Monday, October 27, 2008

Pizza! Pizza! Daring Bakers Challenge

Happy Fall Everyone! I am just loving the crisp low humidity days were are having. Too bad we only have about 3 of those a year down here in the swamps! LOL. Perfect days to fire up the ovens for some baking for fun.

My beautiful friend Jacque has inspired me to join a monthly baking group called The Daring Bakers. Every month someone hosts the challenge and picks a recipe. Everyone in the club bakes that same recipe some time during the month, and then on the designated "reveal" day, everyone blogs about it, as well as posting in the Daring Bakers forum. I have been hooked on reading baking blogs as of late, and it looked like so much fun, I decided to join. I needed something else anyway to fill all of this free time I have on my hands (wink). OK, OK, I will fess up. One of my real motivations was that if I fill up my schedule with other very important commitments such as this, then I have a really legitimate excuse not to get to the housework and laundry (which BTW I loathe.) To make up for the dirty house and lack of clean clothes, my family gets to taste test lots of great new recipes. And if those perks are not enough, I also get a chance to practice my new mad photography skills. (Because you see, taking great photos of the food is just as important as the food itself in the blogging world.) So I see it as a win/win for everyone involved. ( Sharon <----- big grin)

I have to admit that I was a tad disappointed when I read that my first challenge would be a savory recipe of pizza dough. I am not a cook by any stretch of the imagination. I am into sweets. Period. End of discussion. But, we love pizza in this house, so I embraced the challenge and gave it my all. In the end, I had a ball with the pizza variations and the photo taking. You would have thought the Food Network was in my kitchen with all the light stands and tripods set up in there. Of course I had no clue what I was doing, but it was fun anyway.

This month's challenge was hosted by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums. You can find the dough recipe on her blog. The rules stated that we had to try to toss the pizza dough; which I did and failed miserably; hence no photos of that. But I took a couple of hundred shots of everything else! (Don't get nervous; I am not going to post them all.) But almost all, tee hee.

I made one long rectangular pizza for hubby and I to share. His section was pepperoni, black forest ham, green and black olives with red sauce and mozzarella. My side was Canadian bacon, black olives and pineapple.

I baked it on the back of a cookie sheet at 500 degrees as the recipe stated, but found that temperature to be too high. The top was cooking too fast and drying out, while the center of the dough was not fully cooked. It could have used a few more minutes in the oven.

That being said, it was still really delicious, and a very easy dough to make. You do have to make it the day before so it can ferment, but it took no time at all to do. My pizza was just as yummy reheated in the oven the next day.

My son J formed and topped his own pizza: pepperoni and tons of cheese.

Little chef hands at work.

Ta daaaaaa!

His was cheesy and oozy and gorgeous.

His baked up beautifully and while I did not taste his, he enjoyed it a lot.

Then I also saved 2 portions of dough to make dessert pizzas with. J wanted chocolate chip like they serve at Sicily's Pizza. Do you guys have Sicily's? If not, too bad cuz it's yummy. I made a crumble for the top out of flour, sugar and butter.

This time I baked the dessert pizzas at 350 and let them go a while longer, and the crust and top baked up better that way. It was good, although personally I would have preferred a thin layer of peanut butter under the chocolate chips. J dusted the top with powdered sugar and went to town on it, so I think it was a thumbs up.

Here are two of my artsy foody photographer wanna be pics:

For hubby I made a blueberry crumble pizza:

I use canned blueberry pie filling (gasp!) and made a crumble topping from flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.

I overcompensated for the undercooked dough in the savory pizza by keeping this one in the oven a tad too long. But it really only affected the very outer crust, so all was fine.

This was really yummy, I think my favorite of all the pizzas.

More artsy shots. How am I doing?

So, all in all I would say my first Daring Baker's Challenge was a success. And really a lot of fun. My friend Heather has joined also, and I am trying to convince my sister to join too. (Come on Barb, you know you want to.) I am looking forward to next month already. If you would like to see what other Bakers did this month, check out the blogroll.

Happy Baking Everyone!



Ruth said...

Your pizzas look fantastic. I love that your whole family got involved. Your artsy photos are great

fatboybakes said...

hi there, thanks for dropping by. the pizzas look great....both the savoury and "un-savoury" ones. welcome to the DB challenge!

~Amber~ said...

Your pizzas look excellent, especially for not being much of a cook. Welcome to the Daring Bakers. This month actually marks my one year anniversary with them.

Nichi said...

Nice crust lady! Dangit this makes me want pizza for lunch.

Natashya said...

Great job on your first pizzas! Your helper looks like he had fun too. That's the great thing about the Daring Bakers, you are sure to be making things you wouldn't generally make - at least some of the months.

Mata Family said...

Awesome job on the pizza and the photos my friend!! Looks like J had a blast too!

Custom Cakes by Brenda said...

Those pizzas looked so yummy!!!

Jacque said...

Oh my!!! Everything looks fantastic, from the flavors and crust to the photos to your sweet pizza-making boy.

I am definitely trying some crumb dessert pizzas with my leftover dough. The choco. chip one looks yummy.

LOL, I had the same thoughts when I found out the challenge was pizza. This makes two savory recipes in a row! Don't the chosers know we're sweets bakers? But as always, I ended up enjoying it.

Cakebrain said...

what yummy looking pizzas! I haven't had homemade pizza in ages...

Regina said...

Ooh, a chocolate chip crumble pizza *and* a blueberry crumble pizza?? Your family has it good.

Tanya said...

All of the pizzas look delicious and it's great you got your family involved. Great work!

landa said...

Everything looks great! Welcome to the Daring Bakers. You will certainly be challenged and have lots of fun.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What gorgeous pizzas! Really scrumptious looking! Very well done!



Lynn said...

First of all, housework is highly overrated. So, I would always blow off any chores to bake. I think your priorities are in the right place!

Having said that I really enjoyed reading your post. It was fun to see your helper. I am jealous, I bake alone, except for the four dogs. For your first challenge you hit it out of the park. Excellent. I am really impressed.

Eat4Fun said...

Congratulations on completing your first DB Challenge. Great looking dessert crumble pizza. Very creative!

missyvixen1217 said...

It looks like you had a great time! Your "artsy photo" taking is actually VERY good but your descriptions of doing it are positively KILLING me over here....I don't know if I am ever going to get all the Dt. Coke out of my nose and off my computer screen! LOL