The 46th annual Pillsbury Bake Off competition was held last week in Las Vegas. The contest is the largest cooking contest in the world, with a grand prize of $1 million dollars for the creator of the winning recipe. For the past few years, the winning recipes have been sweet treats – cookies and other desserts – but this year the winner was something a little more savory: Loaded Potato Pinwheels, an appetizer!
The Loaded Potato Pinwheels are two-bite savory puffs that are inspired by loaded baked potatoes, and have potato, cheese and bacon inside a spiral of dough. They’re topped with just a touch of sour cream and chives. It’s a familiar combination in an unfamiliar format, and these flavors are always welcome as an appetizer at a party. I had the privilege of tasting these at the Bake Off in Las Vegas and I knew that they were going to be a hit back at home, too. I put the ingredients – a short list, since the Bake Off limits recipes to just 7 ingredients – on my shopping list and baked up a batch this weekend.
The Pinwheels are easy to make, and the extra few minutes it takes to roll up the dough into little pinwheels pays off when people see how cute they are. They really do capture the flavor of a loaded baked potato, especially with that little dab of sour cream on top. They’re best when they’re still slightly warm from the oven and the outside of the pastry is still a little crisp. I found that increasing the baking temperature to 375F (the original recipe called for 350F) produced a better, browner and tastier result in my oven.
The original recipe calls for a couple of convenience products, which are required ingredients for the Bake Off competition. One is seasoned, frozen potatoes. You can easily substitute this with mashed, baked potatoes if you have some regular potatoes at home. The other is the Crescent Recipe Creations, which is a single sheet of crescent roll dough that has no seams on it and is great for making, well, things besides crescent rolls. The buttery dough is easy to use, but you can also use homemade Crescent Roll Dough or even puff pastry as an alternative.
Loaded Potato Pinwheels
1 bag Green Giant Seasoned Steamers frozen backyard grilled potatoes
or 1 1/2 cups baked, mashed potato
3 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cups (5-oz) sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup very finely chopped bacon, divided
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
approx 1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion tops or chives
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Microwave potatoes according to package directions. Cool to room temperature, add in milk then mash with a fork until fluffy (or add milk to baked potatoes, if using). Stir in cheese and 1/3 cup bacon.
Roll out dough sheet on a lightly floured surface and press into a 14×8-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half to make two sheets that are 14×4-inches each.
Spread half of the potato mixture onto one of the dough rectangles, spreading it into an even layer that comes to within 1/4-inch of the sides of the dough. Starting on a long side, tightly roll the dough into a log. Cut into 14 slices and arrange cut side up on prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Bake for about 17-20 minutes, or until deep golden brown and slightly crisp.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Top each with a dab of sour cream and sprinkle with chives and remaining bacon bits. Serve warm.