I love a toastie and probably have one a couple of times a week. I needed a new Sandwich Maker but don't like spending much because I know from experience that regardless of the price they don't really have a long life, it's not long before the non stick comes off and you end up with black bits on your toastie.
Looking in Argos a few months ago I spotted this Cookworks one on sale. The 2 slice toaster is currently still on sale at £7.89 where as the 4 slice version is £14.99. Doesn't seem dear, I usually buy Value Range ones for about £6-10 so seeing as how this was about the same price I decided I'd try it (it had to be better than value surely). After paying only £6 for the 2 slice at the time, I was pleased with my purchase and couldn't wait to give it a test drive.
The quality is good, it feels better than my usual. The appearance looks stylish in black plastic with a stainless steel top. There is red light to tell you it's on and a green light to tell you when it's ready. There is no switch or temperature control, you just plug it in but the previous ones I've had are the same. It is also cool wall but obviously it does get warm. In the box is the usual instruction leaflet.
The 2 slice is 600 watts.
The 4 slice is 1100 watts.
Handle locking clip.
Power on indicator and ready light.
Easy to clean.
After giving it a wipe down I got to work preparing my butty with the butter on the outside to stop it sticking. I switched it on it heats up really quickly so a good start. Of course a gripe with all cheap Sandwich Makers is that they just aren't big enough to fit an average sized sandwich which either has to be cut down or made one at a time side on, this Cookworks one is no exception. Having tried 2 sandwiches it is much better to do just one at a time, 2 makes it difficult to close and the filling is more likely to pour out the back of the machine and make a mess everywhere. The machine sandwiches the bread together well, and clips securely. It's quick enough, a few minutes is all that's required depending on your preference. The toasties come out nice and evenly toasted. Cleaning it isn't easy but there's no such thing as an easy clean with these things. I was pleased with the results and the non stick hadn't come away with repeated use which with Value makers I find start to lose their non stick within a few months.
It broke within a few months, the locking clip snapped off without rough use. I just closed it as normal. Having a broken clip makes it impossible to use. So I'm back to Value.
I don't think I'd buy it again.
Me and sandwich toasters don't get along. On my left hand I have a scar that I've had for about 20 years thanks to a sandwich toaster after a molten hot chunk of tomato fell right out of the side of one. After I finished screaming I remember it forming a nasty water blister almost right away - that over the subsequent days would be used to chase and scare other kids with. I was almost disappointing when it finally popped, I remember it getting me loads of attention from most of the other kids at school - mainly the girls. Girls are odd.
Then, a few years ago after not ever owning a sandwich toaster, I bought maybe the worst sandwich toaster on earth. It was a super cheap purchase from a supermarket - I don't remember which one, maybe Tesco and it can't have been more than £10. It was a total waste of money - not only did it not get hot enough to actually toast it didn't close flat so rather than it able to produce toasted sandwiches, you ended up with wonky, warm soggy bread. I must have used it 2-3 times before leaving it in a cupboard to disappoint the next lot of tenants.
The thing is, as much as toasted sandwiches hate me, I love toasted sandwiches. I love snacks and they are one of my favorite snacks - especially late at night to soak up a few beers. Or in the morning to soak up a few coffees/and or the aforementioned beers if things got out of hand.
A sandwich toaster hadn't been a feature of my kitchen for a year or so after I the bought the rubbish one - but I really wanted one so decided to do my research this time and started trawling the internet for the best buy. I arrived at this Cookware model following great reviews on Argos, an appealing price and with an Argos around the corner it was a no brainier.
---------COOKWARE SANDWICH TOASTER--------
I work in a kitchen and its filled with all kinds of toasters and grills, that all pack a heafty wattage - and thats something I wanted toaster-wise in my kitchen at home. Wattage means heat and heat means crispy - or more importantly not soggy. The first thing I checked was the wattage, and to check if it packed anything - and it did at a decent 1100 watts. Cheaper, value toasters only pack 500-700w and that explained why they don't toast very well, but this is a much better experience. This heats up fast, which again stops the bread getting soggy - and the results are great. The plates seem to heat really evenly and it actually toasts the bread and thoroughly heats the fillings - giving you pretty crispy bread and nicely melted cheese. One thing I noticed using this toaster was how much heat it kicks out - you can feel it coming off the plates as you stand over it, almost unbearably - be careful not to touch the plates as they will burn right away. The same can't be said for the housing of the unit - with none of the heat from the plates transferring to the top of the machine or indeed the handle making it pretty safe to use assuming your paying attention whilst using it. Speedwise, you turn this on and its ready to use in a minutes. The red light that comes on when its plugged in then goes off and the green one comes on to indicate its ready. Then after the sandwiches have been in for another few minutes the green light clicks off to indicate its 'ready' but if you prefer them toasted more you can just leave it in. As you can imagine, its super easy to use with no switches or buttons - just plug it in and its going, switch it off at the mains then its off.
As well as cooking quick, and hot - the sandwiches slide of pretty easily - infact its almost effortless. When the lid is clipped down using the lock on the handle the bread is clipped down and each sandwich separated from the one next to it, meaning when you unclip it and take them out, they come out one by one rather than stuck together. As this none stick surface that also makes it really easy to clean. Once it has cooled down you can just wipe it with kitchen towel to get most of the debris off, or a damp cloth for more off a clean. The plates are not removable so they can't be taken off and scrubbed in a sink but to be honest with it being so easy to clean I doubt you'd want to take it apart.
The real kicker of this toaster though is the size - it can toast 4 sandwiches at once. This is great, especially in a household like mine where I can toast enough for me and my girlfriend at once (one sandwich each isn't enough by the way) or enough for just me if i'm extra hungry. Whats also great is that it doesn't rely on being full to hold all the sandwiches in place and cook evenly - it will still cook the sandwiches evenly and well if you only put one, two or three in.
The bread size it takes is 'average' sized. Large farmhouse slices won't fit and the squarer the bread the better but if its not perfectly square it will fit but it will crimp them around the edges and your toasties will come out square. If your anything like me, this wont be a problem. I find the best bread for toasted sandwiches is mass made processed bread - it seems to taste nice and keep the filling inside well - plus they taste a little unhealthier which if I'm to be honest is just how I like them. If chunky farmhouse bread is your thing though, you'll find this is a little small and getting the bread in wont really work.
The real boon with this sandwich toaster though is the price. At only £22, when you look at what your getting this is a steal. Its heats quick and gets nice and hot, its fits in four slices of bread and its easy to clean. Reliabilty wise, I have had this for a couple of years and although I don't use it as much as I used to - maybe once or twice a week its worked fine everytime.
If your looking for a decent, cheap sandwich toaster (who isn't?) look no further. Sandwich toasters, you are forgiven.
My son recently told me that he wanted me to buy a sandwich toaster. I haven't actually used one for years, but he sometimes stays at his friends and their mum has one and he said he now likes these Cheese toasties!
I popped down to Argos and decided to buy a Cookworks one that only cost about £10. It makes 2 sandwiches. Unfortunately the very first time I used it, the catch that keeps the lid closed broke! It just snapped off. I wasn't impressed so took it back. I then noticed they did a slightly more expensive one (around £15) that makes 4 sandwiches. I also thought that this might be a better one, so decided to get this one. I was wrong about it being better, it is basically the same; however , the catch that keeps the lid shut is a little stronger and has not yet broken! It works out better having this larger sandwich maker too, as I usually make my son two toasted sandwiches and I often have one, or I may make one for my daughter too.
You can, I think, basically make various toasted sandwiches, choosing whatever fillings you like; we usually just have cheese; I have cheese & onion and my daughter will sometimes have cheese & ham . I do not see any reason why you cannot put other fillings in your toastie too though.
The toaster itself needs to be switched on first; there is a red light and a green light. When the green light goes off ( you will hear a little clicking noise); this is when you put your sandwiches in. If you want your toasties to be more crispier/browned more, then you should put a thin spread of margarine or butter on the side that touches the bottom of the toaster; then put your filling on top of the slice of bread ; then place the other slice of bread on top (this slice should also have butter/margarine thinly spread on the top ) so it is pressed against the top part of the sandwich maker. It is recommended that it takes around 5 minutes for your toastie to be ready, but I find that it really takes about 8 minutes; that is to say, to get it toasted the way we like it, browner and crispier.
One thing to mention also is that if you are using normal sliced bread, I recommend you cut the crusts off, otherwise the bread doesn't really fit!! You could either do this or buy the Crusts away bread to use, which fits perfectly. Also, if you overload the sandwiches with cheese, the cheese spills out, so it is advisable not to put loads of Cheese in your sandwich.
You must be very careful when removing your sandwiches tas this sandwich maker gets very hot indeed so it could be easy to burn yourself; also, be careful if using a knife to remove your sandwiches; the plates scratch very easily and I have already noticed a few small scratches on mine!
The sandwiches themselves, cooked the way I do it; do come out really nice ; they are nice and crispy around the edges and golden brown all over. They are hot inside, so be careful when biting into the sandwich as all the heat is sort of locked in. You just need to split the sandwich in half when you take it out, which is very easy to do.
I recommend you use a damp cloth/sponge to wipe the inside of the sandwich maker, followed by drying it with Kitchen roll; sometimes Cheese gets stuck if it comes out of your sandwich, but this is fairly easy to remove once dried.
All in all I am fairly pleased with this sandwich maker. I am pretty sure it is one of the cheaper brands and I am sure there are better ones out there. For example, it does take quite a long time for the sandwiches to be the way I like them! However, for the price, its quite good and worthy of 3 Dooyoo stars in my view.
I am partial to snacks and quick and easy meals as much as the next person and have eaten toasted sandwiches since the infamous Breville sandwich toaster first came out when I was a child. I clearly remember the joy of burning holes in the roof of my mouth with molten cheese due to youthful impatience and the lovely smell of a toastie as my Mum carried it towards me . . . . ah, those were the days . . . .
Fast forward at least 20 years and I think I have probably always had a sandwich toaster in come guise in my kitchen cupboards ever since. The latest incarnation of this is the Cookworks Sandwich Toaster. I have had this little gadget for approximately 8 years (another of my methuselahesque gadgets!) and it is still going strong! As you may or may not know, Cookworks is an Argos own brand offering really good value kitchen appliances. This exact sandwich toaster is no longer available at Argos, however there are currently 2 very similar looking sandwich toasters shown on the Argos website. They are both a mix of chrome/stainless steel and black plastic and are catalogue numbers 423/5541 and 422/8596 costing £9.99 and £5.99 respectively (as of 30/8/11). My Cookworks Sandwich Toaster is a 2 sandwich (4 slices of bread) variety however, there are lots of different models available enabling you to cook anything between 1 and 4 sandwiches at a time.
My sandwich toaster has a large stainless steel panel on the top of the lid with Cookworks written in black text onto the panel. The surrounding framework is made of black plastic and inside is the usual nonstick coated cooking elements which have groves/cutters to make each sandwich into 2 triangle shaped portions whilst cooking. The power cable comes from the rear, is approximately 1 metre long and has a pre-attached plug. At the rear of the lid there are 2 oval shaped lights - one green and one red which act as indicators to help with cooking (I will describe in more detail later).
My husband and I do use the sandwich toaster on an intermittent basis predominantly when I can't really be faffed with cooking something decent for a meal and we fancy something hot and filling. I rather like a nice toasted sandwich in the winter when it's cold and rainy outside and a 'normal' sandwich just doesn't seem to do the job! I'm a big fan of comfort food (rather too much if I'm honest!) and toasted sandwiches are unabashed comfort food in my books!
We tend not to be overly adventurous in our choice of fillings generally sticking to a combination of ham, cheese, onion, pickle, chutney, Worcestershire sauce. However, I do know people that conjure up the most bizarre of tastes between 2 slices of bread and really you can pretty much put in whatever you like - as long as it fits! I tend to have all my component parts prepared in advance whilst waiting for the sandwich toaster to warm up.
I will plug the sandwich toaster in and switch it on at the mains. At this point the red light will illuminate to indicate it is working. Once the cooking plates are up to temperature the green light will come on and you are ready to go! For anyone who hasn't used a sandwich toaster before (of which I doubt there are very many) here is a low down on how to cook up your tasty snack:
1) Butter the bread on one side only - you can use other spreads, but I wouldn't advise using one of the very 'light' spreads as they don't contain enough fat to toast the bread.
2) Put the bread into the base of the sandwich toaster with the buttered side in contact with the cooking plates.
3) Add your filling - be mindful not to overfill as this can lead to either you being unable to shut the sandwich toaster or your contents spilling out whilst cooking (especially the case with cheese).
4) Add the other bread with butter side outermost on the top of your filling.
5) Close the lid tightly and hold in place using the catch - the innermost part of the catch on my sandwich toaster broke quite quickly after purchase however as all toasties I make seem to be on the fatter side, I still have to push down firmly on the lid to get the catch to close on the loosest setting anyway so it's no hardship.
6) Wait for a few minutes - I have never timed how long it takes, but I would estimate 3-5 minutes covers most combinations.
7) Open up the sandwich toaster and voila! Your lovely crispy and VERY hot sandwich is ready.
8) Be VERY careful removing the sandwich as both the sandwich and cooking plates will be VERY hot.
I normally then leave the sandwich on the chopping board for a couple of minutes to cool slightly before finally cutting it through the middle of the triangles with a sharp knife to separate the pieces. Depending on how large your slices of bread are, you may also want to trim the excess off around the edges as you can get quite an overhang at times. I find the best bread to use in the sandwich toaster is a couple of slices from a good old 800gram ready sliced white loaf. This minimizes waste and makes it a lot easier to construct your masterpiece in the sandwich toaster itself.
**Cleaning and storage**
The Cookworks Sandwich Toaster is relatively easy to clean. I simply wipe over the exterior with a damp cloth and use a few pieces of kitchen roll to clean the inside once it has cooled slightly. If I do leave it to go completely cold prior to cleaning, I will normally then resort to a non-scratch sponge scourer with a little warm soapy water on it to clean the interior, followed up with kitchen roll. Sometimes cheese can make a bid for freedom out of the rear of the sandwich toaster which is a bit awkward as it can end up in the hinge mechanisms. Then I will use a knife to scrape the cheese out and wipe over as before. You do have to pay attention to the underside of the sandwich toaster as things have a tendency to drool down underneath as well.
The rear of the sandwich toaster acts as cord storage as you can wrap the lead around it. I tend not to worry too much about this though as by the time I have fiddled around and put the sandwich toaster back in its place at the rear of the cupboard it has unwrapped anyway. I store it upright on the rear end and it takes up very little space.
The user guide is adequate and contains cooking instructions and the usual safety advice to be headed when using hot cooking appliances and electrical devices - i.e. being careful not to burn yourself and not to immerse in water when cleaning etc.
The Cookworks Sandwich Toaster has been used intermittently over many years and it continues to make tasty toasties for my family. It was very reasonable to buy, looks nice and is (fairly) easy to keep clean and store. The only negative I have found is the securing catch to close it has partially broken but this hasn't affected its use in any way. Therefore I thoroughly recommend this gadget and will give it the full 5 stars.
Thankyou for reading and I hope this has been of some use.
This review may be posted on other sites under the same name.
Reason for Purchase ~ 'A Sandwich short of a picnic'...not anymore!
This is a 'new kid on the block' for me. My daughter has owned a Breville older one for a while; the grand-tots love creating their own concoctions, which she then toast! I wanted to furnish the tots....and myself with the same fun when they visit! As I know it would end up being one of those gadgets I wouldn't bother to use on a daily basis, I 'Argoosed' this inexpensive one!
The Product ~ 'The Toast Of The Town'!
The Sandwich Toaster is just 100watts less than my George Foreman grill, at 700 watts. The apparatus can make two toasted sandwiches at a time. Also like my GF Grill, it has cord storage, but I'm far too lazy to take the extra moment taking advantage of this feature after use! The rest of the product's features I have added under the following 'Usage Experience'.
Usage Experience ~ 'Knuckle Sandwich'...no, how 'bout these instead?!
Again, just the same as my GF grill, the toaster works by toasting both sides of the prepared sandwich at the same time by compacting the bread within the two heated upper and lower plates. As an example of
usage, 'here's one I prepared earlier'! :D
1) Unless i need to first grill such foods as bacon first, I plug in the gadget, stating the obvious, sorry! Next, I ask the tots which bread they fancy from the container; white is the popular choice! Under supervision, I help the grand-tots butter just one side of two slices of the bread; one set per grand-tot. My eldest grand-son loves bacon and cheese, so this is how we set about preparing this.
2) Because I need to grill the bacon, I don't turn on the gadget till the three slices of fat free back bacon is half way cooked, about 3 minutes. Once plugged in, which is displayed by a red power 'on' indicator, I turn the bacon for the remaining time. While the bacon is grilling and the Cookworks is heating, I open up a packet of ready grated mild cheddar (purchased especially for when the tots visit, for them to make pizzas and toasted sarnies!) I take out the food scales and get my grand-son to weigh out 1oz/30gm of the cheese; cooking can be a fun learning experience!
3) I then have my grand-son place the buttered side of the bread faced down on a plate. I pop the slightly cooled bacon evenly on the unbuttered slice. I then ask my grand-son to evenly spread the cheese over the bacon and cover the unbuttered other slice of the bread on top of the filling. I then very carefully, place the prepared sandwich on the hot plate of the sandwich toaster. I close the lid via the handle, which is like the external surfaces, cool to the touch. The handle has a practical locking clip. After a few moments, the green 'ready' indicator light pops on.
4) Upon lifting the lid, the first thing we notice is the wonderful aroma of bacon and sizzling cheese. The toasted bread has an attractive golden glaze and neat sealed edges. At times, if the filling has been a little too excessive, it is seen oozing out from the edges of the sandwich and onto the hot plate. I always tell my grand-tots to wait a few moments for their toasties to cool a little, as the sandwiches come out piping hot! 'Try some Nan' I am enthusiastically offered; lots of mmmm and ooohhs follow from both of us! The bacon is soft and warm and the cheese is perfectly melted. The taste is so scrumptious, the bread being crispy but moist. I use thick sliced bread to ensure a softer and doughy result. This particular recipe remains a firm favourite of my grand-sons!
5) As for the other grand-tots, we alternate on their latest fads. The following are some of the chosen delights: Cheese and ham, using 2ozs grated mild cheese and I slice of ham, folded/ Hotdog delight, made with 'American style baby hot dogs', these are perfect for little fingers to place on the bread, readymade. And 2ozs mild cheese, with a little ketchup spread on the inner slices/But the sandwich maker isn't just for bread and savoury fillings. The grand-tots love pancakes with their chosen fruit filling too! As a tip, I use mild flavours for children as this is better for their little taste buds and tummies. Whilst, I love spicy fillings and happy to pay the consequences! :D There are numerous excellent sites online that provide vast amounts of sandwich toaster recipes and ideas. Sometimes, certain fillings take a little longer to cook according to taste, so the non-slip feet helps the device stay in place while the lid is lifted to test the filling!
Cleaning and Maintenance ~ 'Warm As Toast'!
As the toaster has non-stick plates, cleaning is a synch! I simply use kitchen paper towel to remove and excess food debris and then wipe the surfaces with a moistened sponge, ensuring no harsh cleaning substances have been added. Before storing upright, I dry with some kitchen paper towel. The school holidays have meant that this new addition to my gadgets hasn't has much time in the cupboard; a very popular tool!
Would I Recommend? ~ 'You're Toast'!
Going by the grand-tots Mmmms, yes, most definitely; a winner with the grand-tots: D I really don't think I'll use it much for me, but it will be out on the arrival of four VIP's! :D The Cookworks Sandwich Toaster - 2 Slice, new device from Argos, with the order number of 423/5541 is only £9.99 and this current price is valid, as guaranteed by the company, to remain until 20/01/2012
Thank you for taking the time to read my review xXx