One of my favorite memories from the very early days of my relationship with Shane involves buffalo chicken wings. We were out at a local restaurant (we ate out A LOT those days) and we'd ordered wings as an appetizer. They weren't boneless, which as you've probably experienced, means they were super messy. I think I was nervously picking at mine, trying to exercise some restraint so I wouldn't completely embarrass myself. A few minutes after the wings arrived, I looked over at Shane and he had orange buffalo sauce ALL over his face. I couldn't help but crack up; he was so oblivious - just his usual happy-go-lucky self, and it immediately put me at ease. We still laugh at that experience 8+ years later :)
If I eat buffalo wings these days, they're always boneless, but more often than not, I prefer to take the same flavors and turn them into something else, so I couldn't not try these buffalo chicken bites when I saw them. Especially with the Super Bowl looming - these are perfect for the big game (or for dinner, but we won't talk about that...).
The recipe calls for making your own dough to wrap the buffalo chicken mixture, but if you're not up for that, you could definitely use store-bought pizza dough. These can even be made ahead of time. I baked mine in the afternoon, and then reheated them in a 350 degree oven several hours later for just about 5 minutes and they were good as new! You'll see I used all cheddar cheese in my bites because blue cheese just isn't my thing, but if you like it, feel free to use it.
Happy Friday :) Hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl ideas this week. I'll see you on Sunday for World Nutella Day!
Buffalo Chicken Bites
barely adapted from What's Cookin' Chicago? (who adapted from Gourmet)
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, I used 1%))
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
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 12x4-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). 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.)