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.

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.

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.

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.

Confetti Cookies

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I made this cookies from Smitten Kitchen and they were an instant winner. No adaptions necessary.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cups cream cheese (55 g)
1 large egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

Mix first 4 ingredients in a food processor.

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Add butter and cream cheese in cubes (1/3 at a time) and mix well.

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Add egg and vanilla extract and mix well. If there isn’t enough space in your food processor transfer to a bowl and mix with your hands.

Place dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes and preheat oven to 375˚F.

Roll dough in to balls (approx 1 1/2 tbsp). Once warm from your hands roll around in a bowl of sprinkles to cover.

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Transfer to a cookie sheet and flatten using a drinking glass.

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Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Science Fact of the Week:

Adding cream cheese to these cookies changes the texture from a normal cookie. It softens them and gives them an almost melt in your mouth feeling. It’s crazy how much texture can change with the addition of a single ingredient.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This carrot cake is an old recipe from Ina Garten that will be sure to impress a crowd. I made this as an addition to the shavout festival of cheesecakes and it was a huge hit.

The cake is best if you bake the layers the night before and let sit over night in the fridge.

Before starting make sure to prep the ingredients. I used a food processor to grate the carrots, chopped the walnuts and diced the pineapple.

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Ingredients:

 

For the Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups grapeseed or vegetable oil
3 eggs, room temperature (if you forget to bring them to room temperature, allow the eggs to sit in warm-hot water for 5 minutes)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

For the Frosting:

1.5 bricks of cream cheese (3/4 pound), room temperature
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 or 3 circular pans with parchment and spray with canola oil spray.

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Beat sugar, oil and eggs in an electric mixer. Add vanilla and mix again.

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

In another bowl toss raisins and walnuts with 1 tbsp flour. Add carrots and pineapple to this mixture. Add to the batter and fold in.

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Divide batter equally between circular pans and bake for 40-45 mins if 3 layers or 55-60 mins if 2 layers.

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For the Frosting:

Cream butter and cream cheese in stand mixer.

Add vanilla and mix again.

Add sugar in 3 parts. Mixing after each to combine.

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To ice:

Place a little bit of icing on the bottom of your cake plate and smooth out. This will help the cake stick in place.

Place first layer with flat side down and spread icing on top. Put second layer and repeat). If using three layers repeat and ensure that flat side is facing up.

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Evenly coat in a layer of thin frosting and refrigerate for 15 minutes to seal in the crumbs.

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Add more frosting on top and smooth out.

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Top with pieces of fresh pineapple.

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Science Fact of the Week:

This cake has plenty of carrots which are a high source of antioxidants and can decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Maple Cheesecake

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For this special edition post we are sharing one of our favourites. Maple Cheesecake. This weekend is the Jewish Holiday of Shavout. On this holiday it is traditional to eat dairy, so we’ve deemed this the cheesecake holiday. I love to make cheesecakes for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. We hope you enjoy this one.

This uniquely Canadian cheesecake gets most of its sweet flavour from reduced pure maple syrup.  To make a reduction, place 2 ¼ cups pure maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until it is reduced to 1 ½ cups.  Allow to cool to room temperature before using in batter.

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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 ½ eight oz. bricks of light cream cheese at room temperature (36 oz. total)
¾ cup brown sugar
4 ½ tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ cups reduced maple syrup (see above)
1 cup low-fat sour cream (not fat-free)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and combine well.
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Drizzle the coconut oil over the crumb mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.

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Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-x13-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.

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Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.

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Cube the cream cheese and place in the cleaned food processor bowl.  Process until creamy and smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

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Add the sugar, flour, and salt and blend until smooth.  IMG_2860.jpg

Add the maple syrup, sour cream and vanilla and process again.  IMG_2862.jpg

Add the eggs, 2 at a time, and process just until blended after each addition.

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Pour the filling into the cooled crust.

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Bake in the oven beside a small glass bowl filled with boiling water (acts as a water bath and reduces cracking).

IMG_2864.jpgAfter 55 minutes, turn the oven off and prop open the door for 15 more minutes before removing the cake.  Allow to cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until ready to serve.

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.

Special Edition: Caramelized Matzo Crunch (Passover)

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In honour of the holiday, we are posting early this weekend and are sharing our recipe for chocolate covered matzah.

I have been making this Marcy Goldman recipe for many years.  It can be made nondairy/pareve by using Passover margarine, however the cottonseed and palm oils used are less than desirable from a health perspective.  As well, the taste is much better when using good quality butter.  There are only FOUR ingredients in this amazing delicacy which we call “crack,” because of its addictive nature.  It can keep in the refrigerator for up to one week in a sealed Ziploc bag.

Ingredients:

5 plain matzos
200 g butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and break the matzos into appropriate sizes so that they can accommodate the cookie sheet.

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Bring the butter and sugar to a boil over medium heat.

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Once the sugar is dissolved, allow the mixture to turn to amber colour.  Take it off the heat and pour the mixture over the matzos.  Bake for 10 minutes.

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Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the matzos and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes.

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Spread the chocolate over the matzos.

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You can quickly set the chocolate matzos in the fridge and then break it up into pieces.

Science Fact of the Week

Matzo is unleavened bread made from flour and water! It can only be in the oven for 18 minutes as beyond this point it is considered to rise. Although matzo is for passover, this is so delicious you might want to eat it year round.