Caprese Pizza Puffs – A Crowd Pleasing Finger Food

Inspiration struck for this recipe when I was trying to brainstorm some football, dude friendly, finger foods for the upcoming super bowl game. According to my husband, men don’t want to be eating frilly things on super bowl Sunday. You want something that you can hold in one hand, so as to use the other for pointing and yelling at the television. These little deconstructed pizza bites were my compromise. They still meet my “pretty” standard, but they taste like one bite pizzas with the freshness of fresh mozzarella and basil. Small, but substantial, and packed with flavor – these are the kind of appetizer I always hope will show up at cocktail parties. As much as I love chips and dip, you can eat your weight in them before your tummy feels satisfied….or at least I can.

These soft doughy morsels are dangerously delicious. If you make them, and subsequently eat them all – don’t blame me. It’s dangerous to make these when you’re home alone. You’ve been warned. Ovi and I devoured them the first day. I suspect that no matter how small your gathering – these will disappear quickly. They have all of the ingredients of a classic caprese salad, snuggled on top of a soft doughy bread ball. The tomato flavor is strong in the dough, with a tangy bite that will have you wanting to eat them all before the toppings arrive.

Pretty enough for a brunch, and hearty enough to serve to a group of football fans – these are a versatile finger food. They’re deceivingly simple. If you’ve ever played with play-doh as a child, you have all the skills you need to make these.

Nutrition:

Recipe yields about 42 pieces, about 1 inch squared. Nutrition is for 1 piece, with mozzarella and 1 pepperoni

Calories: 57 - Carbs: 5g - Fat: 3g - Protein: 3g - Sugar: 52g - Fiber: 0g

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups bread flour +  3 teaspoons reserved separately (using all purpose will alter the results slightly)
  • Additional flour for dusting your work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry deast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce (I used unsalted. If you used a salty variety, omit the teaspoon of salt from the recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (about 1/2 ounce) chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chopped oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cooking spray

FOR THE TOPPINGS:

  • Toothpicks
  • 2 containers fresh pearl mozzarella
  • 1 package turkey pepperoni

What a yummy way to use up leftover sauce!

As part of my personal “make pizza for every occasion” initiative – I bring you pizza fancy enough to serve at a cocktail party. Not too shabby.

Directions:

  • Combine yeast, sugar and water in a bowl. Cover and allow to proof for 10 minutes. It should look something like the image above
  • Combine flour, salt, herbs, garlic and sun dried tomatoes in a large mixing bowl, mix to combine
  • Drizzle oil over dry flour, and stir until small lumps/grains are running through the dough
  • Create a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the yeast and water mixture and the marinara sauce
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well incorporated (no kneading neccesary)
  • The dough will be sticky, but add 1 teaspoon of additional reserved flour until it pulls easily away from the sides of the bowl. Being careful to not allow it to become dry
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Flour your work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl with a spatula
  • Fold a few times, form into a rectangle, and divide into 3 even sections
  • Roll each section into a long log with your hands, working from the center outward until each log is about 1 inch thick (this is where the play-doh skills come in handy)
  • Cut each log into evenly sliced cubes, shape gently, and place on a large parchment lined baking sheet at least 1/2 inch apart. They will puff slightly as they cook.
  • Spray tops with cooking spray and place pepperonis on top (they will be very crispy at the end of baking time)
  • Bake for 15 minutes for a soft consistency, and up to 20 if you would like them to be crispy
  • Allow to cool completely, and top with basil and cheese, securing with a toothpick, just before serving

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

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