Cranberry Bread

Hurricane Sandy is finally here, and earned us a four-day weekend! As long as our power stays on, we’re not complaining (although we have it really lucky; some folks who are in the path of the storm more in NJ and NY are losing more than their electricity, which is so sad). What better time is it to bake than during a huge storm? This cranberry bread is the perfect thing to make. It  has a bright and sunny orange flavor, which might be the only sun able to be seen for the next few days!  It’s got the perfect balance between tart and sweet, and it has great flavor. No one in our family had any complaints, and quite a large amount is gone already. Delicious!

Cranberry Bread

Recipe from Cooks’ Illustrated

Makes 1 loaf (about 8 slices)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon grated orange zest plus 1/3 cup juice

2/3 cup buttermilk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg, beaten lightly

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

5 1/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped coarse

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2- inch loaf pan. Stir together orange zest, orange juice, buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a second large bowl. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in cranberries and pecans (do not overmix).

Scrape batter into loaf pan ad spread with a rubber spatula into corners of pan. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55-75 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!

Peach Pound Cake

You might be wondering why we made a pound cake with peaches in it in October, instead of something normal and seasonal like apple pie. Well, we’ve had some chopped peaches that our grandmother froze for us about a month ago, when the peaches were getting overripe. Finally we had a chance to pull the peaches out of the freezer and use them in something! To prevent the peaches from releasing too many juices into the cake, we thawed and drained them first. The recipe then calls for dusting them in flour to prevent them from sinking. What you are left with is a perfectly moist pound cake with a peach chunks throughout. So, if you somehow managed to find some decent fresh peaches at this time of year, use them and this cake will be great. If you want to buy frozen peaches at the supermarket, this cake will be equally great! It’s truly one of the best pound cakes ever!

P.S. We only had just 2 cups of peaches. The original recipe called for 2 cups, but Annie’s Eats did recommend adding in more. So, in the recipe below, we have it marked for 2 1/2 cups of peaches. We felt that all this cake needed were just a few more peaches!

Peach Pound Cake

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Serves about 10

Ingredients

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter

2 1/4 cups sugar, divided

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups chopped peaches (thawed, if frozen)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and dust with 1/4 cup of sugar; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together remaining butter and sugar. Add vanilla, and then add eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in peaches. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 70 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool fully. When serving, dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

High school has been an annoying interference in blog posting- we’ve got lots of recipes on our “To-try” list but basically no time to make or photograph them (our math grades are more important, unfortunately!). While these cookies are certainly far from inventive or creative, they are one of our favorite things to make and serve as the perfect placeholder until we can try out some new recipes! We think you’ll agree- these cookies are chewy and flavorful. A nice aspect in terms of time is that the butter is melted, eliminating the need to allow it to soften in advance. There’s no overnight refrigeration like the popular New York Times recipe requires, either. These cookies are bound to make any boring/tiring day much better!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

From The Best New Recipe Cookbook

Makes about 24 large cookies (we generally make ours a little smaller, and end up with about 3 dozen)

Ingredients

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven 325°. Whisk together dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat together butter and sugars until well-combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball place dough onto cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room between each ball (or, make your cookies about 2 tablespoons of dough or so for smaller cookies). Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft, about 12 minutes. Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

With fall officially here, it is again acceptable to make anything and everything that contains pumpkin. Every year, and not just during fall, sometimes during winter, we make pumpkin bread/muffins. Usually, we use a different recipe each time because while all we have tried are good, none are spectacular. So when we decided to make pumpkin muffins recently, we chose to use our new King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook.

This recipe was absolutely ideal! The muffins are tender, sweet, and full of a pure pumpkin flavor. We chose to add a delicious pecan streusel to the top that completes these muffins nicely. Another happy bonus is that the batter for these muffins is made completely in one bowl (a very large one though! This recipe makes a lot of batter), so less clean-up is involved.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel

Pumpkin Muffin slightly adapted from The  King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook, Pecan Streusel from Ezra Pound Cake

Makes about 36 muffins, or two loaves of pumpkin bread

Ingredients:

For the Muffins:

1 cup vegetable oil

2 2/3 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 cups (1-15 oz. can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the streusel:

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (feel free to brown it if you’d like- we did)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

In a large bowl, cream together the oil and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin, and water. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla, stirring to blend.

To make the streusel, stir the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and pecan pieces in a medium bowl. Spoon the pumpkin batter into 36 greased or lined muffins tins, or two greased loaf pans.  Top each of the muffins with 1-2 tablespoons of streusel.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean (if you are making pumpkin bread, bake for about an hour). Let cool. Enjoy!

Blondies

Yesterday we made a batch of these and some beautiful cheesecake brownies to sell at a bake sale at our school today. The sad thing is that all of the blondies and the brownies sold before we could even get one ourselves! So, after we took the PSATs today (who invented them anyway? Obviously whoever did was not a fun person or was just in a bad mood!), we decided to whip up another pan of these for our family to enjoy. These bars are for those of you out there who like the fudgy texture of brownies but maybe aren’t in the mood for something so densely chocolate. These bars have a wonderful caramel/butter flavor that is enhanced with chopped pecans (pecans lend themselves so well to baked goods, because they have  a buttery flavor that improves almost any dessert) and white chocolate. Of course, a few regular chocolate chips add some nice contrast.

Blondies are not made by pressing chocolate chip cookie dough into a pan. They contain all brown sugar and often have other things mixed in- in this case, pecans and white chocolate. If you’ve never had an actual blondie (just cookie cake from the supermarket), you may be surprised about how delicious and buttery (and quick to make) these are! They are highly adaptable. Some other tasty additions are butterscotch chips, chopped up Heath bars, or walnuts. It’s up to you!

Blondies

Recipe via Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Makes 36 bars (There are certainly not 36 servings in a batch of these- a better estimate is more likely around 12. It all depends on how big you cut these or how hungry the people eating them are!)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarsely (We like to chop them finer so that no bite is just a big chunk of nut- no one wants that!)

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or 3 ounces chopped semisweet/bittersweet chocolate)

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (or 3 ounces chopped good-quality white chocolate)

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil sling by folding 2 sheets of aluminum foil so that are as wide as a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Lay sheets of foil in pan with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Grease foil and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk brown sugar and melted butter together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Fold dry ingredients into egg mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in nuts and chocolates and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with spatula.

Bake until top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to touch, 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool completely. Loosen edges with paring knife and remove bars from pan using foil. Cut into 2 by 1.5 inch bars (to make 36). Enjoy!

Lemon Layer Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

For our not-so-little little brothers’ 15th birthday (yes, we have fraternal twin brothers), they requested this lemon cake. Or, we suggested this cake because it looked so good and they knew better than to disagree! The bad lighting doesn’t do this cake justice; it is one of the best cakes we’ve ever made. There is nothing that we would change about this recipe; the cake is velvety and the lemon mousse filling is to die for. It was fantastic! Also, the candied lemon slices on top were pretty easy to make and actually tasted surprisingly good. Sadly, there wasn’t much left after our family of 8 got a hold of it. Guess we’ll just have to make it again soon!

Lemon Layer Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

For the cake:
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Zest of ½ a lemon
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp. lemon extract
Zest of ½ a lemon
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

For the frosting:
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (3 sticks plus 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For the candied lemon slices:
1-2 lemons
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Butter and flour the edges of 2 9-inch or 3 8-inch round cake pans and shake out the excess.  Line the pans with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the lemon zest to the bowl of the mixer with the butter.  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and the lemon and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans.  Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pans about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Blend in the lemon extract and lemon zest.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.  Wash the mixer bowl and fit with the whisk attachment.  Add the  heavy cream to the bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat.  Mix about a third of the whipped cream into the lemon-cream cheese mixture to lighten it.  Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain and the mixture is evenly blended.

To make the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod into the bowl and add in the salt.  Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract and heavy cream on low speed just until incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 4 minutes.

To make the candied lemon slices, wash and dry the lemons thoroughly.  Use a sharp serrated knife to make very thin slices of lemon.  Poke out any seeds in the slices.  Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Add the lemon slices to the mixture so that they are in a single layer (none overlapping), reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 20 minutes, turning the slices at least once so both sides are candied.  Remove from the heat.  Store in a container with the syrup until ready to use.

To assemble the cake, place one of the layers on a serving platter.  Top with half of the lemon-cream cheese mixture and smooth in an even layer.  Place a second cake layer on top of the filling and top with the remaining filling.  Place the final cake layer on top.  Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake with the vanilla bean frosting.   Garnish with the candied lemon slices, draining them of the syrup.

Pumpkin Praline Waffles

Our aunt recently sent us the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook. When looking through it, these waffles stood out and we finally got around to making them! And they were not a disappointment.  These pumpkin waffles, paired with warm cinnamon maple syrup, butter, and a couple of slices of bacon, are a wonderful breakfast treat! They are made with half whole wheat flour, to make them a little healthier, and the chopped pecans add texture and protein. Of course, pairing them with whipped cream would probably make them out of this world! Don’t skip on this recipe- these waffles are good ones!

Pumpkin Praline Waffles

Recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion 

Serves 6-8 (We managed to get about 16 waffles in our waffle iron, which makes 4 square waffles at a time)

Ingredients

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups (14.25 ounces) pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large eggs, separated

2 cups (16 ounces) buttermilk

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, stirring to mix. Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and egg yolks. Add buttermilk and mix until thoroughly blended.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the whites into the batter and gently stir in pecans.

Scoop batter into a preheated waffle iron. Bake waffles until golden brown. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup. Enjoy!

Side note: To make the cinnamon maple syrup, melt a little butter in a few tablespoons of real maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir to combine and serve warm over the waffles.

Thumbprint Cookies

If you are searching for an easy, yet delicious and impressive dessert to make, look no further! These yummy little cookies are super fast to make (they are basically shortbread cookies) and can be filled with any filling you want, depending on the occasion. While we kept ours simple on the outside, the cookies can be rolled in chopped nuts for a  more interesting texture. We filled half of our cookies with lemon curd, and the other half with cherry preserves.  Chocolate ganache would probably be another awesome filling! We made these on a whim, so we didn’t make homemade curd, but that would ideally be the best way to go. Enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies

Makes about 3-4 dozen

Slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Ingredients:

2/3 cup softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 to 1/2 cups fillings: use jams, curds, ganache, frosting, etc.

Directions:

Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping bowl. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can, and stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Grease a cookie sheet; set aside. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball. Bake in a 375 ˚ F oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Just before serving, fill the centers.

Note: to roll cookies in nuts, dip the dough balls into the egg whites that were not used in the cookie dough, and then roll in 1 cups walnuts or pecans.

Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita Bread

If you are used to eating hummus from a supermarket, and have never had the homemade variety, you are truly missing out! Homemade hummus has a much fresher taste and is highly adaptable. The best part is that it can be made in less then 15 minutes, which is probably less then the time it would take you to drive to a supermarket to buy it. The ingredients are fairly simple (minus the tahini, which can be found in either the foreign foods aisle or salad dressing/condiments aisle of your grocery store. A container usually lasts for multiple batches of hummus, so keep it in your fridge so that you can make hummus whenever you want!). The homemade pita requires a little more planning ahead, since it needs time to rise, but the dough is easy to make and each pita only cooks for several minutes. This is a healthy snack- way healthier than that cheese dip we posted and chips, and almost as delicious!

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Makes 8 pitas

Ingredients

2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt (We needed to add an extra 1/3 cup of flour to make the dough workable. It should be very soft and somewhat spongy).  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking sheet or stone in the oven and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface.  Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Hummus

Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 tbsp. juice from 1-2 lemons

¼ cup water

6 tbsp. tahini, stirred well

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about ½ tsp.)

½ tsp. table salt

¼ tsp. ground cumin

pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro or parsley

 Directions

Combine lemon juice and water in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup.  Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.

Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds.  Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula  With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through food tube.  Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute.  With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through food tube, continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the pita bread and carrot sticks.

Grandma Pizza

We don’t know who Grandma is, nor did we invent the name of this pizza, but whoever she is, she should be proud of this pizza! It’s wonderful, and it proves you don’t absolutely need a pizza stone to make good pizza at home (that being said, we still want a pizza stone and for most homemade pizza it’s advisable to use one!). Another bonus is that the dough is probably the easiest dough to make ever- there is no need to warm up the water and it made in a stand mixer. The sauce (or topping) is also ridiculously easy and can be made in five minutes, with no cooking time involved. The product is a pizza with a perfectly crisp crust and amazing flavor. Do yourself a favor and make this for dinner tonight! You will be glad that you did.

Grandma Pizza

Serves 4 (or many for a delicious appetizer!)

Recipe via Ezra Pound Cake

Ingredients

For the dough:

3 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 ounces) bread flour

2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions

For the Dough

Measure 2 tablespoons olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet (18″ by 13″), and use your fingers to coat the sheet with oil.

Measure water and remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt on low speed. With the mixer running, slowly add water mixture, and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute.

Increase speed to medium-low, and mix until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes.

Place the dough on the oiled baking sheet, and turn to coat. Stretch dough to 10 by 6-inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stretch dough to corners of pan, cover loosely with plastic, and let rise in warm place until slightly puffed, about 45 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, and heat oven to 500 degrees F.

For the Topping

Place tomatoes in colander, and drain really well.

In a medium bowl, combine drained tomatoes, oil, garlic, oregano, and salt. Set aside.

In a second bowl, combine mozzarella and Parmesan. Set aside.

Sprinkle cheese mixture over the dough, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Top with tomato mixture, and drizzle with olive oil (there is really no need for more olive oil at this point,  but you can add it if you want) . Bake until well browned and bubbling, about 12 minutes. If the oven starts to smoke, lower the temperature or move your pizza up a rack.

Slide pizza onto a wire rack, sprinkle with basil, and let cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!