How To Use An Electric Sandwich Maker

How to use an electric sandwich maker to make quick and easy snacks or meals for the whole family!

Do you remember camping, and making hot jelly filled pocket sandwiches in those iron tongs over fire? Today, you can get the same results at home, with a lot less fuss and mess. Several manufacturers make sandwich makers, like the Toastmaster Snackster and other similar products. These are essentially very close to a waffle iron, with two large metal plates that come down and cook the contents of the griddle. The difference, of course, is that instead of having a lot of little squares like a waffle iron, Sandwich makers have only a large diagonal divider in the middle.

To use the sandwich maker, you put in a slice of buttered bread, buttered side down. Next, you pile on your filling of choice. Finally, you put a second piece of bread on top of the filling, and close the top. The heat from the cooking plates browns the bread and heats the filling; while the metal divider seals the sandwich into two triangular shaped "pockets". The sandwiches cook in less than five minutes, with the inside hot and gooey and the outside brown and crunchy. As you experiment with different breads and fillings, you'll get a better sense of how long it takes to cook each type of sandwich.

You can make pocket sandwiches as a meal, an appetizer or a dessert. The main difference of course is in the fillings, although you can vary the type of bread (and it's coating) appropriately as well. For example, for a dinner sandwich, you might add a few pieces of cooked meat, some cheese, and a vegetable, and put a light layer of garlic butter on the outside of the bread. For a dessert, on the other hand, you might want to use a cherry pie filling and put a coating of butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on the outside of the bread. The variations are almost endless, and the only limitation is your creativity!

Sandwich makers are available for sale online, and in most major discount and department stores in the Household good department. Look for these between the waffle makers and George Foreman Grills. Some tips to make your Snackmaker sandwich making experience successful include:

* Make sure the sandwich maker is fully heated before you start cooking to ensure a nice evenly browned result.

* Set out all of your fillings, diced & ready to go, before you put your bread on the bottom of the grill. Remember, it starts cooking the moment you lay it down.



* Butter the outside of the bread if you want it crunchier. Margarine works just as well and does not burn as easily. You can mix in other seasonings (herbs and/or garlic) into the butter, if desired, or sprinkle it with sugar or cinnamon sugar before cooking as well.

* Don't overfill. As you get used to your sandwich maker you'll learn to gauge the appropriate amount of filling - you want enough to fill out the sandwich, but not so much it oozes out the edges of the sandwich.

* Limit high-moisture foods. Certain foods like tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. will taste wonderful in small quantities. In larger quantities, they may ooze too much liquid giving you a mushy result.

* Use only cooked meats. Remember the sandwich maker is heating your filling, but you need any meat to be cooked to a safe level before putting them in the sandwich.

* Use your creativity! Pocket sandwiches are a great way to use up small quantities of leftovers, so use your creativity and clear out your refrigerator at the same time!

* Serve with a light salad or side. These often tend to be rather rich, so you may only want to serve them with a small side salad or other light vegetable. Dessert pockets should be filled rather sparingly as they tend to be very rich.

Some creative combinations? Try mixing several cheeses and serving with a bowl of tomato soup, or using leftover roast beef, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and grilled onions for a unique Philadelphia sandwich. Veggie lovers may enjoy zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions, with a little cheese and some garlic butter. Try using tomato sauce and cheese for a pocket-pizza for kids. Pie filling always makes a great dessert pocket, or you can try a creative combination like chocolate chips and marshmallows, etc. The key is to have fun, experiment a little bit, and enjoy yourself. Remember, you don't even have to clean up the campfire later, just wipe the sandwich maker clean and throw away your napkins!

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