Monday, April 27, 2015

Daring Bakers April: Focaccia di Recco

For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch

I wasn't in the mood to work with yeast, but luckily, April and Sawsan included this recipe for focaccia di recco from Academia Barilla.

It's essentially a very thin pie filled with cheese. It's supposed to be filled with Crescenza or Stracchino cheese, but I couldn't find either, so I just used mozzarella.

After mixing the simple dough and letting it rest for an hour, you roll half of it into a very thin circle. I cut the recipe in half because I didn't want a giant focaccia, but either I rolled it too thinly or the biggest baking sheet I own was just barely big enough to contain it.


Simple shredded mozz.

You roll the second half of the dough out and put it on top of everything. Then you undertake the comical challenge of pinching all the way around this giant round of dough a few times, in mortal fear that if you don't, cheese will leak out of some side hole and desecrate your already kinda freaky deaky oven floor. Then you just toss your hands up in the air and fold the outer edges in--desperate food origami. Then snip little holes into the top crust all over the place to vent the steam.

Paint olive oil over the top and sprinkle down some sea or kosher salt.

Laugh when your steam holes fail and your focaccia does its best Jiffy Pop impression.

Rest assured, it will retain maximum puffiness once you take it out of the oven. Long after you take it out of the oven. No worries--stamp it out with a clean dish towel as if it were on fire, and it will flatten out with only a minimum of saggy, deflated poofs here and there.

Pac-Man approves!

This is a simple and easy recipe and comes together quickly, hour-long rest aside, and it would be fun to play with other fillings. This is a keeper!

Visit my fellow DBers' various focaccia, yeasted and unyeasted, with all types of toppings and fillings, by clicking through to our blogroll.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my friends hosts Phoenix's own Cupcake Camp--a free event where bakers of all pedigree bring free cupcakes to feed cupcake lovers of all ages. I contributed orange creamsicle cupcakes and mini olive oil cupcakes, both with cream cheese frosting. I used Giada DeLaurentiis' olive oil muffin recipe, and as with all her recipes, this is a keeper, but I really loved the orange cupcakes. I did add a splash, less than a quarter of a teaspoon, of orange extract for the aroma, and left out the Grand Marnier.  Sweet Orange Cupcakes w/Orange Butter Cream Frosting

Servings - approx. 22 cupcakes   Serving Size - 1 cupcake w/frosting   Points Plus per Serving - 6 Points+

Calories - 214.7,   Total Fat - 7.2g,   Carb. - 35g,   Protein - 2.7g,   Fiber - 0.3g

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup FRESH squeezed orange juice
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 TBS Grand Marnier (optional)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
zest from one large orange

For the frosting:
5 TBS unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz. of 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
pinch of kosher salt
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 TBS orange juice
1 TBS Grand Marnier (optional)
1 tsp. orange zest


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two standard sized muffins tins with paper liners.  (you will get approx. 22 cupcakes from the batter)

2. Sift into a large mixing bowl, the flour, salt, and baking powder.  With wooden spoon, mix in the granulated sugar.

3. In small bowl or 4 cup glass measure, combine the buttermilk, oil, 1/2 cup orange juice, eggs, Grand Marnier(if using), and vanilla extract.  Pour the mixture into the middle of the dry ingredient bowl.

4. With electric mixer, mix batter on low speed until just combined.  Turn mixer up to med/high and beat for 2 minutes.

5. Add in the orange zest from one orange and stir into batter with wooden spoon.

6. Fill each liner approx. 3/4 of the way full.

7. Bake for 18 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and the cupcakes are done.  Remove to wire rack to cool.

8. While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by whipping the butter, cream cheese, and salt up until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).   

9. Add in confectioners sugar one cup at a time, beating after each cup. Whip until fluffy and smooth.      

10. Frost each cooled cupcake with frosting.

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