Saturday, June 15, 2013

Yummy, gooey Pepperoni Rolls - WV Style!

I've seen a flurry of "pizza roll" activity on Pinterest lately... let me introduce you to the original - the Pepperoni Roll.

When I first started this blog, I said I wouldn't be sharing many recipes or cooking ideas, mostly because that's my husband's realm, not mine.  But, every now and then, I think of something that others might enjoy and then I go to share it, and I think "This isn't a food blog.... any professional blogger will tell you that you need to stick to your niche."

But, I'm not a professional blogger, I'm a professional Sales Manager who happens to blog.  And I don't really have a niche.  I'm random.  They also tell you that your posts shouldn't be wordy.  Pshhhh... Have you met me?

Then I think "Nobody's interested in little day to day stuff..." and then I look at other blogs, and that's what they are, day to day stuff!  And they're awesome and they have readers - lots of them!

So in the spirit of sticking to "Experiment in Creative Randomness" - I bring you a food post!  But first, a little background...

Pepperoni rolls are a staple in my beautiful home state of WV. My New Jersey raised husband is always amused when, even at the most remote gas station, there's an aisle full of nothing but different brands of pepperoni rolls. In our house growing up, we almost always had them around, well, at least for a couple of hours until my brothers ate them all, and they were a must at all birthday parties.

Legend has it that pepperoni rolls were created in Fairmont, WV many generations ago as a way for coal miners to have an easy to carry, filling, doesn't-need-to-be-refrigerated lunch.  Ask any West Virginian about their favorite comfort foods, pepperoni rolls rank pretty high on the list.

In honor of the pepperoni roll winning the blue ribbon in the "A Taste of America" contest (beating out another one of my favorites - the Philly Cheesesteak!), I had to share the DIY route with all of you not lucky enough to get yours while pumping gas!

This is the real-deal, plain-Jane, good old-school pepperoni roll just like my mama used to make.  You can fancy them up with spicy cheese, spices and herbs on the crust, adding some sauce, using "Turkey" pepperoni (who does that?) but nothing beats plain and simple in my book!

To make pepperoni rolls is an all day affair, so be sure to plan accordingly!  You'll need to thaw out and raise that frozen bread dough, and I don't know about you, but I don't ever have room in my fridge for a sheet of anything, so I go with the 5-8 hour countertop method.

Spray a baking sheet with some Pam, set your loaves on it, spray one side of cling wrap with more Pam, cover up the bread with the Pam side down, and wait. It really depends on how warm your kitchen is, but after 4 or 5 hours, keep an eye on the loaves.  You do kind of need to pay attention before the loaves become huge cloud-like poofs. There is a fine line, I've crossed it many times. It almost happened again today, and I put them out at 11.

Once the dough is thawed and raised, working with one loaf at a time and keeping the other covered so that it doesn't dry out, slice the loaves into smaller pieces, about 8 - 10 per loaf, and stretch each piece to about the size of your palm before loading it with cheese and pepperoni that you'll tuck into the roll by sealing up the edges. This is also a great time to preheat your oven to 350°.

Place the rolls, seam side down, on a baking sheet and bake them for 15 - 20 minutes, checking them at 15 and just kind of going from there until they're what my husband calls "GBD." I'll let you think about that one for a minute.

Yes, that's my pepperoni roll pan.  Need to find those blog posts that tell you how to get them all sparkling again!

Don't worry if some of the cheese bursts out of the rolls as they're baking.  Happens every time.

Once they're golden brown delicious, place them on a cooling rack over some paper towels to soak up some of the yummy pepperoni grease that you're not going to think about while you're eating them, and let them cool.  I personally like them best about 5 - 10 minutes out of the oven, but that could be because that's how quick I had to get to them before these guys demolished them all.

These will store for about 5 - 7 days in whatever tightly sealed container you choose - if they last that long!

So to take away:

1 bag of frozen bread dough (3 rolls) - could use frozen dinner rolls if you want them all uniform in size - they're a bit small for me 
1 bag pepperoni - or about 1/2 lb. if you get it from a deli
2 bags of (good) Mozzarella

Thaw and raise the bread dough according to the instructions on the bag, any of the methods will work.  Once raised, preheat oven to 350°.  Cut the loaves into 8 - 10 pieces each, stretching each piece to about the size of your palm.  Place a "pinch" of cheese and 4 - 6 slices of pepperoni in each piece of bread and wrap the edges around it to seal.  Place the rolls on a baking sheet 1-2" apart seam side down and bake for 15-20 mins.  Cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!  Once rolls are completely cooled, place in airtight container to store for up to 7 days.

Word of warning - if you have pets, be sure to cool them out of their reach.  I once went into a kitchen with greasy paper towels on the floor and a very guilty looking set of puppies.  I thought the counter was high enough.  They worked together to prove me wrong.

linked up here - check out the list of awesome summer recipes at Thistlewood Farms
and here - always lots of good stuff in the Give Me the Goods parties!
and here - TONS of recipes available to grab at Carole's Chatter!


  1. I miss those days!! Yum!

    1. Whip some up, Jink! I'm sure Bill would like the treat!

  2. Thanks so much for linking up to the party! These look absolutely amazing! I drive through Fairmont WVA every summer!

    Happy day to you!

    1. Thanks for hosting! Where do you go that takes you through my beautiful home state? If you come all the way up 77 to 79, you get to see some of the best of it! But just a little further East - wowwwweee! Not much I've seen more beautiful than Rt. 50 East!

  3. These sound delish, kind of like Italian Grapios (German Mother in-law :). I pinned and will be making them. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy them, and now I'm off to Google Italian Grapios!

  4. Lovely work, Jona! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is collecting snacks and treats? This is the link . I do hope to see you there. There are already quite a lot of links for you to check out. Cheers

    1. Thanks so much, Carole! And you weren't kidding! I think I'm #212! Thanks for stopping by and inviting me!

    2. Jona, so glad you came over to add this to the table. Have signed up via my new bestie Bloglovin. Hope to see you again soon. Cheers

  5. I am a new follower and a WV born and raised gal. I love pepperoni rolls. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping in! Love meeting other WV girls!


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