Cheating at cooking: using pre-made dough to fake fancy food



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With the rage of Pinterest recipes and viral Instagram food photography, it can look like cooking is easy. However, a pretty result is not always guaranteed with hard work.

Below are a variety of recipes that cut the hard work in an otherwise complicated dish. Through the use of pre-made, canned biscuit dough, new cooks can cheat their way to a complicated-looking meal with a few easy steps.

The following recipes use a variety of techniques that new cooks may want to know, and use tools that can be subbed out if they are not available.

Scotch eggs

Scotch eggs are typically boiled eggs that have been wrapped in sausage and breadcrumbs, which are then fried or baked until crispy. This version takes out the breadcrumbs and replaces it with bread to make the dish more hearty and filling.

Serving size: 8 pieces

Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 can of pre-made biscuit dough (8 pieces)

8 hard-boiled eggs, room temperature

1 lb. ground pork or Italian sausage

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped carrots and red onion (optional)

½ teaspoon rosemary (optional)

½ teaspoon salt, plus more for topping

½ teaspoon pepper, plus more for topping

1 egg, beaten

Tools: Pastry brush

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to use the vegetables in your meatball seasoning, saute them in a pan on high heat with a little butter, cook until they start to dehydrate and stick together.

Step 2: Take your meat and add the optional sauteed vegetables, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix until combined.

Step 3: Spoon one to two tablespoons of meat mixture into your hand. Roll the mixture into a ball, and then flatten into a disc. Take a hard boiled egg, that is either warm or room temperature, and wrap the meat around it. The end result should look like a perfectly round meatball. Repeat for all the eggs.

Step 4: Dampen your hands with water. Take one biscuit and flatten it into a disc, being careful not to tear the dough. When it is around 5 inches in diameter, put the egg-meatball in the middle and wrap the dough around it. Pinch seams together so that there are no openings in the dough. Repeat for all the meatballs.

Step 5: Using a pastry brush or your fingers, dab the beaten egg on the tops of all the dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 6: Bake in 375-degree oven for 30-40 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. If the top of the dough is browning too fast, but the bottom of the scotch eggs still look raw, cover the tops with foil and continue cooking.

Last-minute pizza

For those that are the ultimate beginners to cooking, this is the recipe for you.

Serving size: 8 mini pizzas

Cooking time: 10-12 minutes

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 can of pre-made biscuit dough (8 pieces)

½ cup pasta sauce

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Toppings of your choice

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: With hands that have been dampened in a little water, take one biscuit and flatten it into a disc. Be careful to not tear the dough. When it is around 5 inches in diameter, put it on a baking sheet that had been lined with aluminum foil. Repeat for all the biscuits.

Step 3: Spread about a tablespoon or two of pasta sauce onto the biscuits, making sure to leave a centimeter of space around the edges. Add cheese and toppings.

Step 4: Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden.

Cookie-crusted chocolate balls

Graham cracker crumbs coat this pocket-sized dessert to create a crunchy and sweet crust. Molten chocolate fill this pastry to as a creamy center.

Serving size: 8 pockets

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 can of pre-made biscuit dough (8 pieces)

1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet preferred

½ cup graham cracker crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Dip your hands in a little water to avoid sticking and flatten out one of the biscuits until it forms a disc. Then, pull and stretch the edges of the dough, re-wetting your hands if the dough gets too sticky. Stretch until the disc is about 5 inches in diameter.

Step 3: Take the dough and fill it with about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Pull the edges of the dough together around the chocolate to create a sphere. Set aside. Repeat steps for each biscuit.

Step 4: Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a shallow bowl or plate. Do the same with the egg another bowl. Roll the chocolate balls in the egg wash and then drop into the cookie crumbs. Roll until covered evenly. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Step 5: Bake in the 375-degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the crust has turned golden brown and the dough is no longer raw at the bottom.

Chopped chicken steamed buns

Biscuits become fluffy when steamed, so this technique will be used to give an Asian flare to an inexpensive ingredient. For those that do not have the tools to steam foods, they can just as easily bake these buns in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes instead. For those that plan to steam this recipe, this dish explores how a food’s texture alters depending on how it is cooked.

Serving size: 8 steamed buns

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 can of pre-made biscuit dough (8 pieces)

1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast (it is easy to use rotisserie chicken)

2 tablespoons chopped green onion, about one stalk

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon chili oil, optional

Tools: Steamer, a bamboo basket that is placed over a saucepan filled with boiling water that steams whatever it contains; wax paper

Step 1: Put 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cut strips of wax paper into 3-inch by 3-inch squares.

Step 2: Take the chicken, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil and mix together in a bowl. Set aside.

Step 3: With hands that have been dipped in a little water, flatten out one of the biscuits until it forms a flat disc. Then, continue to pull and stretch the edges of the dough, re-wetting your hands if the dough gets too sticky. Stretch until the disc is about 5 inches in diameter.

Step 4: Put a tablespoon to two tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center of the dough. Pinch the edges of the dough together around the chicken to create a pouch. Press the bun seam side down onto a square of wax paper, place in steamer.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the box fills, leaving enough space between the buns so that they are not touching. They will swell as they cook.

Step 6: Steam for 10 minutes until the dough springs back to your touch and looks a little translucent to the surface. The exterior will have sheen to it.

Chicken pot pie

For an easier alternative, you can skip the first few steps and use canned, cream-based soup, either cream of mushroom or cream of chicken.

Serving size: 4 mini pies

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

4 pieces of raw, pre-made biscuit dough (about a half can)

1 cup chopped, cooked chicken breast (rotisserie chicken recommended)

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

½ red onion, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped (some will be set aside for the topping)

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable

Tools: Whisk, or you can stir vigorously with a cooking spoon, individual ramekins or mugs

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Take one tablespoon of butter, and melt it in a pan on high. Add the carrots, celery and red onion. Cook until the carrots soften and the onions start to turn clear. Use the lemon juice periodically to loosen up the anything that builds up at the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Step 2: In another pan, melt the remaining butter. Add the flour, stirring constantly until it creates a paste. When the paste starts to become pale brown and aromatic, add the broth one splash at a time. The paste will immediately seize up and thicken — that is normal. Use a whisk and the remaining broth to break the paste up and cook it down into a thick liquid. When you are done, the sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Add the lemon zest, most of the rosemary, chicken and cooked vegetables.

Step 4: Take the chicken-cream mixture, and scoop into individual ramekins or mugs.

Step 5: Stretch out each individual biscuit until the dough can fit over the mouth of the baking dish. If the dough looks like it will tear before it makes it to that size, you can simply lay the dough over the chicken mix. Spread egg wash on top of the dough, top with more chopped rosemary.

Step 6: Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

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