Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers- Caramel Cupcakes with Caramelized Butter Frosting

This month's DB Challenge was chosen by Dolores with help from Alex and Jenny. The recipe is by Shuna Fish Lydon, and is apparently her signature cake. I am sad to say I did not like this cake, nor would I make it again. First, the caramel syrup. I dislike recipes that don't give a temperature for cooking caramel. "Until it's dark brown" doesn't work for me as shown in this recipe and this TWD one.
I think I cooked this too long because once it cooled, it was so hard there was NO way it was going to "pour" into the batter. I think the spoon standing up is a bad thing.So I warmed it up and poured it in. It seized (even though the ingredients were at room temperature) and the batter looked pretty gross. I was afraid it was ruined, but I just kept beating it and it smoothed out wonderfully. I made the cake into cupcakes for my brother's birthday. I filled the cups 3/4 full, and it made about 16 cupcakes. They looked beautiful and I couldn't wait to try them.

My brother loves Van Gogh so I decided to use the cupcakes in the Starry Night project in "Hello, Cupcake!" Since I wasn't going to top the cupcakes with the caramelized butter frosting, I halved the frosting recipe and filled them.
I used Confetti Cakes cupcake icing instead of canned frosting used in the recipe. Unfortunately, we all thought the cupcakes were dense and heavy. My husband said they tasted like cornbread. Only three of the 15 were eaten. Sorry to my brother for the yucky cupcakes! :)
as published on Bay Area Bites
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F
Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.
Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrupKosher or sea salt to taste
Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light (recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dora & Diego Cake

I made a cake for Braden's 4th birthday. At the birthday boy's request, Dora, Diego, Boots and Swiper were on it. Instead of an outdoor/jungle theme, the characters are at a birthday party. The flavors are yellow with chocolate italian meringue buttercream and chocolate with cookies and cream buttercream.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving (tomorrow)!

I thought I'd post this today since we'll be so busy with family and cooking I may not get to it tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Thank you for visiting and leaving comments. I really appreciate it. I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday and will take at least a moment to think about all the things you have to be thankful for.

This is what I'm most thankful for:

What about you?!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CS- Sweet Potato Cake with Almond Cream Filling & Chocolate Cream Frosting

November's Cake Slice Baker's recipe was for Sweet Potato Cake with Orange Cream Filling and Chocolate Cream Frosting. We had the option of substituting something for the sweet potato, but I was curious to try the sweet potato. I've had sweet potato pie, and thought it was really good, so I was excited to try this cake. The potato puree was gorgeous- bright orange and velvety smooth, I knew the cake would be moist. We're not fans of orange flavored desserts, so I substituted almond extract and sprinkled in toffee bits. This girl couldn't wait to get a taste.I thought reserving 1 cup of frosting for the filling wasn't enough. As you can see, it was spread a little thin in places (the cakes were also not level so it was thick in some other places!). I would recommend 1 1/2 cups for the filling; there was too much for the outside. I also cut down on the amount of cream cheese and butter used in the recipe, which was still wonderful. How can you not love anything with cream cheese frosting?!!

This was a delicious, moist cake. It got rave reviews from our dinner guests, as well as my co-workers who got the leftovers! Below is my version, or check out the blog roll for the original!

Sweet Potato Cake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman

2 medium or 1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
3 cups of cake flour (I substituted 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + 6T corn starch)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
5 eggs, separated
2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups of milk
1 cup toffee bits

Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake, serves 16-20 people

1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes in 2-3 places, place on a small baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms and the sides of the pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper also.

3. When the sweet potatoes are cool peel off the skin and remove any dark spots. Cut the potatoes into chunks and puree in a food processors. Puree until smooth. Measure out one cup of potato puree and set aside.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Set aside.

5. In the bowl of electric mixer add the egg whites and attach whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until egg whites are frothy. Raise the speed to high and gradually beat in 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are moderately stiff.

6. In another large bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the sweet potato, butter, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg yolk is added. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk in alternately in 2-3 additions. making sure to begin and end with the dry ingredients.

7. With a large spatula, fold in one fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Then fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Making sure to not over mix or this will deflate the batter. Divide the batter among of the three pans.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out the cake layers onto a wire rack and cool completely at least 1 hour.

9. To assemble the cake, place one layer flat side up on to a cake stand. With a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and filled with chocolate cream cheese icing, pipe border around the edge of the cake. Fill the center with the almond cream filling smoothing it to the edge of the border. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Place the second layer on top and repeat the process. Place the third layer on top and use all the chocolate cream cheese frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Cream Frosting:

makes 3 cups

8 oz ounces cream cheese at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
16 ounces of powdered sugar; sifted
1 and 1/2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate melted and slightly cooled

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar to cream cheese butter mixture. Making sure to scrape down the sides the sides of the bowl. Then beat until light fluffy 2-3 minutes.

2. Measure out 1 cup of frosting and set aside.

3. Add the melted chocolate to the remaining icing in the bowl and beat until well combined.

Almond Cream Filling:
1 1/2 cup of reserved cream cheese icing from above.
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

1. Stir together all the ingredients until well mixed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

TWD- Arborio Rice Pudding

Rice pudding, huh? Soggy rice in a congealed cream sauce? Really? I confess the only reason I made this week's TWD is because my husband likes rice pudding. Chosen by Isabelle, Dorie's version uses Arborio rice, the type used in risotto. It's a simple recipe, parboiling the rice, and adding it to a boiling milk/sugar mixture until most of the liquid is absobed. I found the directions slightly obscure; it says to cook until the rice is visible in the liquid and 80%-90% of the milk is absorbed. Is this 80%-90% absorbed?
How about this? (Yes, those are raisins peeking out of there. Contrary to my tastes and desires, raisins were added. Only because my husband looked at it on the stove and said, "Are you putting raisins in it?" Since I was making this for him, I caved)

I wasn't sure, but it seemed "done" to me, so I took it out, poured it into a bowl, covered it and put it in the refrigerator. Six hours later, we had this for dessert:

Yes, that does look like paprika on top, but it's cinnamon. I did try it, but don't think I'll have any more. It was good, but, and perhaps it's my Asian genes, but milk and rice don't really do it for me. My husband assured me that he will have no problem finishing it off. So 5 stars from someone who likes rice pudding! Check out Isabelle's blog for the recipe!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts

Ever since I saw these, I've been dying to make them. We were planning on decorating our Christmas tree this weekend (yes, we were; if I had my way, it would've been up Nov 1st. I'm just that crazy about Christmas) so I thought, what a fun treat while we're decorating. But come Saturday morning when I checked Prudy's blog for the ingredients... no mashed potatoes. So, I remembered seeing Joy the Baker's donuts and decided to try those. I did let it rise all day since we were out, but they didn't seem the worse for it. Once rolled, they didn't puff up as much as I would have liked; next time I'll roll them thicker.
Instead of chocolate glaze, which would have been amazing, we did simple cinnamon-sugar. Toss the donuts in a paper bag with cinnamon and sugar, shake away and enjoy! Crisp on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside...heaven! Make sure you wipe your counter after setting the paper bag on it- I spent 15 minutes wondering what the crusty, sandy stuff was glued to my counter!!

Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts
Gourmet, December 2006 makes 1 dozen doughnuts

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.

Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 3-inch cutter, then cut a hole in center of each round with 1-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps.

Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 2 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350°F between batches.)

I got this one in the Santa hat
But not this one

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & Fries

If you're looking for the easiest dinner EVER, this is it. The recipe for the chicken sandwiches is from the same random cookbook that brought me these. Throw some chicken in a slow cooker with sauce and you're done! Pair it with some oven fries with fry sauce and even the kids will eat it. Side note: I've heard that fry sauce isn't widely known outside the Rocky Mtn area. Is that true? Have people outside this region really been depraved of the ketchup/mayo combo that makes fries even yummier?
Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
adapted from the Ivory cookbook
serves 4

2 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 16 oz. bottle BBQ sauce
Hamburger buns

Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker with BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Shread meat with forks. Serve on buns with desired condiments.

Oven Fries

2 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
Cooking spray
Garlic salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat generously with cooking spray. Cut potatoes in half; cut each half lengthwise and crosswise so you have a steak-fry shape. Place potatoes on foil and season to taste, tossing to coat evenly. Spray the top of the potatoes with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and tender, turning once.

Monday, November 10, 2008

TWD- Kugelhopf

This week's recipe was chosen by Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl. I wasn't expecting much- some kind of bread thing with raisins doesn't appeal to me. Even less so after I read how long it was going to take me to make this. I halved the recipe and used a muffin pan and used chocolate chips instead of raisins. And yes, I should've read this recipe more carefully in advance since it's 8pm on Monday night and my dough is rising in the oven. Thank goodness for the "bread proofing" setting!Ok, so past the refrigeration and second rising, (which, I admit, I cut short), and into the oven the Kugelhopf (muffins) went. I was pleasantly surprised how much they puffed up after the first 10 minutes. I put the foil tent over them and that's about when this wonderful, buttery, sweet smell starting wafting through the kitchen. After another 10 minutes, I took them out because they were golden brown already. I brushed butter over them and sprinkled sugar on the tops. I convinced my husband to try some tonight so I sifted powdered sugar over them and we dug in. WOW! They were really good- warm and buttery, just the slightest perfect amount of sweetness. I admit I really didn't think I'd like these, but they're pretty amazing.
Thanks to Yolanda for the great pick! Check out the TWD blogroll for other results!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chicken (Curry) Pot Pie

Ok, so it's not quite fall yet here in CA, but it's close enough. So I decided to make chicken pot pie, one of my favorite comfort food dishes.

Tender vegetables and chicken in a smooth, creamy sauce, topped with a flaky, cripy crust... the perfect round-up to a cool(ish) Fall day. I added a tiny bit of curry powder to the sauce for a slightly different flavor, just enough to taste it in the background without overpowering the lightness of the dish. I also used frozen peas and corn because that's what my kids will eat, but you can use whatever veggies you like.

Chicken (Curry) Pot PIe

Pastry Topper (from
¾ cup sliced celery
½ cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2-1/2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
½ cup loose-pack frozen peas
½ cup frozen corn

1. Prepare Pastry Topper; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan cook celery, and carrot in oil over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and curry powder. Add broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken, peas, and corn. Pour into a 13” x 9” baking dish.

3. Place pastry over chicken mixture in dish. Turn edges of pastry under and cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

4. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Pastry Topper: In a medium bowl stir together 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup shortening until dough pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Sprinkle an additional 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water over remaining flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until all dough is moistened. Form into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13x9-inch rectangle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD- Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

I know you came here looking for something called Rugelach, but I missed last week's TWD because of this, this and this and I really wanted to make them. And also, I didn't so much want to make anything with raisins/currants and nuts. Although the cream cheese dough sounds pretty good.
I was actually planning on making these cupcakes for a Halloween party on Friday night, but I ran out of time/energy so I decided to make them for our missionary dinner guests tonight. These yummy diddies were chose by Clara (whose blog is so great, I might add). I love the pic in the book- so simple with silver dragees. I just topped mine with Heath bits. I was a little disppointed that my glaze wasn't as shiny as the books, but they were still delicious!Here's the recipe. And if you want to see some rugelach, go here!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My weekend- Jungle Cake (cake 3 of 3)

Yes! We're in the home stretch. This cake was for my co-worker's daughter's 1st birthday. She and I were pregnant at the same time (which I'm sure our company loved) and her little Olivia was born just a couple months after the Octopus. I was excited to make this cake- my friend gave me a napkin that they were using as a guide for the design of the cake. So cute.The first tier is lemon cake with lemon cream cheese buttercream and the second tier is red velvet with cream cheese buttercream. Because I'm such a loser with our new camera, I really hope the birthday girl's parents got some better (i.e. non-blurry) pics of the cake! :(

My weekend- Dirty 30 Cake (cake 2 of 3)

For the record, I didn't come up with the name of this cake. A friend called me up late last week, saying her friend was having a birthday party on Saturday night and her cake-baker had a family emergency and couldn't make her cake so she asked if I could make it. Knowing I had two other cakes this weekend, I hesitated. But then I thought, oh well if it's a simple design, I have time. So when I spoke to the birthday girl, she just wanted off-white fondant with leopard print ribbon along the base. Simple. For 80 people. Oh, wait...
This is the largest cake I've made. I was a bit nervous about the 12" layer since I hadn't ever covered a cake that big, but it turned out ok. I was also nervous about not being the one delivering it because the cake was pretty big and pretty heavy and my poor friend who was taking it to the party probably weighs the same as the cake. But I think it made it there in tact and still standing. The tiers are all red velvet with italian meringue cream cheese buttercream.

So, we got a new camera and I'm not good with it. Obviously, this picture is crooked and the top tier did not look like that in person. I should've had my husband take the pics! :)

My weekend- Pokemon Cake (cake 1 of 3)

For Gabe's 16th birthday, his mom asked me to make a Pokemon cake with "any of the first 150 characters." Since I had no idea what Pokemon was except for the yellow guy, I was nervous. Luckily, Wikipedia has Pokemon information galore and I was able to pick a handful that hopefully would be in the same environment together. The cake is covered in fondant and the figures and decorations are fondant/gumpaste. Both tiers were banana cake with vanilla italian meringue buttercream. I used Warren Brown's Mr Banana Legs recipe from Cake Love. AMAZING!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

DB- Homemade Pizza

Ok, so I'm a little behind, but once you see what I've been doing, I think you'll agree that it's been a hectic week. This month's (October) Daring Bakers Challenge, chosen by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums was for homemade pizza from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart. This was so great- I loved that you could make the dough in about 10 minutes and leave it in the fridge for a couple days, and then just pull it out, add some toppings, pop it in the oven for a few minutes and you're done! I just chose basic toppings- olives and artichoke hearts. Beansy and her sis don't care for anything too sophisticated. I'd love to try it with proscuitto, fresh mozzerella and basil.

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches).

4 1/2 Cups Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled -
1 3/4 Tsp Salt 1 Tsp Instant yeast 1/4 Cup Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with) 1 3/4 Cups Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C) 1 Tb sugar Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper. 4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).
To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts. 5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.
NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F).
If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.
10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches - for a 6 ounce), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.
13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pan to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.