Friday, May 31, 2013

Homemade White Pizza

Ok, sorry about the title. I could not come up with anything better without spelling out all the ingredients. Regardless I do believe the best part of this pizza is the white sauce I created. Toot Toot. :)

For some reason I got a bug up my ass (is that the right term?) to be busy all day. I made homemade strawberry jam, pizza dough, and snickerdoodle blondies. Everything turned out pretty good I must say. And while I was cooking my always busy husband finally took a day to relax. It is usually the opposite, but today was his day. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Pretty easy, a little time consuming, but worth it and rewarding.

Recipe: Homemade White Pizza

* 1/2 cup warm water
* 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 packet)
* 4 cups flour
* 1 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 1/4 cup water, at room temperature
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Tbsp butter
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 ounces cream cheese
* 1/3 cup sour cream
* 1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 small onions, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 large handfuls spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded


Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours. 

Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

About an hour and a half before you plan to eat, thinly slice three small (or 2 medium/large) yellow onions. Saute the onions in a skillet over medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 45 minutes, stirring the mixture every 2-3 minutes. The end result should be deep golden brown, soft, sweet onions. 

While the onions are cooking, slice the mushrooms. Take the caramelized onions out of the skillet and add the mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt and pepper and the dried thyme. There should be some residual oil in the skillet to cook the mushrooms, if not add a tad more. Cook the mushrooms until all of the moisture has evaporated away (about 10 minutes over medium heat).

While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the cream sauce. Mince a clove of garlic and add it to a pot with 1 tablespoon of butter. Saute over medium heat until softened (about 2 minutes). Next, add the cream cheese, sour cream, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Heat and whisk this mixture until a smooth sauce forms (about 5 minutes). 

Once mushrooms are cooked remove from pan and add spinach to pan. Saute for 1-2 minutes or until lightly wilted. Remove from heat.

Adjust the rack in your oven to its highest position and begin to preheat to 500 degrees. The dough at this point should be at least double in volume. Sprinkle it generously with flour and then scrape it out of the bowl and onto a floured surface. Pat the dough down into a circle about ten inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a large pizza stone  and stretch/press it the rest of the way out to the edges of the stone.

Spread the sauce over the surface of the dough with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and spinach over top. Finally, add the shredded mozzarella. Bake the pizza in the fully preheated 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. About 2 minutes before the pizza is done sprinkle with pine nuts.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cinnamon Twist Bread

This is almost the same as making cinnamon rolls except instead of cutting into rounds you slice and twist. Check it out, it is easy to make. Enjoy!

Recipe: Cinnamon Twist Bread

  •  2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast or 0.6 Oz
  • 1/8 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  •  1/4 cup softened butter
  • 4-5 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  1. Mix the yeast and sugar with the lukewarm milk and let it sit a few minutes while the yeast bubbles and foams up.
  2. Add the egg yolk, the melted butter, the flour and the salt, then knead the dough and shape into a ball.
  3. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, then cover and place in a warm space and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Preheat oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough out to a thickness of 1cm.
  5. Spread the melted butter across all of the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  6. Roll up the dough, and using a knife, cut the log in half length-wise.

  7. Twist the two halves together, keeping the open layers exposed. Give a round shape, then transfer to a baking tray (buttered or covered with cookie sheet).
  8. Top the remaining butter and sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit after 5-10 minutes to stop it burning. Top with icing sugar mixed with water if you want, just sprinkle some sugar, or eat it like this.
Tip: I found that the bake time was a little long and made it have a crisp crust. So depending on what you would like you may need to adjust the bake time. 

Cheese and Herb Dinner Bread

Here's to another shot at baking bread. Sometime I do good and sometimes I fail. I have now learned that yeast can go bad and last weekend I tried to make an apple cheese danish and it failed, super dense. I know feel that was due to the yeast not activating, whether that was an error on my part of old yeast, I don't know. This time around I used a different yeast, newer.

This recipe is super easy to make and really easy to work with. I lessened the flour because it seems every time I use the full amount of flour I have WAY too much. I omitted one cup of flour from the original recipe and that was perfect, because when mixing in the wet ingredients  I actually had to add bout 1/4 cup more lukewarm water to make the dough smooth, tacky, but not sticky.

I also feel this is an extremely versatile bread recipe. I have added cheese and thyme to one loaf and in the other loaf I did Parmesan mozzarella with garlic and kalamata olives. I really feel you could add whatever you wanted to this bread or leave it plain too.

So enjoy this starter recipe and get creative and experiment with additions!

Recipe: Cheese and Herb Dinner Bread

  • 5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (can use all purpose, if that’s all you have)
  • 2 tsp. fine salt 
  • 5 Tbsp. white
  • 1 cup lukewarm water, about 95° F. (for even softer bread, use 1 cup water leftover from boiling potatoes, cooled)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lukewarm buttermilk or milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter or vegetable oil 
Cheddar and Herb
    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
    • 2 Tbsp cup minced herbs (I used thyme)
Parmesan, Garlic and Olive
    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or about 2 tsp. minced fresh)
    • 1/4 cup diced kalamata olives

  1. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar* together. (Tip: If measuring your flour in cups, without a scale, hold back 1 cup to add as needed later). *If you’re using honey or agave, add with the liquid ingredients instead.
  2. In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the water and buttermilk and whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Add this mixture, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand or with a dough hook, until the mixture is combined, about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Continue mixing the dough, adding more flour or water, as needed, until the dough becomes soft, smooth and tacky, but not sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then form dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and either refrigerate for up to 4 days, or allow to sit at room temperature until doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes). (*Tip: I like to use an 8-cup glass measuring cup, so it’s easy to see when it’s doubled by the markings).
  5. Note: If you have refrigerated your dough, remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake, to allow it to come to room temperature.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Dust each with a bit of flour and then, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle approximately 10 inches wide and 16 inches long.
  7. For the Cheddar and Thyme Bread: spread shredded cheddar and Thyme evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam together.
  8. For the Parmesan, Garlic and Olive: spread the ingredients evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam together.
  9. Grease two 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pans and set aside. (I only had one, so I took one of the jelly rolls and rolled it like a snake and cooked in a cake pan.)
  10. Shaping: The following directions didn't make sense to me. I tried my own version and it didn't end up correct either. Experiment  your loaf doesn't have to look perfect. Directions from the original recipe  Using a sharp knife, cut the roll of dough down the center  lengthwise. Rotate each piece so that the cut sides are facing upward and place them side-by-side. Pinch together the farthest end. Keeping the cuts sides facing upwards as much as possible, place the right-side piece over the left-side piece. Straighten it up and then repeat, pinching together the end closest to you. If any cheese escapes, just place it back on top. Using a bench scraper or spatula, carefully lift the dough into the greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other dough log, then cover both with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough rises to about 1-inch about the side of the pans in the middle.

  11. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 45-50 minutes total, but after 25 minutes of baking, rotate pans front-to-back in the oven and loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil, to prevent the top from over-browning. Bread should reach about 185° F. internal temperature in the center.
  12. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for a couple of minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the bread and carefully remove the loaves to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour before slicing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Brie and Jam Pastry Puffs

I am in love with Puff Pastry. This was one I threw together. I've seen similar appetizers and figured, simple as pie, and it was. Looking for a quick app to bring to any event, this is it. We here at the Grand Canyon had another ladies night, thanks to Lindsey. I think some really enjoyed these. I hope you do too.

The recipe I created uses nuts. I would suggest not omitting them because I did for half of the recipe and they didn't turn out the same. For some reason they stuck to the pan and the puff pastry wasn't cooked as well.

Recipe: Brie and Jam Pastry Puffs


1 1/3 sheets Puff Pastry
16 tsp Jam or choice, I used raspberry
16 small tsp sized slices brie
16 tsp chopped pecans
1 egg
1 tbsp water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut 1 1/3 sheets of puff pastry into 16 equal sized squares.

Press squares into mini muffin tin. Lining the muffin holes. Place one tsp of brie, topped by 1 tsp jam, and 1/2 tsp chopped nuts, into each muffin unit.

Fold Puff Pastry over top and pinch together.
Once all puffs have been pinched closed, prepared egg wash. Mix egg with water. Brush the tops of puffs with egg wash.

Place on middle rack in preheated oven. Cook for approximately 20 min or until tops are golden brown and flaky. Enjoy.

Cinnamon Crown Bundt Cake

Number one of two baking projects this weekend. I chose to go with a Bundt (Pronounced B-oo-nt according to My Big Fat Greek Wedding mother. I love that movie.) This was really quite easy and I partially chose it because I had all the ingredients on hand, so I bet most of you would too.

This cake makes for a nice presentation and it tastes great with coffee. Make this on your next weekend for your lazy Sunday Breakie (Breakfast) or make it for a nice breakfast/brunch for others. Enjoy!

Recipe: Cinnamon Crown Bundt Cake


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • Confectioners sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar using an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Alternatively add the flour and milk, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing after each addition until combined. Do not over-mix. Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan.

In a bowl, stir together the nuts, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and applesauce. Add the mixture to the remaining half of the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the bundt pan.

Bake 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cook cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert to remove cake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar if desired. Transfer to a serving plate, slice, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Caramelized Onion Dip

Part of the Super Bowl spread this year was a caramelized onion dip with a dash of sass, as a previous blogger said. I really enjoyed this dip, so did Stuart. He got mad at me when I ate the last of it. You snooze you loose, buddy. :P
I hope you enjoy it too. It takes a little bit of time because caramelizing onions is a process, but it is worth it.

Caramelized Onion Dip
2 large yellow onions
2 large shallots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (stems removed)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
2/3 cup light mayonnaise

* This recipe calls for shallots. I didn't have any, so I just used onions instead and it turned out great.

1. Cut the onions and shallots in quarters and slice into thin strips.
2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Combine butter and olive oil in pan.
3. Add the onions, shallots, cayenne, salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes, until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue sauteing for another 30 minutes, stiring frequently, until the onions are browned and caramelized. About 10 minutes before they are done add the thyme.
4. Remove onions from pan and let cool.
5. Place cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Using a electric mixer, beat until fully combined and smooth.
6. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve at room temperature with chips (or a spoon!).

Adapted from A Dash of Sass

Chocolate Mint Cake

OK, so it's been a while since I last posted and I was hoping my next post would be something out of the ordinary, but I felt like making a cake. Nothing too crazy, but a different take on the regular chocolate cake. I enjoyed it and so did my husband. I hope you do too. It's rich and tasty.  We ended up finishing it by taking 2 bites at a time, (Probably too many times per day.) but it was quickly devoured. 

Chocolate Mint Cake 


for the cake
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (or 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped andes mints (about 16 mints)

for the buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1/4 cup milk 
green food coloring

This recipe makes a four layer 6" cake or a two layer 8" cake. I made the 8". 
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. grease and flour - or line with parchment - two 6 inch cake pans. set aside.
  2. to make the cake, bring the water to a boil. while the water is heating, mix the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. add the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until combined. mix in the boiling water and the andes mints.
  3. divide the batter equally between the two pans. bake for about 23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. cook in the pan for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. while the cake cools, make the buttercream. combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and mint and mix until combined. slowly add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until your buttercream is the consistency you want. beat for about a minute. add green food coloring, if you like, and be sure to mix well to ensure the color is evenly distributed.
  5. to make a four layer cake, cut each of the layers in half. place bottom layer on serving plate, top with about a third of a cup of icing, top with the next layer. repeat until the cake is built. spread a thin layer of icing over the cake and refrigerate for 15 minutes. ice with the remaining frosting. top with more chopped andes mints or nuts.
I will say that this recipe will likely cause your cake to sag, not fall, but sag at higher elevations. So just don't be surprised if that happens. Cover the sagging with a little extra frosting and you are good to go. Plus it'll be a nice little surprise when you get that big bite of buttercream frosting, my favorite. 
Adapted from Kitchen Trial and Error