Product Type: Cookworks electrical appliances
Newest Review: ... it does get warm but not hot enough to burn if you touch it accidentally. The machine has two non stick plates which are flat so it's a... more
Pressing Perfect Paninis!
Cookworks Signature Panini Press
Member Name: chrisandmark
Cookworks Signature Panini Press
Advantages: Makes delicious panini sandwiches, very easy to clean, good storage
Disadvantages: None at all, I love it!
The Panini Press is very easy to use; as soon as you plug it in a red light comes on to show it's working, then a couple of minutes later a green one lights up which tells you the machine is at its optimum temperature and is ready for the sandwich to go in. Either by design or pure fluke the time needed for the press to heat up is roughly how long it takes to put your panini together.
The flat plates mean this is amazingly easy to clean, it has none of the nooks and crannies that get so gunked up in our Breville sandwich maker. A simple wipe down with a hot damp cloth is usually enough to get rid of any crumbs and filling that may have leaked out. Sometimes if you're cooking a panini that has a greasier or saucier filling than usual you may find a small amount will dribble out, this can sometimes be avoided by placing the filling more towards the centre - although cleaning the press is such a quick job that I'd rather a fully-filled panini and spend a quick two minutes wiping the plates over!
The top plate is the perfect weight in my opinion for a perfectly pressed panini, it compresses the sandwich enough to heat the filling through thoroughly but doesn't squash it all down into an unrecognisable mess. This may sound a silly thing to say, but I actually watched a very expensive home panini press in action a couple of years ago and noticed that the lid was flattening down the bread much too much - I didn't think about it again until I had my own panini press but I can now see this relatively cheap Cookworks product is much better than the overpriced Italian tat that my friend had.
The floating hinge helps as this keeps the full weight of the lid from pressing down on the paninis, also enabling you to cook other foods on the press which are thinner than a panini sandwich. It takes just a few short minutes to create a steaming hot panini in this press, obviously having two plates means both sides will heat through at the same time and this also helps to heat/melt the filling.
My favourite panini filling is one I added quite recently to my repertoire, Pizza Panini. For this you thickly spread the bottom section of your cut panini with pizza sauce (or purée mixed with basil), top with either rounds of mozzarella or grated cheddar and slices of pepperoni. Put the top of your panini in place and press until the cheese has melted and the rest of the filling is piping hot. This is one that probably will make a bit of a mess of your panini press but it's easy to wipe up, it's delicious anyway and well worth it plus you can add other fillings such as ham and pineapple to really customise your Pizza Panini experience.
There are so many other fillings to try, I won't list them here as a quick Google will tell you everything you need to know but do try lots of different ones as so many people get stuck on the usual cheese and tomato paninis! Another one I particularly like is cheese and bacon, although obviously you do need to cook the bacon before assembling your sandwich ready for pressing.
One excellent feature of this panini press is that when not in use it can be turned over and stored in a vertical position along it's back end. This saves precious work surface space and it's literally a two second job to flip it back into the correct position again. The feet have non-slip stickies on the bottoms which is a good (and expected!) safety feature. Most of the body of the press stays cool to the touch even while it's cooking your paninis, but be careful when you put your hands when opening the lid as steam escapes from the machine and obviously the metal parts at the edges will get hot.
You can buy this fab Cookworks Signature Panini Press from Argos, where it's currently priced at £19.99. This is an excellent price considering it will (at a push) hold four paninis and can also be used as a regular toastie maker.
Summary: A brill change from a cheese toastie!