Tag Archive | Recipes

Refrigerator Lemon Rolls with Ultra Gel

January can sometimes be a hard time of year. It’s full of new beginnings, but also tend to be a little grey and cold and pregnant with that feeling that you’re really waiting for the new year to get started.

When I’m feeling this way one of the comfort foods I reach for are lemon rolls. I love this particular recipe for lemon rolls because it can be made and baked all in one day, or it can be refrigerated for up to five days after adding the first batch of flour. I’ve even been known to split the batch and bake some now and some later, and I love that flexibility!

Ultra Gel plays a leading roll in these rolls as it holds the moisture in the sponge (refrigerator state) stage and in the baked rolls to keep them soft longer. Use a fresh lemon in the lemon sugar for an amazing punch of flavor. Citrus is on sale this time of year and the lemons you get are fresh and just a little sweet and beautiful.

Refrigerator Lemon Rolls with Ultra Gel

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

1 cup hot water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup soft butter

2 teaspoons salt

4 eggs

4 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 Tablespoons yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup warm water

8-9 cups bread flour

Lemon filling:

1 cup sugar

grated rind of one lemon

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in 1/2 cup warm water and allow to proof for 10-15 minutes. Combine evaporated milk, hot water, sugar, butter and salt in a large bowl. Add 4 cups flour and mix well. Add eggs, Ultra Gel and yeast mixture and combine. At this point you can cover the sponge with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days. When ready to use (or immediately) remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Add additional flour until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Let rise until double.

Divide into 4 portions and roll out as desired, filling with lemon filling or cinnamon and brown sugar. Shape as desired.

Let rise until doubled.

Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes.

Top with powdered sugar icing.

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.
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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.

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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. 🙂

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.

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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.

Sugar Cookie Peach Cobbler with Thick Gel

It’s peach season in Utah! This is a delightful time of the year when we eat our weight in peaches and even have a few left over for canning and turning into peach pie filling. As much fun as it is to have peach pie filling on the shelf I try to make enough that I can make a batch of peach cobbler for eating right now too!

Cobblers are a type of dessert which features a filling (fruity is most common, but occasionally savory ones are used as well) with a biscuit, cake or crumb topping all baked together. When I make pie filling I always use Thick Gel as it’s approved for canning and makes for a really smooth finished product. Pie fillings made with Thick Gel bake nicely without too much bubble, and without making the crust or crumble soggy! It’s a win all the way around.

Sugar Cookie Peach Cobbler

1-2 quarts Peach Pie Filling

1 tube sugar cookie dough or batch homemade sugar cookie dough

Line a 10 inch cast iron skillet with tin foil. (You can skip this step, but I don’t like scrubbing cast iron. Alternately, you can prepare this in a glass 9×13 inch baking pan.) Pour in peach pie filling. Top with pieces of the sugar cookie dough. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes until cookie dough is golden brown and delicious.

Overnight French Toast Using Ultra Gel

In the last few months our oldest boy has started working the graveyard shift. This means that instead of just hubs and I having breakfast together we are often joined by our son and sometimes all the kids. This has lead to trying several breakfast options including a cinnamon and brown sugar stuffed french toast which was a unanimous favorite.

This overnight french toast uses Ultra Gel in both the filling and in the egg custard to provide stability and help to hold the moisture close to the bread so you end up with a tender, chewy finished product. You need to prepare this overnight french toast the night before and then it takes about 45 minutes to bake. So it’s very easy and a great make ahead, but there is a timing factor to consider. It’s totally worth the planning because it’s amazingly good.

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Overnight French Toast with Ultra Gel

1 loaf Texas Toast (12 pieces)

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup butter

1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cup milk (Or half and half if you want to be really decadent)

1/8 tsp salt

3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional: sprinkle of nutmeg and pecan pieces

In a medium sauce pan combine 1 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 cup butter and 1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sugar is dissolved but not burned. Pour into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch pan. Place one layer of bread over caramel layer, pressing it into the sugar. Top with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Layer the remaining bread on top.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, Ultra Gel, water and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread layers. Sprinkle with nutmeg and nut pieces if desired.

Cover casserole with tin foil and refrigerate over night. The next morning bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown and delicious.

Serve warm. I flip it upside down as I serve it so the gooey sugar serves as the syrup. So yummy.

Canning with Jam in a Jiffy

One of the questions we get a lot this time of year is if you can use Jam in a Jiffy to make shelf stable jams or only freezer jams. The answer is that Jam in a Jiffy can be used to make shelf stable jam. However, the process is a little different and there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

The biggest consideration is if you like the flavor of cooked fruit. In order to be safely canned jams must be water bathed which will cook the fruit. For many fruits this isn’t a problem and, in my opinion, even improves some flavors. I much prefer a cooked apricot jam, for example, but I really don’t like a cooked strawberry jam. So I make sure I have the freezer space to keep my strawberry jam fresh, but peach and apricot go on the shelf. The second consideration is where you have space and if you have enough jars. Jam in a Jiffy jams should be canned in pints or half pints for best results. The sugar free Jam in a Jiffy (in the small light blue bag) may take on a bitter flavor when cooked and I don’t recommend using it, but the normal red package low sugar Jam in a Jiffy works great.

Canned Jam in a Jiffy Jam

2 pounds fruit, crushed or chopped

1 package Jam in a Jiffy

1: Place fruit into a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to just below boiling. This will help to release juices and slightly soften the fruit.

2: Add Jam in a Jiffy mix and stir until completely dissolved.

3: Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

4: Fill jars, leaving 1/2 – 1 inch headspace.

5: Waterbath for 20 minutes for half pints and 25 minutes for pints.

6: Let jars cool, remove wings and move to storage. Remember to label and date your jars for proper rotation.

(This recipe has been lab tested and approved and found safe for home canning practices. Do not add more fruit than on the recipe without also adding more Jam in a Jiffy. The ratio of fruit to mix keeps the pH of the finished product at safe levels and the boiling and processing kills mold spores and bacteria. It it not recommended to use hot pack (tipping jars upside down) processing instead of water bathing.)