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Mini Pizza Calzones

Super Bowl Sunday is in 6 days! I'm so excited! I'm excited mainly for two reasons. The first is, I'm making a cake! Y'all know how much I love to decorate cakes, so I'm using this opportunity to create a limited edition two-tiered Super Bowl cake...and I'm giving it away! Yup, details about the giveaway are all here on my Facebook page. Make sure you enter soon, deadline is Thursday night!

The second reason I'm excited is because the Super Bowl will give me an excuse to make these scrumptious calzones again! Carbs don't count on game day and these babies are definitely going to be my carb of choice.

They're the perfect game-day treat for obvious reasons like the fact that they're mini, portable, mess-free, can feed a crowd, etc. But what makes them really perfect is the fact that they're insanely delicious. So delicious that if any of your guests are in a bad mood because their team is losing, you can just be like "Here, have a calzone", and they would instantly feel a thousand times better. It's true.

I mean, I haven't tried it yet but it's just logic. When you combine America's Test Kitchen's phenomenal filling with Mama's go-to pizza dough, it's a recipe for the opposite of disaster. I can't think of the antonym for disaster at the moment, but just think along the lines of joy, happiness, and butterflies. These calzones will take you there.

Okay I'm done talking now. Make these!

Mini Pizza Calzones

Yield: 30-32 calzones
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For the dough:
7 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 heaping tablespoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water, plus more to knead dough

For the filling:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons tomato paste
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
One 28oz. can diced tomatoes
Two 8oz. packages shredded 4-cheese pizzeria blend
2 teaspoons dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add flour, oil, and salt. In a glass measuring cup, add water and yeast. Stir together to combine, then let stand for 5 minutes or until yeast is foamy (I like to add a bit of sugar to the yeast to help it bloom). When yeast has risen, pour it into the bowl of the stand mixer and mix on low speed to incorporate it into the flour. Increase the speed to medium and knead dough, gradually adding more water, 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough forms and the sides of the bowl are completely clean. Remove dough hook, cover the bowl with a cloth, and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Drain the diced tomatoes, reserving the juice. Chop the diced tomatoes into smaller pieces and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add tomato paste and sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Add chopped diced tomatoes and reserved tomato juice, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until sauce is reduced and thick. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof bowl, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

When sauce has chilled, stir in cheese and basil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and punch down to remove any air bubbles. Divide the dough in half, so that it is easier to work with. Pinch off balls of dough the size of golf balls. Roll the balls out into small circles.

Place about 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto each circle. Stretch and fold the dough over the filling, pinching it tightly at the seams to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and milk. Brush the tops of the calzones with this egg wash, then sprinkle with some oregano.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Filling slightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen

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