Pizza Rolls

Pizza Rolls
I will never get sick of eating pizza. It is definitely in my top 10 and maybe even my top 5 favorite foods. If I could dissect a piece of pizza, I like the crust most followed by sauce and then cheese. I am not a fan of pies loaded with cheese to the point that it dominates each bite. Skip the cheese all together? I’m not sure I would really miss it. Just pile that crust high with other toppings, and I would be happy.

A few weeks ago I used leftover pizza dough to make cinnamon rolls, but this time I went savory making pizza rolls filled with tomato sauce, pesto and a sprinkling cheese. They rose tall in the oven turning into chewy, puffy pinwheels. I ended up eating one along with a big green salad for dinner. My 3-year-old wasn’t convinced since what I was calling pizza wasn’t in the shape of a triangle.
Pizza Rolls
Pizza Rolls
Makes about 12 rolls

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing pizza
1 cup bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Spread the tomato sauce leaving an 1/8-inch border followed by the pesto. Sprinkle all over with cheese. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide. Roll up each strip and place on the prepared sheet pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pretzel Shortbread Cookies

Pretzel Shortbread Cookies
I usually don’t complain about having too much snack food at home, especially pretzels. But when I was stuffing rubber-banded partial bags on top of each other, I knew the surplus had to go. It was time to clean house. I took what was left of pretzel rods that I had planned to dip in chocolate and candy, and I threw them in the food processor instead. In minutes I had pretzel flour.

I’ve made tart crust with pretzel flour, but this time I used it to make pretzel shortbread cookies. The dough was so crumbly that I baked it in a mini muffin pan. The result was a thick cookie with a dip in the center, some deeper than others. I melted bittersweet chocolate to drizzle on top, but you also could pour it in a puddle in the center for a super thumbprint cookie.
Pretzel Shortbread Cookies
Pretzel Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Food52

Makes about 24 cookies

Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups pretzel flour (about 240 grams pretzels blended into flour)
Melted bittersweet chocolate for drizzling
Pearl sugar for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the pretzel flour until combined. Press the dough into each muffin cup about three-fourths full.

Bake the cookies 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool the cookies in the pan. Use a paring knife to cut around the edge of each cookie before lifting out of the pan. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

Broccoli Flatbread

Broccoli Flatbread
My son loves to ask me what is my favorite color. Since he was a young toddler before he could speak in full sentences, he would say purple, and that still is his answer now. When I tell him my color of choice is gray, he kind of gives me a funny look, and it’s not because he doesn’t know what gray looks like. I think it’s because gray is pretty much a bore compared to purple.

When my little guy saw me putting the finishing touches on this broccoli flatbread, he got very excited about all the green, but that didn’t mean he tried it. I made a version of my broccoli pesto and spread it on a grilled flatbread and topped it with watercress, microgreens and chives. It was green on green on green only interrupted by the grill-marked crust and Parmesan.
Broccoli Flatbread
Broccoli Flatbread

Makes 1-12-inch pizza

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl
1 cup bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound broccoli florets
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus shaved Parmesan for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 handful watercress leaves or baby spinach
1/4 cup microgreens

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the both flours and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, cook the broccoli for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for a few minutes before removing with a slotted spoon and patting dry with a towel. Reserve a handful of broccoli florets to top the flatbread.

Mince the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor. Add the broccoli, pine nuts, grated Parmesan, remaining salt, pepper & lemon juice and puree. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle or a rectangle.

Place the dough directly on the grates and grill for 3-4 minutes with the lid closed until the crust has grill marks and has puffed up. Turn over the crust and grill for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove the crust from the grill and flip it over so the first side that was grilled is facing down. Spread the crust with broccoli puree. Top with the reserved broccoli florets, watercress, microgreens and shaved Parmesan.

Spelt Parker House Rolls

Spelt Parker House Rolls
I have ruined countless meals by going overboard on the breadbasket, the unofficial first course of any meal. Finding yourself full before the salad appears on the table really isn’t anything to brag about, but sometimes warm fresh-baked biscuits, focaccia or crusty sliced bread is too hard to resist. I will dip bread in olive oil, slather it with butter or devour it plain—it doesn’t matter.

On my to-do list has been to bake fluffy pull-apart bread, so I made these spelt parker house rolls. They are a version of the classic roll invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in the 1870s. They rose very tall in the pan and baked up even higher in the oven. I sprinkled them with pepitas, sesame seeds & flaky salt. As lovely as they looked baked in their grid, I didn’t hesitate to tear one off.
Spelt Parker House Rolls
Spelt Parker House Rolls
Adapted from Food 52

Makes 16 rolls

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature plus 1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup whole milk, warmed slightly
1 large egg
2-1/4 cups spelt flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons pepitas
1 teaspoon flaky salt

Stir together the yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the room temperature butter, sugar and salt. Whisk in the milk and egg followed by the yeast mixture. Add both flours and mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed. Then increase to medium speed, kneading the dough until smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with 2 teaspoons melted butter.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each one into a tight ball and coat it with melted butter. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle them with sesame seeds, pepitas and flaky salt before baking until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

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