Guests won't need much coaching to run for the sandwiches when they're served on tasty football buns, like those I baked for a theme party. They were part of a sporty dinner I planned for residents at a nursing home, where I head the food staff. —Sister Judith LaBrozzi Canton, Ohio
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 6-1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
- Mayonnaise or mustard, optional
- Lettuce leaves and sliced tomatoes
- 18 slices process American cheese
- 2-1/2 pounds sliced deli ham
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup butter, salt, egg and remaining sugar, water and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 18 pieces. Shape into ovals; place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 18-23 minutes or until golden. Melt remaining butter; brush over buns. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
- Split buns. Spread with mayonnaise or mustard if desired. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ham. Replace tops. Place cream cheese in a plastic bag; cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. Pipe football laces on sandwiches. Yield: 18 servings.
Originally published as Pigskin Sandwiches in Taste of Home October/November 2001, p37
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