Cinnamon Rolls

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These were a first attempt and they turned out perfectly! This are a perfect addition to any brunch and will make your Sunday sweeter for sure. They don’t need the topping, but are delicious with the cream cheese frosting.

The recipe originally comes from: Ambitious Kitchen with some added espresso powder.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

3/4 cup warm milk (110˚F)
2 1/4 tsp quick rise yeast
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp sugar

For the Filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp espresso powder

For the Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

Put warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer and add yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes
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Add sugar, egg, egg yolk, sugar and melted butter. Mix well.

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Add flour and salt. Mix slowly until combined. Then mix with dough hook on medium speed for 8 minutes.

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Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel.

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Let rise for 1 and a half hours (until doubled in size)

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Transfer to a floured surface and roll out into 9 x 13 rectangle.

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Spread melted butter.

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Mix sugar, cinnamon, and espresso powder in a bowl.

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Sprinkle on top.

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Roll tightly and place with seam side down on a cutting board or surface.

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Cut into 1 inch pieces with a serrated knife and transfer to a 9×9 square pan, or 9 inch circular pan (springform).

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Let rise for 30-45 minutes.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350˚F (until golden brown)

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Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

While the cinnamon rolls cool, mix frosting ingredients in an electric mixer and frost cinnamon rolls.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Yeast feeds on sugar to activate. For this reason you can’t just mix yeast and water. For breads it’s often yeast, water and sugar. For this recipe I used lactose free milk (because that’s what we had in the house) and realized that because of the lack of lactose, the yeast would not activate. So I tried again with 1 tsp of sugar and it worked perfectly.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These chocolate chip cookies are from BuzzFeed and are delicious! I modified them a little to be non-dairy. Follow the instructions carefully and they will turn out perfectly. I recommend using a scale to measure ingredients. If you don’t have one, I recommend scooping and levelling the ingredients to ensure they are measured accurately.

These cookies are delicious and disappear rather quickly. I recommend doubling the batch because they are such a hit.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (300g)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup packed LIGHT brown sugar (250 g)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (175 g)
1 3/4 sticks of margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of non-dairy chocolate chips
Flakey Sea Salt

Directions

Mix flour, salt and baking soda.

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Whisk sugars and break and large chunks with your fingers
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Add melted margarine and mix for 1 minute. IMG_0049.jpg

Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

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Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips and mix with a spatula. IMG_0052.jpg

Refrigerate the batter for 10 minutes and then scoop into balls using a cookie scoop. IMG_0058.jpg

Place dough balls on a tray and wrap with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. At this point the balls can also be put in a ziplock bag and frozen for up to 3 months.

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Preheat oven to 375˚F and sprinkle cookies with flakey sea salt.

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Bake for 12-16 minutes. If baking from frozen, may need an additional couple minutes.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Some people ask: “why do we have to refrigerate the cookies, we just want to eat them immediately?!” This is because the butter needs to solidify. This stops cookies from spreading excessively (although these do spread quite a bit)

Margarita Granita

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Today’s recipe requires little effort and should be made for any celebration (or for margarita Mondays).

Ingredients:

1 cup tequila
1 cup cointreau
Juice of 5 limes (~1/2 cup)
Juice of 1 lemon (3-4 tbsp)
3-4 cups ice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender. Pour blended margarita into a 9×13 pan and freeze. At this point you can drink some of it as a celebration for making it this far.

After 3 hours, remove the pan from the freezer and “grate” the frozen margarita with a fork. Spoon into a glass and serve.

Science Fact of the Week:

Alcoholic beverages have a freezing point below that of water (below 0 degrees C). As such, the granita remains partially liquid, because of the alcohol content.

The Best Blueberry Muffins

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These muffins are the best blueberry muffins I’ve ever had. I know this is a serious statement, but I’m not one to say it lightly.

This recipe is originally from Smitten Kitchen, however I swapped a few ingredients to make the recipe non-dairy and doubled it (to make 12 XL muffins). You might think it’s insane to add a teaspoon of sugar to the top of each muffin, but I swear its worth it. Don’t worry about the dough being too thick, it is supposed to be (similar to cookie dough) and feel free to use frozen blueberries.

I used bakery style (fluted) muffin liners which allowed me to overfill these muffins.

Ingredients:

1 stick and 2 tbsp (10 tbsp) margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 and 1/2 cup tofutti sour cream
2 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
12 tsp turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

Directions:

Heat oven to 375˚F and line a muffin tin with 12 liners.

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Put melted margarine, sugar, zest, tofutti sour cream and eggs in a bowl and mix well.

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Add baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour, mix well.

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Fold in blueberries.

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Divide batter between muffin cups (let it be a lot) and add 1 tsp turbinado sugar to the top of each muffin.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops are perfect, crunchy and golden brown.

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These freeze very well and are a great go to muffin recipe. Serve to a crowd or throw them in your lunch to brighten up your day.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Tofutti sour cream is made with a mixture of different types of soy including tofu and don’t any contain dairy. However, it still contains a very similar texture to dairy sour cream because of its products such as carrageenan gum, inulin and rice starch.

Green Tea Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Time for another cupcake! This time green tea with cream cheese frosting. The pairing is unique

Ingredients:

For the cupcake

1.5 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp matcha powder (I use vanilla matcha from David’s Tea)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 stick butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

For the icing

8 oz brick of cream cheese, room temp
1 stick butter, left out for 30 minutes
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Directions:

For the Cupcake:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a mixmaster.

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Add in butter, one cube at a time, until combined and mixture looks like coarse sand.

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Add eggs, one at a time at low speed.

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Add milk and vanilla slowly and beat for 2 minutes.

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Fill liners.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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For the Icing:

With a paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.

Add the tsp of vanilla and mix slowly. If it is too thick at 1/2 tsp of milk at a time until you have the right consistency.

Science Fact of the Week:

I often asked what makes cake flour so special? Why do we use it? Now I’ve found the answer! It actually relates to protein! Cake flour has less protein in it, giving it a softer texture.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I have made this recipe a few times, originally from Ina Garten. There are a lot of steps, but you end up with a delicious soft red velvet cupcake thats worth it.

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp gel food colouring (+1 tsp water) or 2 tbsp liquid food colouring
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cup cake and pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar

For the icing

8 oz brick of cream cheese, room temp
1 stick butter, left out for 30 minutes
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy

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In a small bowl, mix gel food colouring with 1 tbsp of water and cocoa powder. Mix with a fork until it becomes a paste.

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Add cocoa food colouring mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined.

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Add eggs and mix well after each addition.

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Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

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Add vanilla to buttermilk. I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand so I made a substitute at home. I put 1 tbsp lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup and filled to the top with 1% milk.

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Add dry and wet ingredients, alternating between the two until well incorporated.

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In a separate bowl mix baking soda and vinegar. The two will bubble (similar to your grade 7 science experiment). Mix until it stops bubbling and add to the batter. Mix well.

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Transfer to muffin liners.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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For the Icing:

With a paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.

Add the tsp of vanilla and mix slowly. If it is too thick at 1/2 tsp of milk at a time until you have the right consistency.

Science Fact of the Week:

As you can probably guess, seeing as this recipe relates to a classic middle school science experiment, it seemed important to explain the science of mixing baking soda and vinegar. The mixing the reaction generates carbon dioxide gas. This is an example of an acid base reaction. It helps the red velvet rise well to make a light and airy cupcake.

Cookies and Cream Mini Cheesecakes

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These little cheesecakes are a favourite for any event. Easy to eat without a plate or cutlery, these cheesecakes leave behind very little mess.

Making these, I intended to add a fudge swirl to modify the recipe from Martha Stewart’s Original. Upon realizing I forgot muffin liners (AFTER already forgetting Oreos) I rushed out to the grocery store with my friend to pick some up. I came home to find my house filled with smoke because I left the fudge melting on the stove. Luckily there was no fire and I baked some challah to cover the smell of smoke. Thanks DN for the support and help throughout this adventure.

Taking this as a sign that I shouldn’t change the recipe, the only changes I made were using light cream cheese and sour cream.

Ingredients:

18 Oreos (any type, try a fun flavour to change it up)
2 8-ounce packages light cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light sour cream
a pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 275˚F and line a muffin tin with liners (that you purchased in advance). Place 1 whole Oreo in the bottom of each liner.

In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese.

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Add sugar and beat again.

IMG_0863.jpgCrack two eggs into a separate bowl and beat together.

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Add vanilla and the egg mixture slowly.

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Place remaining 6 Oreos in a ziplock back and break apart (using a rolling pin). Stir in oreos.

Divide batter into muffin liners and bake for 25 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

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These can be stored in the fridge (in an airtight container) for 3 days or the freezer for 1 month.

Science Fact of the Week:

Sour cream is a dairy product that results from fermenting cream with lactic acid bacteria. Sour cream is high in healthy fats which may be protective against disease. It is also rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, riboflavin and phosphorous. These nutrients are essential for eyesight, immune health, bone health and energy.

Cranberry Orange Scones

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These were again created off the same favourite base scone flavour. They truly work with any combination of flavour and are a great snack to keep on hand.

Make ahead and freeze the dough for a quick and fresh treat.

Thanks AH for the flavour suggestion and the help making these.

Ingredients:

For the scone

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
zest of one orange
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

For the glaze

1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice

Directions:

Mix the the first 5 ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest) in a large bowl.

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Grate frozen butter (simplest to use food processor). Add butter to flour mixture and combine with pastry blender or fork. Mix until flour is combined and no larger than pea sized amounts remain.

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Create a well in the centre and add cream, vanilla and an egg.

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Mix wet ingredients in the well with a fork. Combine dry and wet ingredients with a spatula.

Shape and slice the dough exactly as done in Earl Grey Scones with Vanilla Glaze.

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Bake for 12-17 minutes (15 minutes works perfectly for me).

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Science Fact of The Week

A single orange can contain 75% of the recommended dose of vitamin C. Maintaining regular doses of vitamin C can be preventative of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Last year I wrote a literature review of vitamin C and cancer, looking at its use even as a cancer treatment. To get some extra vitamin C, you can eat the extra orange left after juicing! Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C is actually higher in other natural food such as red and green peppers!

 

Soft Pretzels

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I was once stuck in the LaGuardia airport for 8 hours, and since the Air Canada terminal barely had anything aside from an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels I was limited in my dinner options. I would probably say this was the beginning of my soft pretzel addiction. I later made them for the first time on National Pretzel Day (April 26 for reference) and have since used this recipe to make pretzels for any random occasion.

When making my last batch I actually made an error. I placed the dough in the mixmaster bowl and covered it with a damp cloth to rise, and put it in the oven (off) so it was in a warm dark place. I later turned the oven on to preheat (for something else) and forgot the dough was in there. 30 minutes later I realized the rising dough in the bowl was beginning to bake. I have since learned to check if anything is in the oven before preheating it.

Anyways, I’m sure I’m boring you with my stories about pretzels, let’s get to the recipe. Try this with half multigrain flour for a bit of a more nutritious option.

The base recipe comes from Baker By Nature (adapted).

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 Package Rapid Rise Yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 and a 1/2 cups bread flour (optional to make 2 and 1/2 cups of it with multigrain bread flour)
6 tbsp margarine, softened

For the Cooking Liquid:

8 cups water
1/2 cup baking soda

Egg Wash

1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt

Toppings

Flaked Sea Salt

Directions:

Combine water, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes (until foamy).

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In a stand mixer with hook/dough attachment add flours, margarine and yeast mixture. Mix until combined and dough is kneaded (10-12 minutes).

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Transfer the dough to and oiled bowl and let rise for one hour (doubled).

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Preheat oven to 450˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large wide pot bring water and baking soda to a boil.

Divide dough into 8 pieces, then divide each in half to create a total of 16 pieces. Roll each ball of dough into a strand (approximately 3/4-1 inch thick).

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Shape the dough into a “U”.

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Fold the right edge towards the left 1/3 of the strand.

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Fold the left edge towards the right 1/3 of the strand.

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Fold the end of each dough under the pretzel.

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Place the shaped pretzels in the boiling water for 20-25 seconds.

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Brush the pretzels with egg wash and sprinkled with flaked sea salt.

Bake for 10-13 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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The dough freezes well once shaped and can be used at a later date. Allow to defrost and continue from boiling baking soda mixture.

Science Fact of the Week:

Although I’ve always used yeast in baking, it wasn’t until grade 12 that I understood how it works. Yeast are small single cell organism that make the dough rise by metabolizing simple sugars. Carbon dioxide and alcohol (not in alcoholic levels) are released into the dough to make it rise. This is used to help bake breads, cinnamon rolls, pretzels and even pizza dough.

Gingerbread People

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Tis the season for gingerbread men and women, so we thought we would share our favourite recipe. This has been tweaked from the original (added espresso powder and vanilla extract) and works perfectly. Decorated with royal icing, people will be asking you where you bought them.

Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp espresso powder (optional)

For the Royal Icing

2 tbsp meringue powder
1 lb icing sugar
6 tbsp water

Directions:

For the Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Cream the margarine (or butter) and sugar in an electric mixer.
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Add egg, molasses and vanilla. Beat well.

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Add in the dry ingredients (remaining ingredients) and mix slowly at first.

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Once incorporated, increase the speed of the mixer until a dough is formed. Scrape down the edges and mix again. It should be sticky.

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Shape the dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for minimum 2 hours, and up to 3 days.

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Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use a gingerbread cutter to shape. Use a spatula transfer the gingerbread to a lined baking sheet.

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Place baking sheet with gingerbread men in the refrigerator for 30 mins. This allows the dough to maintain its shape when baking.

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Bake for 8-14 minutes (depending on the size of your gingerbread cutter). I used a small one, and my cookies baked for 9 minutes. They are done when they are just beginning to brown and are firm.

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For the Icing:

Sift the sugar and meringue powder into bowl of electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add water and beat until it has soft peaks.

I like to ice the gingerbread men using ziplock bags and multiple colours. I transfer spatula-fuls of icing to a ziplock, add food colouring, and then seal. I mix it around in the ziplock and then slice a tiny piece of the edge to create a make-shift piping bag.

I use white icing to draw all the faces first. Feel free to get creative and draw emoji faces (Thanks RT for that idea). I’ll then use different colours to add gum-drop buttons, ties, bowties, draw outlines and any other designs. Be creative!

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Domestic Goddess lovingly refers to these as Menchies (little people). They are great.

Science Fact of the Week:

Like me as a kid, you may be asking – what on earth is molasses? Molasses is a byproduct of refining cane sugar. It comes from crushed sugar cane. It comes in multiple forms: light, dark, molasses, blackstrap, sulphured and unsulphured. We use unsulphured molasses, meaning it has no sulphur dioxide added to it. Molasses is very high in sugar, but it is unlike refined sugar in that it contains some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and selenium.