Pizza Dough

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I remember one of my favorite family traditions growing up was having pizza practically every Friday night. As long as I can remember, one of my parents made the pizza dough and, after letting it sit for a few minutes, formed it into the pizza pan. The pizza pans would go into the oven, and 15 minutes later we would eat. The pizza was warm, gooey, and delicious. Ever since I was old enough to learn not to burn my mouth on nearly molten cheese, pizza has been my favorite food.

This is not to say that my parent's pizza was the only pizza I had ever experienced: occasionally we would buy pizza, and I found that pizzeria pizza had an amazing crispy, chewy, yet thin and not at all hard crust. Actually, it reminds me more of a bagel crust than a bread crust. Anyway, this became probably my favorite crust, and what I imagine all pizza should aspire to have.

You all know the proverb about teaching a man to fish and he will eat for life, right? Well, eventually I became responsible in my family for making the pizza dough, and for years I was content to simply follow in the footsteps of my parents and use their recipe and method. But somewhere in the back of my mind I had made it my goal in life to make a pizza dough that fully emulates the pizzeria pizza I remembered eating as a child.

When I moved to Utah to attend college, this desire came more to the front of my mind, as I couldn't find acceptable pizza anywhere. Before long my pizza pangs were getting so bad that I succumbed to buying a pie from Pizza-Hut. But alas, it wasn't enough. I knew I had to teach myself to fish, so to speak. In my opinion, the secret to good pizza dough is near-excessive kneading of a wheat-flour based dough. Many bread recipes I have read only require you to knead the dough for a few minutes, generally less than 5. While this may produce tender sandwich bread, which is okay, it won't make the chewy yet supple pizza dough I desire.

By the way, because I learned the recipe for this bread in Europe, the majority of the measurements are in grams. I could convert everything to cups for you, but it would be far better for you to go out and buy a kitchen scale. They aren't terribly expensive and will make all your baking that much better.
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Okay, fine, I will put the US measurements in at the recipe at the end of the post.

Sugar Cookie Frosting

Pin It DLD: Sugar Cookie Frosting
Dinner in the Life of a Dad—Sugar Cookie Frosting. Fluffy butter-vanilla frosting for sugar cookies.

I am not a frosting fan. Really. I prefer my desserts unadulterated because frankly, I can't stand the sweetness. However, I do realize that there are those who cannot eat a sugar cookie unless it is accompanied by a thick layer of rich, sugary buttercream-style frosting. For all of you people out there who fit into this category, don't despair: this recipe will fulfill your needs.

Before I get into how to make it though, a couple comments first. You may notice that while most recipes call for using only butter, I use a combination of butter and shortening. The reason for this is because of fat melting points. Butter melts at a relatively low temperature, which means that on a warm day your frosting will begin to melt and "curdle." Shortening melts at a higher temperature, much above body temperature, so it will allow the frosting to hold it's shape even on warm days. So if shortening is so much better, why use butter? FLAVOR!! Even the best shortening can never beat butter for taste.

Secondly, this recipe differs in that it doesn't require the sifting of the powdered sugar. The way I see it, you will whip the frosting until smooth, so any possible lumps in your sugar will get beaten out anyway. And sifting powdered sugar just makes a huge mess.

Third, this recipe does not include food coloring. I have a good reason for this, and it has nothing to do with any possible health effects of food coloring. I didn't include it because I don't know what type you will have, and the type of food coloring plays a huge role in the final texture of the frosting if you don't know what you are doing. I prefer using powdered food colors because they huge only a marginal effect of the final frosting, and it is easier to get a vibrant color from a powder. Gels and liquids mean that you will have to either add more sugar to the recipe or reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe. So, any will work, but you have to pay attention to what you are doing.