Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mini Burger Appetizers

I ate three of these burgers. As an appetizer.
Why do I launch these crazy projects? Heck, I don't know. It sounded like a brilliant idea at the time, but in the midst of it, it started seeming like a lot of work - and re-work - for something so small.

But, see, if you decide to do this, it will be sooooo much easier. Because I've figure out all the silly details for you.

My plan was to make tiny hamburgers - single-bite sandwiches - for appetizers. I figured that shoestring potatoes - the kind that come in a can and are like potato chips - would make the perfect "french fries."

I started assembling my supplies. For tomatoes, the size that's just slightly bigger than a cherry tomato seemed perfect. Ground beef and cheese were no problem.

The french fries, on the other hand, were an issue. Seems to me that when I was a kid, shoestring potatoes were square-shaped things. I bought three different brands of shoestring potatoes and they were flat rather than square. Sigh.

I went looking for other options, and picked up a can of french-fried onions. They looked sort of square on the photo, but in reality they were a little lumpy. Ah well.

Burger buns were going to be easy, right? I make bread all the time.

Ha. Haha. Ha-ha-haha-hah. Riiiiiight.

It took me a couple tries to get buns that looked right. I won't bore you with the details of what went wrong, but here's what went right:

I made a basic white bread recipe, and cut off a chunk of dough to use for my little mini-buns. Unless you're making these for a huge crowd, you probably won't need a whole bread recipe worth of dough. I used the remainder to make regular dinner rolls.

And then:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take your lump of dough, form it into a ball, then flatten it. Then, using a rolling pin, roll it to about 1/4 inch thick. A little thinner is fine.

Using a 1 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, or something of a similar size, cut rounds from the dough, avoiding the outer edges of the dough you rolled out, since it always tends to be thicker at the edges. You don't want lop-sided buns.

I know those raw edges are bothering you, but don't fret. It will work out fine. It actually keeps the tops from puffing too much and turning into balls instead of normal-looking burger buns.

Place the buns on a baking sheet and let them rise until they have just about doubled - about 15-20 minutes.

Brush the tops of the buns with melted butter, and bake at 375 degrees until they are golden brown - about 15 minutes. If they aren't browned, you can turn on the broiler and blast them for about 30 seconds.

Let the buns cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, the burgers. A one-teaspoon scoop, just barely over-filled, was exactly the right amount for my burgers. Scoop the meat, and flatten it as much as possible. It will seem way too wide, but it will shrink in width and grow in height as it cooks. If you don't flatten the heck out of it, you'll have a fat little meatball instead of a proportional-looking burger.

Cook on one side until brown, flip, add the cheese and cover the pan (or toss a piece of foil over the top of the pan). If you don't cover the pan, chances are that the cheese won't melt before the burger is overdone. That's a thin piece of meat.

For the tomato, slice very thinly if you want it to look proportional to the burger and bun.

If you have baby lettuce, it will work well, otherwise tear off small pieces of whatever thin-leaf lettuce you have. Iceberg might not be the best idea.

Top with condiments, if you want to, and serve.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Boulder Locavore said...

This is probably the cutest thing I've ever seen! Love the last photo in particular. Fun and visionary!

Anonymous said...

Love these one-bite burgers! We are going to make these for our outdoor wedding in November, thank you for the easy recipe for the white bread!

Donna Currie said...

Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

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