Basketball calzones make perfectly poppable March Madness bites

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:38 p.m. ET
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

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

Basketball calzones recipe
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.

Basketball calzones recipe
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.

Basketball calzones recipe
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

3. Make dough balls

Pinch the dough closed around the cheese and pepperoni.

Basketball calzones recipe
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.

Basketball calzones recipe
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.

Basketball calzones recipe
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

6. Draw basketball lines

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

Basketball calzones recipe
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.

Basketball calzones recipe
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.

Basketball calzones recipe
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

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

 March Madness 3-point shots
Image: Sandra Denneler/SheKnows

More food crafts

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

Pin it! Basketball calzones
Image: Liz Smith/SheKnows

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 3/7/16

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