October 5, 2011

Pepperoni Rolls

I've never really thought about how traditions get started. But I think we may have just started one of our very own in recent weeks!

My mom always makes "Pepperoni Rolls" around the holidays. Hundreds and hundreds of them. She brings them to every holiday gathering, and always has them sitting out when we have winter company. Our whole family loves them - and my sisters and I love helping her make them. Someone gets designated as the "pincher" or the "roller" and my mom pulls tray after tray in and out of both ovens while we giggle and gossip and eat raw dough :)

Now that I live 11 hours away from my mama, I have tried to recreate some of my favorite things she makes (that I miss!). A couple weeks ago, I decided I'd make her pepperoni rolls to bring to our "Football Sunday" with some friends... I didn't realize that they'd be such a big hit! Husb asked me to make them again the next Sunday, and the next...... and just like that - we had our very own "Football Sunday" tradition! These little little pizza bites are easy to make, and even easier to pop in your mouth game after game all Sunday long.

What you'll need:
Frozen bread loaves
Sliced Pepperoni
A block of Mozzarella Cheese
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning
Parmesan Cheese
Thaw a loaf or two of the bread dough according to the directions on the package (I thawed mine in the refrigerator overnight, then let it "rise" at room temp for a few hours the morning I made the rolls). Cut the pepperoni in half and cut the mozzarella into little cubes.

Pinch off a little dough and stuff it with 2 slices of pepperoni and a cube of cheese. Squeeze the seam tight and roll into a ball... place on a non-stick baking sheet about an inch apart. The dough will rise quite a bit in the oven, so use as little as you can without having the pepperoni or cheese poking out. Mine were about 1-1.5" in diameter before baking, and I could fit around 25 on each baking sheet.
Pinch, stuff, roll and repeat until you have filled an entire baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the rolls with a little bit of olive oil and then sprinkle with italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops start to get just a litttttle golden brown. If you don't pinch them tight enough, you'll have some "oozie" ones - cheese will spill out, but not a big deal, I just pull off the burnt cheese to make them look prettier. (And eat the melted cheese as you go, of course!)
I didn't think to take "after" pictures until I was on my very last baking sheet, so it wasn't filled - but you get the idea. I let the pepperoni rolls cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes or so, then piled them into an oven-safe dish to serve. You can serve them room temperature, but I usually pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes or so to warm them, and I put them out with a little dish of warm marinara sauce for dipping.
Its safe to say that I never have - and probably never will - go home with left overs! These bite-sized treats are sure to be a hit wherever they turn up... holiday parties, game day gatherings, or anywhere else you decide to take them!

I didn't have my momma's kitchen, or my sisters to help me pinch and roll... but I do have a new(ish) tradition of my very own. Our Football Sundays will now forever include Pepperoni Rolls :)

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