Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Pizza Pops!

Cutest. Things. Ever. And easiest! The genius baker over at The Decorated Cookie made these using a round cookie cutter, and I've had this pinned forever, planning to wow my daughters with them. With Valentine's Day approaching, I'm in full heart-food mood . . .as in shaped, not heart-healthy. And now I feel bad and unhealthy.

Moving on. The possibilities for these pops are endless, or as endless as the types of cookie cutters you have! And it really could not be easier to make these. I used refrigerated pizza dough this time around, but will probably make my own next time since my youngest wasn't wild about the Pillsbury dough. This recipe made 7 decent-sized pizza pops.

Valentine's Pizza Pops (adapted from The Decorated Cookie)
Refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pillsbury Classic, since that's all my grocery store carries)
Lollipop sticks
Cookie cutter
Toppings of choice (I used marinara sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, and small sliced grape tomatoes)

1. Preheat oven to 425, and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Unroll pizza dough on a floured surface, and use cookie cutter to punch out shapes from the dough.
3. Insert lollipop stick about halfway into the dough and place on tray.
4. Add toppings.
5. Bake for 9-11 minutes until top begins to brown.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Easy Cocoa Panna Cotta

Nothing this good should be this easy to make, unless it has zero calories. Which it never, ever does. I found this at The Italian Dish, and pretty much made it as is. So great for company - I make it the day before, and it looks much more complicated than it is! I'm excited to experiment with different flavors! I had made another version using mango puree, that I found at Naina's Recipes, which has a slightly different process, using buttermilk in place of the milk and some of the heavy cream. My husband really liked that version too. I'm able to fill about 7 parfait glasses with this:

Cocoa Panna Cotta

1 1/2 c whole milk
4 tsp unflavored powder gelatin (if using the .25 oz packages, this is about 1 1/2 envelopes)
4 1/2 c heavy cream
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (can double it if you prefer it very chocolatey! I used Hershey's cocoa powder)
3/4 c sugar
 pinch of salt
Chocolate bars for garnish (optional but pretty!)

Pour milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Turn on medium heat and stir milk just until gelatin dissolves. Do NOT let the milk boil, at any point.
Add the cream, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the cocoa powder, and continue whisking until the sugar completely dissolves, which takes only a few minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool completely - it's helpful to pour it into another heat-resistant dish to speed up the cooling down process. Stir mixture frequently during cooling off period to prevent a skin from forming. Pour mixture into parfait glasses, ramekins, martini glasses, or whatever you'd like to present them in!
Cover and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 4 hours. I cover them using glad press n' seal.
For garnish, use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate curls onto the tops. I've also used sprinkles, for my daughters.