Buffalo Chicken Bites

I can’t believe it’s already February! That means it is just about time for the Super Bowl! The day that my Seahawks went to Super Bowl XL in 2006 was when Tyler and I officially became a couple, so this time of year harbors a lot of good memories. Even though he won’t be here for this Super Bowl, I will be keeping the tradition of getting together with good friends, eating good food while watching some good football. I will be making these tasty little morsels for the party on Sunday. The recipe calls for you to make your own pizza dough but I bought mine pre-made just to make my life a little easier. Served with some ranch for dipping and I think these will be a sure hit!

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BUFFALO CHICKEN BITES

Ingredients: 1 cup shredded chicken 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/4 cup hot sauce 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar 1 cup warm milk (about 110 F) 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

To make the buffalo chicken mixture: Combine the chicken, cheese, hot sauce and butter in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. The mixture may seem too wet, but the chicken will absorb some of the sauce.

To make the dough: Combine the warm milk and brown sugar in a measuring cup, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the flour, yeast and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low briefly just to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually pour the milk/sugar mixture into the mixer and beat until a rough dough forms. Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. You want the dough to clear the sides of the bowl as it kneads – if it’s not, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it does. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and add the ball of dough, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. You can tell if the dough has doubled by sticking your finger in and making an impression. If the impression remains, you are ready to move on, but if it springs back, the dough hasn’t risen enough.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a 12-inch rope. Use your fingers to flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, then use a rolling pin to roll to a roughly 12×4-inch rectangle. Add 1/4 of the buffalo chicken mixture to the lower third of the rectangle (make sure to leave a border along the bottom).

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Stretch the bottom edge of the dough up and over the filling, pressing to seal. Starting at the bottom, roll up the dough as tightly as possible. Cut the log into 12 even pieces and transfer them to the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough and chicken mixture.

Let the bites rise at room temperature (uncovered) for about 20-30 minutes – the dough will rise slightly. Bake the bites for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack , and if desired, brush the tops with melted butter before serving.

(Note: You can make the bites a few hours ahead of time. Just reheat them in a 350 F oven for about 5 minutes when you’re ready to serve.)

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