Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm Back

It has been a while since I last updated this blog. I've been meaning to for ages, but then our home router went out and I didn't have internet access for a few weeks. All is good now and I have much to post, including something I was really excited about making.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Favorite Pizza Dough

I finally got to use the dough hook this week. I was so excited because doughs are one of the main things I wanted the mixer for. I made pizza for dinner earlier this week.

The recipe I used for the crust was the one found here.

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

3.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The First Adventure: Cake Pops

The first thing I did with my mixer was make cake pops. I had made cake balls before, but had yet to make cake pops. I think the cake pops were actually a bit easier to make. Now, for a not great, hurriedly taken picture.

These were chocolate cake pops, dipped in candy coating. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about making them. I followed this recipe: Be aware, though, that the recipe calls for a 16 ounce can of frosting. Unless you like to have leftover frosting, buy a 13 ounce can. Also, the recipe says to put them in the freezer for 15 minutes before dipping them--DON'T! That is much too long and the coating will crack. Ten minutes is plenty, and be sure to move them over to the fridge after that. I also let mine sit out for a minute or two before I dipped them--but not too long, you still need them to be stiff.

The recipe I used is for cake balls, but it works just as well for cake pops. The only thing you need to do in addition to the directions used is before you dip the balls in the candy coating, stick a lollipop stick in them. I dipped the sticks in the candy coating before sticking them into my balls to help them stay on better, and I let that dry before continuing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Adventures of the Red Mixer

Years ago, I saw a red Kitchenaid stand mixer. I knew right then and there that I wanted one. But I didn't get one. My dad always felt it was "too much" and wouldn't get used enough. But when I gave my Christmas list to my parents this year, it was the only big ticket item on my list.

Yesterday, we had our belated Christmas celebration. I had an idea I was getting a mixer. We had gone to Best Buy, where my mom had me wait in the car for my little brother. Since she wasn't telling me what she was getting, obviously she was getting something for me. Later that evening, as we were putting some more shopping bags, my mom said I couldn't put them in the back of the SUV because, even though she had covered up what she bought, she said I'd know what it was from the shape of the box.

Now, I only had three things on my Christmas list that could possibly be bought at Best Buy--two of them were CDs, one of them was a mixer. The only one I'd be able to recognize from the shape and size of the box is the mixer. I've ogled at the mixers in the stores enough to know what the box looks like. But, even so, she could have gotten something that I told her I wanted and that I had forgotten to put on my list (such as the other two gifts I got that were also bought there--a food processor and X-files season 3). I kept telling myself that I wasn't getting a mixer, not wanting to be disappointed when we opened our gifts.

Yesterday morning arrived, and my mom put a big wrapped box under the tree with my name on it. I was too busy finishing wrapping gifts to pay much attention to it, but a cursory glance told me that the box WAS the right size and shape. When it came time to unwrap presents, I saved that one for last.

My suspicions were correct. Of course, there was still the matter of which Kitchenaid mixer I got; I didn't know which one I was getting because I hadn't told them specifics, thinking it wouldn't matter because I wasn't going to get it anyway. They got me the Kitchenaid Ultra Power Stand Mixer, in Empire Red.

I had to go to work after we opened our presents, but as soon as I got home, I opened the box. I stared at it lovingly for a few minutes before sitting down to read the instructions. No way was I going to try to use this without the reading the directions first! After reading the instructions, I washed the bowl and attachments right away so I could make something. And make something I did. What did I make? Well, that's a story for another post.