Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Puff Pastry Pizza Pockets




Here's another one of those recipes that makes me feel a little crazy. I mean, crisp, buttery puff pastry enveloping a pocket of pepperoni and melted cheese? There's really nothing healthy about that action, but I did it anyway. I had the dough, so why not? I knew these would be tasty, but I hadn't anticipated what a great sensory experience these would be. Dipped in the pizza sauce, these are quite salty--but a good salty. Flaky, crisp and buttery on the outside, but tender, melty and cheesy on the inside. Mmmm. I only ate two of these, my friend ate one, and my eating buddy Ezra ate the rest. Yes. He ate six of these and he didn't even get sick. 
The recipe below is for 9 pizza pockets, but it only uses a quarter of a puff pastry dough recipe. So, really, you could quadruple the filling part and make way more (and freeze the unbaked pizza pockets that you don't want to eat right away). You could probably even divide the dough into thirds and then try making 16 pockets from one third of the dough. I just wrote the recipe the way I did it because I know it is true and it's what you see in the pics. This is an amazing dough with so many possibilities. This savory application has to be one of my favorites so far.

Puff Pastry Pizza Pockets

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 recipe of Puff Pastry (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian shredded cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup diced pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the cheeses, Italian seasoning, and the diced pepperoni. Set aside.
Roll the fourth of dough out into an approximate 12 x12 inch square. Trim the sides with a pizza cutter to "square it up" to approximately a 9 x 9 inch square. (Save and bake the scraps for snacking.) Cut the large square into nine three-inch squares. Brush two adjacent sides of each square with water. Place about 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon of cheese/pepperoni filling into the center of the square. Fold over into a triangle and press edges to seal. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. When you've made all 9, take a fork and press fork around the sealed edges to ensure a seal. Then take a sharp knife and poke 2 vents in the top of each triangle. (At this point, you can either freeze turnovers on a wax paper lined sheet pan and then transfer to freezer bags so you can bake them up later a few at time.)
Bake at 400 degrees for 14-17 minutes. If you're going to bake the frozen turnovers, place as many as you want to bake, about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow them to sit at room temperature while you allow the oven to get to a nice 400 degrees Fahrenheit (I recommend at least a 30 minute preheat).
When turnovers are golden brown and puffed, remove from the oven. 
Serve hot with warmed pizza sauce.
Makes 9 small pizza pockets









Puff Pastry
   Ingredients:
Instructions:
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. Cut cold butter into half-inch slices and add to the flour mixture. Toss until butter pieces are coated with flour and separated from each other.
Stir egg and ice water together and then pour all at once into the flour/butter mixture. Using a spoon quickly mix until you see no obvious wet spots. Butter will still be in large pieces and "dough" will be in shaggy bits and there will still be lots of flour that's not mixed in yet.
Turn the dough out onto a large sheet of parchment paper (or a lightly floured pastry cloth if you have one). Knead the dough ten times or so by pressing and pushing dough together, using the parchment between your hands and the dough, to form a rough square shape. Using a little extra flour for the rolling pin, roll dough into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Fold 2 short sides to meet in the center. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge to form 4 layers. You will now have a long rectangle about 7 1/2 by 5 inches.
Repeat rolling and folding process once more. Wrap dough in the parchment paper you're using, and then wrap that in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 20-30 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process two more times, and then chill the dough another 20 minutes before forming the pizza pockets.
Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Use dough within 24 hours.
Maybe try making some Dutch Letters, Mini Apple Turnovers, or Two-Bite Chocolate Croissants with the remaining dough. Or you can just make more puff pastry pizza pockets and freeze them.



Monday, July 14, 2014

S'mores in a Pan

S'mores in a Pan

If you spend any time at all looking at food on Pinterest, you've seen this amazing take on s'mores. It's such an ingenious idea, that I don't know why we all hadn't heard of it before Pinterest. I actually think these taste better done with the Hershey's chocolate, but all I had on hand was the Dove. As you can see by the empty pan at the bottom of this post, nobody cared that it wasn't Hershey's chocolate. 
I made this pan of s'mores as part of my friend Jen's gluttonous visit to Iowa last week. I overheard her telling her food envious husband about it when she told him, "You broil chocolate and marshmallows in a pan and then you eat it with graham crackers like chips and salsa!" Great description, Jen. And it was loads of fun eating waaay too much with you last week. Let's do it again next year.

S'mores in a Pan
     --originally from Dessert for Two (I think)

Ingredients:
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place chocolate evenly over the bottom of a 8"x8", 9"x9", or 7"x10" pan. Top chocolate with mini marshmallows.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes, and then turn on the broiler. Broil until marshmallows are toasted to your taste, keeping an eye on it the whole time. Marshmallows burn fast--but you should already be aware of that if you've made s'mores before.
Place hot dish on a heat-proof surface and serve hot with graham crackers that have been broken into their four sections. Be very careful not to burn yourself.
Serves 4-6






Friday, June 27, 2014

Baking Powder Biscuits

Baking Powder Biscuits

My kids have been watching these random humor videos by a guy named Tobuscus. The one they keep playing for all our enjoyment is called "Nugget in a Biscuit," and so as I was making gluten free chicken tenders and mashed potatoes for dinner, I decided we needed some biscuits to go with them. I actually intended to let the Pillsbury Dough Boy make biscuits for us tonight because, truth be told, I love those biscuits every once in a while. Well, I forgot to buy them, so rather than going without, I broke open my new Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and gave her baking powder biscuit recipe a try because I had no buttermilk. Well, I didn't have enough heavy cream for the recipe either, so of course, I improvised with the wet ingredients you see listed below. They turned out awesome, and I think I may actually like them better than my other go-to Buttermilk Biscuit recipe. I'm pretty sure it's the whole stick of butter in these that makes them so, so good. I mean, I love to slather my biscuits in butter, but these did not need additional butter. Honest. One of my boys did actually, do the "nugget in a biscuit" thing and made a little sandwich or two. And then he proceeded to eat like four more biscuits with butter and then some strawberry jam. I probably ate more than my share as well. So good.
If you're looking for a tasty baking powder biscuit, look no further. Martha has once again proven why she is America's homemaking queen. If you like baking, go ahead and buy her Baking Handbook too.

Baking Powder Biscuits
    --Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook; click here for her recipe online

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cold, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream*
  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 1/4 cup sour cream*
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Toss cold butter into flour mixture, and then with a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it looks like a coarse meal and there are still a few relatively large chunks (1/4 inch) of butter here and there.
Mix the cream, milk, and sour cream with a whisk and then pour into the dry mixture. (*Note: the original recipe just calls for 1 cup heavy cream for the liquid--I didn't have enough heavy cream, so I used cream, milk, and sour cream.) With a silcone/rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients with the wet just until incorporated. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over a few times until it holds together. Be careful to not overwork the dough.
Shape dough into a rectangle abour 1 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares. Place biscuits, evenly spaced, onto parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until nicely browned all over.
Remove from oven and serve hot with butter, jam, honey, etc.
Makes 12 biscuits.


Why cut biscuits in circles? This is way easier and faster.
Ezra's enjoying a nugget in a biscuit

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This is going to sound pathetic, but the other day at an education conference, we were treated with Panera for lunch and dessert. The little cookie and brownie bite just didn't satisfy me, and I didn't get to enjoy them with milk. I appetite had been whetted, and I was compelled to go home and mix up some chocolate chocolate chunk cookies with which I could enjoy a tall glass of cold milk. The funny thing is that this dough requires at least a 24 hour rest time in the fridge, so I didn't even get to enjoy these until the next evening. They were worth the wait.

Although the cookies themselves don't look all that deep and dark in color, because of the relatively large amount of chocolate chunks in the batter, the flavor is super chocolatey. When these cookies are still warm out of the oven, they are crisp around the edges and soft in the middle. Very nice. Once they cool, though, they lose the crisp edge and just become chewy, which is also very nice. I can tell you for sure that they are delicious at all stages because I've eaten waaaay too many of them trying to get some decent pics of the inside. I know, I know. I don't HAVE to eat them to take pics, but, um, these were so good that I wanted to.
Since I really have enjoyed my Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies that involve a little bit of cream cheese in the douugh, I decided to adapt it into a chocolate cookie, and it works. The only problem I had with these was the stickiness of the dough. I tried to refrigerate the dough in a brownie pan lined with parchment, like I've been doing with some chocolate chunk cookies. Unfortunately, it was just too messy to be worth the "ease" of that portioning method. So, if your'e going to do this, I just recommend using a cookie scoop.
P.S. I have to tell you, these cookies do taste better than I have been able to capture with my pics. There's something super difficult about photographing chocolate cookies, and since I'm just a photography hack, it shows in pics like the ones you see here. 

Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies
       --adapted from For Me-For You who in a roundabout way got it from Jacques Torres

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cake flour 
  • 2/3 cups  King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, such as kosher

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 9 oz. good quality semi sweet chocolate chips/chunks/discs (I used two 9.5 oz bags of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped an chopped into large chunks.)
Instructions:
Combine flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Put dry ingredients through a sieve to sift them together. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low/stir; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks, and mix briefly to incorporate. Place in an airtight plastic container, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Once chilled, you can bake or scoop dough balls to freeze for later baking.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheets and leave about 2 inches between cookies. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes or until puffed and set at the edges. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more. 
Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk. Mmmm...

Makes about 4 dozen smallish cookies






Monday, June 23, 2014

Chicken Salad Sandwich (on Focaccia)

Chicken Salad Sandwich (on Focaccia)--good stuff
This is another one of those "recipes" that is so simple, it seems silly to post it. I love it, though, and I want to share it with the blogosphere. I usually enjoy this chicken salad on a croissant, but since I've been on this focaccia kick, I started using focaccia, and I have to tell you, it takes chicken salad to a different level--spices it up a little bit. When I have chicken salad, I have to eat it with alfalfa sprouts too. If you don't have an aversion to this veggie, you really need to try it with chicken salad, on focaccia, a croissant, or whatever your favorite bread is. Do it.

Chicken Salad Sandwich (on Focaccia)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded leftover rotisserie chicken
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sliced and toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 3x5 piece of focaccia, sliced horizontally for a sandwich

Instructions:
In a small bowl, mix the chicken and mayonnaise. Then stir in the almonds. Open up the focaccia and place chicken salad on the bottom half. Place alfalfa sprouts on top of chicken salad. Top with the top of the focaccia. Enjoy.
Serves 1





Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mini Apple Turnovers

Mini Apple Turnovers
Just enough apple filling


Summer vacation means I have time to bake. I've been wanting to make some Three-Bite Dutch Letters to have in the freezer for my husband, and I thought it might also be fun to use the leftover apple filling I have from the last time I made Dutch Apple Pie Cookies to make some mini apple turnovers. And this is what I did. 
It's somewhat uncommon these days that my husband will try something new I've made, and his eyes will widen and he'll something like, "Wow!" He's so used to my cooking and baking, that it's hard to get a "Wow" any more. These did it, and that makes me happy.
I really like these because 1. They involve puff pastry--one of my favorites, 2. They are cute, and 3. You can hold them in your hand without the risk of dribbling the contents all over the place. Plus they taste great. 
This is just one more yummy thing you can do with the fabulous dough originally meant for Jaarsma's Dutch Letters. What will be next?

Mini Apple Turnovers

Ingredients:
  • 4 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (1 pound) cold butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 batch of apple filling (recipe below)
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream & 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, for icing, if desired
Instructions:
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. Cut cold butter into half-inch slices and add to the flour mixture. Toss until butter pieces are coated with flour and separated from each other.
Stir egg and ice water together and then pour all at once into the flour/butter mixture. Using a spoon quickly mix until you see no obvious wet spots. Butter will still be in large pieces and "dough" will be in shaggy bits and there will still be lots of flour that's not mixed in yet.
Turn the dough out onto a large sheet of parchment paper (or a lightly floured pastry cloth if you have one). Knead the dough ten times or so by pressing and pushing dough together, using the parchment between your hands and the dough, to form a rough square shape. Using a little extra flour for the rolling pin, roll dough into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Fold 2 short sides to meet in the center. Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom edge to form 4 layers. You will now have a long rectangle about 7 1/2 by 5 inches.
Repeat rolling and folding process once more. Wrap dough in the parchment paper you're using, and then wrap that in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 20-30 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process two more times, and then chill the dough another 20 minutes before forming turnovers.
Once dough is chilled, and the filling is cooled, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Refrigerate remaining pieces while you work with one piece at a time.
Roll the fourth of dough out into an approximate 13 x13 inch square. Trim the sides with a pizza cutter to "square it up" and made the edges clean.* Cut the large square into sixteen relatively equal sqares. Brush two adjacent sides of each square with the egg white and water mixture. Then scoop about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple filling into the middle of each square. Fold the square into a triangle and press edges slightly to create an initial seal. Then take a fork and go around the seams of each triangle and press firmly to seal. Then take a sharp knife and poke 2 vents in the top of each triangle. 
At this point, you can either freeze turnovers on a wax paper lined sheet pan and then transfer to freezer bags so you can bake them up later a few at time, or you can place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, and then bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes. If you're going to bake the frozen turnovers, place as many as you want to bake, about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow them to sit at room temperature while you allow the oven to get to a nice 375 degrees Fahrenheit (I recommend at least a 30 minute preheat).
When turnovers are golden brown and puffed, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. When turnovers have cooled about 10-15 minutes, you can drizzle them lightly with icing, or eat them as-is.


*You can bake the scraps up just for fun and snacking...or you can freeze them for the next time you make Chicken Pot Pie Soup and you can eat that with the soup instead of the pie crust. YUM!

Makes 64 mini turnovers


Apple Filling

Ingredients:
  • 4 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup water (or 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup apple juice)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Instructions:
In a large bowl, toss diced apple with lemon juice and set aside.  Pour water (or water + apple juice) into a high-rimmed saute pan over medium heat.  Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, & nutmeg.  Add to liquid in pan, stir well, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add apples and return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Stir in raisins. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and cool completely before using.

This is the dough rolled out the first time.




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Focaccia Pizza

Easy focaccia pizza

Lately my son has wanted focaccia for at least two meals a day. A warm, buttered square for breakfast, and a ham, pepperoni, and mayo focaccia sandwich for lunch. Last week I doubled the recipe and froze about 22 nice squarish pieces of focaccia. We are almost through that batch. This week, since we're on summer vacation, I decided to use some of that focaccia for some quick pizza for lunch. I knew it would be good, but it's acutally way better than I even anticipated. The focaccia makes for an almost biscuit-like crust, but with enough body to hold together and get crunchy on the bottom and around the edges. The open cut soaks in the sauce, and the whole thing is just easy and delicious. I'm sure this would be great on store-bought focaccia too, but it's so easy to make, I really recommend you try it.

Focaccia Pizza for One
(recipe is easily multiplied to suit your crowd)

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of focaccia (about 4 x 5 inches) sliced in half horizontally
  • 4 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup (approx.) shredded mozerella cheese (or some Italian cheese blend)
  • 2-4 slices deli size pepperoni, cut into little squares
  • other pizza toppings, as desired

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and lay the two focaccia halves on top, cut side up.
Spread about 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce onto each focaccia half. Sprinkle with cheese and top with pepperoni or other pizza toppings.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 8-12 minutes, depending on how done you like your pizza.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before eating.
Serves 1





Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Caramel Almond Rice Krispie Treats


Caramel Almond Rice Krispie Treats


  • After making Rice Krispie treats the other day, I decided I needed to make something else interesting with crisp rice cereal. Caramel seemed a natural crisp rice cereal treat adhesive, so I googled some recipes and saw that it's been done--a lot of them being "salted caramel" variations. 
  • The first time I made these I cooked the caramel to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, and they turned out rock hard. Edible if you microwaved them before eating. Not ideal. After cooking the caramel to only about 217 degrees, I got the results I wanted: chewy, crispy, nutty, sweet and satisfying. Way better than plain old Rice Krispy treats. 

  • Caramel Almond Rice Krispie Treats
  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
Line a 9 x 13- inch pan with parchment paper. Place pan on top of a wire cooling rack.
In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, whipping cream, salt, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer stirring occasionally, but carefully with a silicone spatula. When the thermometer reaches 215-218 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in vanilla. 
Stir in rice cereal and almonds until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top with silicone spatula. 
Place 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips over half the treats, or 1 1/2 cups over the whole thing, depending on whether you want to have a none, a few, or all with chocolate on top. 
Wait about 10 minutes and then spread melted chocolate over the top.
Allow treats to cool a couple of hours before cutting. It actually takes a long time for the chocolate to set up. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 24-36 servings



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Two-Bite Chocolate Croissants

So cute and so tasty

I told a friend that I would make some Three-Bite Dutch Letters for her daughter's graduation party. I just gave the frozen pre-baked little letters to her this morning, but since I made a double batch, I somehow ended up with one fourth of a recipe of dough on my hands. So, what does any normal person do with a slab of extra puff pastry dough? She breaks up some Dove Dark Chocolate bars into little squares and wraps the chocolate with little rectangles of the dough. 
These are awesome, and I was even able to save some in the freezer to bake up fresh at a later date. I tell you, this Dutch letter dough is easy and amazing. It's not quick to make, but it's easy. And it's versatile and delicious. I'm pretty well convinced that I've eaten way too much of it over the last week.
I've had so much fun with this dough, that I want to make some more just to experiment. That will have to wait, though, as I still have about a week and half left of teaching before summer break. Then I leave for Washington DC with my 13-year-old and a group from his middle school. 
I digress. Try this out. I think you'll like it.

Two-Bite Chocolate Croissants
    --adapted from Midwest Living Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold butter (1 pound)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 9 Dove Dark Chocolate Bars (1.44 oz. size), broken into squares
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar
Instructions:

For dough, in a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut cold butter into 1/2-inch-thick slices (not cubes). Add butter slices to flour mixture; toss until slices are coated and separated.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together egg and ice water. Add all at once to flour mixture. Using a spoon, quickly mix (butter will remain in large pieces and flour will not be completely moistened).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry cloth or wax paper. Knead the dough 10 times by pressing and pushing dough together to form a rough-looking ball, lifting pastry cloth (or wax paper) if necessary to press the dough together. Shape the dough into a rectangle (dough still will have some dry-looking areas). Make corners as square as possible. Slightly flatten dough. Working on a well-floured pastry cloth, roll dough into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Fold 2 short sides to meet in center; bring top edge down to meet bottom edge to form 4 layers each measuring (rectangle will now measure 7-1/2x5 inches).

Repeat the rolling and folding process once more. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process 2 more times. Chill dough for 20 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a sharp knife, cut dough crosswise into 4 equal portions. Wrap 3 portions in plastic wrap and chill. On a well-floured surface, roll 1 portion into a 12-1/2x10-inch rectangle. Trim the uneaven edges from the rectangle. Cut lengthwise into three equal strips and then cut the other way eight times to create 27 relatively equal small rectangles.

Working with one dough rectangle at a time, gently stretch the rectangle to make it a little longer, so that it will wrap around the chocolate and back under the croissant. Place a square of the Dove Dark Chocolate at one of the ends, moisten the other end with a little water, and then roll the chocolate in the dough, placing the seam on the bottom. Repeat with remaining dough. 


Place wrapped chocolate on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1.5 inches in between. Brush each croissant with cream and sugar mixture before placing in oven.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.

Makes about 108 little chocolate croissants








Friday, May 23, 2014

Breakfast Pizza II (with Sausage, Spinach, & Pepper Jack Cheese)

Hearty Breakfast Pizza
With three frozen pizza crusts in my freezer and a hunger that wouldn't be satisfied with any type of sweet breakfast last Saturday morning, I decided to try another breakfast pizza. Honestly, I don't have anything super special to say about it except these two things: 1. It's tasty and filling and 2. It actually tasted better reheated the next day. I know. Surprising. 
I think you can do just about any sort of breakfast pizza. I like this crust better than the thin crust because it's a little softer with more chew than my last one. The combo of ingredients on this was much more satisfying, I think, so I'll probably be making it again.
So. Breakfast pizza. Here's a recipe. Try it.

Breakfast Pizza II

Ingredients:

  • 1 11-12 inch pizza crust (recipe below)
  • 4 breakfast sausages
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup medium cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 green onion, sliced

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread one tablespoon butter evenly over the top of the pizza crust, place pizza crust on a sheet of parchment and set aside.
In a small sautee pan, cook the sausage until browned all over. Remove sausages from pan, drain off most of the oil. Stir spinach into the remaining oil in the bottom of the hot pan and allow to sit while you grate cheese, cut onions, and whisk eggs in a bowl with the milk. Also cut sausages into small, bite-size pieces. 
Then place spinach leaves evenly over the buttered pizza crust. Heat pan again over medium heat, add one tablespoon butter. When pan is hot, pour in the egg/milk mixture. Stir and cook eggs until cooked, but still relatively wet (but not raw). Break egg up into smaller pieces and spread over the crust on top of the spinach. Sprinkle both kinds of shredded cheese over the top. Top the cheese with the sausage pieces and sprinkle with sliced green onion.
If you have a pizza stone, slide the pizza on the parchment onto the stone. Otherwise, place the pizza on a baking sheet and bake. Either way, bake for about 4-6 minutes at 450 degrees F, or until cheese is completely melted and starting to bubble.
Remove pizza from oven, move to a cutting board, and cut with a pizza cutter. 
Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers once cool.
Makes about 4 servings

To reheat, preheat oven to 450 degrees F and heat directly on pizza stone, or on a baking sheet lined with parchment, for about 5-7 minutes, or until bottom is crisp and cheese is again melty. 

Pizza Crust

Ingredients:


Instructions:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, place the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow to sit about 5 to 10 minutes, until yeast is soft and perhaps starting to bubble. Add olive oil, salt, and flour(s). Mix on low until ingredients are incorporated. Switch to medium-high setting and allow mixer to knead dough for about 5 minutes. Scrape dough from hook and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise for 1 to 1.5 hours at room temperature until dough is doubled.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once dough has doubled, turn out onto a floured surface and cut into three equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball, cover with plastic wrap on the rolling surface, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. 
Roll dough out one ball at a time until each reaches a 11-12 inch diameter. Place dough circle onto a piece of parchment and dock with a knife or clean fingernails. Bake at 500 degrees on a pizza stone (preferred) or a baking sheet for about 4 minutes, or just until crust is done and not browned yet. Remove from oven and place on a cookie sheet to cool. Unused crusts should be sealed in an extra-large zip top bag and frozen until ready to use.




This piece was reheated and I think tasted better the second day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grape Juicy Smoothie

Grape Juicy Smoothie
I'm still having a smoothie and popcorn for breakfast most mornings, and I've also been buying Welch's Grape Juice lately too. When I ran out of orange juice concentrate the other day for my normal smoothie, I subbed some grape juice. It made the whole thing taste like grape juice to me--which is a GREAT thing. 
Ever since I was a small kid, I've adored grape juice, but it was a rare treat for us. I usually only got it on field trip days. It came in these tiny cans with a foil tab top, and I think I remember that juice more than I remember the actual field trips. More evidence of me being a foodie from the beginning. Then there was the occasional communion grape juice. That's it. Grape juice was a magical (and apparently expensive) treat. Lately I've been enjoying it in my smoothie every morning, and it still tastes special.
If you're a grape juice fan, try this out. I think you'll love it as much as I do.

Grape Juicy Smoothie

Ingredients:
  • 5-6 large whole frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup Concord grape juice
  • 1 tablespoon whole chia seeds
  • 1/2 medium size ripe banana, sliced
  • 2 oz. Greek yogurt (I used AE raspberry flavor)
  • 2 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
Instructions:
In a tall plastic cup, place all of the ingredients in the order listed.  Fill with enough water to just cover the top of the fruit.  You can always add more water to thin it out later.  With your immersion blender in hand (I use my Braun Hand Blender), push down into the cup as far as you can and then start the blender.  Blend gently with up and down motions, pushing down on the frozen fruit to break it up.  After you've gotten the blender to the bottom, keep blending for another 30 seconds or so, moving the blender up and down until you have a smoothie texture. Add more water & blend if the smoothie seems to thick.  Pour into a glass with a straw and enjoy!

Makes one large or two small servings




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