I have done it. I have reached the pinnacle of my career. I know I have said it before, but this time I mean it. For real. I perfected the Zombie. You know, the bread/roll type of thing that has a pocket of cheesy goodness? Yep, that. I always thought it was a Clayton Valley thing, until I talked about them with my husband, and he had the pleasure of eating Zombies at Acalanes! If you haven’t heard of a zombie…I pity you. Like I said above, it is a roll, stuffed with melted cheese. Sounds simple, I know, but it is truly amazing. Anyhoo, not only did I perfect it, I made it easy. I have made my high school dreams come true.
Picture it, 1990….Clayton Valley High School. I was a freshman. I was rockin’ a bad bleach job from Sun-In, dark lip liner and anything from The Wet Seal. I had my first experience with a cheese zombie at “brunch”, and I knew immediately that high school would be my glory days. Sad, really.
By 1993, I was a junior, and I got to sell those things. Yes, that’s right. At Clayton Valley, juniors get the honor of selling the damn things out of carts to raise money for something….I can’t remember what. I worked “brunch carts” mostly so I could be ensured a delicious zombie, but also because I got out of class a few minutes early. Let’s not confuse this with when I pretended to be part of student council to get out of 4th period early, or when I pretended to be on swim team for 2 years just to get out of 6th period early. My apologies Mrs. Glennon, but you really were easy to fool. But if it makes you feel better, I can still type like nobody’s business. But I digress…..I really did sell Zombies just to make sure I always got one. I knew that someday I would grow up, and learn how to make them;)
I know that the wonderful lunch ladies working for the Mt. Diablo School District made their own bread dough for Zombies. This isn’t something I am willing to do. Mainly because yeast freaks me out. You have to feed it! I searched high and low and found the perfect substitute……
I used Bridgford Parkerhouse Style Rolls. They are found in the freezer section of any grocery store. They are basically just little balls of dough. They will end up smaller than the Zombies that you remember, but they work! They aren’t too dense or too flaky….they are perfect.
I started by laying out the frozen little balls of dough on a baking sheet that has been coated lightly with cooking spray. They need to defrost for about 1 hour.
For the cheese, I will be using, duh, Velveeta. You can’t use real cheese for these. You just can’t. I diced the Velveeta into chunks, about 1 inch square.
Once the dough is defrosted, I cut the rolls in half, but not all the way through. I kind of just opened them up like a book. I tucked the chunk of cheese in and made a pouch. I sealed the pouch up and placed them back on the baking sheet, sealed side down. Now, they need to rise for about 2 to 3 hours or until they double in size. I set my pan in a cool, non-drafty place and let them do their thang;)
I baked these according to the package directions….at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
When they were about 5 minutes from being done, I gave the tops a bath in melted butter. This will help them get a browner top….sort of like when I used to put baby oil on to lay out in the sun. Exact same thing…except cheese zombies don’t now have to constantly worry about skin cancer.
Isn’t that what you remember? It tasted the exact same. Or at least what I remember zombies tasting like. I will be the first to admit that there is a strong chance I killed some brain cells in college, but still….I think they taste the same!
Ok, I am about to talk about something that might be sacrilegious to zombie purists. If you are one….please don’t read on. If you can stand the thought of a zombie with some embellishment…by all means…read on.
I thought that I might add some yummy things to the basic zombie….just to see how it would turn out.
My first “fancy” zombie was a cheesesteak zombie. Along with the Velveeta, I added cooked thin sliced steak and onion.
I sautéed the onions in a bit of oil, and then added the steak. This stuff cooks in like a minute. Have you ever had a steak-umm? If not, you are missing out.
Once the steak was cooked, I added some Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper.
I stuffed this in a roll too, and followed the exact same directions as above.
I have to say, there are few things in life as amazing as a cheesesteak zombie. I should see if I can get a job as a lunch lady at CVHS.
I also tried a combo of cheese, bacon, and tomatoes…
This is like a fancy grilled cheese. You just have to remember to cut everything into super small chunks so that you can stuff it in a roll.
Seal the edges very tightly to prevent leakage. Real zombies never leaked.
Can I open a zombie restaurant? Why don’t we eat these as adults? Do you have to stop eating these at graduation? Is this a pre-requisite to being a grown-up? I say no! Bring back the zombie, people! I hope you try to make these. I say, make a batch, bring them to work and make everyone take a break around 10:30am…..let’s do brunch again. Let’s make it seem like 1993 all over again. I will bring the Sun-In.
Bridgford Parkerhouse Style Rolls, frozen
16 ounces Velveeta, chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons butter
Lay individual frozen rolls on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Let rolls defrost on counter top for about 1 hour.
Once rolls are deforested, cut in half, but don’t cut all the way through. Place a chunk of Velveeta in the middle of open roll. Bring together edges like a pouch. Press edges together to seal. Place back on baking sheet to let rise. Let rolls rise for about 2 to 3 hours or until they double in size.
Once the rolls have risen, bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. When the rolls have about 5 minutes left, brush the tops with melted butter and then continue baking the remaining 5 minutes or until the rolls are browned on top.
If the rolls get too soft while you are stuffing them, stick them back in the fridge. They should be defrosted, but still cold.