Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Pizzeria!

Welcome to my Pizzeria! Today's special menu is 3 for the price of one! With one pizza dough you'll have an appetizer, a main dish and dessert, of course.

Wonderful pizza dough provided by our amazing host Rosa, via "The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread" by Peter Reinhart.

Let's start by the appetizer: Fried pizza dough!

Easy, easy: just roll out your dough and cut it with a pizza cutter (or knife) in a shape you prefer and fry them in hot oil. Serve with dipping sauce and crunch away!

Now while you wait for the pizza to bake I'll give you the recipe:

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH

  • 4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour chilled
  • 1 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Instant yeast
  • 1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil
  • 1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

Today's special pizza toppings include:

  • Homemade tomato sauce
  • Black olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Linguiça (a portuguese cured spicy sausage)
  • Oreganos

Day One: Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer). Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

Day Two: On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan (do not preheat the pan). Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

In this pizzeria we bake our pizzas with the sauce first and then we put the toppings and bake some more. This way the pizzas are never soggy.

When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Your pizza is ready! Eat it up while I get the dessert ready!

Do you still have room for a Toffee Apple Crumble Pizza? I do...

Toffee Apple Crumble Pizza:
  • Pizza dough
  • Toffee sauce*1
  • Sliced apples
  • Crumble topping *2

*1- Toffee sauce: Use store bought or make your own. Caramelize 1/4 cup sugar, when it has a golden color and no lumps add 1/4 cup hot heavy cream (it will bubble a lot) and keep stiring until you have a smoth cream. Add a tbsp butter and mix until melted. keep in the fridge and if it's too hard to use, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds.

*2- Crumble topping: Same quantities (I've used 1/4 cup) of: cold butter, brown sugar, rolled oats, flour and 1/4 tsp salt and cinnamon. Mix with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Crunchy, sweet, gooey, chewy, fruity, spicy... Really, what's not to like?

Are you pizzed-out allready? No? Go check the other Pizzerias then!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm sticking with chocolate chip cookies!

Ok, this has got to stop! All my last posts are about chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip cookie related. Enough allready, don't you think?

I'll stop but as for this post I'm sticking with them, or at least making sticks out of them!

No recipe today, just a quick idea for your weekend. A while ago I made Banana filled chocolate chip cookies and had a bit of cookie dough left. Instead of opening a new banana I made these. They are very easy and you can do them with almost any chocolate chip cookie recipe.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE STICKS
  • A chocolate chip cookie recipe (look here for ideas)

Make your dough according to your recipe. It's better to use a recipe that makes a soft dough, so it's easier to spread. Spread on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpad, with the help of an off set spatula (if you don't have one, a normal spatula, a knife or even the back of a spoon can help). Bake as you would your cookies and when they're golden brown take them out of the oven. They'll be soft and that's how you want them. Immediatly cut stripes of the dough at the lenght and wideness you prefer. If you're using a silpad remove the baked huge cookie to a cutting board before cutting, so you don't cut your silpad (those things are expensive!), but work fast, because this way they'll cool faster and also harden faster, making it difficult to cut even stripes or sticks. Let them cool and harden and munch away.

Some ideas to use the sticks:
  • Eat as they are (no probelm with that!)
  • Use to stir coffee, tea or hot chocolate
  • Dip in chocolate ganache
  • Dip in peanut butter
  • Put on a tall jar and give as a gift
  • Make chocolate roses and use the sticks as their stems
  • Stick a marshmallow in one of the sides (maybe my favourite use)
Forget about forks or wood sticks, these cookie sticks are the perfect device to toast your marshmallows!

See what I'm talking about?

Have a great weekend people! And stick arround!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Chart!

Welcome to my new home! A home full of cookies, just like any home should be!

I'm really happy with this facelift and I hope you like it as well. Hannah from Craner Design Studio was my blog plastic surgerion! She was great, she just asked me a few things and I think I told her something in the lines of simple and goofy, because that's who I am, and then she came up with this. She even made a design of me based on a picture. And you know what? That is exactly the happy face I do when I'm baking cookies! Visit Hannah's site or her blog if you would like a blog makeover yourself!

Speaking of cookies....

I've made a Chocolate Chip Cookie Chart with 10 famous recipes! I think it's cool to compare them side by side and makes it easier whenever I want to come up with a new recipe. I've leveled all recipes by the number of eggs and quantity of butter, to end up with similar amounts of dough. I decided to share the chart with you, because I know you all love chocolate chip cookies!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE CHART

*Creaming Method: Beat butter with sugar(s), add egg(s) and finally mix in the powders and chips.

*AHBECCC: Check this post.

I left the last one empty so you can add your own favourite! I hope you find it useful. Remember you can click on the images the enlarge them.

If you can't see it properly, email me and I'll be happy to send you a Word Document of the chart.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hard boiled is the new raw!

Oh yes, another hard boiled egg cookie! This time we invited oatmeal, raisins and walnuts to join the party! And what a great party it was!

I meant to have written this post earlier, but I do have to work sometimes. Haven't you read my last post where I gave a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe made with hard boilded egg? Well did you think me, Anna and Katrina would finish there? Oh no! We then made an Oatmeal version!

This time the 3 of us came up with 3 slightly different recipes and although I haven't tasted theirs I can say they were probably equally delicious. In fact Katrina that is a chocolate girl said that from all the cookies she made using hard boiled eggs, this one was her favourite!

Moist yet crumbly interior. Yummy!

AMAZING HARD BOILED EGG OATMEAL COOKIES (Small Batch)

  • 2.4 oz all purpose flour (1/2 cup)
  • 2 ounces butter (4 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 of a hard boiled egg or 1 tbsp egg cooked in the microwave
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal (slightly ground)
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp raisins
Melt butter and add both sugars and honey. Mix well and add the cooked egg passed thru a sieve or finelly grated and the vanilla. Combine well and mix in all the powders: flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Lastly add the walnuts and raisins. Take to the frigde for at least 15m, so the dough hardens a bit and you can shape 2 big round balls. Bake in a 350ºF (180ºC) pre heated over for 15-20m (mine took 17m).

That was my version, check Anna's Oatmeal Cookies here and Katrina's here!

Now do you think that would be the end of the hard boiled egg madness? Nop, it wasn't! Anna still experimented with an amazing looking Double Chocolate Hard Boiled Egg Cookie! Check it out here! I have yet to make some, but Katrina allready gave them a try and aproved! Check the ones she made here, plus some more Oatmeal ones made with whole wheat flour! Don't my cookie friends rock?!

Maybe we're a bit hard boiled egged out now, so I think we will go back to baking with raw eggs again!

Before I drown myself in work again I would like to thank 3 nice girls for 3 nice awards! Mão na Massa sent me the Prémio Dardos, Lisa gave me the Chocoholic Award (really Lisa, how did you guess?) and Alexa awarded me the Excellent blog award! Thank you so much!

Now go boil some eggs, go!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sometimes it's hard... boiled!

Today’s cookie is an extra special collaboration between three baking bloggers. Anna (Cookie Madness), Katrina (Baking and Boys), and I shared the same idea of how we wanted a certain cookie to be, so we started with a base formula then made adjustments to the ingredients and technique until we agreed that the cookie had achieved our vision. Several stomachaches (and many emails) later, we ended up with a delicious cookie.

And so with an ocean and some US states in the middle, this is our cookie:

We hate wasting ingredients so to start, we made a very small batch yielding 2 cookies. Once we fine-tuned that, we scaled it up to 8 cookies. For those of you who don’t need 8 cookies, we’ve included the small batch version as well. The first recipe makes 8 large cookies, and by large, we mean 1/4 pound each. These are big, fat, sturdy cookies that are perfect for wrapping decoratively and presenting to friends. What’s great about these cookies is they hold up well. The cooked egg keeps them fresher longer and gives the middle an interesting moist yet crumbly texture. The technique we used to build the cookie also plays into that. We made the whole cookie in a food processor and started by cutting cold butter into flour. The cookies take about 20 minutes to bake. You can bake them in a regular oven or if you own one, a convection oven.

RECIPE:

Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 12. 4 oz all purpose bleached flour (2 ¾ cups spooned and swept)
  • 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (16 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 hard boiled egg*, cut into big chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies (Small Batch)

  • 3.1 oz all purpose bleached flour (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour)
  • 2 ounces cold unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 of a hard boiled egg*
  • 1 tablespoon lightly beaten egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small handful of chocolate chips

Combine flour and butter in food processor. Pulse until mixture is mealy and coarse. Add the salt and baking soda and pulse to mix. Add both sugars and hard boiled egg. Pulse again until mixture is mealy looking. Add in the raw egg and vanilla and pulse until mixture just begins to come together. Dump mixture into a bowl, add chocolate chips and shape into balls. You will see egg whites in dough – they’ll disappear as the cookies bake. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until cookies appear lightly browned around edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

The first batch makes 8 big cookies, the small batch makes just 2.

Important: Let cool completely before serving. The texture gets better as the cookies cool. It’s even better if you cool the cookies, freeze them, then thaw them.

Note: If you have a convection oven, try convection baking for 18-20 minutes. Anna tested in both types of oven and liked the convection oven texture a lot.

* About the hard boiled egg: I don't know where this idea came from first, but it's used in some ancient European recipes. It's not uncomun to use this technic in some bakeries to achieve a certain cookie texture, it's more usual to use just the hard boiled egg yolk, but the whole egg is also used.

You can do it like this and just mix the egg in the food processor or if you want you can also pass it thru a sieve or grind it before adding it to the dough. Other alternative is instead of hard boiling it, you can microwave beated egg for a few seconds (about 20-30 for a whole egg) until it gets the consistency of a omelette. You can then grate it, or cut it in small chunks and proceed as we say in the recipe.

It was so much fun creating a cookie in 3 different kitchens! We really had a blast with this one!

Check Annas's cookies here (she even made a Cookie Q&A) and the ones Katrina made are here!

.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Banana filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Multitasking (according to Wikipedia): The ability of a person to perform more than one task at the same time.

And what does that have to do with the cookies? Well, just to tell you they're so easy you can do a bunch of other things while making them, like I did. This of course if you are a woman and so, able to multitask. If you're a man, maybe it's better to focus and do just the cookies!

Ever since I made these cookie wrapped figs, that I've been thinking about putting other fruits inside cookies. Today I've experimented with slices of banana and chocolate chip cookie dough. It was a very nice experiment!

See the banana inside?

I had a bit of baby cereal that I wanted to use, so I decided to throw it in the cookies. I love baby cereal, you know the kind I'm talking about? That milky powder one, that smells like vanilla and crushed biscuits, and that you mix with water or milk. Don't tell me I'm the only adult eating it!

I've used Cerelac, but you can use whatever or even use your go-to chocolate chip cookie dough.

So you want the recipe?

BANANA FILLED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

  • 8 tbsp butter (114 gr)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup moscovado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup baby cereal
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 banana

Cream the butter with the sugars and add the egg and vanilla. Beat a bit until incorporated. Add all the powders (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cereal) and mix well. Lastly mix in chips. Cut the banana into slices (1/2 inch-1 cm). Drop tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet. Put a banana slice in each one and top with more dough, covering the banana. Help with wet hands if necessary. Bake in pre-heated over at 350ºF (180ºC) until golden brown (about 8-10 m).

Cookies were good, surprises are allways good and if they came in banana form inside a cookie, they're even better, don't you think? I couldn't really taste the baby cereal but the dough was pretty tasty, I'll put more next time. The cookies came out cakey and soft out of the oven, but crisped and became lighter when they cooled. I think they would be awesome with peanut butter chips as well.

Ok, you can take a bite, just be careful with my fingers!