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!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Many years ago when I was in college at BYU my mother also worked on campus (we even took some classes together which is more fun than one might think). At least once a week we’d get big old muffins from the bookstore and eat at her office or on the go between classes. There was a decadent chocolate thing that we loved, but a close second place were the banana chocolate chip muffins topped with a creamy cream cheese frosting. The only problem with these muffins…well there were two… The were so big that eating a whole one could put a serious hurt on your caloric intake for the day and they dried out way too fast. These were an eat now or forever hold your piece kind of treat, and often I wanted to take half home and freeze it for tomorrow, but that just never worked.

These Banana Chocolate Chip muffins I’m sharing remind me of those muffins I got in school and the afternoons in Mom’s office. However, these are made with Ultra Gel and butter milk and so we’re able to back the calories down significantly, without giving up an ounce of flavor or moisture. They freeze great and you can choose to bake them from mini muffin size all the way up to a bread pan (just adjust your time to appropriate doneness), which is pretty darn cool.

So for Mother’s Day here is my mom’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. (The recipe can also be found in the Ultra Gel Answer Book). Love you, Mom!

banana chocolate chip muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 cup shortening

2/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 cups flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup mashed overripe bananas

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 cup chocolate chips or mini chips

Beat shortening and sugar together for 3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and Ultra Gel and whip until light and fluffy. Add bananas and buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients until just blended. Like all quick breads these muffins will peak if over beaten, so mix just until the flour is incorporated. A few lumps won’t hurt anything. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased and floured (or lined) muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tests done. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pans. Cool complete. Eat immediate, or freeze. Particularly good with cream cheese frosting!

Cornaby’s Spicy Cooking Sauces

It seems like everywhere we look right now there’s someone promoting a new spicy sauce and then another one that’s hotter than the last! For me the burn your tongue off ghost pepper sauces don’t do much cause I’m a giant wimp. Not that I don’t like a sauce with a good kick, but there’s a difference between interesting kick and I’m on fire kick. This is where the Cornaby’s line of spicy sauces comes in!

Currently our spicy sauces come in three amazing flavors all based on combining the delicate sweet flavors of fruit with the heat and smoke of peppers. Any of these sauces makes a great grilling or dipping sauce and with a little creativity can be used to top wraps, burgers and even lightly drizzled on grilled vegetables or corn! Yummy!

Peach Habanero

So here’s the run down:

Raspberry Jalapeno:

Sweet Cornaby’s Raspberries combined with pickled jalapenos. Sweet and warm at the same time, with just enough kick to get your attention. Add 1-2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup mayonnaise and spread on hero sandwiches or burgers!

Raspberry Chipotle:

Sweet Cornaby’s Raspberries combined with fiery smoked chipotle. Hotter than the jalpeno with a smoky effect. This is fantastic on robust meats like pork or beef!

Peach Habenero:

Delicate local Utah Peaches combined with spicy fresh habenaros. This one is surprisingly refreshing and the hottest that we make. Add a tablespoon to a bowl of coleslaw and just count the fans!

Soon we’ll have a Strawberry Serano, but that’s still in the works!

So you tell me. What would you put a spicy cooking sauce on and find Cornaby’s cooking sauces at your local Associated Food stores or at www.cornabys.com.

Fudgey Chocolate Chunk Brownies

A few nights ago Bunneh and I were catching up on some of our DVRed shows and just enjoying the evening. At a certain point I found myself wandering around the kitchen because I wanted… Something. Something really amazing, something I could make in a hurry. I mentioned this to Bunneh and he said, “So you want brownies too?”

And truthfully, yeah, I did. But I didn’t want just any brownie. I wanted homemade, from scratch, amazing brownie goodness that I could be eating within a half hour. When I have these kinds of cravings the place to go is the family cookbook. Yeah, the internet is all fine and dandy and everyone on Pinterest will tell you they have the best recipe for this or that, but the family cookbooks are always my go to source for culinary goodness. I am rarely disappointed, and this time was no exception. I found a fudgey chocolate chunk brownie recipe from my cousin and it was just the thing to sooth my craving. With a little bit of Ultra Gel to hold the moisture in we’ve been munching on the goodies for nearly four days, and that’s pretty good for a 9×9 inch pan and just the two of us. :)

Fudgey Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Fudgey Chocolate Chunk Brownies from Shaina Cornaby Sorensen

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9×9 inch baking pan by greasing or lining with parchment and then greasing. Set aside.

Beat together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time mixing between additions. Add milk and mix through. In a separate bowl stir together Ultra Gel, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients gradually to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Pour batter into prepared pan (it’s a thick batter) and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm with ice cream! Or cool and eat by the block!

Cream Cheese Rice Krispie Treats

If you’ve read this blog for more than a post or two, you’ll notice that I have a love for desserts and sweet things to share with friends and family. If it’s a weakness then I’m just fine with that, but one of my very favorite treats is the simple rice krispie (cereal) treat. For those who aren’t family with these treats, and I say shame on you, they’re a combination of rice krispie cereal, butter, a little salt and vanilla and melted marshmallow. It all comes together in a sticky, gooey treat with a great crunch.I love them, though I have to warn that eating too many in a short period of time can make the inside of your mouth rather raw.

Anyway, in the last few months I’ve seen a lot of variations on the classic treat. Some recipes encourage using other cereals, or other varieties of rice cereals and there are some of these options that I’ve really come to like. In particular I like the combination of Rice Krispies and Fruity Pebbles (Dino nuggets, whatever variety you like to purchase) as it adds a fruity flavor and some color to the mix.

Most recently though my sweetheart found a recipe for a treat that had a layer of krispie treats on the bottom topped with a white chocolate cream cheese layer and beautiful blueberry topping. So we had to try it and we LOVED the final result, even though we made some changes with Ultra Gel and topped everything with our JinaJ raspberry jam. The creamy topping is a great contrast to the cereal bars and the raspberry gives the whole thing a fruity, tart punch.

So while I can’t say that I’ll stop trying other recipes for this cereal treat, I can say that this one certainly falls in the top 10. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

Krispie Treats

Cream Cheese, Raspberry Rice Krispie Treats

Krispie layer:

1/4 cup butter

1 10.5 ounce pkg of mini marshmallows

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

4-5 cups Rice Krispie cereal (Generic is fine too)

Cheesecake layer:

8 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces white chocolate, melted

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon milk, if needed

Raspberry layer:

1 cup raspberry jam (we like the jam in a jiffy freezer jam)

Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Melt 1/4 cup butter with salt and vanilla in microwave. Add marshmallows and microwave an additional minute until marshmallows are melty and easy to stir. Add cereal and stir to combine. Pour out into prepared pan and press cereal down evenly. (It helps if your hands are a little bit wet or have a little cooking spray on them.)

In a stand mixer beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla, beating smooth again. Add chocolate, powdered sugar, Ultra Gel and a dash of salt and beat until smooth and fluffy. Pour over krispy layer and smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Microwave jam for 10-15 seconds until it is very smooth. Pour over bars and allow to cool.

Cut and serve!

Decadent Devil’s Foodcake

This month two of the wonderful men in my life (our oldest boy and my husband both have birthdays), additionally two of our good friends have April birthdays. So this weekend we did an Easter and birthday celebration! For this celebration it was decided that we needed the cake of all cakes (according to my husband) a dark, decadent, devilish Devil’s Foodcake. We love this cake. It’s rich and moist and can easily be frozen so you can enjoy it over an entire week. It’s a devil’s foodcake that goes hand in hand with chocolate icing, or cream cheese icing or butter cream or can just be eaten plain. Just make sure you get all the crumbs!

The original recipe started with our hero Alton Brown, but it’s undergone a few changes including the addition of Ultra Gel for that freezing and staying power I mentioned before.

And yes…one of these cakes is a bunny! It’s Easter, there has to be a bunny!

Decadent Devil’s Foodcake

1 cup boiling water

4 ounces dutch-process cocoa

8 ounces brown sugar

2 ounces molasses

4 ounces cake flour

6 ounces flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup applesauce

4 1/2 ounces sour cream

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

Whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder until well combined. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Combine sugar, molasses, flours, baking soda, salt and Ultra Gel in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well. In a separate container combine oil, apple sauce, sour cream, eggs and egg yolk. Add oil mixture to cocoa mixture. With the mixer on low add chocolate mixture to dry ingredients. Beat for 30-45 seconds. Scrape down the sides and beat for an additional 30 seconds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed 30-35 minutes.

Let cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before depanning (if desired). Top with icing or serve with ice cream, or both, we won’t judge!

Jam in a Jiffy Strawberry Pie

A few days ago I gave you a recipe for a wonderful fast Strawberry Pie. Someone asked if it was possible to make this same pie using jam in a jiffy in the gel versus the recipe given. The answer to that is a resounding yes. :) The results are very similar but it’s a great way to use through your jam in a jiffy if you want to split it and use part for jam and part for strawberry pie. I don’t see anything bad about either of these things!

In other news a big shout out to our friends at the Petersen Family Farm who are now carrying jam in a jiffy side by side with their wonderful fruit offerings. The farm is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm and they really are some of the most awesome people we know. It takes a lot of work to keep a farm going in the middle of the city and they do a great job.

fresh strawberry pie

Jam in a Jiffy Strawberry Pie

1 baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

1-1.5 pounds of fresh strawberries, sliced (1 pound for a 9 inch crust, 1.5 or more for a 10 inch crust or a deep dish)

1 1/2 cups dry jam in a jiffy mix

1 package strawberry Kool Aid

2 cups water

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice – to taste

Combine jam in a jiffy mix, kool aid and water and mix until jam in a jiffy is complete dissolved. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes. This will give you a medium set. You can add more or less water depending on the set you desire. So start with a little less than you think you need, see how it sets and then add more a little at a time.

Fold gel into strawberries until desired ratio of gel to berry is achieved. Pour coated berries into pie crust and top with whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This doesn’t cut really crisp, but it tastes amazing!