I recently watched a CBS Sunday Morning piece about pepperoni rolls and had to know more. Turns out they are a very regional delicacy usually found only in West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and a tiny portion of Ohio. Played around with a couple recipes I found online until I came up with my own…and they are pretty tasty if I do say so myself.
I use Rhodes thaw, rise and bake dinner rolls but any brand of roll that has to be thawed and then allowed to rise should work. The beauty of using these rolls is you can make as many or as few as you’d like.
Rise & Bake Yeast Rolls Sliced Pepperoni (though some people swear by pepperoni sticks) Mozzarella Cheese Non-Stick Spray Butter Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place frozen dough balls 2" apart. Spray one side of a piece of saran wrap with cooking spray and place that side down on top of the rolls. Takes a couple hours for the dough to thaw and begin to rise. Once thawed remove from baking sheet and flatten each individual roll to make a circle. Then add anywhere from 4 to "the sky's the limit" pepperoni slices. On top of the pepperoni add anywhere from a tablespoon to "the sky's the limit" shredded mozzarella cheese. For my latest batch I used Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut shredded mozzarella and it was outstanding! Roll the filled dough up, tucking the ends in so they look like large egg rolls. Place seam side down in a greased 9x13 baking dish and let rise until the rolls are double in size. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, this generally takes around an hour. If it's winter or even the middle of summer with the a/c running full blast, I will put the pan in the oven and simply turn the oven light on. That usually generates just enough heat to help the dough do its thing. Once the rolls have doubled in size, place in a 350 oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately take a stick of butter and rub the end of the stick over the tops of the rolls. Pepperoni rolls can be eaten hot or cold. I generally refrigerate any leftovers but some recipes say they can be left out. Also, some recipes suggest jazzing them up by melting the butter instead of rubbing it on and then adding garlic powder or Italian seasoning and brushing the tops with the seasonings. I say why mess with perfection?