Sunday, April 29, 2012

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
with Askinosie Roasted Cocoa Beans

1 c Plugra European Style Butter
1 3/4 c sugar 2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1-2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoon orange zest

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Cook 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently, until butter foams and starts to turn golden brown.
Transfer butter to a large mixing bowl.
Using a mixer on medium speed, add sugar to butter and mix until well combined--about 1 minute. Beat in eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour until just combined.
Stir in chocolate, roasted cocoa beans and orange zest until combined.

Chill dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets, spacing about an inch apart.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Askinosie Chocolates and Askinosie roasted cocoa beans, as well as Plugra Butter sold at Harter House stores in Springfield and Harter House World Flavors.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pizza Please

I met Debbie Uhrig a couple of months ago and absolutely LOVE her.
She is a "Foodie" for sure and so we had a lot in common to talk about.
Debbie is the chef and teacher at the Culinary & Craft School at Silver Dollar City in Branson. Visiting the Culinary School at Silver Dollar City is a must on my list!

The following is her most recent BLOG, and since I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pizza, any shape or form, I just had to share this post with you.
Find out more about Debbie here;

Pizza Please, April 2, 2012
The Covered Dish
Debbie Dance Uhrig
Everyone loves pizza in all shapes and forms. With sauce or no sauce, standard mozzarella or more elite with asiago and gruyere. Whole wheat crusts, thin crusts, deep dish or the ever constant white flour crust. There's a crust, sauce and cheese to please every palate.

I thought I might give all of my readers a few tips to take the hustle bustle out of pizza night. How often do we know that we want to have pizza for supper? If you're like my family sometimes not until an hour before! The Italians will always allow their pizza dough to set for 24 hours before use. We Americans like to speed things up a bit by making it just when we need it. Let's look at some wonderful ways to have your pizza dough ready in a snap.

One thing I like to do is to roll my pizza dough out and pre bake the crusts for about 7-9 minutes at 425 degrees. Allow them to cool and freeze on end inside a large Ziploc bag. If you keep pepperoni and pre-cooked sausage on hand your pizzas will come together very quickly. You can freeze the pizza dough without pre-baking but the crusts are more fragile to handle.

If you decide to use whole wheat flour in your regular bread dough recipe here's a tip: Remember that whole wheat flour absorbs liquid at a different ratio than white flour. Peter Reinhart, the great bread guru, says to add 2 more tablespoons of the liquid for every cup of whole wheat flour in a recipe. You'll want to do the same if you use Semolina Flour in the pizza dough. Semolina is preferred by many for pizzas and pastas because of its wonderful elasticity. Semolina comes from hard durum wheat so you may need to add a tad more liquid. Also a quick note on the olive oil: The olive oil tenderizes the dough.

Let's chatter about the use of fresh vegetables on your pizza. A couple of weeks ago we ordered a take home pizza. It was the first time in months that I didn't make it myself. Ervin, my husband, and I got a supreme with lots of vegetables. The pizza looked beautiful but after my first bite I realized something was up. There were rings of pepper and onion, fresh mushrooms and slices of roma tomatoes over the top along with the meat etc. The vegetables had released so much moisture that the pizza tasted watery. It is often a good idea to sauté some of the vegetables and pat them dry before putting them on the pizza. Don't get me wrong if I do an onion, mushroom and sausage pizza I don't cook the onion and mushroom first. However when the pizza is covered with lots of vegetables some will be cooked in order to remove the access moisture.

Cheese: The most economical way to go is to use block or sliced cheese. Shredded cheese always has cellulose powder added to keep the cheese from clumping. In defense of the cellulose powder this is necessary with pre-shredded cheese. If you're making pizzas for young people stick with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. For adults you can play around with more creative avenues. Don't rule out asiago, feta, gruyere, havarti, provolone and blue cheese. You probably don't want a pizza covered with feta, but a few sprinkles would be a nice enhancement, same thing with blue cheese.

A couple of years ago I could make (one) sausage pizza for $3.85 per pizza. Now I'd have to change that up to probably $4.50 per pizza. As the kids mature you want them to hang out at your house. Stack the freezer full of pre cooked sausage and hamburger and pre made crusts. You can even cheat and instead of making your own sauces keep canned sauce on hand 24/7. Grandparents may want to make lots of 'small' pizzas so the little ones can make their own pizzas.

Pizza means family, fun and friendships. Invite the baseball team, the acteens at church, girl scouts and your neighbors for a fun night of PIZZA! Have a fun filled week!! Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Debbie's Pizza Crust
1 (1/2 tablespoon) quick rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil,
1-2 tablespoons cornmeal

You can dissolve the yeast in water, but if you use quick yeast you can actually put it in dry! Add the sugar, oil and half the flour together with the yeast and water. (If you dissolve the yeast in the water the water should be 'baby bottle' warm.) Add the remainder of the flour and the salt. Knead into a ball and place in a bowl. Spray the top of the dough with vegetable spray and allow to rise. (20-30 minutes). Roll the dough out in the cornmeal and maybe a dash of flour. Spray the stone or pizza plate and continue stretching the dough to fit, trimming. This recipe will make enough dough for 2 pizzas or one large jelly roll pan. Using a fork poke holes all over the dough, this is called 'docking'. You can even purchase dockers for pizza making, but a fork still works best for me. This gets out all the air bubbles. Bake the dough in a 400 degree oven for about 7 minutes to seal the crusts. At this point you would continue making the pizza or..Allow it to cool and freeze the crust.

**Quick rise yeasts were originally invented to go be put into a recipe with the flour, not into water. When we do place them in water it will take a 2nd rise to get them going because the water actually 'dilutes' them down. We could get more scientific on this, but we'll leave it at that.

**Feel free to divide the flour in half and use part semolina to white flour.