Tear-and-share bread, monkey bread, bubble bread — they’re all different names for the same kind of dish: balls of dough, baked close together in a pan, that are served warm and pulled apart with your hands.
While there are lots of savory tear-and-share breads (like this one!), its roots are sweet. In the 1950s, a Hungarian dessert called aranygaluska (“golden dumplings” in Hungarian), a cinnamon-flavored, pull-apart coffee cake, became popular in America. Today, many Americans refer to a similar recipe, made of yeasted dough balls coated in butter, cinnamon and sugar, as “monkey bread.”
And although you might think little ones would prefer the sweet side of this snack, these savory homemade pizza rolls are kid-approved. Our 10-year-old recipe tester Tammy said, “This recipe was AMAZING! I can’t tell you in words how yummy this recipe truly was! All I can say is that it was just completely AMAZING!”
Quick tip: If your pizza dough is cold from the fridge, you can leave it out on the counter for 1-2 hours to bring it to room temperature before starting. To bring it to room temperature faster, place cold dough in a zipper-lock plastic bag, squeeze out extra air, and seal the bag. Place the bag in a large bowl filled with hot water. Let dough sit in water until warmed to room temperature, about 15 minutes, turning and squeezing dough a few times while it sits.
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PEPPERONI PIZZA ROLLS
Makes 12 rolls
Vegetable oil spray
1 pound pizza dough, room temperature
24 slices pepperoni
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 ounce)
1 cup pizza sauce, warmed
1. Place a parchment paper round in the bottom of an 8-inch round metal cake pan. Spray the parchment paper and sides of the pan lightly with vegetable oil spray.
2. Spray a clean counter lightly with vegetable oil spray. Transfer room-temperature dough to greased counter. Gently press and stretch dough into a 6-inch square, popping any large bubbles. Use a bench scraper or kitchen shears to cut the square into 12 equal pieces. Cover dough pieces with plastic wrap.
3. Remove 1 piece of dough from under plastic (keep remaining pieces covered). Pat dough into a 3-inch circle. Place 1 slice of pepperoni in center of the circle. Top pepperoni with 1 heaping tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese and a second slice pepperoni. Fold edges of dough up and over filling, and pinch edges well to close. Flip the ball over and place in the parchment lined cake pan. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
4. Cover the cake pan with plastic wrap and let the dough balls rise until slightly puffed and touching each other, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5. While dough balls rise, adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine oil and garlic. Heat in microwave until warm and garlic is fragrant, 15-30 seconds.
6. Once dough has risen, remove plastic. Use a pastry brush to paint tops of dough balls with garlic oil. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.
7. Place the cake pan in the oven and bake until the tops of the rolls are well browned, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the cake pan to cooling rack and let rolls cool in pan for 15 minutes.
8. Carefully run a butter knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen rolls from the pan (pan will be hot). Use oven mitts to carefully turn pan on its side and remove rolls from pan. Let rolls cool directly on the cooling rack for 10 minutes. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.
Recipe note: The slices of pepperoni help seal the cheese inside each roll. You can substitute vegetarian pepperoni if you prefer, but don’t omit the pepperoni!