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Basketball calzones make perfectly poppable March Madness bites

Sandra Denneler is a SheKnows Expert who's been making and doing her entire life. Growing up, her favorite book was the 1973 World Book Encyclopedia's Childcraft Volume 11, Make and Do. An art director at Wichita State University, Sandra...

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk

Hosting a March Madness party without snacks is like rooting for a team that isn't in your bracket. It just shouldn't be done. Fortunately we have a quick fix for those times when you're all out of fun snack ideas to feed a group — like these basketball-shaped calzones that have "winner" written all over them.

If you can make cake pops, then you can make these cute little pizza-stuffed basketballs for your March Madness gathering. These "slam dunk" bite-size calzones are easy to make using a cake pop pan and a few pizza ingredients you might already have in your fridge.

Basketball calzones recipe

Yields 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
  • 3 mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 12 – 24 pepperoni slices
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 1 black food coloring pen
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Orange food coloring

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

Directions:

1. Cut out the dough

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the pizza crust on a work surface. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut 12 circles of dough.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

2. Add toppings

Cut the mozzarella sticks into 1-inch pieces. Place 1 or 2 pepperoni slices on each circle of dough, and add mozzarella pieces on top.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

3. Make dough balls

Pinch the dough closed around the cheese and pepperoni.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

4. Place into a cake pan

Grease the top and bottom of the cake pop pan. Place the dough balls in the bottom half of the pan.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

5. Bake and cool

Attach the top of the pan, and secure shut. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the pan to cool for 5 minutes before opening. If some of the pizza balls have ridges in the center, trim them off with a pair of scissors.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

6. Draw basketball lines

Using the black food coloring pen, draw basketball lines on the pizza balls.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

7. Paint the basketballs orange

Add orange food coloring to 1 tablespoon of butter, and mix well. Add more food coloring to achieve the desired color. Brush the tinted butter on the pizza balls, wiping off any excess with a paper towel.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

8. Reheat and serve

Basketballs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days until you're ready to serve them. To reheat, place the basketballs on a baking sheet, and bake in a 350-degree F oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Serve with a bowl of warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

And don't forget the cocktails. These 3-point jello shots are exactly what your March Madness festivities need.

Whether you're a pizza lover or basketball fan, these snacks are a slam dunk
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

More food crafts

Adorably cheesy animal appetizers
Basketball cake pops
Octopus- and penguin-shaped bread bowls

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 3/7/16

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