Tag Archive | desserts

Christmas Chocolate Orange Cookies with Ultra Gel

So today I was totally going to talk about some Christmas candy recipes – which I’ll still do this week – but the hubs needed some cookies to take into work and I worked up this Christmas Chocolate Orange recipe. It’s a fantastic recipe that tastes so much like the chocolate oranges many of us get or give on Christmas mornings. And you can even chunk up said chocolate orange to go into the batter for even more punch.
These were a hit at work and around the house, and would be a great Christmas cookie for exchange or setting out for Santa. Right by the Gingerbread Cookies! You can never have too many you know.

Christmas Chocolate Orange Cookies

2 cups butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 package dark morsels*

1 package mini semi sweet morsels

4-5 drops orange oil

1-2 Tablespoons milk (if needed)

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add cocoa powder and Ultra Gel and beat to incorporate. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and mix into creamed mixture a little at a time. Fold in chocolate and orange oil. Depending on how precise you measure you may need a little milk to get to the proper consistency. Don’t over beat.

Preheat oven to 350. Scoop dough by tablespoons onto a baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes. They’ll be puffy and dry to the touch. Move to a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes before consuming. Otherwise you’ll burn your tongue. 🙂

*A dark chocolate orange cut into tiny pieces can be used here and is excellent.

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.


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. 🙂

Chocolate Mint Poke Cake

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)

1 batch Ultra Gel Hot Fudge Sauce

1 batch Thick Gel Chocolate Pudding

1 batch Ultra Gel Whipping Cream whipped with 3 drops green food coloring

Mint chips for garnish if desired


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.



Easy Whipped Key Lime Pie

I got a few questions asking for more information about my key lime pie, so I thought I’d expand on the wonders of key lime pie a little. A traditional key lime pie is made with egg yolks, key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk. The idea is that the acid ‘cooks’ the egg and the whole thing forms a delicious emulsion which sets in a graham cracker or crushed nut crust. I like traditional key lime pie. However, it takes a bit to set and if you are at all concerned about the raw egg it can be a turn off. So a few years back I created a key lime pie that is based off of the flavors of the original but with a lighter texture and no egg. In this case Ultra Gel steps in to hold the emulsification together and whipped cream adds lightness.

Now, one of the other fun things with this recipe is that you can get creative with other citrus flavors. I’ve replaced the lime juice with lemon juice and a couple drops of food coloring for a fun pink lemonade pie (pictured below), and substituting orange juice makes for a fun orange dream flavored pie. I expect pineapple would be good too, but I haven’t tried that one yet.

So here’s something a little different for your next Christmas party. I particularly like to serve it up in tart sized crusts for a great appetizer that is a little sweet and a whole lot of sassy.

pink lemonade pie IMG_2097

Easy Whipped Key Lime Pie

1/4 cup key lime juice (or other concentrated citrus juice)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 Tbsp Ultra Gel

2 cups whipped stabilized whipping cream (I always use the Ultra Gel recipe 1 pint cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla to taste, 1/2 tsp salt and 1-3 tsp Ultra Gel)

Combine juice, sweetened condensed milk and Ultra Gel until well blended. Fold in whipped cream and pour into a graham cracker pie crust. Top with additional whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This is also really good frozen.