Thursday, November 13, 2014

No-Fail Pizza Dough

Go out for pizza?!
Are you kidding me?

Okay, I get it, its been a long week, no time or desire to cook.
I'll give you that.
But, if you have a few minutes to mix together some dough, all you have to do is let it sit for a couple hours before you use it.
It's a no-brainer, really.

this is what you'll need my brainless:

1 Tb. instant dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 c. warm water

mix the first 3 ingredients until yeast and sugar is dissolved and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
(if it never gets foamy, that might mean that your yeast is dead.)
Dead Jim, dead.  (bonus points for those of you who got that reference, ya nerds.)

Once the yeast is foamy, pour into your stand mixer and add:

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tb. salt
1 Tb. olive oil

Mix with the dough hook until all is incorporated and let mix on a medium setting for about 8 minutes.
It will look too wet at first, but will start to look less shaggy as it mixes.
You want the dough to be a little sticky, so it should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but be sticking to the bottom of the bowl.
If its just too wet, add a couple Tbs. of flour.

With oiled hands, lift dough from bowl and place into a well oiled bowl at least 3 times larger than the dough ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for a couple hours.
Since I live in the frigid Rockies, sometimes I sit this bowl on a heating pad set to its lowest setting for a kick start on the proofing process.

About an hour and a half into this, go ahead and preheat your oven to at least 450* with a pizza stone inside.

 Once the dough is all big and puffy, divide in half, cover again and let rest 10 minutes.
At this point, work each half into a 12 inch roundish shape on a piece of parchment paper (hopefully on a pizza peel or at least the back of a large cookie sheet), cover with pizza sauce (recipe follows), then cheese and finally the toppings.
If you don't need 2 pizzas, put one half into a quart ziplock, squeeze out the air and freeze for later.

Since you made your pizza on the parchment paper, all you have to do now is quickly open the oven door and shimmy slide the pizza (with the parchment) onto the hot pizza stone and shut the front door!

Keep a close eye on your pie, it should bake quickly, check on it at about the 7 minute mark.
You want it all melty and starting to char on the crust bubbles.

Once the pizza is done, CAREFULLY WITH AN OVEN MITT, pull the parchment paper with the pizza out of the oven and back onto the peel or cookie sheet.
I like to brush the crust edges with a melted butter/garlic/salt mixture before serving.  mmm....

Pizza Sauce:

6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 Tb. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. each basil and oregano
1 Tb. honey
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional but yummy)

This should make enough for both 12" pizzas.  Unless you like a super saucy pizza!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Velvety Dark Chocolate Sables

These are not a "kid" type cookie, well, unless your kids have very mature tastebuds!
Wonderful with tea, coffee, me...heh. 
Alright, alright, enough of that.

What you'll need my little cocoa niblets:

- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla (I like vanilla made from Mexican beans, but Im not the vanilla police, use what you want, just don't wear a sombrero, okay jefe?)
- 1/2 tsp. salt

Cream this until smooth, then add:

- 1/2 cup cocoa, dutch processed is loverly...
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup pecans, chopped fine (these are optional, but tasty!)

Form dough into a log approx. 2" x 12" long on a piece of wax paper, roll up into the wax paper and chill until firm.

Once the dough is firm, slice into 1/4" slices and bake off in a 350*F preheated oven for 13-14 minutes. 

Immediately remove cookies from pan and onto parchment or foil to cool completely before storing.

Try them, I think you'll like them!  Let me know if you enjoy these as much as I do ;)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Apricot Walnut Gorgonzola Artisan Bread

For the base bread recipe, please see this post for ingredients and instructions!
Artisan Bread

now...for the good stuff, Maynard.

Feel free to add your own creative additions...I think figs and bleu cheese would ROCK with walnuts.  Olives, feta and rosemary?
When your bread has gone through its first 14-16 hour rise, mix in your additions.
This is what I kneaded in:

- 2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
- 1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles

Knead add-ins into bread dough on floured parchment, then pick up the corners of the parchment and lower dough into a bowl and cover for last 2 hour rise.
Bake according to directions then try not to burn your mouth on the hot gorgonzola dripping from your freshly baked artisan loaf.

I reckon if you took this loaf of bread to your next wine tasting shindig, you might just become infamously epic.  You're welcome.


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