Double Duty, Waffle Iron Paninis - From The Witch's Kitchen Blog at - 218186

From The Witch's Kitchen

Double Duty, Waffle Iron Paninis 
Jan. 19, 2011 11:32 am 
Updated: Feb. 2, 2011 10:05 am

My Take on Paninis


A few weeks ago on the buzz, Justus&Dane's Mom was speculating about using a waffle iron as a panini press.  I'm always searching for new ways to use some of my kitchen gadgets and I have never used a panini press. Indeed, I've never eaten a sandwich that was labelled a panini.  So I scheduled it into my weekly menu plan and put the materials I would need on my grocery list. 


Focaccia was my bread of choice and I made my own smaller rounds using the kitchen aid.  I did one batch of whole wheat and one batch of white and, as usual, the white turned out softer and fluffier the whole wheat a little on the dense side.  While I was pre-heating my waffle iron, I set up a panini station so that I would be able to assemble the paninis more easily giving me the time to pay close attention to my waffle iron.  I wasn't sure just how long to cook them or even if it was going to work.



My husband decided he wanted a ham and mustard panini so I sliced his focaccia in half and smeared both sides with mayonniase.  I layered two slices of ham, mozzerella cheese, thinly sliced onions and red peppers on the bottom and spread a generous amount of dijon mustard over the mayo on the top.  For the children I decided to do mayo, ham, mozza and pickles. For my own panini I spread a mixture of mayo and basil pesto on my focaccia topped with leftover shredded chicken, mozza, tomato and red peppers.




Once the sandwiches where assembled and the waffle iron was hot I placed a panini onto my ancient waffle iron and held my breath, would it close?  I lifted up on the top side of the iron and holding onto the top edge of my panini so it wouldn't slide off I gently pushed down on the iron.  Eureka!!  It closed easily.  I pressed down hard on top with a pot holder between my hands and the hot iron to flatten the panini somewhat.  Then I used a heavy soapstone bowl as a weight so that I could clean up my mess and set the table.  Each panini took about 12-15 minutes, the pesto chicken one taking a little longer as it was on the full side.  The end result was a delicious meal that my whole family enjoyed. 

ham and pickles panini
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Waffle Iron panini
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pesto chicken panini
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Jan. 19, 2011 11:37 am
Excellent...but now I'm confused. Should I get a waffle iron to make paninis....or try to make waffles on a panini press? LOL, I'm just kidding...Glad you found something you and your family enjoy. :)
Jan. 19, 2011 11:39 am
What an interesting experiment! I'm glad it worked. Now I'll have to try it!
Jan. 19, 2011 11:41 am
lol Sarah, if you make waffles that turn out on a panini press I'll be beyond impressed!
Jan. 19, 2011 11:42 am
Go for it sueb, one thing to note though is that I have a very old fashioned waffle iron, I haven't looked closely at a newer one so it'll have to be trial and error for you too :O)
Jan. 19, 2011 11:57 am
That's so smart!I'm definetly going to try that.I'm like you always trying to think of ways to use all those kitchen gadgets.Can't wait and good pictures.
Jan. 19, 2011 12:00 pm
Hey, it was me :) I still havent tried it, but so glad you did and it worked! I will try it soon!
Jan. 19, 2011 12:02 pm
Thanks georgi :D.
Jan. 19, 2011 12:03 pm
I thought it was you Justus&Dane's Mom, but I wasn't sure, I'll edit it, you deserve the credit for such a great idea! Thanks for commenting
Jan. 19, 2011 12:04 pm
That's so funny because I made waffles on Sunday and had one left over and I thought this would make an interesting sandwich. I never would have thought to actually use the waffle maker like a pannini press. Great idea! Can't wait to try it.
Jan. 19, 2011 12:05 pm
Thanks missykitty! I bet waffles would make a great sauasage and egger!
Jan. 19, 2011 12:05 pm
I love how they look! How fun! You dont have to edit :) You did it first...I may try this weekend...YUM!
Jan. 19, 2011 12:09 pm
already done my friend I think I'll leave your name up there if that's okay with you.
Jan. 19, 2011 12:14 pm
good for you Sarah, my ancient, vintage, antique waffle iron calved on me a few months ago. The new ones do not heat up as hot, so I am searching the thrift shops and second hand stores for another oldie, one day one will appear on a shelf. Then I will try this-it looks delicious
Jan. 19, 2011 12:21 pm
Thanks RnG, I think I'll cry when mine dies. A former roomate gave it to me and she got it from her grandmother so I don't know how old it is but it does get good and hot :).
Jan. 19, 2011 1:34 pm
Excellent, Sarah-May!! The sandwiches look absolutely delicious and hey!! I may even try one on good ole' George....wonder if that would work?!
Jan. 19, 2011 1:42 pm
Thanks MrsRPM, I bet it would work very well! George Foremans open up nice and wide :).
Jan. 19, 2011 1:56 pm
Makes me want to go and buy a waffle iron! YUM!
Jan. 19, 2011 2:15 pm
Thanks Nurse Ellen :D
Jan. 19, 2011 3:28 pm
Have you seen this?
Jan. 19, 2011 3:33 pm
Cute idea! We have a panini maker (was a gift), but if we didn't, I'd definitely try that...I never make waffles now that my kids are in college.
Jan. 19, 2011 3:36 pm
Hey Sarah-May! Cool idea! now I need to go get a waffle iron or panini press as I have neigther! :) or...just my electric griddle and a cast iron frying pan to smush it down with.. :)
Jan. 19, 2011 3:40 pm
Skoo, Thanks! I've never seen that and I saved it, some neat ideas there!
Jan. 19, 2011 3:40 pm
Thanks for dropping by El Cay :D
Jan. 19, 2011 3:41 pm
Gitano, LOL you're Canadian get out the duct tape and make it work ;)
Jan. 19, 2011 3:56 pm
Looks delightful - what a great idea. I have a seldom used waffle iron. I think I will try this!
Jan. 19, 2011 4:11 pm
Thats awesome! I was looking for another brownie cookies to try and found this lol:
Jan. 19, 2011 4:15 pm
Thanks for stopping by kate65 :)
Jan. 19, 2011 4:20 pm
Thanks Moaa! That's great, I'll have to make those for the kids one night, I bet they'll love them :)
Jan. 19, 2011 7:39 pm
Sarah does your waffle maker have the plates that are removable? When we were little, my mom used to flip her plates so that the flat side was the cooking side. She always made grilled cheese sandwiches this way because several would fit on there at once and they would cook on both sides (pressed). Being of French origin, it was always a croque monsieur. The original ham and cheese. I have 2 waffle irons, one Oster that has the flipping plates and the smaller Belgium without. Now I have to try this with the cute dimples.
Jan. 19, 2011 7:41 pm
Why yes it does Avon :), I haven't used the griddle side of it often but grilled cheese is an excellent idea, my kids love theirs with pizza sauce inside, I'm a ham, mayo and cheese lover myself.
Jan. 19, 2011 8:16 pm
yummmmmmmy :)
Jan. 20, 2011 4:54 am
I have a Panini Press but I am dying for your ancient waffle iron - it looks just like the one my mom had
Jan. 20, 2011 5:44 am
Thanks for dropping by Miss Mary Rose!
Jan. 20, 2011 5:46 am
lol Doug my waffle iron isn't pretty but she's well loved :D
Jan. 20, 2011 6:08 am
You've just inspired me to use my quesadilla maker (don't worry folks I didn't spend much on it---bought it "new" still in packaging at a thrift store) as a panini press. Great! Thanks for sharing. Now why didn't I think of that!
Jan. 20, 2011 6:25 am
Thanks for commenting inaminute! I bet it'll work just fine :D
Jan. 20, 2011 10:10 am
WOW That looks Great. I need to try that. LOL Thanks!!
Jan. 20, 2011 12:49 pm
i have one of those old snack masters and i use it to make "homade hot pockets" for my 5 year old. Just biscuit dough and ham and cheese in the middle and formed to fit the triangle molding.....he loves plain grilled cheese in it too!
Jan. 20, 2011 2:45 pm
Thanks ah64a!
Jan. 20, 2011 2:46 pm
Sound's yummy erica, my husband loves ham and cheese biscuits :D
Jan. 20, 2011 10:08 pm
Looks good! Did you use a recipe off this site for the focaccia?
Jan. 21, 2011 6:45 am
Thanks JPMJ, I used a recipe from my cookbinder :) but there are plenty of focaccia recipes to choose from on this site.
Jan. 21, 2011 7:48 am
We use our version of a large George Foreman all the time to make paninis. Works great and can do 3 at a time. Thats the only time it gets used.
Jan. 21, 2011 8:00 am
I knew I didn't have to add another appliance to my already full cabinets. Thanks for the ideas!
Jan. 21, 2011 8:08 am
Thanks for stopping in Paulette :)
Jan. 21, 2011 8:08 am
lol treefrog, that's exactly how I feel, I like gadgets but they take up too much space! If I can omit one I'm all for it :D.
Jan. 21, 2011 9:23 am
I saw your blog the other day and thought what a clever idea but didn't have time to read how it worked. I hope my waffle iron is old enough because that I've read it I think the idea is brilliant and can't wait to try them!
Jan. 21, 2011 9:55 am
Thanks Cat Hill, The newer ones may work, I really don't know how wide they open and such as I've really never looked closely at one :). By all means give it a try, a couple people have mentioned using a george foreman grill with great success too.
Jan. 21, 2011 1:44 pm
I've found that my large George Forman grill works wonderfully. Two to three sandwiches will fit depending on the bread being used.
Jan. 21, 2011 2:14 pm
What an awesome idea...I'm going to try it. I'll give new life to my waffle maker that sits on the shelf day after day....
Jan. 21, 2011 2:52 pm
Thanks for commenting Julie, I love that so many have used appliances other than a panini press for this!
Jan. 21, 2011 2:53 pm
Thanks for stopping in Val!
Jan. 21, 2011 6:33 pm
What a good idea Sarah-May. I have an old electric waffle maker stored away...In the morning I am retrieving it and make sandwiches for hubby and me. Thanks for posting rrecipe. Would never have thought of it myself. Now I don't have to look for another gadget.
Jan. 21, 2011 6:45 pm
Thanks ZIPORAHS! It really is one of those 'why didn't I think of that?' ideas :D.
Jan. 22, 2011 8:19 am
I LOVE IT!!! I also have a much neglected Waffle Iron! And I looove paninis! I am totally going to try this. :) Thanks!
Jan. 22, 2011 8:20 am
I wonder if it would work with a George Foreman as well...
Jan. 22, 2011 8:35 am
Do you need to butter the outside, like traditional panini sandwiches? I would like to cut down on the grease. Thanks
Jan. 22, 2011 8:36 am
Thanks Macycook, a George Foreman, I've been told, works very well and can make 2-3 paninis at a time :D
Jan. 22, 2011 9:15 am
I didn't alamopokey mom, and had no problems with sticking, you may want to spray them with non-stick spray if you are worried :).
Jan. 22, 2011 11:30 am
Looks good. It looks like you have a large waffle iron. What difference does it make if I have a round waffle iron. Any comments from any one is welcome.
Jan. 22, 2011 12:01 pm
Thanks deborahfalkner, I think you may have to use smaller focaccia rounds with a smaller maker and may have trouble with a super thick panini, my waffle iron comes unhinged quite a bit
Jan. 22, 2011 8:05 pm
That is neat Sarah. Probably the fact that it unhinges makes it work well, right? I bet the waffle "ridges" makes it a great texture! I have a much newer model-that probably would not work. I use a panini iron. I love toasted sandwiches.
Jan. 22, 2011 8:15 pm
The website Skoo posted is so cool!
Jan. 23, 2011 7:04 am
Thanks Maureen :D. I'm loving that website too.
Jan. 24, 2011 9:58 am
I would love to try a panini but I don't have Waffle Iron or a Panini Press. Would two iron skillets work with a weight. Or Should I just forget it and buy a press? I would love to try a panini sandwich. Years ago I made a sandwich that started out to be a ham an cheese on wheat.but then I added pickel, tomato and lettuse. I then pressed it flat and gave it an egg bath and then deep fried it. would this be a type of penini or what?
Jan. 24, 2011 10:16 am
Lazy Elk, a george foreman grill also works, I think two iron skillets might work if they are electric as both sides need to heat, you could try frying it in a pan and pressing it flat, then flipping it to toast the other side. In North America a panini is usually a hot pressed sandwich. Keep your eyes open in second hand shops as you can often find panini presses, waffle irons or george foreman grills for cheap :D.
Jan. 24, 2011 4:16 pm
I never thought of that! I'll have to give it a try! Very clever :)
Jan. 24, 2011 4:51 pm
thanks TheLunchLady :D.
Jan. 24, 2011 6:26 pm
I love my waffle iron but hate that it's a "uni-tasker" (thank you alton brown!) but know it has a second purpose - thanks for the great idea!
Jan. 24, 2011 6:27 pm
I love my waffle iron but hate that it's a "uni-tasker" (thank you alton brown!) but now it has a second purpose - thanks for the great idea!
Jan. 24, 2011 8:00 pm
Hey ConnieZ I've come across a few other things that can be made with a waffle iron, thank's to the lovely Skoo
Jan. 25, 2011 10:19 am
Hi first post, just found you. George Foreman does work, but I prop up the front feet to make it level so cheese doesn't run out. I've been known to throw cookie dough in my GF also.
Jan. 25, 2011 10:32 am
thanks for commenting CookeryBookery, and welcome to AR, check out the buzz for great conversations about food and other things :D.
Jan. 26, 2011 7:45 am
I think that was a excellent idea,not sure if my waffle iron has the flat surface but I'll try it even on the waffle iron with the large stone bowl on top for pressure, Thanks
Jan. 26, 2011 8:38 am
Hi kimcaldeira, You could always press down for pressure, I just think it's a bit of a pain in the a** to have to hold it down the whole time it is cooking.
Jan. 27, 2011 1:46 am
Cool Idea & Neat Experiment! I ordered a panini sandwich at a restaurant & watched as they made it. I wondered if I could make one on my waffle iron using the flat side of the removable plates. Well, my wondering days are over. You tried it with great success. Now, if only I can remember to try this someday. Thanks for having the courage to try & sharing this idea. Happy Cooking!!!
Jan. 27, 2011 7:27 am
Thanks Midnite Baker :D.
Feb. 1, 2011 1:24 pm
Thanks for the welcome, D. A few days after posting, I opened the Kohl's statement and one of the coupons with ads was for a George Foreman grill with up to eight sets of cooking plates. This may very well do paninis plus other stuff, but I notice he does have a separate panini grill.
Feb. 2, 2011 10:05 am
You're welcome CookeryBookery, I'd go with the grill, many people have commented that they do paninis on it with great success and there are so many other things you can make with it.
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