Cocoa Cornmeal Biscotti

IMG_4724.jpg

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.

IMG_4733.jpg

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.

IMG_4731 2.jpg

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.

IMG_4730.jpg

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

IMG_4729.jpg

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

IMG_4728.jpg

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

IMG_4727.jpg

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

IMG_4726.jpg

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

IMG_4725.jpg
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.

IMG_3331.JPG

Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Slowly mix in the flour and mix well.

IMG_2142.JPG

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).

IMG_7398.JPG

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

IMG_5897.JPG

IMG_3941.JPG

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

IMG_4735.jpg

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.

IMG_4755.jpg

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

IMG_4747.jpg

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

IMG_4746.jpg

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

IMG_4745.jpg

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

IMG_4744.jpg

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

IMG_4766.jpg

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

IMG_4743.jpg

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.

IMG_4742.jpg

IMG_4741.jpg

Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.

IMG_4740.jpg

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

IMG_4739.jpg

Frost the cooled cookie bars and decorate with sprinkles.

IMG_4737.jpg

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

IMG_4736.jpg

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

IMG_4079.JPG

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.

IMG_2590.JPG

IMG_3893.JPG

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

IMG_3350.JPG

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

IMG_4026.JPG

Spread out the mixture in the baking pan.

IMG_4283.JPG

Bake for 28-30 minutes (until set).

IMG_0918.JPG

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

IMG_3125.jpg

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.

IMG_3117.jpg

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

IMG_3120.jpg

Bake for 17 minutes, until very pale golden.

IMG_3118.jpg

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.

IMG_3121.jpg

Pour over the parbaked crust, spreading evenly.

IMG_3122.jpg

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

IMG_3123.jpg

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.

French Toast Casserole

IMG_3116.jpg

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.

IMG_3108.jpg

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.

IMG_3109.jpg

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

IMG_3111.jpg

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.

IMG_3114.jpg

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

IMG_3115.jpg

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.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

IMG_3032.jpg

For those who love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, this is a great alternative and easy to slice when chilled.  Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, this square is enjoyed by people of all ages.

Ingredients

IMG_3014.jpg

2 sticks unsalted pareve margarine, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 ½ cups creamy peanut butter (Skippy or natural)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ cups raspberry/strawberry jam
2/3 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a 9 by 13 by 2 inch cake pan with cooking spray.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the margarine and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.

 

With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

IMG_3015.jpg

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

IMG_3016.jpg

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread the jam evenly over the dough.

IMG_3017.jpg

Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.  Don’t worry if all the jam isn’t covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.

IMG_3018.jpgCool and cut into 24 squares.

IMG_3019.jpg

Science Fact of the Week:

Although peanuts are high in calories and fat, in moderation they confer many health benefits. Their anti-oxidants even help protect against heart disease!

Chocolate Crinkle Sprinkle Cookies

IMG_2136.jpg

These fun cookies are from Jessica Merchant’s book, “The Pretty Dish.”  I doubled the recipe as she suggested because I knew that two dozen cookies wouldn’t last long in my house.  They are oil, rather than margarine-based, allowing the use of several types of oil. I used “Sweetapolita” Sprinkle Medley to make them even more fun.

IMG_2144.jpg

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup coconut/grapeseed oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup assorted rainbow sprinkles

Directions

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat together the cocoa, sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

IMG_2143.jpg

Add the eggs, one at a time followed by the vanilla.

IMG_2141.jpg

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Batter will be sticky.

IMG_2140.jpg

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

IMG_2139.jpg

Place the sprinkles into a small bowl.  Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Using a 3 cm ice cream scoop, form the batter into balls, then dip into the sprinkles.

IMG_2138.jpg

Bake for 12 minutes and allow to cool.  Makes 46 cookies.

IMG_2137.jpg

Science Fact of the Week:

Grapeseed oil is often used in baking and cooking because it has a higher smoke point. Compared to olive oil, it can be heated to a higher temperature before smoking. Try using it as a replacement next time you fry anything!

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_2127.jpg

IMG_2135.jpg
These delicious vegan chocolate chunk cookies are easy to make. Possibly one of the best tasting cookies I have ever made.

These are always a hit and disappear quickly.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 ½ sticks (10 oz.) unsalted pareve margarine softened at room temperature
4 tbsp. espresso powder
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips/chunks
¼ cup granulated sugar for dipping

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

IMG_2133.jpg

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine, coffee, and sugars until well combined.

IMG_2134.jpg

IMG_2131.jpg
Stir in the flour mixture about ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

IMG_2130.jpg

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the granulated sugar in a small, shallow bowl. Scoop out about 1 tbsp dough and flatten it slightly into a disk. Dip one side into the granulated sugar and then set the disk, sugar side up, on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the disks about 2 inches apart.

IMG_2129.jpg

Bake until the edges start to darken, 12 to 14 minutes.

IMG_2127.jpgLet the cookies cool for 1 to 2 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer them to paper-towel-lined cooling racks to cool completely.

Yield: 41 cookies.

Science Fact of the Week:

Packing the brown sugar means pushing it firmly into the measuring cup. This compacts the brown sugar to ensure the correct measurement. Otherwise people can end up utilizing incorrect measurements of sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_0068.jpg

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.

IMG_0046.jpg

Whisk sugars and break and large chunks with your fingers
IMG_0047.jpg

Add melted margarine and mix for 1 minute. IMG_0049.jpg

Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

IMG_0050.jpg

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.

IMG_0059.jpg

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

IMG_0062.jpg

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

IMG_0065.jpg

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)