Spread the Love: Strawberry Balsamic Jam

This is the first of the Spread the Love collection. As a second semester senior, I have plenty of free time to attempt all the recipes that I have pinned/thought of over the past, well, 22 years? My first jam uses a balsamic that I bought at an oil store in Alexandria, VA with my sister. It is pomegranate balsamic, but any flavor would definitely give your jam an interesting flare. It doesn’t taste too much different than regular jam, but it sounds super sophisticated and impressive.

Issues: I used 4 1/2 cups sugar and half a box of pectin, so my jam was too runny. I ended up emptying all the jars back into a pot, re-boiling and adding the remaining ingredients needed to thicken the mixture. Then I re-canned them and they are much better now.



– 5 cups sugar

– 8 cups strawberries, washed and halved

– 1 lemon

– 6 tablespoons quality balsamic (I bought pomegranate balsamic from an oil store)

– 1 box Sure-Jell Pectin

  1. Freeze a glass plate.
  2. Halve all the strawberries and put them in a bowl.
  3. Squeeze juice from one half of a lemon into the bowl.DSC_0032
  4. Let sit for 20 minutes. At this point, put all of your glass jars in the oven at 450* and sanitize.
  5. Soak the jar caps in a bowl of very hot water. This makes it so that when you screw the cap on, the inner plastic is softened for a better seal.
  6. Back to the jam: put the strawberry and lemon mixture in a big pot on medium heat. Depending on your desired consistency, you can mash the strawberries in the pot. If you like whole fruit in the jam stir once a minute or every two minutes but don’t mash. DSC_0051
  7. Once the mixture comes to a soft boil, add the sugar and pectin. I wanted this recipe to be all natural, but strawberries have the lowest pectin level and make it nearly impossible for jam to congeal without added pectin. Use the whole box.DSC_0067
  8. Stir frequently to avoid the sugar burning the bottom of your pot. It is important that, at some point during the process, your jam comes to a full boil for at least 5 minutes. This ensures the thickening of the mixture.
  9. Add the balsamic and stir. Let boil (stirring occasionally) for 30 minutes. At this point, take a teaspoon of jam and put it on your frozen plate. Let sit for five minutes and then test the consistency.DSC_0057DSC_0054
  10. Spoon jam into individual hot jars, wipe the rim and screw on cap immediately. Try to get a proportional amount of whole fruit/jam mixture.DSC_0078
  11. Enjoy!
  12. Labels: Print out your label using the template attached. Rub the label against 3M adhesive or use a glue stick to make the back sticky.
  13. Cut the label using an x-acto knife
  14. Stick the label on the jar, respositioning to make the two ends meet as evenly as possible.
  15. Cut fabric of your choice into circles that, when placed on top of the jar, extend an inch past the edge.
  16. Hot glue the top of the jar and place the fabric on quickly
  17. Tie rope or ribbon in a bow around the fabric for a finishing touch

Eric’s Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve made cinnamon rolls many a time and have come to the conclusion that cinnamon rolls lose the magic when you make a low-fat/low-sugar recipe. So as a late happy birthday treat, Eric got the full blown, 2 sticks of butter, sticky cinnamon rolls with a warm powdered sugar glaze. Paula Deen don’t mess around…holy crap these are yum.

1/4 ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter, plus 4 more tablespoons for the pan
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons of hot water


1) Mix the yeast packet and 1/2 cup warm water

016 this is what happens when your yeast doesn’t work. It could be too hot of water or expired yeast. Either way if after 5 minutes your yeast/water looks the exact same as when you mixed it, start over.

after 5 minutes there will be a thicker, milky looking coating on the top of the mixture.

0182) Mix butter, sugar, milk, salt and egg in a bowl.

3) Add 2 cups of flour



5) Add yeast mixture and stir. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour.

6) Once mixture becomes easy to handle by hand, take out of the bowl and knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes.

7) Place in a well-greased bowl and leave in a warm place covered loosely with plastic wrap. After 45 minutes the dough should have nearly doubled in size.

8) Roll out dough into a 15×12 rectangle on a floured surface. Mine was more of a square…

9) Melt one stick of butter and spread across the rolled out dough. (ew, I know)


10) In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon. Spread across the dough as well.



11) Roll tightly and press the edge into the dough to seal. Cut into 12-15 pieces.


12) Lay next to each other in a 9×13 or 8×8 pan, depending on how squished you like yo rolls.



13) Bake at 350 F. for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately pour glaze over warm rolls and enjoy!