Today I baked. Mika wanted me to make brownies from scratch, and as I’d never made them, I decided to give it a shot. I used this recipe from epicurious.com, which had gotten great reviews. The recipe was for a 9″-square baking pan – but who has a 9″ baking pan? The two standard ones pyrex ones I have are 8X8 and 9X13. So I decided to use the 8X8 one instead.
I should have used less batter. As it was, the brownies rose a lot and were undercooked – they were pretty crispy on the top but still wet in the middle. They were pretty good, I thought, though I still like Trader Joe’s brownies better. The girls didn’t like them. I’m actually happy about that, as I had no idea just how bad brownies are. They are pretty much sugar and fat. I don’t think I’ll make them again. I should say that these brownies are particularly rich, so you wouldn’t want to eat more than a little bit anyway.
A couple of days ago Mika said she wanted to make pizza – from scratch. I was resistant at first, but I figured, what the heck, I can try it – so I did today. Needless to say that Mika’s enthusiasm for the pizza was all gone, and she didn’t help at all. And as the only topping she likes is cheese, she wasn’t even excited about putting toppings on the pizza.
To make the dough I used this recipe, which had also gotten pretty good reviews. I’d never made pizza dough before – my only experience with pizza had been using the pizza dough you can buy at Trader Joe’s. But, making it from scratch gave me the opportunity to use the hook attachment on my mixer, which had been rather useless until now.
The dough itself wasn’t hard to make, just a matter of mixing the ingredients. I was amazed to see that it actually rose – my aunt used to make pizza when I was a kid, and she often complained that it didn’t rise. But we are in summer, and it’s pretty warm here, so I’m sure that helped.
The problem was working with the dough. It was so hard to get it to not stick to the working surface and my hand. Turning it was impossible, stretching it just as hard. *sigh* These, btw, were the same problems I’d had with TJ’s pizza dough, so my technique may just be terrible.
In any case, I finally sort of stretched it and made the pizza.
For the sauce I used this recipe, also from epicurious.com, which basically consisted of simmering a can of crushed tomatoes with a little olive oil for an hour, and then seasoning with salt. I was surprised at how good it actually was.
But the results – the dough, the sauce, the cheese (I made a mozzarella only pizza) weren’t great. I thought the dough tasted pretty good, but the problem was that the taste of both the dough and the sauce completely overwhelmed the cheese. You couldn’t taste it at all. Now, mozzarella is a very light-tasting cheese, so I understand that, but all pizza-places manage to make mozzarella pizzas that taste much better.
Oh well. I’ve learned my lesson, from now on, I’ll order in.