Diane Prather: Delicious chokecherry jelly and chocolate chip cookie bars

Over a Cup of Coffee

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

Last week, I received a recipe for chokecherry jelly from Rozella Bobson of Craig. Rozella got the recipe for "MCP Chokecherry Jelly" from Kraft Kitchens. (MCP is a trade name for the powdered pectin.)

To make the jelly, you'll need: 3 cups of chokecherry juice; 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice; 1 box MCP Pectin; 1/4 teaspoon butter, margarine or oil (optional) and 4 1/2 cups sugar.

Rozella's recipe includes directions for preparing the jars. Wash them and the screw bands in hot, soapy water and rinse in warm water. Pour boiling water over the flat lids in a saucepan that isn't over heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use.

It will take about 4 pounds of ripe chokecherries to make the juice needed. To prepare the juice, place crushed berries in a pot with 1 cup water. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour the fruit in three layers of dampened cheesecloth that's been placed in a bowl (or use a jelly bag). Tie the cloth and hang so that the juice drips into a bowl. When dripping ends, press the cloth gently (to get any remaining juice).

Measure the sugar exactly; leveling the excess sugar from the measuring cup. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Place the 3 cups of chokecherry juice into a 6 or 8-quart pot and add the lemon juice. Stir in the pectin. Add butter, if desired. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Quickly add all of the sugar and stir into the mixture.

Return to a rolling boil and then boil exactly 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any excess foam, using a metal spoon.

Ladle into the prepared jars to within 1/8 inch from the top. Wipe the jar rim and threads. Add lids and screw bands on tightly.

My note: Follow directions from the pectin box instructions sheet or from a canning book for processing jars. For safety purposes, water bath processing must be done according to altitude. If you have questions, contact the Moffat County Cooperative Extension Office.

Thanks so much to Rozella and everyone else who has sent in recipes and tips for making jelly.

This week, I tried a new dessert recipe that's been in my files for awhile.

To make "Chocolate Chip Bars," you'll need: 2 rolls of chocolate chip dough that's firm enough to slice, 2 (8-ounce) packages of softened cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

Grease a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut a roll of dough into thin slices. Press into the bottom of the pan. Mix the cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla.

Spread over the cookie dough. Slice the second roll of dough and place it over the cream cheese.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool, cut into bars and refrigerate. Delicious!

Keep those recipes coming. Send them to Box 415 or call me at 824-8809.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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