Introduction: Convert Messy Tradition Football Viewing Snacks (Chili, BBQ, Etc.) Into Neat, Hand Held Appetizers!

About: Always making something....
If Valentine's Day was invented by the greeting card industry then Super Bowl Parties were invented by the stain removal and furniture industries.  Come on, you invite over a bunch of people, encourage them to consume alcohol and get excited about a sporting event, then hand them something like chili, barbecue, salsa, or nacho cheese sauce and don't anticipate a disaster?  This recipe is a solution, and works like a choose your own adventure.  The short version is that you make up a dough, fill it with the offending food, and then bake or fry it into crispy deliciousness.  You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already.  These are also a super way to use up leftovers.

I made these on a Saturday afternoon and they were gone in no time.  If they hadn't been eaten so quickly I would have stored them in something air-tight in the fridge and reheated them in the oven or microwave later!

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

Required Ingredients to make about 16 pieces:

1.5 cups of flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp crisco/lard
1/2 cup milk

You may also need 1 egg, and extra salt or sugar for sprinkling if you're baking them.

This recipe multiplies just fine, feel free to double or triple without hesitation.

Filling Options:

You want to fill these with something that is pre-cooked and safe to eat.  No raw meat or anything like that.  You also want something that is fairly low on liquid, and it should be cold.  A few ideas include:

  • chili (homemade or canned, pretty much as a function of how good you are at making chili and how much you like your guests.)
  • barbecue pulled pork
  • cheese and salsa
  • roasted vegetables
  • cheese and any vegetable
  • tomato sauce and pepperoni
  • cream cheese and diced jalapeno peppers
  • fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers
  • macaroni and cheese
  • bacon and cheddar
  • spinach and ricotta
  • cooked chicken with a real or pseudo asian sauce (general tso, orange, sweet chili sauce, etc)
  • ham and swiss
  • muffaletta salad with diced ham, salami, provolone and mozzarella
  • diced bratwurst and mustard

or try something sweet:
  • pie filling
  • fresh fruit
  • peanut butter and chocolate
  • nutella
Honestly, the list of things that would be good in a crispy bread shell goes on forever.


A Bowl
Basic Measuring Tools
A Spoon (Pretty much optional if you have hands)
A Rolling Pin
Saran Wrap/Cling Wrap/Thin Plastic Film Sold for Food
A Small Saucepan
A Clean Area to Knead and Roll Out Dough

Optional Bonus: A Gyoza Press - I got mine as an impulse buy from a discount Japanese import store for about $2.  You don't need it, but it does speed things up.  

A Baking Sheet + Parchment Paper + Spray Oil
A Non-Stick Pan and Oil
A Deep Fat Fryer and Oil

Step 2: Make the Dough

Mix up the flour, salt and baking powder.

Put the milk and crisco together in a saucepan.  Warm it over low heat until the crisco melts.

Mix the milk/crisco into the flour.  Stir until well combined.

Knead for around 15 minutes, until the dough is nice - elastic and smooth is the goal.

Put in the a bowl, cover it, and LEAVE IT ALONE FOR 20 MINUTES.

I just yelled that at you for a reason.  This time lets the moisture soak into the flour and makes the whole thing a lot easier to work with.  Keep it covered to keep it moist.  If your kitchen is super dry like mine, you may also want to sprinkle a little water over the top before you cover it.

During the wait time you can start prepping your fillings and get your oven pre-heated to 375 if you're baking them.

Step 3: Roll Out the Dough

Break your dough up into small pieces.  I went with halving, halving, halving, etc until I had 16 small pieces.  Roughly walnut sized, feel free to roll one out before you've divided it all up to be sure the size is good.

Roll out a piece of dough into a circle.  You may need to dust the counter and rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking.  You're shooting for a circle about the size of your gyoza press or about 4 inches if you're not using a press.  You want the dough to be very thin.  It thickens up a bit as it cooks.  

Roll out a few if your kitchen is dry, or all of them if you're not worried about them drying out.

Step 4: Fill Them!

Put a piece of cling wrap over the gyoza press.  This will help support the dough while you press it and prevent it from sticking to the press.  If you don't have a press, just lay the dough circle on the cling wrap.

Put about a tablespoon worth of filling into the middle.  Dip your finger into some water and get a ring around the edge wet - about where the crimping part of the press is.  Close the press and press it together very securely.  If you're not using a press, fold the dough in half then crimp it closed with your fingers or a fork.

Do this over and over until they're all filled.  If they aren't sealing with water try using a whisked egg, it might be a better adhesive for your circumstance.

Step 5: Cook Them


Arrange them on parchment paper covered baking sheets.  If you're making multiple flavors you can write on the paper in pencil to keep track of which is which.

Spray them with oil OR brush them with whisked egg.  If you'd like, you can sprinkle them with salt or sugar as appropriate, this gives them the bonus of a pretzel-like crunch.

Bake them at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Start checking them at 15 minutes, you're looking for them to be nicely baked with lightly browned edges.  Don't worry if they leak a little, they aren't ruined.  Serve!


Put a solid layer of vegetable oil (ideally canola) in a non-stick pan.  Heat it up over medium heat.  Place a few in the pan, cook them, flipping as necessary, to a golden brown.  You want the heat low enough that the filling is heated through before the outside is browned.  Drain them on paper towels and serve!  You can sprinkle salt or sugar on them when they're fresh from the pan.


Heat your oil to a medium range, drop as many as you can fit with room around them CAREFULLY into the oil, cook until golden brown and drain.  You want the filling to be hot before the outside is browned so keep that in mind when adjusting the heat.  You can sprinkle salt or sugar on them when they're fresh from the fryer.

Step 6: Success!

You have officially transformed a messy, ordinary food into a small, hand-held, crispy treat!  Make a bunch in different flavors. Comment if you come up with other awesome filling ideas!
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