Sufganiyot (Hannukah Donuts)

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This was the first attempt at a Chanukah delicacy and it worked!  Uniquely made with a bread machine, these homemade Israeli style donuts need very close supervision (don’t step away from the pot).

Ingredients:

2/3 cup slightly warmed unsweetened vanilla almond milk
¼ cup water at room temperature
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted pareve margarine at room temperature
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups bread flour
2 ½ tsp. bread machine yeast
Peanut/canola oil for deep frying
Jam/Nutella for filling
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions:

Add to bread machine pan all of the ingredients in the order listed above from milk through yeast.  After 2 hours, remove dough from pan.

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Roll out the dough to ½ -inch thickness and cut rounds using a standard drinking glass dipped in flour.  This should make 32-36 rounds.

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Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with a dish towel for one hour.

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Using a thermometer, fill deep pot with approximately 2 inches of oil and bring to 375F over medium heat.

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Carefully place 4 donuts in oil for 1 minute until golden brown

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Then flip them and fry for another 30 seconds.

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Remove from pot and place on cookie sheet lined with paper towels.  Continue to deep fry the donuts while the temperature remains at approximately 375F. Feel free to dust with icing sugar or “inject” with jam/Nutella/filling of your choice.

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Science Fact of the Week:

For this recipe we used peanut oil! It has a high smoke point and as such can be heated to a high temperature. These are fried for a short period of time, keeping the oil absorbed to a minimum.

 

Cake Pops

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For any family event my go to dessert is a cake pop. I make 3-4 different kinds, and have mastered the technique over the last 5 years. This recipe is a lot of work and requires patience, but the pay off is worth it. Make these and the number one question you get will be “where did you buy them?”

Buckle down and get ready for the ride, this post is a long one. Clear some freezer space and head to Michael’s with a shopping list in hand.

Supplies

Cake pop sticks
Cake pop treat bags with twist ties
Candy melts, any colour
Foam blocks
An opaque bucket – such as this one, but any canister you want to place the cake pops in for decoration
Optional: ribbon for decoration of canister and/or cake pops

This recipe is going to follow an untraditional format from previous ones. Instead of including the ingredients/directions for the cake, I’ll be providing the assembly instructions. These cake pops can be made with any cake and any frosting. The choices are endless and it is up to you! I’ve made red velvet with cream cheese frosting, green tea cake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with espresso frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and even cookie dough.

This recipe is comprised of pictures of many different samples, however the classic favourite in our house is chocolate with espresso frosting. Please note: if you are making cookie dough, try this recipe and don’t include any frosting. Skip straight to rolling out the balls once you’ve prepared the raw dough. A shout out to SA for helping prep these. She helped make these cake pops right after designing our incredible logo.

Ingredients:

1 recipe chocolate cake
1/2 recipe espresso frosting

Directions

1) Prepare cake in a 9×13 pan and allow to cool.

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2) Carefully trim top and sides of cake to remove any “crunchy” exterior

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3) Prepare a 1/2 recipe of frosting

4) Place cake in a large bowl and add 1-2 cups of frosting and mix with your hands (varies depending on moisture level of cake). You want the cake pop to be able to stick together when rolled into a ball. Ensure that you add enough frosting so they don’t crack and crumble.

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5) Scoop a heaping tablespoon of cake from the bowl and roll into an even ball. Repeat until all dough is finished. This picture is from the vanilla cake pops, however the chocolate would look very similar.

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6) Place balls on parchment on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

7) Take balls out of fridge and melt a bowl of candy melts in a bowl (any colour)

8) Dip a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate, and then put it into the cake ball. Place the stick into the foam block to support it.

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9) Put the cake pops (with foam blocks) in the freezer for 1-2 hours

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10) Melt more of the candy melts (a full bowl) – can be done on the stove or in the microwave (any colour)

11) Dip the frozen cake pop into the melted chocolate and twist it so it is completely covered. Since the cake is frozen, it will harden quickly. Optional: cover the outside in sprinkles

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12) Place the stick back in the foam block and allow it to harden completely in the freezer.

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13) Optional: You can decorate the cake pops by melting a different colour candy melt. Place a small amount of the candy melt in a ziplock back. Seal it and place it in a large bowl of hot water. Once melted, cut a small tip off the corner and drizzle onto the cake pops.

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14) Once the cake pops are prepared, slide them into the treat bag and close with a twist tie. Optional: Add a ribbon for decoration.

15) Place a foam block in the container (cut to size). Arrange the cake pops into a bouquet in the container. Optional: Add a ribbon to the outside for decoration.

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Congrats! You made it to the end! This recipe is intensive, but a unique one. Give it a shot and it will be worth it.

Science Fact of the Week:

Our science fact of the week has to do with gravity and temperature. These cake pops are very temperamental. If you make them too large, they will be heavy and will fall off the stick. As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. Let’s just hope it comes down into our stomachs. As well, ensure that you are allowing the cake pops to cool between steps so that the balls and chocolate harden. This will ensure their stability on the sticks.

 

The Best Banana Bread

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Simple and delicious; after many tweaks and adjustments in the lab, one of my most favourite recipes to prepare.   I have attached a photo of my late mother Pearl’s original recipe.

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I like to think that Max and I are lucky enough to have inherited some of my Mom’s and Bubi’s baking genes.

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
¼ cup canola/grapeseed/olive/coconut oil
¼ cup orange juice/soy milk/almond milk/coconut milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
OPTIONAL-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips tossed in 1/8 cup any flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper, sprayed with cooking spray.

Place bananas, eggs, oil, milk, vanilla and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. IMG_5283.jpgProcess until well combined.

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In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

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Add to food processor and pulse until just combined.

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Fold in chocolate chips if using.

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Transfer batter to loaf pan.

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Bake for 60 minutes.

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This banana bread freezes well and is a great use for overripe bananas. If you have bananas sitting on your counter use them to make this banana bread.

Science Fact of the Week:

Bananas are inexpensive and great to keep on hand. As they ripen they release ethylene gas, which is a natural part of the ripening procedure of most fruits and vegetables. If you have a couple unripe bananas and one ripe one, throw them together into a brown paper bag to speed up the ripening process. This also works to soften an avocado. Put a ripe banana with an avocado in a brown bag overnight and it speeds up the ripening process.

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Non-Dairy Snickerdoodle Cookies

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With the official switch from Pumpkin Spice Lattes to Peppermint Mochas we thought we should jump on the band wagon. These cookies are simple to make, non-dairy and sure to be a holiday favourite.

Ingredients:

1/2 stick margarine, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F

2) Cream margarine and sugars

3) Add egg and vanilla, beat well

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4) Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt

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5) Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl

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6) Roll dough into balls (1-2 tbsp)and roll in cinnamon mixture

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7) Bake for 10-15 minutes (until cookies crackle, but are still soft)

These cookies are a new holiday favourite! As well, this was my first chance to use my new electric mixer (Thanks Domestic Goddess!)

Science Fact of The Week:

Cinnamon has been used for many years for medicinal purposes. It contains cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate which have been shown to contain numerous health benefits. It has many antioxidants which protect the body from oxidative damage. As well, it is anti-inflammatory and may reduce the risk of heart disease. It may help treat type 2 diabetes by increasing the sensitivity of insulin.

Mandelbroit

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This delicious recipe has been tried and tested for many years in our household. Give it a try for a delicious addition everyday snack. Great on their own or to dip in coffee.

Ingredients

¾ cup olive/grapeseed/coconut/canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
½ tsp. pure almond extract
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups each whole wheat flour and unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups Vector/Special K Protein/Fibre 1 cereal, coarsely crushed
1 cup toasted blanched slivered almonds
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. cinnamon + 4 tsp. granulated sugar, combined for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Beat oil, sugar and eggs in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Add almond extract and vanilla and beat again.

Combine flours and baking powder in a separate bowl and slowly add to mixture.  Mix until just combined.

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Combine cereal, almonds and chocolate chips in a separate bowl.

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Add to mixture and mix until just combined.

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Chill batter in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 2-24 hours.

Divide mixture into 4 equal parts and shape into logs approximately 7- x 2-inch in size (approximately 1-inch thickness). Place onto cookie sheets.

IMG_5151.jpgBake at 350F for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

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Slice into ½ inch slices and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.

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Bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Can be stored sealed at room temperature for several weeks.

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Makes 4 dozen mandelbroit.

This is the “Jewish” version of biscotti.  These cookies are also twice baked but because of their oil content, they are more crumbly and do not have to be dipped in coffee in order to be enjoyed.  I have worked on this recipe in the “lab” for several years and they are hopefully perfected.  Definitely one of my most favourite cookies both to bake and to enjoy!

Science Fact of the Week:

Our fact relates to the choice to use cereal in this recipe. In addition to adding some extra crunch, cereal adds many health benefits. In our house, we use Vector, which is low in fat, high in protein and fortified with vitamins and minerals. However, as with many cereals, beware of added sugars.

Apple Pie

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Now that the weather is finally starting to get cooler, it’s the perfect time to pick apples (or go to the grocery store and buy them). We picked up some Spy and Cortland apples, both of which are great for baking as they retain their shape and crunch.

This apple pie is a bit of a concoction, and we tested out some cool tricks to make the pie crust flakey. After a couple attempts, it worked perfectly. The secret is the use of apple cider and apple cider vinegar.

This pie is dairy free, and can be vegan if you swap out the egg wash for melted margarine.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

4 cups cake and pastry flour
12 tbsp. apple cider (cold) – Can be purchased at the grocery store. If unavailable you can substitute for ice water.
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup coconut oil

For the Filling:

8 cups of thinly sliced apples (about 8 medium or 6 large)
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt

For the Egg Wash:

1 large egg white, lightly beaten – swap for melted margarine to make this recipe vegan.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

Combine 1 cup flour, cider and vinegar in a small bowl.

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In a large bowl, combine remaining flour, powdered sugar and salt.

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Add coconut oil and margarine (cut into small pea sized balls). Cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter.

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Add wet ingredients to this mixture.

Divide dough in half and cover each with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

To prepare filling, cut apple into a large bowl and add remaining filling ingredients.

Roll out (on a floured surface) 1 of the divided pie crusts to approx. 1/8 inch thick (large enough so there is overhang off the edge of the pie plate.

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Cut off the excess dough and design the edges however you would like. Here I pinched the edges.

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Put the filling in the pie crust.

Roll out remaining dough and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Weave together to create a lattice. Alternatively you can roll out the dough and place on top. If you choose this method, ensure that you cut holes in the top to let steam escape.

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Brush pie with egg wash (or melted margarine)

Bake at 450˚F for 15 minutes before changing the temperature to 350˚F. Bake for an additional 35-50 minutes (until golden brown)

Feel free to use extra pie dough for design or to make mini pies in ramekins.  For mini pies, change additional baking time to 25-30 mins.

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Enjoy this delicious fall dessert with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Science Fact of the Week:

Our science fact this week relates to the use of different kinds of apples. Three apples that are great for pies are Spy, Cortland or Granny Smith apples. The texture of the apple is the most important. Macintosh are great for eating, but won’t suit the right texture for pie. You want to avoid apples that will get soft.

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

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A non-dairy pumpkin spice loaf to wow any house guest. Great for a crowd, this fall dessert is a perfect go to with a quick clean up and very little effort.

If you wanna prep in advance to make this even simpler, you can create a pre-packaged Pumpkin Spice mixture (in a ziplock) to quickly throw into the bowl next time.

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Ingredients:

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup olive/grapeseed/coconut/canola oil
4 eggs
2 cups pure pumpkin puree
3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

Process sugar, oil and eggs until well combined.

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Add pumpkin and process again. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

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Add to the pumpkin mixture alternately with water. Pulse until just combined.

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Pour batter into the 2 loaf pans and bake for 65-70 minutes.

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Aside from being healthy and colourful, pumpkin is very easy to use in many baked recipes. Be sure to use “pure pumpkin” and not pumpkin pie filling which has added sugar and other additives. A great loaf to serve for Sukkot/Thanksgiving or any time in the fall/winter.

Science Fact of the Week:

Since we’ve already spoken about the health benefits of pumpkin, we thought it was important to talk about the choice of oil in this recipe. By using an oil base we can replace butter, making this non-dairy and a lighter alternative. Grapeseed oil contains Vitamin E, which as an anti-oxidant has been tied to lower risks of cancer, heart disease and other chronic illness. Olive oil, coconut oil and regular canola all work well for the recipe, feel free to use whichever you have on hand.

Matcha Green Tea Scones

As you may remember, I had a bit of a scone obsession this summer. In addition to the earl grey scone, I created another tea infusion using  matcha (green tea).

Similar to the earl grey scones, it is important to work with grated frozen butter. I use the food processor to grate the butter quickly, but it can also be done by hand.

Ingredients:

For the Scones:

2 tbsp. boiling water
2 + 2 tbsp good quality matcha green tea powder (I use David’s tea Vanilla Matcha)
2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour (plus extra for counters)
6 tbsp (75g) granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, frozen (I throw it in the freezer ice drawer about 20 mins before I start making the scones, and take it out only when I’m ready to use it)
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream (I use 35% Cooking Cream)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

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For the Glaze

1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or 1/2 of a vanilla bean, seeded)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Mix the boiling water with 2 Tbsp. of green tea using a whisk. Let it sit on the counter to cool down.

Take the other two tbsp. of tea and mix with the next 4 ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a large bowl using a whisk.

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In a small bowl, whisk the scant 1/2 cup of heavy cream, vanilla, matcha concentrate and egg.

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Grate the butter (by hand or in the food processor) and add to dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter (or fork) to incorporate. IMG_3436.jpg

Pour wet ingredients over the butter mixture and incorporate with a rubber spatula. Make sure not to over-work the dough.

Flour a work surface to place your dough on. Shape the dough into a long rectangle (as pictured here).

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To cut the scones, look at the instructions with the earl grey scones.

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Bake scones for 12-17 minutes. 15 minutes usually works perfectly for me.

If you want scones on demand, these freeze well (pre-cut) in an air-tight container. Ensure that scones are not touching each other (divide with parchment). They can be stored in freezer for a few weeks before baking. Add two minutes to baking time when baking from frozen.

Allow the scones to cool on wire rack.

Mix ingredients for glaze in separate bowl. Top cooled scones with glaze.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Matcha has some unique properties. It is packed with antioxidants and is said to boost metabolism. It also helps detoxify the body and boosts the immune system. It may also improve cognitive ability and help us complete tasks more efficiently.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf

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Ingredients:

¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. olive/grapeseed/coconut/canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ cups peeled and finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium) –use fine shred blade on food processor

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½ cup semisweet chocolate chips tossed with 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place first 4 ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until well blended. Add applesauce and pulse until combined.

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3. Combine flours and the next 4 ingredients in a separate bowl.

IMG_4684.jpg4. Add flour mixture to processor and pulse until just combined.

5. Add the zucchini and pulse until just combined.

IMG_4687.jpg6. Add in the chocolate chips and fold in with a spatula.

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7. Transfer batter to 9- x 5-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.

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Bake for 55 minutes.

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What a great way to use zucchini in a low-fat chocolate cake. Shout out to Arielle W. for the suggestion to include this in the blog. This low fat cake is a great way to sneak a vegetable into a dessert. I’ve been making this for years but brought back, tweaked a bit and now results in delicious perfection.  Freezes well.

Science Fact of the Week:

Zucchini is low in calories and is actually classified as a fruit! Also called a courgette, it keeps you full while being very low in calories. It may also protect the cardiovascular system. It is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant and it contains Manganese, which is an essential mineral.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Espresso “Buttercream”

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This recipe is an adaptation from Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake.

A good chocolate cake is hard to come by. This one is great as a cake, cupcake, loaf, or cake pop. I’ve been making this chocolate cake recipe for about 10 years.

Feel free to get creative with this cake. Try topping it with fondant, sprinkles or toasted walnuts. This recipe is very adaptable. Swap out the icing for vanilla, chocolate, or any other flavour you can think of. One of my favourites is to make this as a two layer cake with whipped cream and strawberries inside, topped with chocolate frosting.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk (can swap for skim or soy)
1/2 cup extra light tasting olive oil (can also use canola)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp espresso powder

For the Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) non-dairy margarine, at room temperature
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Makes 24 cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare two cupcake trays with liners.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

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Add eggs, almond milk, olive oil and vanilla extract and mix well for 1-2 minutes.

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In a small bowl mix boiling water with espresso powder. Allow to sit for a minute before adding to batter.

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Mix slowly. Batter should be thin.

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Bake for 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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While cooling, prepare the whipped espresso frosting

For the Frosting:

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla and espresso powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the margarine for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides. With the mixer off, add the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing in between to incorporate.

Add the vanilla espresso mixture and continue to mix on medium-high.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Using almond milk allows this recipe to be dairy free, and adds some hidden nutritional value. Almonds are low in fat, and may help maintain a healthy heart and reduce blood pressure.