Thursday, April 13, 2017

Everything Is Better with Chocolate, Even Pizza

When I first floated the idea of making Chocolate Pizza, my kids thought I was nuts.  They said that chocolate did not belong in the same sentence with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, sausage, anchovies or pepperoni.  And I agreed. 

I’m not about to waste chocolate on a cockamamie idea, but I could visualize this pizza.   Maybe it’s because I make regular pizza at least once a week, or maybe it’s because I’m slighted obsessed (some would say demented) when it comes to chocolate.

Why couldn’t Chocolate Pizza physically resemble pizza but be made of ingredients normally found in desserts: chocolate, sugar, flour, butter, vanilla and eggs?

The pizza crust would be a gigantic thin-crust brownie.  Instead of tomato sauce, I would use chocolate icing or ice cream to cover the crust.  The toppings would come from the candy aisle, not the delicatessen.  For a truly authentic look, diners could sprinkle on shredded coconut, which looks remarkably like shredded mozzarella. 

The best part: you can customize your own slices of “pizza.”  Just put out small bowls of chocolate or peanut butter chips, M&Ms, strawberries, tangerine segments, kiwi and banana slices or anything else that appeals.  You might have to eat this pizza with a fork, but so what!

Chocolate Pizza – serves 10-12 (adapted from “Chocolate on the Brain”)  
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter + more for greasing
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
Chocolate Icing 
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream 
Choose 2-3 toppings from the following: 
1/2 cup semisweet, milk or white chocolate chips or coins
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup sliced strawberries, bananas or kiwis
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, blackberries or tangerine sections
10-12 maraschino cherries 
Kids’ Toppings 
1 cup M&Ms or other little candies
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup sprinkles 
To make the crust
Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a 12-inch pizza pan with foil and lightly rub the foil with butter.  Set aside. 
Melt the butter and chocolate in a small, heavy pot over very low heat, stirring occasionally.  When the chocolate is almost melted, turn off the heat and set aside to cool.  The heat of the pot will melt the remaining chocolate. 
Put the sugar, eggs and vanilla in a food processor or large bowl.  Process or beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes on high speed, or until pale yellow and frothy.  Add the chocolate mixture and process or beat until well blended.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and pulse for about 10 seconds or beat on low speed just until blended. 
Pour the batter into the foil-lined pizza pan and spread evenly with the back of a spoon.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. When cool, gently place a large plate on top of the pizza pan and carefully turn the plate and pan over together so that the brownie is face down on the plate.  Remove and discard the foil and then carefully re-flip the brownie onto the pizza pan.  Set aside to cool completely. 
To make the icing
Melt the chocolate in a small, heavy pot over very low heat, stirring occasionally.  When the chocolate is almost melted, turn off the heat and set aside to cool.  When all the chips have melted, stir in the sour cream and keep stirring until it’s well blended. 
When the brownie has cooled, cover it with icing and slide it onto a large serving platter.  You can decorate it yourself or cut it into slices and let the diners decorate their own, using the toppings you provide in small bowls.           

For easy recipes, get a copy of "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"

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