If you are looking for an easy and simply delicious recipe for your kids to bake for lunch or even dinner, I have a fun one for you today: Pepperoni Rolls.
I first heard about these on an episode of Barnwood Builders on DIY Network. They proclaimed them a West Virginia staple. So I asked the only West Virginian I know, my neighbor, Nathan. He confirmed they are in fact a “thing” and proceeded to ask his mom and cousin for a recipe. Neither had an official recipe, because there really isn’t one. They assured me they were so easy to make and gave me some general directions.
They also explained the history of this dish: The miners in West Virginia, many of whom were Italian immigrants, used to make them and take them down into the mine to eat for lunch. Simple, portable, and hearty.
In actuality, these are nothing more than bread dough wrapped around pepperoni and cheese and then baked. Traditionally they are made with a stick of pepperoni cut into large chunks. But I was assured they could be made with pre-sliced pepperoni. Which was a good thing, because I had a whole pack of mini-pepperoni slices left over from the Egg Hunt Pizza Party we had last week.
You can use store bought frozen bread dough if you want to make life easier for yourself. Just defrost so it is ready to be shaped and rise one last time before baking. I used my stand by bread dough recipe that I also used for the pizza crust last week. This will add an hour and a half to the recipe prep time for letting the dough rise the first time.
After I made up the dough I handed the rest over to my soon to be 8 year old chef.
He divided the dough into 12 equal balls. We even broke out the scale to be as accurate as possible (and sneak in a little Spring Break learnin’, shhh!)
Then he spread the dough ball into a circle. It works best if you leave it a little thicker in the middle and thinner around the edges.
Then he added the cheese and pepperoni to the center of the dough circle.
And he wrapped the dough around the filling.
Then I let them rise and baked them. He still doesn’t do the oven parts of recipes.
We each had a few for dinner and I froze the rest so he can have them for lunch or afterschool snack next week.
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- 1 lb bread dough risen once
- 5-6 oz pepperoni stick or slices
- 6 oz mozzarella cheese
- Divide the bread dough into 12 balls. Slice the cheese and pepperoni into 12 pieces (adult job for children too young to handle knife).
- Press out each ball of dough into a circle. Ideally it should be thicker in the middle and thinner on the outside.
- Add cheese an pepperoni to the center of the dough circle.
- Fold ends of dough circle around the cheese and pepperoni and press to seal.
- Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Let rise 20 minutes.
- While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grown up or older child only job: Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes until light brown.
The amounts given here are approximations, adjust as desired. You can use store bought frozen bread dough or our simple bread dough recipe.
Until next time, happy eating.