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Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls


Growing up, I always ate spinach one way. Two ways, if you count bourek. It wasn't until my interest in cooking had sparked, that I started to discover different ways to eat spinach, thanks to lovely sites like Foodgawker, and Pinterest, as of late. Upon recently searching for a yummy appetizer to make for a dinner party me and my mother threw, I stumbled upon these baked spinach dip mini bread bowls. Best stumble ever, lemme tell you.



They blew our taste buds away. I never knew spinach could taste this good, but that's probably because I've never had spinach dip. We made a trial batch a couple of days before the party because we wanted to see how they would turn out if we used our own homemade dough for the bread bowls, instead of using a refrigerated French bread loaf. I should really say that my mom wanted to see, because I honestly just wanted to buy the bread loaf, but she was confident she could make them using her own recipe. And as it turned out, her confidence was well-founded. The dip-filled bread bowls, made with her homemade bread, came out nothing short of amazing, and were nothing short of addicting.


Not only did I nearly eat the entire trial batch that we made, but I also sneaked some off the plate the day of the party, before the guests came. Oh, and while I'm at it, I should probably admit that I ate some of the dip before it went into the bowls. I'm not fat, I swear. These things are like crack. The combination of the baby spinach, with the cheeses, spices, sour cream, and the fluffy bread is one to die for. Emphasis on the bread.



Yes, buying a refrigerated bread loaf may seem easy, but it's honestly just a waste of time and money when you think about it. Making the bread from scratch won't take long at all, and it's way more satisfying, not to mention, delicious. And a side note, when filling your bread bowls, there really isn't an exact measurement to go by. If you prefer a higher bread to dip ratio, don't put as much filling. If you prefer a higher dip to bread ratio, well, then do the opposite.


As you can see from my pictures, I did the opposite. Funny thing is, I didn't mean to. I was trying to use up all the filling I had made, and it wasn't until I saw how much the bread rose while baking that I realized I could have made more bowls out of the dough, and consequently used up all the filling. Silly me. But for the record, it would have made me 15 bread bowls--5 more than a refrigerated bread loaf will make you! (Yes, I'm still trying to convince you to make your own bread :D)



Anyways, bottom line is, if you're looking for the perfect appetizer, this is the recipe for you. This also applies if you're looking for the perfect side dish, finger food, snack, or even main dish. Yes, these dip-filled bread bowls are perfect for basically everything...probably because they're just so perfect, period. 

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

Yield: 18 bowls
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Ingredients:

For the bread bowls:(Culinary Couture original)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (plus water and sugar for proofing)
1/2 cup warm milk

For the spinach dip:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One 12 oz. package frozen baby spinach, thawed and drained
1 and 1/2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4.5 oz. softened cream cheese
3/4 cup light sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
a little less than 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
a little less than 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
a little less than 1/4 teaspoon salt
a little less than 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 15 muffin cups with non stick cooking spray. 

For the bread bowls:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, add flour, olive oil, and salt. 

Add yeast to 1/4 cup of lukewarm water; sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, stir, and then set aside and allow the yeast to dissolve. In about 10 minutes, the yeast should be frothy and foamy, indicating it has risen. 

Add the yeast mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer. Set mixer speed to stir and mix ingredients until they are incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, and gradually pour in the milk. Allow the mixer to knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes, until it is fairly smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, leaving the sides relatively clean. Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour.

For the spinach dip:
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook and stir for another minute or two, then remove from the heat. 

Place cooked spinach and garlic, cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan Cheese, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Mix together until well combined. 

Assembly
Once the dough has risen, squeeze off 15 balls of dough. Using your hands, flatten each ball of dough into a thin disk and then press into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin cups.

With a medium cookie scoop (or tablespoon), scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls. Top evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes. until just turning brown on edges. 

Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

Adapted from Picky Palate

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