Ham & Cheese Appetizer Sandwiches

jeriDecember 4, 2012

I've stumbled on this party appetizer all over the web. Below is just one of many links for this - all with slight variations.

Have any of you made these? Do you love them? They get such great reviews!

I thought they were just OK, but perhaps I messed it up.

Instead of baking these in the pan, I followed one reviewer who wrapped them in foil first - so they can be made ahead of time, cooked, transported and served wrapped.

I used the Hawaiian Sweet Rolls which is widely used for this but I'm not familiar with these. Are they supposed to puff up at all?

My husband loved them, the girls thought they were OK, but I thought they were a bit squishy - I wouldn't call them soggy, but definitely not firm at all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ham & Cheese Appetizer Sandwiches

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The main ingredients in that appetizer appear to be bread and butter - I would change the proportions, use sliced ham instead of chopped, sliced cheese instead of grated, and a completely different type of bread - probably pumpernickel, or at the very least a sourdough that would not be squishy. I think I would use less butter also.

The ham and Worchestershire sauce both have water, which would make the sandwiches soggy if you wrap them completely in foil and don't give them a chance to dry out.

You could use whole wheat flour tortillas and make ham and cheese quesadillas, which I think would also be good either warm or cold. I personally have never bought pre-packaged dinner rolls, but I'm sure a lot of people love them. Pita pockets would be nice also.

Lars (corrected a misspelled word)

This post was edited by publickman on Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 19:28

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Soggy is your biggest problem with those. It's the word I'd use! Been there did that, five months ago. I tried to get it as close as possible, but still didn't make it. It was ok, but pimento cheese and fruit did much better than the ham/cheese did that day (so did the not overly sweet punch). I like Lars' idea of firmer bread. That could work.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:46AM
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What about using cocktail rye bread? And I am with Lars - less butter.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:02PM
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This will be for 90 high school kids, so I don't think pumpernickel will work. :-)

I did use sliced ham and sliced cheese, and I melted the butter and brushed it on the sandwiches before wrapping. I brushed it on the bottoms before placing the ham/cheese on. And brushed more on the tops of the sandwiches. Perhaps I should not use melted if I plan to assemble and wrap them the day before cooking? And just spread some on the bottom - forget about the top? Or vice versa?

A different roll might be better, but those connected Hawaiian rolls are so darn easy! You just slice through the middle of 24 connected rolls separating the tops from the bottoms. Lay out all the ingredients on the large base. Put the top back on and then slice into individual sections. A breeze with an electric knife, and I want to make 180 of these. Still, if a firmer dinner roll is called for, I am certainly open to that.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Maybe I should bake them after assembly so they get a crisp crust and then wrap them for reheating the next day?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

They are supposed to be soft and squishy not crisp. I used to make these (or a variation at least) back in the eighties and every party I went to they were always on the table. Very popular!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:43PM
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This is a recipe my whole family knows well! We call them Ham Delights and I don't think we ever make them with a whole cup of butter - 1 stick (1/2 cup) will be plenty. And there is a reason for the chopped ham - the sandwiches cut easier and are easier to eat with the chopped ham. Or, alternatively, you could use thinly shaved ham but not regular sandwich thickness or slices. I soften the butter and mix in the poppyseeds, onion, W. Sauce, and Dijon. I have never melted the butter. That might be the problem. The recipe says to spread the butter mixture on the rolls and does not have you spread the butter mixture on the underside of the top roll half.

For years we used the Pepperidge Farm Party Rolls, but they may not make those now. I've also used sub rolls when making them for a group of men. The Hawaiian Rolls are tasty, but are bigger and more bready than the Pep. Farm rolls.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Teresa, the ones I used to eat I think had sauce mixture on the top of the rolls too, I can't remember. They were a messy party snack.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Happy to hear from folks who know this recipe! As mentioned, lots of info on the web and much of it says these hail from back in the day. :-)

How important do you think the poppy seeds are? 1) Not sure kids like poppy seeds. 2) This is a snack preceding a concert, should I worry about seeds in teeth and/or instruments? My instinct is to leave them out...

Thanks for the help everyone!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:25PM
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I would not leave out the poppyseeds; this is one of those times when everything has its reason for being in the recipe.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Used to make these years ago using shaved ham and thin siced swiss cheese. The butter mixture went inside the sandwiches not on top and yes you could make them ahead. My kids used to love them

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I've made them several times before and I liked them. They aren't hard, they are soft.

I didn't use chopped ham, but use thinly shaved ham. The quality of the ham makes a big difference. I used softened butter mixed up with the poppy seeds, onion, mustard, etc. I didn't brush the butter mixture on the top, but spread it on the inside of the bun. I definitely didn't use big globs of it, and if I remember correctly I used a lot less than the recipe called for.

I also don't think I'd care for the Hawaiian rolls with this recipe. I did use connected small buns, like the Pepperidge Farm rolls I used to be able to find at the grocery store. Our grocery store has similar rolls, although not that brand name.

Also, I didn't wrap mine in aluminum foil. I'd think that would make the buns too soggy and soft.

As another poster said, I made these in the eighties. I liked them.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:26PM
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You're talking about a ham and cheese sandwich so really it's pretty basic. I would go with a wheat roll or a good white roll. I don't mind them soft. I actually like what used to be called "tea biscuits" and are like the buns used at White Castle and what used to be used at KFC You can get them attached for ease of cutting. I don't like the Hawaiian rolls. Too sweet.

I'm not a fan of poppy seeds or mustard. 'Twer it me, I'd prefer a dab of Ranch, mayo or something like the mild sweet onion teriyaki sauce like they have at Subway. To serve them warm, I'd cut the rolls in half, flip the top over, brush the tops with a light coat of butter, put the ham and cheese on the bottom and put it under the broiler to lightly toast the top and melt the cheese, pull them out and give it a squirt of whatever sauce is going on there.

About the only way to go wrong with ham and cheese is to use really bad ham, or try to get too complicated with it.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

This appetizer or whatever you want to call it is supremely popular because the ingredients transcends a basic ham and cheese sandwich. It is good exactly the way it is but if you want something different, go make bruschetta. Those small rectangular, in-a-foil-pan work because they transform and meld.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Thank you, Bumblebeez!!! My sentiments exactly! And I curse Pepperidge Farm for discontinuing those Party Rolls that "transform and meld". I would say try Sister Schubert's rolls, but those are very rich and buttery all on their own.

We fix these as part of a potluck family meal and consider them the "protein" of the meal. LOL! Butter is from milk and milk is a protein.....right? Ham is pork and that's a protein as well as cheese is a protein. So......


    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

So funny Teresa! I think we used to buy the Dixie Darling rolls, the Winn Dixie generic version of those Pepperidge Farm ones!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:14PM
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I love these. My MIL used to make them for all the holidays. It was my requested food after my son was born!
She did them the same way - butter mixture on the bottom roll and used the Pepperidge Farm party rolls. In fact she cooked them in the circle aluminum pan the rolls came in. I think she might have broiled hers a little at the end. The top was done perfectly! The were not soft or soggy.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Those little Marins potato rolls are great for little ham & cheese or ham salad,appetizers

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Thanks everyone!

I made 200 for 90 kids and there were a big hit. I wish I liked them more because it is hard for me to serve food that I don't really like myself. But the kids loved them and hope I will make them again.

They were a lot more work than I had expected though!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 7:25PM
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