Jun 9, 2011

The best homemade chocolate brownies ever

I found myself in the need for a chocolate fix today. I debated between brownies and cupcakes.... and ended up with brownies. Make these... you will never use a mix again. They are between fudgy brownies and cake brownies. I adore them.

1 cup butter
2 cup white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 9x13 pan.
Melted Butter
In a large saucepan, melt  butter.
Butter, sugar, vanilla
Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, and vanilla.
Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, Eggs
Stir in eggs.
Adding in the dry ingredients
Mmmm.... brownie batter....
Beat in cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder.
Brownie Batter
Brownie Batter
Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick, should come out mostly clean, remember these are gooey brownies.

Sometimes I ice these, sometimes I do not. Today I used Mint Buttercream with Andes mint chunks. Oh sooooo good.

Brownies with mint buttercream
Brownies with mint buttercream
Brownie with mint buttercream

Jun 3, 2011

How I unwind.....

Not only do I cook, and bake, I have an undying love for chopping stuff up. My favorite day is grocery day where I can come home, pull out tupperware and my knives, and cut stuff up! I do my mom's sometimes too. :D I can come cut up your fruits and veggies too if you want.

Here is a look at my day....
CantaloupeCherriesMangoesNectarinesWatermelonGrapes and Pineapple
One bowl of trash... there were three
There were several more bowls of trash... once I get a good compost place there will be a compost pile to put that stuff on! :D

Jun 2, 2011

Pizza - Sauce and Toppings

Easiest pizza sauce ever - made with things you already have on hand! I know... can you believe it?

1 6 oz can tomato paste (enough for two pizzas)
6 oz water to thin (use your tomato paste can
1 Tbsp sugar (optional, sometimes I add it, sometimes I don't)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp marjoram
pinch of salt

Adjust the spices to taste, I tend to add more garlic powder and basil, but it's up to you!
Pizza sauce
You can also use my marinara recipe, just pulse in the food processor or blender to puree it up and you have delicious pizza sauce.

Pizza Sauce #2

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Mix everything together, you've got sauce! It's a very similar taste to the above, but the anchovies add a little something extra. Taste everything before you add the salt. ;D

My favorite topping are:
Green and red bell peppers
Canadian Bacon
And of course... mozzarella cheese!!!!!

You can also get crazy with it and use alfredo sauce instead of red sauce, or barbeque sauce. As you can see, we do both sometimes.

Pizza sauce
Waiting for toppings....
Mmmmm.... toppings.....
Oh yeah....It is sooo good.

Pizza- better than delivery could ever be. DOUGH

Pizza is a staple in my diet. I love it. Cheesy with loads of veggies and a delicious crust, what could be better? It encompasses several of the food groups too, diary, veggies, and grains. It's easy, and unbelievably rewarding to make your own pizza. I have several dough recipes, but have been known to just use pre-made dough when necessary. With just a few things on hand, you can make a wonderful filling meal for your family at a fairly low cost. I'll list what I like to throw on a pizza, but you can always change it up and add whatever you like! I'm going to split this up into two posts, one on the dough recipes and the next will be sauces and toppings.

Pizza dough recipe #1

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Pizza dough recipe #2 (Alton Brown's recipe)
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp pure olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour (for bread machines)
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp olive oil
Olive oil, for the pizza crust
Flour, for dusting the pizza peel

Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast, and remaining cup of flour into a standing mixer's work bowl. Using the paddle attachment, start the mixer on low and mix until the dough just comes together, forming a ball. Lube the hook attachment with cooking spray. Attach the hook to the mixer and knead for 15 minutes on medium speed.

Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the baker's windowpane, or taut membrane, has formed. If the dough tears before it forms, knead the dough for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the pizza dough into a smooth ball on the countertop. Place into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

Place the pizza stone or tile onto the bottom of a cold oven and turn the oven to its highest temperature, about 500 degrees F. If the oven has coils on the oven floor, place the tile onto the lowest rack of the oven. Split the pizza dough into 2 equal parts using a knife or a dough scraper. Flatten into a disk onto the countertop and then fold the dough into a ball.

Wet hands barely with water and rub them onto the countertop to dampen the surface. Roll the dough on the surface until it tightens. Cover one ball with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat the steps with the other piece of dough. If not baking the remaining pizza immediately, spray the inside of a ziptop bag with cooking spray and place the dough ball into the bag. Refrigerate for up to 6 days.

Sprinkle the flour onto the peel and place the dough onto the peel. Using your hands, form a lip around the edges of the pizza. Stretch the dough into a round disc, rotating after each stretch. Toss the dough in the air if you dare. Shake the pizza on the peel to be sure that it will slide onto the pizza stone or tile. (Dress and bake the pizza immediately for a crisp crust or rest the dough for 30 minutes if you want a chewy texture.)

Brush the rim of the pizza with olive oil. Spread the pizza sauce evenly onto the pizza. Sprinkle the herbs onto the pizza and top with the cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the tile and bake for 7 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

There are many more variations of dough, but those two sort of cover all the bases. :) If using a refrigerated dough follow the package directions when baking.

Pictures are in the next post.