Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I am baking a lot more now but I forget to take pictures. However, I made pizza the other night and took pictures because it’s my first pizza dough that actually turned out well, my second pizza dough attempt at all. Yeast intimidates the hell out of me so I used to stay away from it even though I love all yeasty goodness.

Pizza

Anyway, we usually buy cheap $3 pizzas and add our own toppings on to it. The easiest part is the toppings, right? I decided it was time to try out making our own pizza bases. The first time it didn’t go very well. It was edible but I don’t think I kneaded it enough. This time, I kneaded it for 10 minutes. I timed myself to be sure. It rose beautifully and I got pretty excited. After it rose I made the base shape. I didn’t roll it out, I just pressed it and pulled it and learned how to make the actual crust shape by watching videos of it on YouTube.

Pizza

I let it rise again after I shaped it because it wasn’t time for dinner yet. When it was time for the toppings I put pasta sauce, pineapple, bacon and cheese on one. The other had grilled onions, chorizo, and cheese with of course the pasta sauce. We’ll eventually branch out into other toppings but we generally stick to old faithful.

Pizza

These were just cooked on baking sheets so the crust wasn’t overly crunchy. The bottom really could being more browned but I need to read up how to do that without having a pizza stone. However, this turned out so good.

Also, I threw some oregano and garlic powder into the crust. So good.

Pizza Dough

Rating: 51

Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water
  • 2 teaspoons (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • 600g (4 cups) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and oil. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture is combined. Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
  2. Brush a bowl lightly with oil. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in the prepared bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
  3. Recipe from Taste.com.au
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Flourless Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Cookies

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cookies
I’m back! Well, for the moment anyway. I’m going to try to be baking more and updating the site more, even if it is only baking from a box because let’s face it, sometimes that’s all we have time for, right?

I went to a past recipe that I’ve tried on Monkey Bakes before, Magical Peanut Butter Cookies. This time though, I’m not sure what happened because they sure did not come out the same way they had before. The flavor was there though which was good and I tried a different peanut butter. This one has cinnamon in it! Delicious on a spoon and in a cookie but, in a sandwich not so much.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon
This was on sale at Coles for about $2.50 and I’m glad I snatched it up really.

This time with the cookies I had help in the kitchen from my gorgeous soon to be 4 year old son.

Making Peanut Butter Cookies
He takes his jobs very seriously and is a huge help. I love that he loves to help cook and bake.

Making Peanut Butter Cookies
Since I told you they didn’t turn out so well I might as well show you the end result, right? They seemed to spread a lot and didn’t cook all the way through even though I kept them in there for about 25 minutes. This oven though, isn’t the greatest!

 

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Cookies

Mmm Mmm Better Brownies

Sometimes you just want some chocolate but you just don’t want to dive into a candy bar, am I right? I wanted a brownie like nobodies business and you know what I did? I didn’t go out and buy any that’s for sure. I made some because well, I wanted brownies that I am used to! Good old American brownies!

Brownies are really quite easy to make at home that the only reason you would make them from a box is well, if you wanted to. I’m not too good for a box mix brownie at all. You have a brownie and I am pretty much there with open hands and drool coming out of my mouth.

Brownie recipes are pretty much always the same, aren’t they?

Mmm Mmm Better Brownies

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Notes

I had my brownies in the oven for about 35 minutes as I'm not used to this oven here and it didn't seem to bake well enough for 25 minutes so just check on it off and on.

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Peanut Butter Bars

Peanut Butter Bars

Since we’re in Australia and they don’t have Reese’s peanut butter bars you can just buy in any store (you have to go to a speciality shop that sells American candy), I figured I would do one better and make something similar to it. I thought of doing the cups but, you know what? That’s a lot of work! So, I took the bar route after I saw them on Pinterest from Our Best Bites.

Really though, even when I still back home, this has me thinking, “Why have I not made this before”? It is so cheap and easy to make that the thing that took me the longest was trying to figure out the conversions for the recipe.

These bars really tasted quite similar to Reese’s peanut butter cups that I was surprised and in love. Naturally, since they don’t sell graham crackers in Australia I had to substitute it with Maria biscuits which don’t taste anything like a graham cracker but was what I read up on to substitute for. Mine were a bit crumbly but I am sure not complaining.

If you want a quick treat that takes no more baking than melting the chocolate and the butter in the microwave then this is definitely the kind of recipe that you want.

The longest part to it is waiting for it to firm up to dig into them! I even had a bar for breakfast. Hey, it’s got peanut butter and dairy in it, it’s got to be semi-healthy right?

Chocolate Wasted Cake – Duncan’s 2nd Birthday Cake

Chocolate Wasted Cake

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Sorry about that, I had the best of intentions but you know how that goes when other things don’t line up as well, it kind of goes flat and then so did my efforts. So, I figured I would come back with a bang and that bang is this cake which I am sure you have seen floating around on Pinterest in it’s original glory which is from Art of Dessert.

When I first saw it I must admit I drooled, I think that everyone did. If you didn’t drool all over your keyboard or phone (whichever you saw it from) you lie or maybe you just don’t have free flowing saliva like me? Lucky.

Chocolate Wasted Cake

Now you also may have noticed that this was for a second birthday, and you could be thinking “that’s not a good kid cake” and you might be right except for my son is a total and complete chocoholic. He will eat chocolate at any chance he could get, what kid wouldn’t, right? I figured this cake would be the perfect birthday cake for him and well, I wanted to make it and any excuse will do.

He had a blast sticking his fingers in the frosting and trying to steal the eggs on top, and sticking his fingers in the chocolate drizzle as well. I think he had more fun stealing bits of the chocolate here and there than anything else. Little thief.

Chocolate Wasted Cake

With this cake, instead of the candy bars on top I used Cadbury creme eggs because they were on sale since Easter had just passed. When I make it again (oh, and I will) I will definitely use different candy bars because I think that the creme eggs were a bit of an overkill. This cake was insanely rich and delicious.

I just used a boxed mix for the cake itself because I didn’t feel like making a cake from scratch so Betty Crocker lead the way with it. For the frosting I used a chocolate buttercream recipe which is like all others except that it used heavy cream instead of milk, I think I prefer it with the cream, it was delicious and silky.

On the sides of the cake were chocolate chips pressed into the side which I must say, was absolutely messy to do! I ended up with chocolate buttercream all over my hand.

Chocolate Wasted Cake

The top, as I mentioned previously, was creme eggs just put on it as well as chocolate drizzled on the top. By the time it was done I swear you could have taken the whole lot off like it was a top, it was quite awesome.

I think the birthday boy quite enjoyed it as well, and that’s what makes me the most happy.

Duncan's @nd birthday
(licking the frosting off the spoon)

 

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of room temperature butter
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla - I forgot this though, your world will not crumble if you do too
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar, then slowly add the cocoa powder.
  2. Add cream until you get the consistency you want for spreading. Just do it a little at a time and you should be good. Add the vanilla.
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