This week, I was lucky enough to attend a cooking demonstration with some fellow food bloggers. Held in the Real Simple test kitchens in partnership with Folgers, Dawn Perry (Real Simple’s food editor) taught us how to make a few dishes that incorporated coffee or would go great with java.
First of all, Dawn Perry = awesome. She’s super funny and definitely a roll with the punches type gal. When an ingredient didn’t cooperate, she improvised while never missing a beat with her fun cooking anecdotes.
The majority of the demo revolved around making a breakfast pizza. The dough accidentally arrived pre-cooked, but typically it would only take about 8-10 minutes to cook in a cast iron skillet. First, cook a few strips of bacon and set aside. In the bacon grease cook up some fresh spinach and garlic. Then top your pizza dough with cheese (this acts as a barrier against the spinach which could get the crust soggy), the garlicy spinach, more cheese, and the bacon. Pop it in the oven until the cheese gets some good color on it. When it comes out of the oven, top it with some fried eggs, cut into it, and watch that yolk porn.
We also made some simple bark with semisweet chocolate, raisins, and peanuts. I’m not a big raisin/peanut fan but as someone who doesn’t bake a ton, I love bark as a party dessert. Simply melt chocolate in a double broiler (I like the dark stuff) and mix in whatever you fancy. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cool in the fridge for a few hours til it sets. Some of the combos I’ve liked in the past:
- Dried apricots and toasted pine nuts
- Pistachios, dried cherries, and coconut
- Mini marshmallows and rainbow sprinkles
After the demo I walked away with some great tips:
- A cold pan renders more fat so if you want to cook something else in that bacon grease, don’t pre-heat the skillet
- Oscar Mayer bacon consistently photographs well
- Maldon salt also photographs really well and is the perfect salt for finishing off a dish
- If you’re going to use pre-made pizza dough, Fresh Direct’s is a really solid option
- If you’re making bark or piping something onto parchment/wax paper (like macarons), put a dab of the mixture onto the cookie sheet to hold the paper in place. This is a slap-your-forehead-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that kind of tip, but it’s life changing.
- You do you. It’s ok to use recipes as a guide rather than a bible. The recipe called for cracking the eggs right onto the pizza before finishing it in the oven, but our fearless leader said she prefers her egg whites to be crispier so she did them in the pan, sunny side up, and then simply placed them on the pizza when it came out of the oven. Same great flavor but in a format she preferred.