Tag Archive | Recipes

Black Hole Upside Down Cake with Ultra Gel

When my husband and I first started dating we spent a lot of time flirting with food. Whenever we’d both go to an event we’d each bring our favorite dishes, not for all the other people at the event, but because we were trying to impress each other.

This black hole upside down cake is one of his specialties which he made early on. It’s rich and chocolately and… a complete cheater cake. It’s so much easier than it tastes, but it’s one amazing cake and you will make a good impression!

After a while we started collaborating on this cake and he’d bring the cake, and I’d bring the whipping cream – Ultra Gel Whipping Cream of course.

Single people take note, this cake may be indirectly responsible for our marriage. Use with care. 🙂

To take this cake to the next level of amazing serve with fresh raspberries or strawberries as a garnish. The pop of fruit flavor against the richness of the cake is really, really good.

Black Hole Upside Down Cake

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

2 cups warm water

12-14 large marshmallows, quartered or about 2 cups mini marshmallows

1 box chocolate cake mix (I TOLD you it was easy)

Combine water, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and marshmallows in a bowl. Mix well then spread into a 9×13 inch well-greased pan.

Add 2 Tablespoons to the dry cake mix and stir well. Prepare cake mix according to box directions with the addition of 2 Tablespoons water. (So 2 Tablespoons water, 2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel and then whatever the mix calls for). Carefully spoon cake batter over marshmallow mixture to cover. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees until cake springs back when touched.

Remove cake from oven and cool in the pan. Once it is mostly cool, invert onto a serving platter. It’s important you flip the cake before it has cooled completely or it will stick to the pan. If this happens warm the cake slightly before flipping. Cut into servings and serve with whipping cream. Trust me you’ll want the cream to cut the chocolate!

Ultra Gel Whipping Cream

1 pint whipping cream

1 teaspoon Ultra Gel

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Whip all ingredients together until thick and creamy. Serve. Keep any extra whipped cream in the refrigerator.

*Ultra Gel can be purchased in grocery stores all over Utah or online at Cornabys or Amazon.

Simple Strawberry Topping with Ultra Gel

Recently I was asked what was the fastest way I knew to make a very fresh, easy strawberry topping. The person asking for the recipe knew about our recipe for Strawberry shortcake with kool-aid, sugar, and Ultra Gel but they wanted something simpler and something without the coloring.

So, for others who want a fast, easy topping here’s the way I do it.

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Simple Strawberry Topping with Ultra Gel

Wash, hull and slice 2 pounds of fresh strawberries. Toss with 1/4-1/2 cups sugar depending on how sweet you want it. Set aside for 20 minutes. What’s happening during that time is the sugar helping to draw moisture out of the berries, so you’ll get a nice juicy topping. Remove from the fridge and stir in 2-3 Tablespoons of Ultra Gel to reach your desired thickness. Pour over crepes, pancakes, waffles, or anywhere else you want a burst of fresh strawberry flavor. Keep topping in the fridge when not in use or if you have leftovers.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya with Ultra Gel

This year I’ve decided I want to come up with more recipes which use my slow cooker. I love the convenience of the slow cooker, and my sweet husband got me a new one at Christmas time which is even more fun. Part of what I love about this slow cooker is that, unlike my first slow cooker, it is programmable by temperature as well as setting a high or low slow cook. It has a very nice non-stick surface and I find if I tackle the dishes right after dinner just about everything cleans off easily.

This slow cooker Jambalaya recipe was the result of finding some nice spicy chicken sausage in the freezer that needed using. I also had chunked up chicken and veg on hand. Traditionally Jambalaya is a cajun dish that’s pretty much based out of cleaning out your meats and veggies, adding spice and pouring it over rice. Many versions of Jambalaya have seafood in them, but here in landlocked Utah I can’t always lay hands on excellent seafood, and chicken makes a pretty good stand in. You can make this as hot or not as you like by adding more cajun spices or a few extra shots of hot sauce, I like the Louisiana style.

Ultra Gel is a great ingredient when working with a slow cooker because we don’t have to heat everything to boiling in order to thicken it. We can just sprinkle the Ultra Gel on the top of the Jambalaya, stir it in and serve. It’s convenient and not forcing the vegetables to boil hard in order to thicken the stock means the vegetables stay in bigger chunks and taste amazing.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya with Ultra Gel

1 pound chicken chunks

1 pound spicy sausage, cut into piece (andoullie sausage is traditional and yummy)

1 medium onion, diced

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1-2 cans diced tomatoes (I prefer the low sodium versions. I’ve also used 3 fresh tomatoes)

2 cups chicken broth

salt

pepper

1-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

dash hot sauce

Ultra Gel

Combine all ingredients except for Ultra Gel in a large slow cooker. For additional flavor you can saute the onion, pepper, celery and carrot before adding to the mix. Slow cook for 4-6 hours on high. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Thicken with Ultra Gel and serve over rice.

This dish freeze well and will keep up to 6 months in the freezer.

*Shelled and deveined shrimp can be added in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Ultra Gel

Every evening I’m feeding a pretty full household. Teenagers, not toddlers, husbands, cats…the kitchen is always busy, and, let’s be honest, I like it that way. Usually. But sometimes I feel less inspired than others and I like having a file of easy go-tos which I add to upon occasion.

This is one such occasion and one such recipe. I love these Easy Chicken Enchiladas, and the power of Ultra Gel makes them even better. These Chicken Enchiladas are great with either chicken breasts or thighs, you just want a pile of cooked, boneless meat to start with and everything goes from there.

Because of the Ultra Gel these Chicken Enchiladas can be made days ahead of time and frozen, then baked for about an hour before dinner time. Viola! Easy, tasty, yum.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Ultra Gel

1 can (10-12 ounces) red enchilada sauce (You can make this, but this is the way easy version)

1 can (15 ounces) chicken broth (homemade will also work well here)

2-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 pounds cooked, diced boneless chicken

1/2 medium onion chopped

1-2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1/2-3/4 cups sour cream

1 small can diced green chiles

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

2 cups cheese

8-10 corn tortillas

In a small pan combine enchilada sauce, chicken broth, Ultra Gel and black pepper and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 1 minute. Set aside.

In a medium pan combine 1 Tablespoon oil, chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook on medium heat until onion is transparent. Don’t over cook or garlic will burn. Add chicken, sour cream, green chiles and rinsed beans and mix until well combined and warmed through. Add salt and pepper and Ultra Gel.

Line the bottom of a 9×12 inch pan with 1 cup of the enchilada sauce. Place 2 Tablespoons chicken mixture in each tortilla and roll up. Place each roll into enchilada sauce in baking pan, seam side down. When pan is full cover all tortilla rolls with remaining enchilada sauce. If you want to freeze the batch cover with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of tin foil and move to the freezer. Otherwise, cover with cheese and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees until bubbly and amazing.

For frozen batches: Remove from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes until cooked all the way through.

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. 🙂