Here in Utah summer seems to have shown up with a vengeance. We had a pretty cool spring, but as May has drawn to a close it’s come with hot temperatures and kids anxious for the end of school. This also means we’ve started with park days and my kids have informed me that a good park day is made much better with a snack. These orange chocolate brownies are quick to make, easy to pack up and carry with us, and are perfect as the before mentioned snack.
As we’ve talked about before Ultra Gel is used in brownies and other baked goods to help keep them tender and moist. We want these orange brownies to last…well…at least for as long as they kids don’t get to them. They freeze wonderfully if you want to make a batch ahead of time and eating frozen orange brownies is kinda fun too. If you want to get even more decadent freeze these brownies, chunk them up and add to some homemade ice cream.
Orange Chocolate Brownies with Ultra Gel
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon orange extract or 2-3 drops orange oil (There is a difference, make sure you know which one you’re working with)
1/2 cup flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (I like cooking spray) a 8-9 inch backing pan. Combine the chocolate and the butter in a small, heavy saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Add the vanilla, eggs, Ultra Gel, sugar, salt and orange to the chocolate and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and mix well. Spread into prepared baking pan. If desired you can top with a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, nuts, sprinkles, little m&ms or whatever you like your brownies. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is dry and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, cut and serve.
To freeze: Cool completely and remove brownies from pan. Wrap in cling wrap and then in aluminum foil and freeze for upto 3 months.
Recently I was put in charge of a friend’s birthday party. This lead me to wandering through my cookbooks and Pinterest page looking for something fun and a little different. I ended up combining a few ideas and ending up at this chocolate mint poke cake. This is a fun cake which starts with a box cake mix, though you could apply the idea to your favorite scratch cake too. This is more a matter of method than specific recipe, though I like using my homemade recipes and Ultra Gel to create the best possible cake.
As a note the term poke cake applies to a lot of cakes where you poke holes in the cake while it’s warm and then pour something over the top meant to soak into the holes. Often this is a pudding or warm sauce. You want to be careful with poke cakes to use enough sauce to keep things moist and yummy, but not so much that the cake ends up a soggy mess.
Chocolate Mint Poke Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
Ingredients for cake mix + 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel and 1/3 cup mint chips (opt)
Make chocolate cake as per the box adding 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel and 1/3 cup mint chips. After it comes out of the oven allow to cool for 10 minutes then punch with holes. I find it easiest to use the tail end of a wooden spoon.
Pour hot fudge sauce over the cake and allow to fill holes. Give 10 minutes to set.
Layer cool pudding on top of hot fudge sauce.
Layer colored whipping cream on top of pudding and garnish.
Keep cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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 from Shaina Cornaby Sorensen
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
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!
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
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.
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which is a lovely time for us. An unofficial kick off to summer and a chance to spend a few days together, as well as the very important duty of remembering those who have gone before us. One of the nice things about the long weekend is the chance to do some special cooking. My Bunneh has been as busy as can be making ham and chicken stock, steaks and rotisserie chicken. My job was to come up with the sides and the dessert.
The dessert I settled on was a brownie ice cream pie with raspberry topping. Raspberry prices are dropping but I wanted something even easier. Going to my freezer I spied my containers of jam in a jiffy raspberry jam and decided that would make easy and yummy topping. When it all came together I was happy with the results. I think we could have added a little whipping cream for the lightness and pretty factor, but without it it was pretty darn good too.
So there you have it…jam in a jiffy freezer jam, not just for sandwiches!
Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Pie
1 large brownie mix
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup raspberry jam in a jiffy freezer jam
Make brownie mix according to the box directions, adding 2 Tablespoons of Ultra Gel to the mix for extra moisture and tenderness. Pour into two 9 inch pie plates and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
Layer softened ice cream on brownie pie and remove to freezer for a minimum of four hours.
Cut and top with freezer jam, serve immediately. Add whipping cream as desired.
The Great Cookie Experiment – Double Chocolate Cookies
I’m always boggled when someone comes along who says they hate chocolate. I just don’t see how it’s possible, when chocolate ranks up there as one of my all time favorite foods. It shares the spot with cheese and Chinese food. What can I say? I love my “ch” foods! It stand to reason that if chocolate is good, then double chocolate ought to be even better!
I have not had great results with a chocolate cookie base in the past. Usually the recipe doesn’t survive Utah’s high altitude. I’m pleased to announce that these survived the rigors of Utah elevation. While they were still a fairly flat cookie, they were robust enough to pass the test. Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips, and you are in chocolate heaven.
Except if you’re one of those people that hates chocolate. Then you’ll have to go find, I don’t know, vanilla heaven, off in another cookie.
Double Chocolate Cookies
1 ¼ cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
¾ cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes before removing from pans.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following along for even a post or three that I like chocolate. I love caramel just as much, but chocolate does have a special place in my stomach and heart.
When I think back to some of the places and recipes where this began I can’t help but think about my Dad. In our family we were always…and still are…fans of dessert. One of my favorite desserts was anything with Dad’s hot fudge sauce on it. It didn’t matter if it was ice cream or brownies or cookies or cake or fruit, as long as it had Dad’s sauce on it, and I always knew when the hot fudge sauce was coming because he’d pull out a particular copper bottom pan and a cool spiral wisk that could be bounced all over the kitchen.
Now, you have to understand that while I will share the recipe for this sauce it will never be as good as when my Dad makes it. I don’t know why this is the case, but since becoming all grown up like I have made this sauce many many times and I love it, but it’s never quiet the same. There is some aspect of just how it comes together that adds a Dad touch to the finished product.
This sauce is wonderful served warm and, in my opinion, even more beautiful for dipping fruit in after it’s cooled a bit and thickened a little. Bananas are my personal favorite, though it’s also great with strawberries and makes a great fondue.
After I wrote the first draft of this blog I chatted with Dad on the phone and learned that this recipe actually was my Great Grandma’s recipe, which Dad learned from her and added his own touches to. With a new baby due to join us any day I can’t help but hope that she’ll learn it from us and keep it in the family for a long time to come.
Brad’s Hot Fudge Sauce
2 Tbl flour
2 Tbl Thick Gel
4 Tbl baking cocoa
2 cups sugar
dash of salt
1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk
2 Tbl butter
1 tsp vanilla
Combine flour, Thick Gel, cocoa, sugar and salt and mix well. Add evaporated milk and stir until completely combined. Heat to a roiling boil. Boil for three minutes, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Serve warm or cool for a thicker consistency. Yield: 1 pint