Pizza Craze Part 2

There is something about homemade pizza that just isn’t as satisfying as the stuff they serve at your local pizzeria. Maybe its the oven, you just can’t get the same effect at home. Nonetheless, I continue to search for the best sauce and crust recipe. To date, I have found neither.

When making pizza at home I always make my own crust. You know when you get the stomach flu, whatever you ate before that sounds like the most disgusting food in the world for the rest of your life? Even if what you ate had nothing to do with you getting sick? For me, that is store bought pizza crust, like Boboli. I think I was 9 and have never even been able to look at them without a little wave of nausea since then. So all pizza crust has to be made from scratch.

Previously I posted this crust recipe. Its a decent recipe but a little thicker than my preference and a little bland. So I continue to search. I have two other recipes I’ve tested to share for crust, both decent, one thick, one thin, but again a little bland and not ‘the one.’ I also have a sauce recipe that came with hundreds of 5 star reviews from allrecipes.com but if I’m being honest, I did not like it at all, neither did my kids. My husband ate it but he’ll eat anything. The sauce was too sweet and too spicy. Too many ingredients I think. To date my favorite pizza sauce for homemade pizza is a can of  this stuff but I am trying to find a good recipe from scratch. Anyway, as I continue to test more recipes for sauces and crusts in search of the perfect one, I’ll post them here. If you have a tried and true, perfect recipe for either, I would love to hear it!

For the sauce I did not love, but maybe you will:

“Exquisite Pizza Sauce”

  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 6 oz warm water
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

In a small bowl, mix together. Allow to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Spread on pizza crust.

Thick Crust 2:

  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Stir in salt and oil. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of flour. Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead more flour in until no longer sticky. Place dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with a cloth, let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, form a tight ball. Let relax a minute then roll out onto a lightly oiled pan. Top with your ingredients and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

For a thinner crust: (my favorite to date, sorry, I don’t have a picture!)

  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in hot water.  Let sit for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour and salt.

Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well. Turn onto a well floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Spread onto a greased pan, top with your favorite ingredients, bake at 500 for 8-10 minutes.

Pizza Craze

According to Bay Area blogger and food critic Michael Bauer, we are in the middle of a pizza craze. Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve been crazy about pizza since I was a little kid. Regardless, pizza seems to be the new fad and that is one bandwagon I’ll be happy to jump on. I have about 15 different dough recipes, I have not tried them all but I plan to and I’ll document and share my results as I go along.

This dough recipe is from my friend Juli, she got it from good ole Betty Crocker and tweeked it to fit her tastes.

  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105-115 deg)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive or vegetable oil
  • cornmeal

Dissolve yeast in warm water in medium bowl.  Stir in flour, 2 tbsp oil, and salt. Beat vigorously 20 strokes. Cover and let rest for 20 mins.

Heat oven to 375 deg.  Grease a full-size baking sheet with oil and sprinkle some cornmeal on it.  Pat dough into the baking sheet, covering the whole sheet.  Cover (with a dish towel) and let rise in warm place 30-45 mins or until almost double.

Put whatever you want on the pizza.  Bake 22-25 mins or until crust just begins to brown.

Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

I think the headline sums up this incredible bread. Try it, tonight! And when you try my delicious turkey pesto on focaccia sandwiches, try this recipe for your own home made bread.

And a big thanks to my sister Carrie for making sure this recipe made it into my cookbook scrapbook.

Makes 2 small loaves.

  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp butter

Mix yeast, sugar and water and set until bubbly.

Mix in butter, salt and flour. Add 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead approximately 10 minutes. Coat a bowl with cooking spray, place dough inside and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Divide dough in half and let rest for 5 minutes, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape dough into 2 rounded loaves. Sprinkle remaining rosemary over top and lightly press into surface. Cover and let dough rise again for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 and bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, if desired.

Brownies From Scratch, using Cocoa Powder

Brownies. Oh Brownies. Anyone who knows me, knows my affinity for sweets and more specifically, chocolate. And at the very top of my favorite things of all time is the corner piece of a brownie, the fudge-y kind, not cake-y. I’m famous for a few different great brownie recipes using unsweetened chocolate but found this when a sweet tooth attack hit and the only thing that resembled chocolate in my pantry was a tub of cocoa powder that I normally use for hot chocolate.

I have to say, while slightly less attractive on the top, they tasted just as great. But if you’d like, make the frosting to go on top and then they will be beautiful. It is my opinion that if a brownie is moist and chocolate-y enough, there is no need to put frosting on it. That, and I was out of powdered sugar.

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or coat well with cooking spray) an 8 inch square pan. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in cocoa,  flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

For the optional frosting:

  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Combine butter, cocoa, honey, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.