Tuesday, November 15, 2011

.pull apart pizza bites.

who doesn't like pizza? i'm sure right now someone out there in internet land is raising a hand- "me." if you have your hand raised, this may not be the recipe for you. on second thought, maybe this could be your means of finally enjoying pizza pie, in bite form!

the beauty of this recipe is in the variation. it can be satisfying for at-scratch people with a homemade pizza dough or time-friendly for those who want something simple by using a store bought pizza dough instead.

keep the bites simple with cheese and kid friendly pepperoni. or, get creative with buffalo chicken and blue cheese. there are so many options and really, whatever your favorite flavors are make the best stuffings to these little bites.

when i made them for me and my eye guy, i decided to make the pizza dough myself. for one thing, i had all the ingredients to do so at my house and this would allow to me avoid a trip to the grocery store. plus, i enjoy making things from scratch. i've made pizza dough before, but this is the best one i've ever made. i will be using the recipe again in the future for normal pizzas.

as far as what to stuff them with, i made them all vegetarian friendly. my eye guy is really great about eating and enjoying me-friendly food.

of course, there's cheese. the recipe calls for little cubes of cheese, but all i had on hand was shredded so i used shredded mozarella. i can imagine how delicious a little cube of it would be. mmm...fresh mozarella... i digress.
i also used vegetarian pepperoni. they have a pretty good flavor to them for being fake.

in some bites, i put gouda cheese instead of mozarella and added some chopped banana peppers to others. a little basil, a little crushed red pepper, a little ricotta. i have a real problem with being simple. i'm not good at it. plain and simple.

with all the little dough parts torn and stuffed, i scrunched them together in a pie plate to cozy up while baking. because i absolutely adore the taste, i added some rosemary to the buttered tops. then, i topped them with garlic salt as well.

while the pizza bites were baking, i poured marinara sauce into ramekins as dipping plates for my eye guy and myself. once the dish was done, i served us up some bites with sauce and i think it is safe to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed them. although we had them for dinner, they would be awesome as a dish to take to a party or gathering. in fact, i can't wait until i can do just that.

pizza bites
adapted from Annie's Eats
pizza dough (you will be using a HALF batch of this dough OR the store bought variety)
½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp. salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

the bites
½ batch pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 20-24 pieces)
Sliced pepperoni
For topping:
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces. Take one of the dough pieces, top with a cube of cheese and a slice or two of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with dipping sauce as desired.

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