Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Do you know those cookies you buy at the grocery store? The ones that have been at every birthday and potluck since… ever?

I made it my goal to make them and they turned out perfectly.

These were originally from Sugar Hero.

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup coffee creamer
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For the Frosting:

1 stick butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp coffee creamer
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

For the Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In a mixer cream butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.

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Add egg, vanilla, sour cream and coffee creamer. I used a flavoured coffee creamer you find at the grocery store.

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Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.

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Place golf ball sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet, flatten slightly, and bake for 16-18 minutes.

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Wait until the cookies are cooled to frost.

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For the Frosting:

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar, coffee creamer, vanilla extract and salt.

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Frost the cookies by placing a dollop of icing and spread evenly. Top with sprinkles.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Use of cream, and sour cream in this recipe allow these cookies to be soft and fluffy. They are exactly like the grocery store ones and won’t disappoint.

Cocoa Cornmeal Biscotti

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Adapted from the New York Times Magazine, this was the first time that I used cornmeal in baking.  I typically don’t adapt the recipes too much the first time that I try them.  Other than doubling the batter from the original, making them nondairy and adjusting some times according to my oven, these were rich, dark and delicious and required few adjustments.  You can make the logs into any size and keep in mind that they will expand in the oven.

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup finely ground cornmeal
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted pareve margarine, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup MINI semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cornmeal together.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the margarine and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

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Slowly add the flour/cornmeal mixture and beat until just combined.

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Fold in the chocolate chips and almonds.  The dough will be thick and heavy.

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With slightly wet hands, form 3 logs (2 on one sheet and one on the other).

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Bake for 30 minutes, rotating each sheet after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

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Slice with a serrated knife into ½ inch slices and place back onto fresh parchment paper.

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Bake for another 10 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature before enjoying.

Science Fact of the Week:

People might be surprised to discover that these biscotti contain corn meal. Cornmeal is corn that has been dried and ground to be coarse. It adds a crumby-like texture to these biscotti, making them even more delicious!

Never Fail Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies are simple, quick and will not fail you. Make them for any event, ice them however you like and you’ll be sure to impress a crowd. This nondairy version of a National Post recipe, is easy to prepare in advance. You can decorate with coloured sprinkles just before baking, allow to cool and then dip in melted chocolate or ice with royal icing.

Ingredients:

2 sticks margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

Cream margarine and sugar in an electric mixer.

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Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Slowly mix in the flour and mix well.

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Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Roll out half the dough to about 1/8 inch.

Cut out using a cookie cutter (I used a graduation cap).

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Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Allow to cool completely before decorating. I used the royal icing from the Gingerbread People.

Science Fact of the Week:

People notoriously associate sugar cookies with being entirely butter. Using margarine allows these cookies to maintain a perfect texture and be non-dairy.

 

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

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I adapted these bars in a non-dairy version for my daughter’s bridal shower.  Originally from Two Peas and Their Pod, they are easy to make and a nice alternative to the traditional chocolate based bar.

Ingredients:

For the bars:

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted pareve margarine, at room temperature
¼ cup icing/confectioners sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the lemon “cream cheese” frosting:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted pareve margarine, at room temperature
8 ounce package Tofutti/pareve cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest of 1 large  lemon
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
5 cups icing/confectioners sugar
Assorted sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine, lemon zest and granulated sugar until well combined.

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Slowly add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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Add in the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

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Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

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Evenly spread the cookie dough into the prepared pan with a spatula.

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Bake for 14 minutes, or until the bars are slightly set in the middle.

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Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely. While the bars are cooling, make the lemon cream cheese frosting.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine and “cream cheese” until smooth.

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Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.

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Slowly add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Mix until smooth.

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Frost the cooled cookie bars and decorate with sprinkles.

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Cut the bars into squares and serve.  Store the bars in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Using toffuti cream cheese allows these bars to be dairy free, but still get that same creamy texture. Toffuti cream cheese is made from tofu yet is similar in texture and flavour to real cream cheese. This makes these bars just as delicious, but more versatile.

 

Fudgey Brownies

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If you are looking for a brownie to please a crowd, give these a shot. They are quick, easy and delicious! This recipe is from Half Baked Harvest.

Ingredients:

2 sticks margarine
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee (espresso powder)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment and spray with canola oil.

Microwave margarine and 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips and stir at 30 second intervals.

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Whisk the eggs for 1 minute. Stir into the chocolate margarine mixture.

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Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and stir until combined. Add the last 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

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Spread out the mixture in the baking pan.

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Bake for 28-30 minutes (until set).

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Cut once cooled.

Science Fact of the Week:

Softened and melted butter act differently in baking. Using melted butter makes it easier for the batter to mix. It can also be substituted for oil.

Chocolate Chunk Oat Bars

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Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, these bars tasted even better than I would have predicted when I was just testing the recipe.  They freeze well and are easiest to slice when chilled.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. chilled unsalted pareve margarine (14 tbsp.)

For the filling:

½ cup unsalted pareve margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup demerara style brown sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
½ cup finely shredded coconut
1 ½ cups chocolate chips/chunks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Cut the margarine into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps.

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Transfer the dough clumps to the prepared baking pan and press them evenly across the bottom and ¼ inch up the sides.

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Bake for 17 minutes, until very pale golden.

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Melt the margarine for the filling in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and salt.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and stir in the oats, coconut and chocolate.

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Pour over the parbaked crust, spreading evenly.

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Bake the bars for 23 more minutes until they are firm and golden and the bars are set.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Normally recipes require softened butter or margarine., however for this one it uses chilled margarine. This allows the crust to have bubbles of margarine melt all around, giving it a flakey texture.

Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

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ANOTHER SCONE?! Yes… It’s an obsession. Accept it and make them. These are a new flavour variation that I tried. They turned out perfectly!

Ingredients:

2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
1 tsp espresso powder mixed with 1/2 tsp hot water
1 cup raspberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

For the Glaze:

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extra

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl.
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Grate butter into flour mixture (using a box grater) and mix with a fork.

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Create a well in the centre and add heavy cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix these wet ingredients in the well and then mix with the entire mixture.

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Add in white chocolate and raspberries and mix well (use your hands).

Transfer to floured surface and cut the same way as the Earl Grey Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

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Allow to cool. Mix glaze ingredients and drizzle on top of scones.

Science Fact of the Week:

White chocolate is not actually chocolate, it is considered a chocolate derivative. It doesn’t contain any cocoa powder, rather it contains cocoa butter.

French Toast Casserole

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More of a star attraction at a brunch, than a dessert, this is a great way to use a leftover challah. Adapted from Bonnie Stern, French Toast Casserole is easy to make ahead and pop in the oven.  No need for any electric devices to prepare this showstopper. With the maple syrup already in the topping, there’s no need to add anything to this final product.

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Ingredients:

1 large challah, cut into cubed size pieces (no need to remove crusts)
2 ½ cups milk (skim, 1%, 2%, lactose free, almond, coconut, soy)
7 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¾ stick melted butter or nondairy margarine=
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Directions:

Beat eggs together in a large bowl.  Add milk and vanilla and blend until well combined.

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Add challah to bowl and immerse well (best to use clean hands).  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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Preheat oven to 350F and transfer challah mixture to 9-x13-inch pyrex pan.

Mix butter/margarine, brown sugar and maple syrup in a small bowl and drizzle over entire pan.

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Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

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Science Fact of the Week:

This recipe requires a little advanced planning. It is essential to leave the bread in the liquid mixture overnight to allow the bread to absorb all the liquid. Once baked, the liquid evaporates, leaving you with a crunchy outside and soft inside.

Chocolate Espresso Scones

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Well, I’m back on the summer scone kick. All I’m going to say is if you love coffee, these scones are for you. You might not even need a cup of coffee with this scone.

Ingredients:

2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp espresso powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
1 tsp espresso powder mixed with 1/2 tsp hot water
1 cup espresso beans, chopped

For the Glaze:

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl

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Grate butter into flour mixture (using a box grater) and mix with a fork.

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Create a well in the centre and add heavy cream, egg, vanilla extract and coffee mixture. Mix these wet ingredients in the well and then mix with the entire mixture.

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Add in espresso beans and mix well.

Transfer to floured surface and cut the same way as the Earl Grey Scones with Vanilla Glaze

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Bake for 10-15 minutes.

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Allow to cool. Mix glaze ingredients and drizzle on top of scones.

Science Fact of the Week:

 

All I’m going to say is caffeine. These scones are loaded with espresso powder which gives them a caffeine kick. Caffeine is a molecule that crosses the blood brain barrier and suppresses adenosine, a neurotransmitter that tells the body its time for bed.

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

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For those who don’t love chocolate… these tart and sweet lemon cheesecake squares will satisfy the craving.  This cheesecake combines the tart with the sweet in a perfect combination.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup coconut oil (or 1 stick butter, melted)

For the cake:

4 eight oz. bricks light cream cheese at room temperature (total 32 oz), cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 recipe Lemon Curd, warm or at room temperature

Directions:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon until well combined.

Drizzle the coconut oil over the crumb mixture and pulse until it resembles wet sand.  Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

In the cleaned food processor bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Process until smooth, about 30 seconds, stopping halfway to scrape the sides of the bowl.

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Add the eggs and process until the mixture is perfectly smooth and blended, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary, about another 20 seconds.

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Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan.

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Fill a small glass bowl with boiling water and place in the oven beside the baking pan (acts as a water bath and reduces cracking). Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center is dry to the touch, about 35 minutes. Turn the oven off and prop open the door for 15 minutes before removing the cake.

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To finish:  When cheesecake comes out of the oven, gently pour all of the curd onto the cheesecake and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.

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Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.  You can refrigerate it uncovered, as no detectable skin forms on the curd.  When slicing into squares, wipe the knife blade with a damp paper towel between each slice.

Science Fact of the Week:

Using light cream cheese in these cheesecakes lightens them up and gives in a smooth and fluffy texture. However, using light cream cheese in a frosting completely changes the texture. It causes it to be more liquidly and not form peaks.