Friday, October 5, 2012

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This is new all-around favorite pizza dough.  I love that it can be made in advance.  And it tastes fabulous--not too thin, not too thick, crisp yet chewy.  We love it!  I've been using it for over a year now and haven't looked back.  From America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.

2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1  1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

1.  Pulse 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor to combine.  With the processor running pour the oil then the water through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms 30-40 seconds.

2.  Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process 30 seconds longer.  If the dough is sticky and clings to the blade add an additional 1/4 cup white flour 1 tablespoon at a time until no longer sticky.  Pulse to incorporate.

3.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead it into a smooth round ball.  Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size 1-1 1/2 hours before using.

To Make Ahead (refrigerate):
Do not let the dough rise in step 3, but wrap tightly or cover in a greased bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 16 hours.  Let the dough sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.

To Make Ahead (freeze):
The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; let the dough rise as directed in step 3, then wrap tightly in greased plastic wrap and freeze.  Let the frozen dough thaw on the counter 2-3 hours, or overnight in the fridge before using.

4.  To bake, preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 475 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cut dough in half.  Roll out dough (should make enough for two 14-inch pizzas).  Place dough on silpat mat or parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet.  Top with favorite toppings, slide onto pizza stone and bake 10-15 minutes.  Let stone reheat 5 minutes before baking second pizza.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Dumplings


This is the real deal.  An amazing authentic apple dumpling baked to the perfect consistency—a nice soft, sweet apple on the inside enveloped in a crisp buttery crust.  I think we prefer these over the amazing apple dumplings.  I guess there’s special about the real deal.  We like to serve these dumplings warm with vanilla ice cream.  Serves 8.  From Cook's Country October/November 2009

INGREDIENTS
Dough
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
¾ cups cold buttermilk

Apple Dumplings
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
4 Golden Delicious apples (see note*)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten**

INSTRUCTIONS
Make Dough
Process flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter and shortening over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to bowl. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until dough is cohesive. Press dough into 8- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut in half, wrap each half tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Prep Apples
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. In second bowl, combine butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar mixture. Peel apples and halve through equator.  Using a melon baller or a metal teaspoon scoop out core and seeds carefully so as to not pierce bottom half of the apple.  Then pack butter mixture into each apple half.

Assemble Dumplings
On lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into 12-inch square. Cut each 12-inch square into four 6-inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush edges of dough square with egg white and place apple, cut-side up, in center of each square. Fold the corners of the dough diagonally to the center.  Overlap and crimp edges to seal.  Using paring knife, cut vent hole in top of each dumpling.

Finish Apples
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange dumplings on prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until dough is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve with ice-cream.

*Note: the apple you use is important!  Some softer apples such as a McIntosh run mushy, others are too crunchy when the pastry is done.  Suggested apples include other sweet, moderately firm apples like Golden Delicious, Braeburns, or Galas.

**Note: due to egg allergies I omit the egg whites completely and thought they were still fabulous...perhaps not the same nice sheen but still just as tasty.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Granola


Baldy said this granola is unlike anything he's ever had--it's amazing!  I love the idea of adding a little quinoa to the oats to up the protein too.  Adapted slightly from skinnytaste.com.  I usually triple the recipe and it fits nicely on two large baking sheets in my oven.  I just rotate which one is on top and which one is on bottom when I stir the granola.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and pat dry with paper towel
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup pepitas (or other seed)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp canola oil or melted coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of ginger
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F.  Spread oats and quinoa out on a parchment lined baking pan. Toast in the oven 10 minutes, stirring once.

Remove the oats from the oven, pour the toasted oats into a large bowl and add the ground flaxseeds, pepitas, and pecans.  Mix.

In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, pumpkin puree, oil, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla.

Pour over oat mixture and stir together with a spatula. Spread back onto a baking sheet and bake an additional 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes or until golden.  Add dried cranberries after it has cooled a bit.  One batch makes 3 2/3 cups.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Raisin Bran Muffins

A pet peeve of mine is the end of the cereal bag where the cereal is all crushed.  Raisin Bran is one of the worst.  So to help it not go to waste, I keep the extra crushed cereal in a ziploc bag to use when I want to make these muffins.  My girls actually like these best without raisins.  Sometimes I put in some dried craisins with the bran cereal instead.

muffins:
1 cup non-fat milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups Raisin Bran cereal
1 cup all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

optional topping: 
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 T butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400F*.  Grease or line 12 muffin cups.  Combine milk, oil and egg in a bowl.  Stir in cereal and let stand 10-15 minutes.  Stir to break up cereal.   Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in seperate bowl.  Add to cereal mixture, stirring until just moistened.  Divide evenly among muffin pan.  Bake for 10 minutes for mini muffins,  20* minutes for regular muffins or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on a cooling rack for a couple of minutes.  Then remove from pan.  If desired make topping (we usually skip this part and still love them).  Combine cinnamon and sugar.  Brush muffins with butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Best served warm.  Makes 12 muffins or 2 dozen mini muffins.

*Note for my dark non-stick pans I heat the oven to 375-385 and bake for 9-10 minutes for mini muffins, 16-18 minutes for standard muffins.