There's something more that puppet plots cooking on Sesame Street: "Sesame Street 'B' is for Baking: 50 Yummy Dishes to Make Together!" hits cookbook shelves today. The beloved, be-Muppeted children's show has collaborated with Susan McQuillan to offer 50 delicious and nutritious recipes that focus on health without compromising flavor or fun.
McQuillan is no stranger to the kitchen; she has been contributing recipes to magazines and cookbooks for more than 20 years, and has degrees in dietetics and nutrition. Acutely aware of her audience, she has crafted every recipe to include one or more “Kids!” steps to get kids involved in baking in fun and easy ways.
B is for Baking offers kid-friendly recipes and mom-friendly ingredients!
"I try to come up with somewhat healthier versions of classic foods, as well as some new ideas. In 'B is for Baking,' you’ll see that I add some wheat germ here, some yogurt there, and often substitute olive oil for some or all of the butter normally used in a recipe."
Cooking up this cookbook must have had its own special set of hurdles. Getting Muppets to taste-test is no easy feat; after all, have you ever seen them swallow? I'd imagine this process generated a lot of crumbs.
What's next? Is C for Cocktails? "I know plenty of parents who would appreciate that!" McQuillan says. "But for this series it would need to be more family-friendly, like “S is for Smoothies and Shakes.” *Sigh*. A big bird can still dream.
Here's a sneak peak! B is for baking, but there's so much more than cookies!
Elmo’s Pizza Party
Preparation time: 20 minutes • Dough rising time: 1 hour • Baking time: 12 minutes
Makes 8 servings (2 pies; 16 small slices)
Pizza dough is a yeast dough, but essentially a flatbread, so rising is OK if you have time, but is not necessary. Try your favorite veggie, meat, and cheese toppings.
• 1 cup lukewarm water (95-105°F)
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 envelope (2 1⁄2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
• 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
• 1⁄2 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Yellow cornmeal
• 2 cups shredded, part-skim mozzarella
• 4 large, ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
• Measuring cups
• Measuring spoons
• Glass measuring cup (1-cup)
• Food processor or large bowl
• Wooden spoon for stirring dough (optional)
• Pizza pans (two 12-inch)
• Cooling rack
In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, combine the water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand 5 minutes, or until frothy. Stir and let stand 5 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, in a food processor or large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and salt. Whirl or stir until mixed. Stir the oil into the dissolved yeast mixture. In the food processor, with motor running, add liquid mixture through the feed tube and process until mixture comes together into a slightly wet and sticky mass. Or in the bowl, make a well in the flour mixture, add liquid mixture, and stir to combine until a soft dough forms.
With the help of an adult, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Divide dough into two flattened rounds of equal size. Let dough rest for at least 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Or, if you want dough to rise, transfer to a clean, greased bowl, turning dough to grease all over. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Punch the dough down, cover, and let rise 30 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Sprinkle cornmeal on two 12-inch pizza pans. With the help of an adult, roll or press each round of dough out to a 12-inch round and transfer to pan.
Pre-bake each pie crust for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer the crust from the hot pan to a work surface to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
Sprinkle one-quarter of the mozzarella cheese evenly over each crust. Layer the tomatoes over the cheese. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and remaining mozzarella cheese. With the help of an adult, place the pizzas back on the pizza pans.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until topping is heated through and the edge of the crust is browned. Transfer to cooling rack. Sprinkle with basil and let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.