Sunday, 15 June 2014

[CopyCat] Stromboli

One of the things that excites me about eating low-carb is the necessity to cook. I could spend an exorbitant amount of money on pre-made salads and other dishes that I have requested to be made low-carb, but that is not as satisfying as buying my groceries for decent prices and preparing dishes I love. Better yet, let's experiment in the kitchen. Where's the fun in eating the same old thing day after day? Bring some love to your plates, folks!

Speaking of love, tell me you have tried and loved Elizabeth Nimphius's low-carb stromboli! If you haven't, you better buckle in because this is going to be a crazy ride. The dough she has created is mind-blowingly realistic and delicious. And by realistic, I mean that shit is bread. Trust me, check out her recipe. Plus I have proof!

This is the first stromboli I made using Elizabeth's recipe.
I used bacon because I ran out of pepperoni. Oh well, I guess??!
I'd like to take a quick moment to thank Elizabeth for being supportive of my experiments and questions though she barely knows me! She has been very sweet and has given me advice about the blog, and even gave me permission to steal her "copy cat" idea for my features. Thanks Elizabeth, you're a pretty awesome person!

Okay, before we get our hands dirty I'd like to also talk a bit more about this fanfreakintastic dough.

Pros:
  • Relatively quick to make, once you get the hang of it
  • Fantastic texture and taste, easy to adjust to your preferences
  • Incredibly versatile. Seriously, get creative with this dough. So far I've made the stromboli (with and without pizza sauce), pigs-in-blankets (pictured in this post), and two types of dessert rolls
  • Basically guilt-free unless you feel bad about eating cheese?????
  • Totally low-carb
  • Also gluten free
Cons:
  • The first couple times making it is frustrating
  • Easy to mess up if you're not careful (more on that below)
  • Not enough cons to create a balanced list
This recipe is so freaking good that my SO requested I make two next time so he can  have a whole one to himself. Seriously! 
pigs I mentioned earlier. Same recipe! Yum, right?
Are we ready to get started? I'm ready. I'm excited. You should be excited, too.

- - -

Servings: 4 or 5 pieces
Nutritional Information: I will update this with nutritional information later, for now please visit Elizabeth's blog.

Prep Time: ~10 minutes
Cooking Time: ~15-20 minutes

Your Ingredients: 

Dough
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2-4 tbsp butter, melted* 
  • 1 1/4 mozzarella cheese** 
  • choice seasoning*** 
  • 1 whole egg
* Elizabeth lists 4 tbsp of butter, which adds lots of flavour. I've used 2 tbsp and I find less gives the dough a slightly puffier texture, but choose based on preference. Also I would recommend unsalted butter, again that is preference.
** Elizabeth uses pre-shredded. I have used pre-shredded and block cheese, both work. Also, Elizabeth's note from her blog: "Use 4 tbsp coconut flour OR omit the butter if you are using a higher fat cheese."
*** I use garlic powder and oregano, Elizabeth uses garlic powder, fennel seed, and red pepper flakes.

Filling
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • other favourite fillings (i.e. anything you like)
Your Tools:
  • A microwavable mixing bowl and something to mix with*
  • A rolling pin and parchment paper/silicone baking mats
  • A cookie sheet
* A fork and your hands will suffice. 

The Directions:

Step 1 -
Preheat your oven to 400F. Pop your butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds and set aside (longer if the butter is really f-ing cold) 
Step 2 -
How you proceed here is important. Combine all your spices with the cheese in a microwavable bowl (obviously) and microwave for 2 minutes at 30% power. If you don't know how to change the power on your microwave you better figure it out! My microwave has a "power" button which I press after the cooking time, and then I press "3" (for 30).
Ok. Why is this important? I learned the hard way that if you cook at 100% power you overcook the cheese, making it incredibly difficult to work with later. Observe:
Left: 30% power, Right: 100% power
Hopefully it is obvious how much more difficult it was for me to work with the one on the right.
It is all broken and sad looking in comparison.
Not obvious? Let me tell you, then. Really annoying. I got so frustrated I almost tossed it.
Step 3 -
After pulling the cheese from the microwave, mix it around with your fork and get it all sticky and perfect. Add your flours, butter, and egg. Continue to combine. I personally like working with my hands for this part because I find it mixes better by squeezing than by stirring/folding. 
Initial mixing with a fork. My cheese cooled down quickly :(
 As pointed out by Elizabeth you will probably have to microwave your cheese again to make sure everything gets incorporated nicely. I have found that 5-10 seconds is not enough so I usually do 30 seconds at 30% power. After melting a second time I typically break out a dough balling technique I learned while working at a pizza place. You can see the technique in this video. However, I wouldn't recommend being as aggressive with your cheese dough as the dude in the video is with his pizza dough.
Your dough should look similar to this before you roll it out.
(I actually mixed it a bit more after I took this shot)
Step 4 -
If your dough has cooled considerably,  make sure to microwave it for a short time again before you roll it out. Get two pieces of parchment paper (one for under and one on top of the dough) and form a rectangular shape out of your dough. Grab your rolling pin and roll it out! I didn't measure the thickness after rolling, but you should be able to make it thin but not so much it breaks as soon as you pick up a piece of it. 
This is dough I rolled out for my dessert rolls.
Once your dough is rolled out, you can trim up the sides using a pizza cutter, so you have straight edges. Just add the excess dough on top or something (you could just bake the excess dough and eat it!). Finally for this stage, cut diagonal ribbons into the long sides of the dough (Unfortunately, I don't have a picture), about a third of the way on either side so that there is room for your favourite fillings.
Step 5 -
In the center, plop down whatever you want. More cheese is really fantastic, especially for dipping. I have used pizza sauce, different cheese, bacon, pepperoni, olives, etc. You get the idea. Put some fillings in there and fold over the ribbons you cut earlier, alternating sides in a sort of braiding maneuver.
Step 6 -
Transfer your goodies to a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve with or without a dipping sauce. Enjoy! 
Ignore the messy parchment paper.
I ended up moving them around a lot so there was grease and cheese everywhere.
xo,
Jennifer

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