Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies with Thick Gel

Today (May 15th) is National Chocolate Chip Day. This whole food holiday thing always amuses me, but the very most when the food in question is something I really love, and chocolate chips are something I really love.

So in pondering a recipe to share for such a wonderful food holiday I went back to the classic chocolate chip cookie. What I want in a chocolate chip cookie is a delicate balance of a crisp edge that gives with a satisfying chew and a soft chocolatey center. Then, just to make things hard, I want a cookie that I can keep over night or freeze while maintaining the same qualities because as much as I love my chocolate chip cookies I know better than to eat the whole batch at once. With all of this in mind I went to work with a few adjustments to the recipe, again. Often I put Ultra Gel in my cookies and I do love what it does, but this time I worked with Thick Gel. I get the cookie I want and a cookie that will keep, all good things in my book. And I’m never unhappy to find another recipe to use Thick Gel in. :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies with Thick Gel

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons Thick Gel

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup unsalted butter, soft

1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 bag chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet, but if milk chocolate is your thing I’m not judging)

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, Thick Gel and salt and set aside. Cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Seriously, give it 3-4 minutes, even as many as 10, light and fluffy! Add egg, additional yolk and vanilla and mix well. Add dry ingredients in three batches, mixing to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Now the hard part: put the whole thing into the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Some folks will say as long as overnight. I personally don’t like that and find the resulting dough to be very stiff to work with without getting much benefit from that much chilling. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. I like these cookies big so I use a two ounce disher and can put about 8 per batch. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes until just barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes and then remove to cooling racks. Serve warm, or cold, or freeze any option is a good one!

Blueberry Buckle with Thick Gel

I often get asked what kinds of things you can use Thick Gel in. The answer is pretty much anywhere that you’d use cornstarch in the same proportion, but with better results. Thick Gel is a wonderful cornstarch that has a beautiful set. Thick Gel products can be frozen, refrigerated and canned with beautiful results helping you to keep food better longer.

Today’s recipe is a little different though. This is a Blueberry Buckle which usually has cake flour in it. The difference between cake flour and all purpose flour is that cake flour generally has a lower protein content and is more easily dispursed, this is a combination of the grain type and the grinding method. However, with a little help from Thick Gel we can make our own cake flour substitute that give us the benefits of cake flour with the additional benefits of Thick Gel. It’s a win win.

Cake flour replacement recipe:

1 cup of all purpose flour – 2 Tablespoons + 2 Tablespoons Thick gel. Sift well and use anywhere cake flour is called for.

So getting back to our buckle, this recipe uses the rest of the blueberries I had on hand from last blog’s recipe and adds some ginger for kick, all poured into a 9×9 square or 10 inch round pan and cooked up into a beautiful breakfast cake. Well, breakfast, lunch, late night snack…anytime you want a hit of blueberries and tender cake. This is pretty good warm with a little milk poured over it too or a side of ice cream and all with blueberry antioxidants and flavor. Yummy!

Blueberry buckle

Blueberry Buckle with Thick Gel

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup Thick Gel

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 ounces unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

3-3 1/2 cups blueberries


1/2 cup sugar (this is also really good if you do 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar)

1/3 cup cake flour mixture

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp candied ginger, well chopped

2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Make streusel by combining the sugar, flour, nutmeg and ginger. Add the butter and work in with a fork until it reaches a crumb texture. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine flour, Thick Gel, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. Set aside.

In a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add 1 tsp vanilla and mix. Alternate adding dry mixture and milk until all in incorporated. Again, this is a quick bread method so don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries and pour into a baking dish which has been sprayed with non stick spray or greased.

Sprinkle streusel mixture on top of the cake and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown. Test with a tooth pick and remove from oven. Cool 10 minutes before depanning and serving.

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

Pie Contest!

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Okay, so we’ve only received 3 entries into our pie contest.  This makes us sad because we have a ton of cool stuff we want to give away!  Soo…as a reminder…send in your recipes between now and November 20, 2013, which is Wednesday and you’ll be entered for prizes and accolades and sheer awesomeness!

Recipes should use some Cornaby’s product and be sent to info (at) cornabys (d0t) com, which we’re spelling that way because some stupid spambot got me the last time I put it out here normally and I hates the spam.

See the pie.  Love the pie.  Make the pie!!!  Email us the pie!!!


Storing Ultra Gel and Thick Gel – And a contest

First things first…we’ll talk about the contest!  Starting now we want your pie recipes!  We love pies and tis the season for some of our favorites and yours.  So we want to see your recipes for pies using any Cornaby’s product.  We’ll be gathering recipes from now until November 20th, that’s next Wednesday and then put them up for a vote.  The author of the recipe(s) with the most votes on the blog, twitter or Facebook will receive a Cornaby’s gift pack just in time for the holidays including our brand new Raspberry Habenero jelly!  Send your recipes to and put ‘pie contest’ in the subject line!

Now…moving on.  A couple days ago I was shopping with my husband and I saw a card by the spices which was interesting and kind of fun.

Aging SpicesAs you can see this is a good guide for those of us who might have older spices in our cupboards which really need to be dumped.  I remember the square tins from when I was growing up and I have seen them in a few places, though I didn’t find any when I cleaned out my cupboard!

This leads me to a question we are often asked which is regarding the shelf life of Ultra Gel and Thick Gel.  When it comes to food storage there are a few things which can cause issues: bacteria and molds, physical contamination, moisture and critters.  With Ultra Gel and Thick Gel as long as they are properly stored most of these issues can be avoided and the starches are good for many years.  We package Ultra Gel and Thick Gel in thick resealable pouches.  They should be kept in these pouches, or moved to other containers which have a tight lid.  When this is done then moisture and physical contaminates can’t get in and these starches do not naturally have enough oils or moisture to encourage growth of bacteria, molds or to attract mice or bugs.

So the answer in a nutshell is to keep your starches in cool, dry locations in an air tight container and they’ll be good for years.  It is suggested to rotate every 5-7 years, but in my own kitchen I find I go through the product much faster than that!