Vegan Date Squares

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This adapted Smitten Kitchen recipe is a great way to use dates in a dessert or breakfast square/bar. Dates are very sweet and therefore very little sugar is needed in this vegan recipe.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups pitted dates, chopped
1 ½ cups water
Zest of a mandarin/clementine/orange

Ingredients for the crumbs:

4 tbsp. demerara brown sugar
½ cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 cup olive or coconut oil
1 ½ cups large flake oats
1 ½ cups plus 4 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. dried nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, combines dates, water and zest over low heat, simmering for 10 minutes, until liquid has absorbed and mixture has thickened.

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Set aside while you make the crumbs.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sugar and oil together.

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Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse rubble.

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Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

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Dollop the date mixture over it and use a small offset spatula to spread the mixture smoothly over the crumbs.  Sprinkle remaining crumbs over date layer and press lightly to cover.

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Bake bars for 25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges.  Cool in pan and then cut into squares.  These freeze well.

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Espresso Banana Bread with Chocolate Espresso Glaze

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This is a large loaf cake which makes good use of leftover bananas. Definitely a pick-me-up snack with the great combination of coffee and chocolate. Freezes well when wrapped with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
3 bananas
2/3 cup coconut/grapeseed/olive oil
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup almond/soy/coconut milk
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the glaze:

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. freshly brewed espresso

Directions:

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Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the bananas, oil, sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla and well processed.

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Add the dry ingredients and pulse until just combined.

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Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

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Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 60 minutes.

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Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan then transfer to a plate.

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Melt the chocolate in a microwave over 60-90 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar and brewed espresso and stir until it becomes a pourable glaze.

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Coat the cake with the glaze and spread over the top.

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Eva’s Apple Cake

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Ingredients:

5 large eggs
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil
3/8 cup orange/apple juice
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
3 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 ½ lbs Spy/Granny Smith apples (approximately 9 apples), peeled and thinly sliced
3 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

Directions:

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Preheat oven to 350F. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, oil, juice and vanilla and mix well.

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In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt;

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Add to food processor and pulse until dough begins to form.

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The dough will be very sticky. Remove dough from bowl and place on flour-covered surface. Knead dough until it no longer sticks to surface (add flour as necessary).

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Separate dough into 1/3 and 2/3 portions.

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Roll out crust (2/3 portion) to ¼-inch thickness and using the rolling pin, transfer the dough to the bottom of 9-x13-inch pyrex pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Trim edges as necessary.

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Combine apples, ½ cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a bowl and place onto crust of pan.

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Roll out remaining 1/3 portion of dough to ¼ inch thickness and cover the apple mixture, trimming edges as necessary.

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Gently slice into 40 small squares using a serrated knife to score them and to allow for some venting during the baking process. Sprinkle the entire cake with 1 tsp. cinnamon combined with ¼ cup sugar.

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Bake for 1 ¼ hours.

I doubt that anyone will find a proper version of this cake in any traditional cookbook. Eva is a Holocaust Survivor in her 90s who is an expert cook and baker like no other on food network television shows. I watched Eva make this, took copious notes and still couldn’t make it as perfectly and as easily as she makes it look. I’ve adapted her recipe to make “extra” dough to make this experience more “forgiving.” This is a recipe that needs to be passed on from generation to generation as there is really quite nothing like this delicious homemade apple cake with a cookie dough like crust and topping. Hint: the reason to make it in a clear pyrex dish is so that you can check if it’s done by checking the bottom (Eva’s trick).

Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

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Blueberries and bananas marry together in this delicious quick bread.  The cinnamon sugar sprinkle puts it over the top.  This recipe has been adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.  Makes 2 loaves or alternatively bake 1 loaf and 12 muffins.

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Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 ripe bananas
2 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup coconut/grapeseed/canola/olive oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups blueberries, tossed in ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.

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In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine bananas, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Process until smooth.

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Add flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

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Fold in blueberries.  Divide batter between the 2 loaf pans or 2 muffin tins.

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Bake for 60 minutes.

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If you use the batter for muffins, bake 12 muffins at 375F for 23 minutes.

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Blueberry Loaf

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Adapted from a recipe given to me by my friend, Elaine, this cake takes just minutes to prep and freezes well.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut/grapeseed/olive oil
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries, tossed in 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

For the topping:

Option of 3 tbsp. turbinado sugar sprinkled over batter or a combination of ¼ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon, blended and then sprinkled over the cake.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 8 ½- by 4 ½-inch loaf pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

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In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the eggs, sugar, oil, juice and vanilla.

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Add the flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

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Fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter in the pan and sprinkle with your choice of topping.

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Bake for 65 minutes.

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Alternatively bake for 24 minutes if using the batter to make 12 muffins.

Jordana’s Bubby Shell’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This amazing chocolate chip cookie adapted from Max’s friend’s grandmother can be done in one bowl in a food processor.  You can’t have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes in your repertoire.

2 ½ sticks unsalted pareve margarine, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup demerara brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together the margarine and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Mix until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

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In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.

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Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix until just combined.

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Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

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Chill the dough for 2-24 hours.  Use a small ice cream scoop to form portions of dough into round balls.

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Bake for 10 minutes.  Makes approximately 56 cookies.

Alternative method: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the margarine, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Process until well combined, approximately one minute.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and pulse until just combined.   Mix in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

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 (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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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.

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!