’s not an issue.

pie-filling

Bottled Cherry Pie Filling with Thick Gel

 Utah State University Extension

6 quarts fresh or thawed sour cherries

7 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups Thick Gel (2-2 1/2 cups Ultra Gel)

9 1/3 cups water or juice from cherries

2 teaspoons almond extract (opt.)

1/2 cup bottled lemon juice – Do NOT use fresh lemon juice. Bottle juice is mixed to get a specific repeatable pH which cannot be guaranteed with fresh.

2 teaspoons red food coloring (opt.)

Rinse and pit fresh cherries or thaw frozen cherries.  Combine sugar and Thick Gel in large kettle with water or juice from cherries.  If desired, add almond extract and food coloring.  Stir mixture and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.  Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Fold in cherries and fill jars with mixture, leaving 1-1 1/2″ headspace.  Adjust lids and process immediately in water bath canner for 30 minutes (sea level). Increase processing time for by 5 minutes for elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet and ten minutes for elevations from 3,000 to 5,000 feet.