Why is it so fun to take a pizza, roll it up, cut it, cook it, and then serve it as pizza buns? I don't know, but it is. I can't quite stress to you the funness and I'm surprised it didn't occur to me sooner. I admit that it takes a tiny bit more work and adds more time to the task. And yet, it's just fun. Sometimes cute ideas are just cute (like when people/bloggers cut tiny burrito shells, which they put in muffin tins and then fill and then cook instead of just wrapping up the dumb burrito and eating it already). But this one also has a practical side. I originally came across this idea under a "what to send for school lunch" category. And it is good for that. My kids don't seem to mind them cold (I guess kids eat Lunchables cold too right) and as lunches they're cute, compact, and hand-holdable (by which I mean that you can hold them in your hand, not that someone will hold your hand if you eat one, although maybe if you share one...) But anyway, they're good for school lunches. And they're good for playground dates or anywhere where you want to grab something quick and ready for your kid to eat. Though truthfully, I liked them best when they were hot. Bread, melty cheese and a bit of sauce all wrapped up and ready to go. They were fun to dip in marinara (or Ranch--Kip's favorite). They were just fun.
And they weren't much harder than pizza. But here I have to warn you that they did take longer than pizza. The dough must rise twice and that added a good 30 minutes to my prep time. Then they take a bit longer to cook as well. So while making them isn't harder than making pizza (well, not much), you should start them 2-2 1/2 hours before you want to eat unless you want to walk around your house with a starving child hanging to your leg and weeping hysterically. Although, hey, if that's your thing, you can totally start them whenever you want.
adapted from Simple As That
Makes 24-30 (or so) buns
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Rise time: 1 1/2 hours (1 hour first rise; 30 minutes 2nd rise)
Cook time: 30 minutes
flour: .50, sauce: .25, cheese: 2.00, pepperoni: .40, other stuff: .10
Note: You can use any pizza dough you normally would as long as it's not excessively sticky. You're going to need to roll these up after all.
1 1/2 C warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2-4 1/2 C flour (I used about 1 1/2 C whole wheat and the rest all-purpose)
Combine water, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix.
Start with 2 C flour. Add and mix with a spoon. Gradually continue to add flour in 1/2 C increments, mixing as you go. When you get to the point that you can no longer mix, turn it out to need it. On a well floured surface need away until it's just barely tacky and soft and supple when you handle it (like a nice pillow of dough). (Or you can use a Kitchenaid if that's your thing.)
Let rise 1 hour.
Roll this out. I rolled mine into two rectangles.
Cover with pizza sauce (or pesto or whatever floats your boat). Add toppings that are chopped into smallish bits (we used pepperoni cut up into smaller bits) and plenty of cheese. Don't go and be all skimpy with the cheese. If you use too little your dough will poof out as this rises, then bakes and you'll be like "Where's the cheese?" So use close to as much as you would on a normal pizza.
(I wish I'd added more cheese than this.)
Now roll it up longways. Then cut into rounds with a very sharp knife.
Put those into a well-greased pan. I used a 9x13 and then an 8x8 (that's a lie--I used a weird sized pan for my second batch, but an 8x8 would have worked much better).
Let rise another 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until they're just starting to get some color and they're no longer doughy in the middle (sometimes if I'm not sure I violently pull one away from itself to check, but usually if the tops are browning, you're good.
Serve with a dipping sauce if you like evil and a nice salad if you don't.