You know those party rolls with ham and cheese that are baked with a buttery poppy seed topping? We always called them “Holiday Ham Rolls” or something like that.
Well, I love them. Other than the fact I end up with poppy seeds all in my teeth and walk around for an hour before I realize I've been laughing like a donkey with my teeth chocked full of black seeds.
I’m awesome like that.
Anyway, I’d been trying to think of a new spin on these and decided to make a Monte Cristo version! A classic Monte Cristo is a sandwich made with ham and turkey (or sometimes just ham) and swiss or gruyère cheese that’s dipped in an egg batter (think French toast) and fried. It’s usually served with red currant jelly and/or dusted with powdered sugar.
I’d rather walk around a party dusted with powdered sugar than look like I've been chewing on yesterday’s coffee grounds anyway.
But seriously, the classic rolls are always such a hit I thought it would be fun to try something new! I couldn't find emmental cheese at the grocery store so I went with gruyère but I think you could substitute muenster too. I added an egg to the butter mixture to get the richness from the batter traditional Monte Cristos are dipped in and it was just the right amount of richness.
When Husband saw me dusting them with powdered sugar he was very disturbed. He was almost whiny about it, convinced I was ruining something that otherwise looked fantastic. I explained it was a classic flavor combination but he still wasn't convinced and made me set aside a few without powdered sugar. Stubborn goat.
But then he came through again and grabbed one with the powdered sugar and loved it. Like, he really loved it. He even – y’all might want to sit down for this – told me he was wrong and I was right. He commented several times later in the day how that slight little bit of sweetness just “made” the rolls. And when he went back for more much later in the day and the sugar had dissolved so he couldn't see it, he asked, “Where’d the sugar go?!”
I can’t wait to make these this year at all the holiday parties! I love having new things to share!
Monte Cristo Party Sliders
2 packs (12-count each) sweet dinner rolls (such as King’s Hawaiian)
1/2 pound deli-sliced honey ham
1/2 pound deli-sliced smoked turkey
1/2 pound gruyère, emmental or muenster, shredded or sliced
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1 egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Line a 13x9 baking pan with aluminum foil and spray very lightly with cooking spray. The aluminum foil is optional but it makes it very easy to remove the rolls from the pan once they’re cooked.
Remove rolls from packaging without separating them and slice in half horizontally with a serrated knife (sort of making one giant rectangular hamburger bun). Repeat this process with the second package. Place both bottom portions of rolls side-by-side in the bottom of a 13x9 baking pan (these will fit perfectly in most metal 13x9 pans).
You'll notice I didn't do such a hot job cutting mine because the top portion of the rolls is way thicker than the bottom. Whoops!
Layer ham slices, turkey slices and then cheese evenly over rolls then place the top portion of the rolls on top of cheese.
Whisk together melted butter, egg and dijon mustard until well combined and pour over tops of rolls, coating each one. Cover rolls with tented foil (don’t let the foil touch the tops of the rolls) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes. Remove rolls from pan and slice into single servings. When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar (not before as the powdered sugar will eventually dissolve into the moisture on the rolls).
To be even more authentic, you could also consider serving with a little pot of red currant jelly in case anyone wanted to smear a little on their roll!