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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ham & Cheese Bites

Tomorrow is Super Sunday, so I thought it would be a good idea to post this appetizer recipe which has been one of my go-to recipes this football season.

Even though my favorite team was eliminated during the conference championship, I'm still planning on watching the game tomorrow and you can bet I'll be making these Ham & Cheese Bites!

Today's Playlist

  • "Hey Jealousy"...Gin Blossoms
  • "Push"...Matchbox Twenty
  • "Little Room"...The White Stripes
  • "Mrs. Robinson"...Simon & Garfunkel
  • "Kick Drum Heart"...The Avett Brothers
  • "Story Of My Life"...Social Distortion
  • "I Fought The Law"...The Clash
  • "Poprocks & Coke"...Green Day
  • "Island In The Sun"...Weezer
  • "The Kids Aren't Alright"...The Offspring
  • "Soul To Squeeze"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Runaway Train"...Soul Asylum

Ham & Cheese Bites (Total time from prep to finish: 2 hrs. 15 mins.
                                                        Makes approximately 64)
Printable Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 1 cup milk (110 to 120 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 12 slices rosemary ham (from the deli)
  • 12 slices cheese (I used mozzarella)
  • olive oil, for brushing the inside of the bowl that the dough will rise in
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda (to add to the boiling water)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (for brushing the top of the dough)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt or flaked salt, for sprinkling

Gather your dough ingredients: flour, brown sugar, milk and yeast.

(You won't need the rest of the ingredients until the dough has risen.)

Heat your milk to 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Stir the brown sugar into the milk until dissolved.

 Stir in the yeast.  Allow it to sit for a few minutes until the top begins to foam.

While you're waiting for the yeast to proof, put the flour into the bowl of your mixer ( if you aren't going to use a mixer and prefer to stir by hand, put the flour into a large bowl).

After the milk has started to foam, mix it into the flour.

Stir until the dough holds together.

Generously flour a surface to knead the dough.

Knead a few times, until a smooth ball forms.

Lightly brush the inside of a large bowl with olive oil.

Place the dough, smooth side down, into the bowl.  Give the dough a twist to coat with oil.

Then flip it, so that the smooth, oiled side is face-up.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise until it's doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

Tip:  warm areas can be tough to find in the wintertime!  In that case, I turn my oven on, and as soon as it starts to heat up I turn it off.  Voila!  Warm space.

And here is my dough after 1 1/2 hours.

Place the dough back onto the floured surface and cut into 4 pieces.

I know, you're looking at that picture and shaking your head at the unevenness of my cutting into 4 pieces.  This is real life, my friends.  There is no reason to worry about perfectly proportioned dough when it doesn't matter in the end!

And now, back to our recipe.

Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the first section of dough very thin, until it is approximately 18" x 5".

And now you can assemble your ham & cheese bites!  I really like rosemary ham.  Use what you love.  And this time, I used mozzarella, but swiss also works well.  I would suggest a cheese that melts well and is somewhat mild so it doesn't compete with the ham.

Fold the ham in half lengthwise and place it on the lower half of your dough.

Top the ham with a single layer of half-slices of cheese.  Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough forward (away from you), keeping the ham and cheese as tight as possible.

Tuck the ends and pinch them under.  Don't stress too much, you will be cutting the ends off before you bake the bites.

Cut the roll in half and place the halves onto a sheet of parchment paper.

Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough!  Roll out the dough, fill with ham & cheese, roll tightly, pinch the ends under, cut in half, place onto parchment.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter.

Fill a 6-quart pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil.  When the water boils, add the baking soda.  Reduce the heat to a high simmer.

Boil your dough one at a time, about 30 seconds on each side.  Use tongs to flip.

If you find that the dough is too long to fit into the pot, it's okay to bend it a little!

At this point, I feel the need to explain my thought process to you, because you may be wondering why I am boiling these and not just baking them.  I didn't want the finished product to be light and fluffy.  I thought if I boiled the dough first, like a bagel (or a pretzel), it would give a crunchy outer crust and stay sort of chewy and dense.

Remove the dough from the pot and slice it into 1-inch segments.  If you like, you can discard the ugly ends that you had pinched under.

Arrange the bites (approximately 1" apart), seam side down,  onto your parchment-lined baking sheets.  Brush the tops with the melted butter.

Lightly sprinkle the tops with salt.  I love the texture of maldon sea salt flakes, but any coarse salt will do.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until the dough is browned.


1 comment:

  1. Ok it is only about 2:00 but I'm ready for superbowl food after looking at these. Rosemary ham sounds awesome, and of course we love mozzarella. Embarassingly I bought mostly prepared stuff, but we are cooking some baby backs if that counts. :)

    Sorry your Patriots not in it this year, but help me root for the Panthers, who are only a state away, lol. Yay for fun commercial & half time show.


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