Monday, February 14, 2011

West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls

I was born in and spent the first 26 years of my life in Fairmont, West Virginia. I grew up eating pepperoni rolls and thought everyone else in America did, too. My mom made them all the time and they were a lunch box staple for us. We always took them with us on road trips to eat in the car. They even showed up at my wedding reception, only in miniature form. You can buy them in every convenience store in the state, but the best ones are homemade.

These savory little bundles of goodness were invented in my hometown back in the early 1900's. They were created to cater to Italian immigrants who came to that part of the state to work in the coal mines. Thin strips of pepperoni were wrapped in dough and baked until golden. The meat required no refrigeration, so the rolls were perfect for miners who worked long shifts.

Nowadays people use sliced pepperoni instead of strips because of convenience. My family prefers to use thin strips cut from a long stick of pepperoni, so that's what I'll show you.

Here's what you need:

1 9-oz stick of pepperoni
Bread dough of your choice, enough for one loaf
Melted butter

I use my bread machine to mix up the dough, using this recipe and setting it on the dough cycle. While the machine is working, I slice the pepperoni into strips.

First I cut the long stick into 5 pieces. Each of these is sliced in half. Now it's time to peel the skin off the pepperoni. You don't want to chew on that, believe me.


Each half should be cut into four strips. By the time you're done, you should have 40 strips. You're going to need 3 strips for each roll. Since this recipe makes a dozen rolls, you'll have a couple of pepperoni pieces left over. Yum!


Now divide your dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece out into an oval. On the short side, place on strip of pepperoni and fold the dough over it.


Put your second piece of pepperoni on the dough and roll it over, sealing the edges as you go.


Repeat this with the third strip of pepperoni.


Now pinch all the edges to make sure everything is sealed up tight.


Place seam side down in a greased 9x13 pan. You want three rows of four with the rolls barely touching.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about an hour and the rolls will be all squished together. That's how you want them.


Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Brush with melted butter immediately after you remove them from the oven.


Allow to rest in the pan for several minutes, then invert onto a cookie sheet and separate. The bottoms of the pepperoni rolls will look orange. That's from the pepperoni grease seeping through the dough. It makes the rolls super yummy!


One of my favorite ways to eat a pepperoni roll is to split it open while it's warm, slather on some jarred sweet peppers with sauce and layer on mozzarella cheese. If you can't find jarred sweet peppers, use some pizza sauce. But plain is good, too. Really, really good!

Note: if you can't find stick pepperoni or don't want to go to the trouble of slicing it into strips, you can use sliced pepperoni. Use 3 slices in place of each strip and fold up as directed above.

For more yummy recipes, visit Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

31 comments:

  1. I will try these soon. They look yummy. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Hi Marsha,
    One thing for sure you West Virginia folks sure know how to cook. Your Pepperoni Rolls look delicious. Thank you so much for bringing them to Full Plate Thursday and please come back!

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  3. What a wonderful idea! They look sooooo good. Perfect for a party!

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  4. This entry caught my eye at Miz Helen's. I've lived in Fairmont for the past five years and have really come to enjoy pepperoni rolls... and sure enough, you're from Fairmont! Thank you so much for sharing your technique - there really is a texture difference from using the sticks!

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  5. I came across your post from Menu plan monday! I love pepperoni Rolls....especially from that little place Colasessano's. Mmmm.....my mouth is watering. I was born in Fairmont, WV....my family still lives there, but I no longer do. LOVE going back, though. Nice to meet someone from Faimont also! I'm a new follower of your blog. Come check out mine sometime if you get a chance!
    ~Lisa @ Organized Chaos
    www.organizedchaos-lisa.blogspot.com

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  6. When we were in WV on vacation, I kept seeing these everywhere! I was curious how to make them - thanks for the recipe!

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  7. My mom was from Clarksburg. Had these all the time. Never went back for a visit without buying a ton to take home! They and the awesome chili dogs on the old state highway that once ran up over the hill ..... Omg. WV had some great food. Thanks for sharing you recipe!

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  8. My mom grew up in Clarksburg. Many friends and family still there. We never came home from a visit without the wonderful pepperoni rolls. No place else makes anything like them! Also remember the great chili dogs sold along the old state route that ran up over the hill in Clarksburg, but was cut off by the highway. WV had good memories and great food!

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    1. Burt's? We still stop there sometimes :)

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  9. Thanks, I haven't had good pepperoni rolls forever thanks for sharing. Idaho Native

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  10. Thanks, I haven't had good pepperoni rolls forever thanks for sharing. Idaho Native

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  11. Marsha,
    Thanks for sharing your pepperoni rolls. I too grew up in Fairmont my first 29 years, but now live in Florida. I miss going to Country Club bakery for their pepperoni rolls, we go there if we are home visiting family. My daughter made them for her family of five. Her 9 year old son ate 4 and loved them. She had 2 left to send in their lunch the next day. To say the least they were a hit! God bless you and yours! Thanks again for sharing.

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  12. @gerbmom, I'm from clarksburg. I think the ice plant has the best. So soft and doughy. No pepperoni rolls in central Ohio. Hope they catch on soon.

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  13. @gerbmom- I'm from clarksburg. I think the ice plant has the best. So soft and doughy. Cant visit without buying them out. None here in central Ohio :(

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  14. My Mom was born in Gassaway but grew up in Fairmont. I grew up in Chicago and she made these for us all the time and now I make them for my kids in Los Angeles! THey're the best!

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  15. I have great childhood memories of eating pepperoni rolls from the Country Club Bakery. My family was from Farmington..I always get several dozen rolls when i am ever in Wva....Thanks for jogging a great memory for me...

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  16. As a native northern Italian, West Virginian I have enjoyed making pepperoni rolls many times. In fact today I am making 48 little ones today with a sprinkle of Italian shredded cheese in on top of the pepperoni for a little different twist. We will be enjoying them with a special Italian dish....penne pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic and pecorino romano cheese. We are having a little gathering for our 14th anniversary/my birthday on Thursday. Hadn't made the rolls since we moved to FL two years ago. You can't go wrong with these rolls, so easy, fast and delicious.

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  17. I was born in Fairmont and moved to Chicago when I was five. I would visit my grandparents every summer and always went to buy pepperoni rolls. I will try your recipe. Thank you for posting it.

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  18. Thank you for this recipe!!! This is perfect for little lunch boxes!!!

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  19. I'm so excited! My husband is from WV and loves pepperoni rolls. I can't wait to make them for him. Can you use the fool proof breadmachine recipe and knead by hand?

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  20. I have lived in WV from 91-07 so far the best pepperoni rolls that I have ever had came from the Donut Shop in Buckhannon, where they use ground pepperoni in theirs, and lots of it. Have'nt found any that has come close to theirs. Now I live in Tx and I sure miss them, and so do my girls.

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  21. P.S. people down here in TX sure don't know what they are missing. I've asked around about getting pepperoni rolls down here, they look at me like I'm crazy. They never had heard of them.

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  22. I'm missin' Collasesanos and Muriales from up there...really lookin hard for the sauce recipes. I now live in texas. If anyone can help....austindakine@outlook.com

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  23. Hey I just wanted to let you know that your recipe inspired me to create Deli Rollers and I posted my recipe on my Just a Pinch account. Here's the link
    http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/main-course-sandwiches/deli-rollers-hand-pies-or-family-style.html

    I used 2 of your photos but I gave you credit for them and included a link to this post...and I promise to replace them with my own this week.

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    1. There is this one place me and my kids use to always go to get pepperoni rolls called the Donut Shop in Buckhannon WVa. so I actually improvised from what they do and used the ground pepperonI to make. the rolls try it that way you will absolutely love them with the rolls ground pepperoni.

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    2. There is this one place me and my kids use to always go to get pepperoni rolls called the Donut Shop in Buckhannon WVa. so I actually improvised from what they do and used the ground pepperonI to make. the rolls try it that way you will absolutely love them with the rolls ground pepperoni.

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  24. These look great and my husband just asked me to make pepperoni rolls. But...I don't have a bread machine - what store bought bread would you recommend for these?

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    1. I have used Bridgford frozen bread dough, as well as Rhodes frozen dough. Just let it thaw in the fridge, then follow the rest of the recipe.

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    2. I use Rhodes frozen yeast rolls.

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