Here at Giordano’s, we love pizza – clearly! But, we also love dessert too. This love might seem conflicting, (who wants to mix mozzarella and chocolate?) but the marriage of these two can be quite the tasty treat. That’s right, we’re talking about dessert pizza! We’re here to cover the basics of this sweet treat and share some of the best ideas we’ve seen!
Every pizza has to start somewhere and that somewhere is most likely the crust. The crust needs to support the delicious toppings you put on top of your pizza and may require some pre-baking time. When considering what you want your crust to be made out of, consider the time you have available, the ingredients you have, and how healthy or indulgent you want your pizza to be. Some of our favorite dessert pizza crusts include:
- Cookie dough – Start out with a sugar cookie dough for almost any dessert pizza. If you’re feeling more indulgent, go with a chocolate chip cookie dough or brownie batter. If you want to save time, grab the pre-made dough from the store!
- Cinnamon Roll – For a breakfast inspired pizza, try cinnamon roll dough. Place the rolls in a circular pan and roll them out until their approximately a quarter inch thick. Bake per the instructions and you have an indulgent, spiced crust!
- Pie Shells – Maybe you bought too many shells preparing pies for a picnic and have one leftover. You’re in luck! Pie shells or leftover pie dough can easily be converted into dessert pizza! Just remember, this will likely be a softer, thinner base than the cookie dough, so choose your toppings wisely.
Where do I put the cheese?
Cheese? On dessert pizza? You heard us! While we aren’t talking the stretchy mozzarella you find on our famous pies here, we are talking about that layer. You’re going to want to put some kind of spread on your dessert pizza to act as the cheese. Your options for this layer are pretty endless:
- Cheese – No really, cheese. Cream cheese makes a great spread for dessert pizza. To sweeten the neutral flavor, add 1/4 cup of sugar to an 8 oz. packet along with a splash of vanilla. If you’re really feeling adventurous, mix salty and sweet. Try combining ricotta cheese with fresh berries and basil for a delightful sweet and savory mix.
- Nut Butters – From healthy to indulgent, pick your favorite nut butter! You can do crunchy or smooth and even flavored nut butters. Some of our favorites are classic peanut butter, chocolate-hazelnut, and almond.
- Chocolate Ganache – There is something about this rich, indulgent layer that makes our mouths water. When you really want a treat, layer your dessert pizza with a glossy ganache. You can mix this fancy sounding chocolate spread by bringing cream just to a boil over medium high heat, pouring it over chocolate, and letting it stand for 10 minutes. After that, add a pinch of salt and stir. Don’t stir your ganache too soon or it will cool quickly and become grainy.
- Marshmallow Spread – For the serious sweet tooth, make faux cheese with ooey-gooey marshmallow spread. For a toasted flavor, spread your marshmallow layer and quickly broil on low heat. Do NOT walk away from the pizza while broiling the marshmallow. It will likely take less than a minute and walking away could leave you with burnt marshmallow or even a smokey kitchen.
- Frosting – An easy crowd pleaser, frosting is a fast way to up the sweetness of your dessert pizza. You can use pre-made or make your own, and it’s a great way to get the kids involved. Let them spread the frosting after the base has cooled.
The options here could go on and on, but remember that you don’t want to soak your crust! If you’re considering adding something like jam to your dessert pizza, you need to think about how sturdy your crust will be compared to the liquid content of your spread. Try adding a thin layer of cream cheese before the jam to keep your crust from getting soggy!
Picking the Perfect Toppings
Narrowing down your topping list will be the hardest part of the whole process. While you could top your dessert with everything you have in the pantry, mixing peanut butter, oranges, and sour gummy worms might not be the best flavor combination. Maybe it is. The choices are yours! Pick your favorite flavors or pick a theme. To start, you’ll probably want to consider two primary categories. Do you want to err on the healthier side or do you want a true experience? Pick one, pick the other, or mix it up:
- Healthy Options: Try adding fresh fruit and nuts to keep your dessert pizza on the lighter, more nutritious side. You could even sprinkle granola on top for a crunch
- Sweeten it up with toppings like candy, mini-marshmallows, crumbled graham crackers, or drizzles of different spreads.
Once you choose a primary theme, start thinking about what flavors you like together. Some of our favorite combos include:
- Birthday Cake – Mix sprinkles into any and all stages of your dessert pizza. From the crust dough to the spread or even as a topper, you can’t go wrong with sprinkles. Top your crust with vanilla icing mixed with rainbow sprinkles and top with multi-colored candies or more sprinkles.
- Peanut Butter & Chocolate – Top your cookie crust with peanut butter, add crushed peanut butter and chocolate cups and candies, and drizzle with chocolate hazelnut spread or ganache.
- S’mores – It’ll be just like camping with this sweet treat. Top your crust with chocolate-hazelnut spread, melted chocolate, or marshmallow spread. If you top with marshmallow spread, toast that layer under the broiler and add melted chocolate and graham crackers to the top. If you go with a chocolate spread, top with mini-marshmallows and toast with a broiler or kitchen torch. Sprinkle the final product with crushed graham crackers.
- Cookies & Cream – Mix chocolate cookies into your crust dough if you want to go above and beyond with this theme. Add the sweetened cream cheese mixture to the top of your crust and sprinkle crushed chocolate and cream cookies over the spread.
- Pie Dessert Pizza – We love the idea of turning a home baked pie into a pizza! Top your cookie crust with cooked or warmed canned fruit – try apples or peaches or whatever pie flavor you like. Crumble granola or streusel on top and drizzle with caramel or melted frosting & enjoy!
- Fruit Pizza – Top your crust with cream cheese spread and arrange fruit in any patter you like! Pick seasonally fresh fruit for the best flavor. Summer is a great time to do a berry pizza, tropical spin, or a mix of both.
Whatever combination you choose, just remember to have fun with it! Use dessert pizza to pump up a movie night, dinner party, picnic, or just your average weeknight. Get the kids involved in planning the pizza, mixing and spreading the dough, and placing their favorite toppings. Making dessert pizza is a great way to bring the whole family together. Just don’t spoil your dinner with too many munches along the way! Get your fill before with one of our delicious stuffed pies!