Ready? Set? Bake!
Did you come into the lab this morning to discover the -80C freezer with your precious samples inside beeping like crazy? Or that you’ve spent all morning ransacking all of your boxes for the one sample that you need and can’t find it? Or perhaps you came in super early to set up a big experiment, everything is ready to go and then you realize that you forgot to order the reagent necessary for the first step. I’m sure we’ve all had similar days in the lab where no matter how hard you try, everything goes horribly wrong. Murphy’s Law right? My solution? I retreat to the kitchen. The one thing we as budding young researchers can do is follow a protocol. Hopefully. So, I’ve decided to share some ‘protocols’ that consistently produce positive (and edible!) results, not to mention the pleasant aromas. Plus, you’ll have something around to snack on while your gel is running, and your labmates just might be more agreeable to come in on the weekend for you if you decide to share! Below are two recipes I’ve recently tried with great success. I try to use healthier options when possible, such as replacing oil with applesauce and using whole wheat or unbleached all purpose flour when baking. You can also try some of these healthy, yummy snacks and more first hand by dropping by the Sidney Smith lobby (click here) on Tuesday, January 19, where the Heart & Stroke Foundation – UofT club is having a bake sale. Come by for some healthy treats in support of the HSFO!
See below for the actual recipes (!)
Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Bites (adapted from the HSFO website - I substituted raspberry for strawberry jam, and have used both walnuts and almonds, which worked just as well. Other nuts like hazelnuts or peanuts are also good substitutes. I also added a spoon of ground flaxseed for some added fibre.)
1 tbsp butter 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (about 2 ½ squares of baking chocolate) 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 1/3 cup strawberry jam ½ cup packed brown sugar 1 egg 1 egg white 1 tsp vanilla 1 tbsp ground flaxseed ¾ cup all purpose flour ½ cup chopped walnuts 16-24 walnut halves
1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). 2. Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl (in a microwave or over a pot of boiling water) until smooth, for about 1 minute. 3. Add in applesauce, jam and sugar until combined. Beat egg with egg white and vanilla, and mix into chocolate. 4. Slowly fold in flour, flaxseed and walnuts until well mixed. 5. Grease muffin pan with baking spray, or line with paper. Fill pan with batter, topping each brownie with one half walnut. Bake for 10 -12 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 6. Remove brownies from pan to cool. Makes 12-16 brownies, or 24 bite-sized ones if a mini-sized pan is used. Can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.
Biscotti (Try other biscotti ‘flavours’ such as adding cocoa powder, chocolate chips and almonds; or a mixture of almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios).
3 cups spelt flour 3 eggs 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup canola oil 1 tsp vanilla ½ tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp baking powder 1 cup dried cranberries 1 cup semi-sweet white chocolate chips
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. 2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla with a whisk or fork. 3. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. 4. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients slowly, folding it in to form a dough. Flouring your hands will help to roll the dough until all of the flour is incorporated. 5. Divide the dough in half, making two ‘logs’ about 3-4 inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. 6. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until it has browned slightly. 7. Remove from the oven, allowing the dough to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F. Using a serrated knife, slice the two loaves into single biscotti, about ¾ inch thick. 8. Place cut biscotti flat on baking tray and bake again for another 20 minutes. After 10 min, flip biscotti over for even baking. Biscotti should be firm and lightly browned. 9. Let cool for 15 minutes. As an added touch, biscotti can be rolled in sugar or dipped in chocolate after baking. Enjoy with your coffee or tea!