ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Magnolia's Famous Banana Pudding

If the mention of Magnolia Bakery doesn't get your saliva flowing, it's OK. It just means your life isn't complete yet. Though best known for their out-of-this-world cakes and cupcakes, the lines go down the street for their banana pudding as well. And now I know why. Close your eyes, open your mouth, and drift away into creamy banana heaven with every bite.

I told my friend about this recipe and she said she got the same recipe from a neighbor years ago, only she called it Banana Sin. Two sides of the same coin, my friends.

This recipe makes a massive amount - we estimated about 16 servings. So if you're making it for a regular group, go halvsies. Also, read ahead. It takes a minimum of 8 hours including chill time, 2 days if you stretch it out.

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12 oz.) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 6)

1. In a small bowl on the medium speed of electric mixer, beat together sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.3. To assemble the dessert, select a large wide bowl, preferably glass so you can see the layers. Arrange 1/3 of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then 1/3 of the bananas and 1/3 of the pudding. Repeat layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 4 hours or up to 8 hours but no longer, before serving.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kelly's Awesome Banana Muffins

I have made a lot of banana breads and banana muffins in my day. Most are good but not sensational. And every time I try a new one, I wonder why I am bothering since I already have the best recipe ever in my possession. I got it from my friend Kelly in New York about a year ago, and doubt I will ever find its equal. These are simply the best banana muffins ever...and they don't even need chocolate chips!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
4 over-ripe bananas, mashed
Almond extract, optional (yeah, baby!)

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix flour, oats, salt and baking soda.

2. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in bananas and eggs until well blended. Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour into twelve greased or paper line muffin cups.

3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (test with a toothpick.) Makes 12 muffins

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Banana Sour Cream Waffles

Kinda takes me back to pancake week in February - which reminds me, there's a good banana pancake recipe back there, check it out. But sometimes there's nothing like a waffle - crisp on the outside, sweet and hot on the inside. My family devoured these wordlessly, an impressive accomplishment. I served them with buttermilk syrup (recipe below), but they would also be great with yogurt and berries. Or for an evening dessert, serve them with ice cream and Nutella or traditional banana split toppings!

This recipe calls for 2 bananas, but the beauty of it is increase or decrease according to what you've got. If you have 3 going ripe, one-and-a-half the recipe. Only got one, cut it in half. You can always freeze extra waffles, separated by wax paper and packed in freezer bags, to toast another day. Or use them to make sandwiches. Seriously, a PBJ with these is a treat with no equal.

2 cups flour
1 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 bananas, mashed

1. Heat waffle iron. Separate eggs. Whip egg whites until white and frothy.

2. Sift together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix beaten egg yolks, sour cream, milk, butter and bananas. Add to flour mixture, mixing well. Fold in whipped egg whites gently. Pour onto hot greased waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Makes about 12 Belgian waffles
Recipe from

Buttermilk Syrup
1 tsp light Karo syrup
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 4 T butter

Blend all ingredients in a large pan (it foams up) and boil. Serve warm and foamy. Makes about 1 cup.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Banana Cupcakes with Banana Frosting

After my palate-changing experience at Georgetown Cupcake, I've been trying to find a recipe for banana frosting. The obvious concern is that bananas brown very quickly, so how do you make a frosting with real bananas that doesn't turn gross? Pretty simple, it turns out. This recipe just adds a little white vinegar to the bananas, and it staves off the browning process for awhile. The next day the frosting did have some brown flecks, but it wasn't unappetizing and it still tasted good. I would totally frost chocolate cupcakes with this, and I used the leftover frosting to make graham cracker sandwiches - yum in the extreme!

1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about 2 large
1/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cream shortening and vanilla; add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together dry ingredients; add alternately with banana and milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

2. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups about 1/2 full (these really puff up.) Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until done. Cool and frost as desired. Makes about 24 to 30 cupcakes.

1/4 cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup mashed banana, about 1 large or 1 1/2 medium
1/4 tsp white vinegar
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
Chopped toasted pecans or mini chocolate chips, for topping

Cream butter with salt. Combine mashed banana and vinegar. Add banana mixture to butter mixture alternately with sugar. Beat until frosting is fluffy. Frost and garnish.

Recipe from Diana Rattray,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Banana Split Bars

This recipe is awesome. I got it from some non-descript comb-bound cookie book my Mom picked up at a used bookstore, absolutely no publication information. So I'm claiming it as my own. These are MY Banana Split Bars. Go ahead, top with ice cream. And don't forget the cherry on top. You should have some left over.

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 banana, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped nuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup maraschino cherrys, drained and quartered
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly mist a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, banana, and vanilla; mix well. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

3. Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips and cherries. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan; cut into bars.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread

There's nothing like a new twist on an old classic like banana bread. I grew up loving fudge marble cake, and one of the funnest parts was swirling the batter; still is. The other great part was trying to get chocolate and vanilla in each bite, like with the black-and-white cookie. But in making this marbled loaf, I discovered another fun aspect - finding pictures in the swirls. It's fun for the whole family! Just tell me you don't see a swan:My sister-in-law Shanda has posed a standing challenge for me to come up with new ways to combine chocolate, banana and peanut butter. You'd think it would be easier. Please send me recipes if you have them. I tried a banana-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip muffin and it just wasn't that good. I made a smoothie and couldn't even finish drinking it, bleh. But, if you toast a piece of this bread and spread it with peanut butter, I think you'll have a happy breakfast. I've had several lately. (Strawberry cream cheese also makes a delightful topping on this.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 to 4 bananas)
1/2 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

2. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (1 minute.) Add banana, egg substitute, and yogurt; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.

3. Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Add 1 cup batter to chocolate, stirring until well combined.

4. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Swirl batters together using a knife. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices
Per slice: Cal 183, Fat 4.7g, Chol 8mg, Protein 3.1g, Fiber 1.3g
Recipe from Cooking Light, September 2003

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Caramel Frosted Banana Drops

Welcome to Day 1 of Going Bananas Week! We're gonna start with a cookie and then branch out from there. Some quick banana conversions for your reference: 1 large or 1 1/2 medium bananas mash to about 1/2 cup. When a recipe calls for a number of bananas, use medium-to-large. When it calls for a measurement of mashed banana, do as you're told. Use the above conversion to guess how many you'll need, but measure to be sure.

Regarding these lovely cookies, I'm not gonna lie to you. The frosting is super sweet, making these goodies ultra sugary. At first. There's something about them, I'm not kidding, that they actually become better over time, even a week or more later. My mom said penuche, which the frosting is close to, is always better after it "cures", or sits for awhile. I can't explain it, but now I'm a believer.

I had to make the frosting twice because Pillsbury's instructions sucked, and the first try was a disaster. So I went to The Cake Mix Doctor for some caramel frosting help, and got a few details filled in. Yummy.

In the end it was delicious but when it came to taking the picture, just too BEIGE so I embellished with chopped nuts and banana chips - do what you like.Cookies:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup mashed banana (1 large or 1 1/2 medium)
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 to 4 T milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add banana and vanilla; blend well. Add flour and salt; mix well. Stir in nuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

2. Bake for about 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cool completely before frosting.

3. For the frosting, in a large electric mixer mixing bowl sift the powdered sugar. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes until well combined. Add milk and stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring. Pour hot brown sugar mixture over powdered sugar and mix using the whisk attachment. Add vanilla and mix well. Add more powdered sugar or milk to achieve spreading consistency.

4. Frost cooled cookies and top with nuts if desired. Frosting may thicken while using; just add some milk a teaspoon at a time and mix to soften. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Recipe from Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm Going Bananas!

This is my lame attempt at being cute and punny. For our family this is recovering-from-May-travels week. It's closing-on-the-new-house week. It's moving-little-by-little week. And a few other things are going on, none of which are my regular baking sessions.

But I anticipated this and have prepared well. In honor of the chaos in my head and in my life, it's Going Bananas Week here on the VGP. Each day this week you'll find a new banana recipe that is provenly scrumptious, but hopefully different from your regular rotation of over-ripe recipes.

For one, each day will have a different kind of treat. A cookie one day, a muffin the next, etc. This is not seven days of banana bread, though that would be fun another time. Also, I don't always have the same number of brown bananas at a time - sometimes just one, another time four - so I've tried to give you a variety in the amount of bananas called for so you can pick a recipe that matches the bruised contents of your fruit bowl.

This week isn't comprehensive, just a sampling. I refer you to my previous banana recipes as also worth trying, and will later post the others I tried for this week but didn't include.

So tune in tomorrow for the first day of Going Bananas!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cornmeal Strawberry Cake

It's getting to be berry season - yay!!! There aren't many recipes that have you cook strawberries; they're so good fresh that you usually use them to top baked goods, or make smoothies or parfaits. Or of course the classic: strawberry shortcake.

So here's a little spin on the classic: a sweet cornmeal cake with strawberries baked in. Top with whipped cream or ice cream. And welcome summer with a smile.1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain whole, lowfat or nonfat yogurt or buttermilk
1 cup sliced strawberries
Ice cream or whipped cream

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch cake pan or Bundt pan. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder.

2. In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar with a sturdy wooden spoon, but be careful not to cream them. Stir about half of the beaten eggs into the sugar and butter. Then add the rest of the eggs, and stir well.

3. Add the vanilla to the yogurt or buttermilk. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and stir well, but do not beat. Add the yogurt/buttermilk, and stir again. Then add the remaining flour mixture. Fold in the strawberries, and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

5. Le the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then run a knife around the side and invert the pan onto a plate. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Variation: Use 1 cup blueberries instead of strawberries.

Recipe from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pear Upside Down Cake

Hi, it's me again! I wasn't expecting to be back so soon, but I was told in no uncertain terms that this cake recipe should be shared, so here it is.

When my first daughter was born some 9 years ago, I was looking for an alternative to the messy standard First Birthday fare. I wanted her first cake to be special... maybe even slightly healthy... but not too much. In a stroke of brilliance, I decided to try a spice cake made with pears and thus all four of our children have had Pear Upside Down Cake for their first birthdays. One year I tried frosting it with cream cheese frosting, but that was no good. This year I think I finally got it right. The tangy brightness of homemade raspberry freezer jam was the perfect foil for the sweetness of the cake.

Maren's Pear Upside Down Cake
(Makes 2 cakes*, 8 slices each)

1 box of Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix (see, it's not health food)
1/2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp ginger

2 pears
1/2 cup light brown sugar

Raspberry freezer jam, regular raspberry jam, or raspberries for topping

Heat oven to 350º. Mix the cake ingredients together on low to blend, then on medium for 2 full minutes. Grease and flour or spray two 9 inch round cake pans (layer pans). Core and peel the pears and cut into slices or pieces. Spread the pears and brown sugar evenly in the bottom of the pans. Top with cake batter, spreading evenly, shaking lightly and tapping to remove trapped air.

Bake the cakes for 30 minutes or until the center springs back when touched and cake pulls away from the edges of the pans. Cool, invert onto 2 plates. Serve with raspberry sauce or fresh berries on top of each slice.

*If you don't need 16 servings at once, you can wrap one cake tightly in plastic wrap and then foil and store it in the freezer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coconut Delight Cookies

Hello, my name is Maren and I am your guest blogger for today! I am excited because it's a special day at my house, and I have a special treat for you.

These delicious coconut cookies are perfect for after-school snacks, for dessert, for that party you're going to next week, or just about anytime come to think of it. The base cookie is chewy, like my favorite chocolate chip cookies are. The cereal adds a nice bit of crunch, the coconut adds additional texture, and the chocolate chips add that special goodness. You can also make these sans chips should you so desire, or try adding your favorite chocolate replacement (dried fruit, nuts, other chips, and so on...).

But, whatever you do, please make sure you have a solid plan for how to share these delightful cookies, otherwise you might be tempted to eat the whole batch yourself. You have been warned. Enjoy!

Coconut Delights

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup soft butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups Cheerios-type cereal (honey-nut or regular), crushed to about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup coconut
1 3/4 cups chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350º and grease cookie sheets (or use silicone mats). Beat shortening, butter and sugar till smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Add flour and baking soda and mix well. Stir in cereal, coconut, and chocolate chips. Dough will be loose. (Refrigerate if desired.) Drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes till lightly browned being careful not to over-bake. Let cool on baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bake Sale Survey Results

Serious thanks to everyone that took my bake sale survey. Unless you signed your name I don't know who took it so general thanks to all 47 people who responded.

In case you are curious, or might be in charge of your own bake sale someday, here are the results:

1. What are
you most likely to buy at a bake sale?

Questions 2 through 5 addressed how to price various items; I asked what you would expect to pay for each. Wide range of responses; very interesting. Here are the results:

Cookies (1 large, 2 medium or 4 small) -
55% responded $1

Single slice/bar/square treat - Tie at 38% between 75 cents and $1

Whole loaf of bread -
Range $2.50 to $12, Average $4.86 so I'll probably go $5. Most indicated that it would depend somewhat on size and that they would pay more for something "special."

Whole cake or pie -
Range $2 to $20, Average $8.46. Some said they would pay more for a cake than a pie, but as you see above only 3% said they would actually buy a whole cake; 11% said they would buy a pie. There's going to be a cake walk at the fun fair where we're having the bake sale so people wanting a cake would probably go for that instead. Someone also said they would pay more for a berry pie than another kind.

The last two questions were open-ended: What is your favorite thing to get at a bake sale and any additional comments. These answers ranged all over the board. Some detested Rice Krispy Treats; others would die for them. Some wanted baklava, others a good chocolate chip cookie. Many claimed they would buy something that's too difficult or complicated to make themselves. The Fun Fair and Bake Sale are on June 6; I will be in the middle of, or just recovering from, a move so I will not be making a lot of complicated goodies - mostly cookies and breads from me, but this was great information for me to pass on to the other parents.

Flat cookies, stale RK treats, poorly decorated cupcakes, oily brownies

Yeast bread, scones, almond croissant, HUGE cookies, sweet bread, ooey gooey RK treat, killer cherry pie, homemade bread, fudge, baklava, cleverly decorated cookies, brownies with nuts, pie tarts, chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks, soft pretzels, chocolate zucchini bread, anything chocolate, mint frosted brownies, chocolate-caramel-peanut concoctions, black-and-white cookies, pumpkin bread with crystallized ginger, pie, super cupcake, good chocolate chip cookies, whole wheat bread, blondies, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, zucchini bread, pies with sugar on top, anything with cream cheese or honey butter

One of the most surprising things I found was that some people would expect higher prices at a bake sale, it being a fundraiser and people being generous, and others would expect lower prices at a bake sale - "good price for a good cause," kind of like getting good deals at a yard sale. I created this survey in the hope of neither underpricing nor overpricing our products, but in general I agree with the first sentiment. The whole point of a fundraiser is to raise money, so as a customer I would shell out a dollar or two more than at the bakery.

But I also wholeheartedly agree with the comments that addressed product quality; attractive, fresh, homemade treats should sell themselves at higher prices than re-pacakged Chips Ahoy cookies or oily brownies straight from the mix. I won't have total control over this; every family will be contributing items for the sale, but I am going to share the survey results with everyone and encourage quality over quantity. I'm also going to package and label all the items myself so they are uniform - clear cellophane tied with a ribbon and a computer-printed label and price on each. Someone also mentioned the workers should wear disposable gloves. I hadn't thought of that since all the food will be packaged but I agree it's a good idea; if nothing else it looks good!

Thank you to everyone for all your input!

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Days in the UK

Vanilla Slice from Betty's

Banoffee Pie at Therese's

Chocolate Chip Brioche for a snack

Banana Sin Pudding (watch next week for the recipe)

Had to support National Doughnut Week!

White Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake at Wagamama

Coconut Ice Cream with Mango Sauce

Sticky Toffee Pudding (To Die For) at Royal Oak Pub

Not to mention all the fish n' chips, chutney sandwiches (pork lattice, anyone?), and curry we consumed. Needless to say these are the kinds of indulgences I might spread out over 6 to 9 months. But time was against me on this vacation so I had to make the sacrifice and positively binge. It's true that by the end of the trip two of the four pants I had packed didn't fit, and I shall now face re-losing 6 months worth weight regain, but it was a calculated move.

And sooooo worth it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

On Holiday

My apron is laid over a chair, my mitts hung up, the oven shockingly cold.

Off to visit my brother in northern England for a week, plus a few days touring London. Luckily my brother and I have similar travel styles: it's all about the food. He's already lined up the curry houses, fish n' chips pubs, and pastry shops to take me to. Pictures will be taken and a full report delivered.

So until then, Cheerio!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oatmeal Turtle Jumbles

Can you say stick-to-your-teeth? No, you can't. Not if you've just taken a bite of one of these super dense, rich, nearly candy bars. And hey, they've got oats, so they're healthy!

Base and topping:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cu packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup purchased caramels (about 24), halved

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8 1/2 x 12 inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Cream butter and both sugars in a bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix to blend, followed by the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix to incorporate.

2. Blend in oats with a pastry blender or wooden spoon. Crumble 2 cups of dough over bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Press to cover base of the pan (don't push dough up sides); set aside.

3. Add halved caramels to remaining dough, working them in with your fingers; set aside for the topping.

4. Melt chocolate chips, condensed milk, and cocoa powder together for the filling in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Off heat, stir in the pecans and vanilla.

5. Pour the filling over the dough in the pan and spread evenly. The layer will be fairly thin. Crumble dough with caramel pieces evenly over the top of the chocolate. Bake bars for 30 minutes or until chocolate is set and topping is firm. Cool bars completely before cutting.

Recipe from Cuisine at Home Holiday Cookies

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

I know. Seriously. And they taste as good as they look. Come to dinner.

Even though these rolls are a huge mess and massively time consuming to make, they are in my regular rotation for Friday night dinners. The dough is airy and moist, and these freeze like a dream for lunches the next day and all the next week.

But they are definitely only as good as your ingredients. I use turkey pepperoni and Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara sauce, for example. Just make sure you really like each ingredient, and then, as with pizza toppings, the sky's the limit!

On a more general note, I'm learning more about working with yeast. First, always proof it, no matter what the recipe says. Proofing involves putting the yeast in some warm water (100-110 degrees) and a pinch or more of sugar, then letting stand for a few minutes. Second, rising calls for a warm, draft-free location. Marcy Goldman says to cover the mixer and bowl with a big clear trash bag to make a proofing room but I haven't found it as effective as the following two techniques: 1) I warm my oven a little while making the dough (like the lowest setting or the Warm/Hold setting), then turn it off and put the dough in to rise, or 2) if I need the oven for something else (if I'm baking one thing I'm usually baking more than one thing), I run the dryer for a few minutes to warm it up and then stick my covered dough in the dryer and close the door.

1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
5 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
2 T sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
4 to 5 cups bread flour

2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 T olive oil
Salt and pepper for dusting
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
8 to 12 ounces pepperoni, sliced (I cut round slices into 1/2 or 1/4ths)

Finishing Touches
Olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a mixer bowl, proof the yeast. Whisk water, yeast, and part of the sugar and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in oil, the rest of the sugar, salt and most of the flour. Mix ingredients and then knead dough with dough hook on lowest speed 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to make a soft, bouncy dough.

3. Remove dough hook. Spray dough with cooking spray. Cover the entire mixer and bowl with a clear trash bag or cover with plastic or a dish towel and place in a warm draft-free location. Rise 45 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Let stand another 20 minutes. Roll or press dough out into a 14x12 inch rectangle.

*Note: I've made this recipe three times and done it this way twice. The third time, at this point, I divided the dough in half and did the pressing, filling, rolling step in two parts, creating two shorter rolls rather than one longer one. It was just easier to transport them to the baking sheet and back that way. I recommend it.

4. Smear on spaghetti sauce, garlic, and olive oil; dust with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Scatter on cheese and pepperoni. Roll dough jellyroll style and place it on lined baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze (I freeze) 20 minutes and then cut into 1 1/2 inch slices (chilling makes it easier to slice without it compressing dough.)

5. Place slices with some space between them onto prepared baking sheet(s.) Brush tops with olive oil and dust with Parmesan cheese.

6. Cover baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap and let dough rise 20 to 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Bake until cheese is melted adn bubbly and buns are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Yikes, I accidentally posted pepperoni pizza rolls without the recipe, totally unprofessional. I am out of town right now so I will re-post them when I get home, this time with all the delicious details. In the meantime, enjoy some black and white cookies!
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