Sunday, July 28, 2013

Perfect Pizza Dough

3 1/2 - 4 c. unbleached flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet); not quick or rapid rise
1 TBS sea salt
1 tsp sugar
*optional - 1/2 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns

1 c. water, warmed to 120 - 130 degrees
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

*optional - 1/2 c. shredded hard Italian cheese of your choice (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or a blend)

olive oil

In large bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of the unbleached flour with the yeast, salt, sugar, & pepper (if desired). Blend well.

Add warm water, wine, and oil to flour mixture; blend until moistened. Beat with wooden spoon for 3 minutes to make a stiff dough. Add the shredded cheese (if desired) & stir until well combined.

On floured surface, knead in about 1/4 - 1/2 c. unbleached flour until dough is smooth & elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; cover loosely with greased plastic wrap & cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until light & doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500. Place one rack in the center of the oven & one on the highest setting.

Punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough into 2 pieces, work with one at a time. Oil hands well with olive oil. Form dough into disk, begin to stretch out, keeping disk shape. Place dough on round, stick proof pizza pan & continue shaping dough into a circle, pushing out from the center with your hands. Your final dough should be at least 1/4 inch think with a slightly thicker outer rim. Make sure there are no holes in the crust.

Place the crust on the top rack of the oven & bake for 2 minutes.

Remove from oven & top with your favorite pizza toppings - sauce, cheeses, cooked sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers, olives, fresh basil, fresh spinach, etc.

Place pizza on center rack in oven & back for 12 - 15 minutes until outer crust is lightly golden & cheese is bubble. Remove from oven; let cool for a few minutes before cutting.

Repeat with second piece of dough.

Triple Chocolate Dark Rum Cookies

2 & 1/2 c unbleached flour
1/2 c dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 c butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar

2 eggs
1 TBS dark rum

1 c 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate pieces (Ghirardelli)
1 c white chocolate pieces (Ghirardelli)

Preheat oven to 350.

In medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (first list) until evenly blended. Set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter & sugars on medium speed until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended. Add rum & beat until combined.

With mixer running, slowly blend in whisked dry ingredients until just fully incorporated.

By hand, chocolate pieces.

Using spring handled scoop (1 TBS), place dough on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool. Store in tightly covered container.