Marvin’s Babka 2 Ways

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Making babka is a daunting process.  This was truly “going into the lab” several times to try to perfect these recipes. They are adapted from Ottolenghi, Smitten Kitchen and Carine Goren.  There are 2 methods, one easy bread machine recipe and one traditional “from scratch” using a stand mixer and dough hook.  The final formation and shaping do not need to be exact so it’s okay to come up with a more rustic looking product.  The taste will not disappoint.  It is best to read through the full instruction choices in order to budget your time accordingly.

Method 1: Bread Machine Babka Dough

Ingredients:

¾ cup water
5 tbsp. canola/olive/grapeseed/coconut oil
2 tbsp. honey
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
3 ¾ cups best for bread or unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. traditional active dry yeast

Directions:

Place ingredients in the order above into container of bread machine.  Follow machine instructions and remove when ready after 2 hours.  Divide dough in half and knead gently and roll each out into a rectangle.  I don’t usually measure the size of the rectangle but aim for about ¼-inch thickness which usually means approximately 12 x 16 inches.

Method 2: Babka Dough from Scratch

Ingredients:

4 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 6 tbsp. extra flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. traditional active dry yeast
Grated zest of 1 small lemon or half an orange
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup water plus 3 tbsp. extra water
¾ tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup (10 2/3 tbsp.) unsalted pareve margarine, room temperature

Directions:

To make 2 loaves, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer.

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Add eggs and water, mixing with the dough hook until it comes together.

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Add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough doesn’t come together.

With the mixer on low, add the salt, then the margarine, a spoonful at a time, mixing until it’s incorporated into the dough.

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Then, mix on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until dough is completely smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

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Flour can be added 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Coat a large bowl with oil, place dough inside and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

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Allow to rise for 3 hours at room temperature then refrigerate for 30 minutes to make the rolling easier.

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Feel free to choose from either of the 2 fillings below but use the streusel topping to finish it off.

Chocolate Filling:

Ingredients:

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate or 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted pareve margarine
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. cinnamon

Cocoa Filling:

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted pareve margarine, melted

Streusel Topping:

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. cold unsalted pareve margarine, diced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg white for glaze

Directions:

To make the Chocolate Filling, melt margarine and chocolate together in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth.

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Remove from heat and stir in confectioners sugar, cocoa and cinnamon.

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This will form a spreadable paste.

Spread half of the filling over one of the rolled out rectangles, leaving a ½-inch border all around.

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Brush the end father away from you with water.  Roll the dough up with the filling into a long, tight cigar.  Seal the dampened end onto the log.  Stretch the log a bit to approximately 16-20 inches long.

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Cut off the ends of the log and transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and freeze for 15-30 minutes.

To make the Cocoa Filling, combine the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa in a bowl.  Brush the rolled out rectangle with half of the melted margarine.  Sprinkle half of the cocoa filling over the dough and roll it up as in the previous paragraph and transfer to the freezer.

For both methods, remove the log from the freezer, and gently cut the log in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up.

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Pinch the top ends gently together.  Lift one side over the next, forming a twist.

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Then fold again to fit into a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

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Cover the loaves with a tea towel and allow to rest for 1 ½-2 hours.  They will rise slightly.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Brush each loaf with egg white and sprinkle half of the streusel over the loaf.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Check doneness with a toothpick and if they are not done but are browning, cover loosely with aluminum foil for another 5-10 minutes.

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Allow to cool before removing from pans. Feel free to wrap well for the freezer.

 

 

Brookies (Max Style)

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I decided to make a different style of brookie as well. I even took to instagram to take a poll of how to name them. I personally voted for Crownie, but sadly brookie won.

I made these after trying a similar dessert in Jimmy’s coffee.

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
6-8 Large Brownies, chopped into small pieces (like the ones I made a few weeks ago)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In bowl of stand mixer, mix butter and sugars for two minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda and mix well. Scrape the sides of the bowl well. IMG_3894.jpg

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Slowly add flour and mix well.

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Stir in the chocolate chips.IMG_3897.jpg

Scoop out 1-2 tbsp of dough. Flatten and put a few pieces of brownie in the middle. Roll into a ball and push a couple pieces of brownie into the outside.

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Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool.

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Brookies (Marvin Style)

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Adapted from allrecipes.com, this is the perfect combination of brownie and cookie.

Ingredients:

Cookie layer:

½ cup unsalted pareve margarine, softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Brownie layer:

1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted pareve margarine, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the margarine, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.

 

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Add the egg and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

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Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.

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Gradually stir flour mixture into margarine mixture until dough is combined.  IMG_4761.jpg

Stir chocolate chips into dough.

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Spread dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to cover completely.

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Stir sugar, melted margarine, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Add eggs and beat well.  Mix cocoa into margarine mixture until well combined.

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Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.

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Pour brownie batter over cookie dough and spread to cover completely.

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Bake for 25 minutes and cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Dark Chocolate Fudgey Brownies

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I made these brownies with the intention of cutting them up to put in cookies (recipe to come soon). However they turned out perfectly so I thought it was worth sharing this recipe as well. These brownies come from Inspired Taste.

Ingredients:

1.5 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line and spray an 8×8 inch pan.

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a double boiler. Stir until melted and combined.

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Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and eggs and mix well.

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Once combined add flour and stir 50 times.

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Transfer to pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Unsweetened cocoa powder has many health benefits, such as balancing cholesterol. This means that it lowers LDL and increases HDL cholesterol. It can also improve brain health with its neuroprotective benefits.

Smitten Kitchen’s Favourite Brownies

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Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, these chocolate fudge brownies can be made in one bowl and don’t need any frosting.  With a crackly/sugary top and fudgy brownie texture, they are best sliced after being chilled for a few hours.

Ingredients:
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted pareve margarine, room temperature
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water (double boiler), melt chocolate and margarine together.

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Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt.

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Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula and scrape batter into the prepared pan.

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Bake for 25 minutes and chill before slicing.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Fudge is a gooey substance made of sugar, butter and milk. These brownies use margarine and sugar to get that same creamy texture with ease.

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.