Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hanky Pankies Appetizers

Hanky Pankies Appetizers - an old school party food, made with a mixture of sausage and beef, seasonings and cheese on tiny party bread.

Hanky Pankies Appetizers

In the world of my favorite old school appetizers, these Hankie Pankies are right up there in the same category of "trash" food as 7-Layer Mexican DipSausage Balls, Chex Mix and Rumaki. I made these for our Super Bowl party and oh my goodness they are soooo good y'all!

I actually drafted the recipe to the blog years ago and have made them several times, but just never got around to publishing them for some reason. One thing is for sure - there are just not a lot of ways to photograph these little bites of deliciousness to make them look pretty, but heck... the taste sure makes up for it.

I have seen these little treats called any number of things over the years - Sausage Breads, Sausage and Rye Bread Bites, Scooby Snacks, Three Pounders, Polish Mistakes, Party Pizza Ryes and some other, well... colorful names, but I've known them as Hanky Pankies since they were first introduced to me somewhere back in the late-70s.

Hanky Pankies are traditionally made with a pound of ground beef, a pound of raw pork sausage and a pound of Velveeta, hence the aforesaid name of Three Pounders, and are usually served on some kind of party bread, though they're good on soft dinner rolls or slider buns too. Rarely was much else included. I like using a combination of beef and breakfast sausage, or breakfast and Italian sausage, because it's much more flavorful than plain ground pork. I also add in a little sauteed onion plus some red bell pepper for color. You can use other cheeses of course, but I'm still partial to the traditional Velveeta myself. They just don't taste the same without it.

Nostalgic and well loved, these are a great warm cocktail bite for any party or gathering and they're guaranteed to be gobbled up. They are fantastic straight out of the oven, so do a tray at a time and keep them circulating if you can, but they're mighty good at room temperature too if you'd rather do them all at once. If you don't need so many, the recipe halves nicely.

Here's how to make them.

Recipe: Hanky Pankies

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 12 min | Yield: About 70 pieces
  • 2 (1 pound packages) cocktail rye, pumpernickel or sourdough party bread (like Rubschlager or Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings, butter or cooking oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 pound hot breakfast sausage (like Bob Evans, Jimmy Dean)
  • 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • Sliced green onion, to garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and place bread directly on sheet pans. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly toasted, rotating pans halfway. Remove and set aside, increasing oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, heat fat in a large, deep skillet. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add beef and/or sausage(s) and cook until browned, breaking up as you stir. Unless there is excess fat accumulation, do not drain. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, garlic salt, pepper, and Creole/Cajun seasoning, stirring regularly to prevent sticking or burning. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Top each piece of bread with about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes or the cheese is until bubbly and bread is toasted. May also just pass under the broiler until browned. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: May be successfully halved. You can really vary these in many ways so use your imagination! You can stuff this filling into wonton or biscuit cups, or serve it on small, soft dinner rolls, or mini slider buns. May also substitute equivalent of shredded cheese of your choice - pepper jack, cheddar or your favorite cheese.

To Freeze: Assemble on the baking sheet and flash freeze. Once solidly frozen, transfer to freezer bags until you are ready to bake them. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes, or the cheese is until bubbly and edges of the bread are toasted.


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