Friday night pizza dough, Part II: Doughdrops with caramel dipping sauce

September 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

Having grown up in New England, there is one delicious dough treat that I have been unable to find a replica of out west: fried dough.  Fried dough is a country fair favorite in New England.  My grandfather was a traveling shoe salesman; he would spend a lot time in the summer at local fairs, peddling shoes and socks, and we would go visit him.  I don’t remember much about the fairs except for the barnyard smell, an occasional pony ride, and watching people try on shoes.  Oh, and of course, the fried dough.  The fried dough is essentially a round of dough, dropped in to a fryer, and then topped with either tomato sauce and parmesan cheese or cinnamon and sugar.   Since we already had a savory version of the fried dough for our entrée, I made the sweet cinnamon sugar version for dessert.  Here’s how I prepped the dough:

  • leftover pizza dough (Friday night pizza dough)
  • 3 tblsp unsalted melted butter, cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, separate a piece of dough and use your hands to roll it in to a length of dough about 6 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.

3. Form the dough in to a circle and wrap the two ends around each other.  Dip each side of the dough in to the melted butter and place on a baking sheet.

4. Bake doughdrops at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough appears slightly crusty on the outside.  In the meantime, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

5.  Place the baking sheet under the broiler for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the doughdrops are golden brown.

6. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

7.  Brush both sides of the dough drop with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

8.  Serve warm on their own or with your favorite dipping sauce (caramel, chocolate, or a fruit  sauce… the options are endless!).

Although these were great on their own, I decided to whip up a rich, buttery caramel sauce for dipping.  I adapted the recipe from a Food&Wine recipe that accompanied a caramel apple cake.

Caramel sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tblsp unsalted butter

Note before starting: Caramel can happen fast! Measure out the cream and butter and keep it next to the stove.  It’s also a good idea to keep a pastry brush and a cup of water by your side as well.

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil over a medium heat.  If sugar crystals start to form on the side of the pan, brush them down with a wet pastry brush.

The temperature was going up and up fast. There was no time to even focus the camera for this picture.

2. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture turns a medium brown.  If you have a candy thermometer, this should read about 320 degrees F.  (I wasn’t paying close enough attention and mine got to around 340 degrees F, slightly darker than I wanted, but still good enough.)

3. Remove from the heat and very carefully add the cream and butter.  The caramel can bubble up rapidly here, but pouring slowly and mixing quickly will help eliminate any disasters.

4. Once the butter and cream have been incorporated, return to the heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes.  The caramel should become smooth and creamy.

Hmmm... not being as diligent as I should have been with the pastry brush. Lots of sugar crystals. At least it still tasted delicious.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes on the doughdrops: In my opinion, these are so tasty, they justify making pizza dough just for the sake of making them, skipping the pizza altogether.  You can really make them in any shape with any type of flavoring.  The teardrop shape of these is truly ideal for dipping: lots of surface area to cover with sauce, and a little handle on top for maintaining a good grip. The combination of warm butter and sugar and cinnamon creates a light crust on the dough, adding a little crunch, and perfect for absorbing more of the caramel sauce.  Just try it.  You won’t be sorry.

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