Blueberry, White Chocolate, and Marshmallow Panini

I was about 9 or 10 when my dad came home with the sandwich maker. It was a small white machine with triangle-shaped plates inside that would press, toast, and divide a couple simple sandwiches into four perfectly gooey-on-the-inside-crisp-on-the-outside pockets.

We used the sandwich maker all the time to make grilled cheese sandwiches and pressed ham or turkey paninis. Soon, my budding interest in cooking had me experimenting with all sorts of fillings--cheese and creamy salad dressing, pickles, peanut butter and jelly. Not all my ideas were a success, but I recently remembered one combination that proved to be a total hit--blueberries and marshmallows.

Oh...YES!

I've long been a fan of marshmallows--they're my #1 guilty pleasure. I used to put one or two into a mug and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, watching it puff up and then racing to eat the gooey mess before it got too hard and stuck to the mug.

[OK. I still totally do this. I add a few chocolate chips now, too. Try it. It's amazing!]
 
I wish I could remember exactly what made me pair the marshmallows with the blueberries in the sandwich maker--curiosity, I suppose.  

Genius, perhaps?

I do remember my mom's horror at the sticky mess. I also remember how good it was, and that incredible feeling of realizing that I'd created something that tasted so. freaking. good.

The white chocolate was a present-day addition, which I think works perfectly in this delicious dessert-sandwich. Think of it as a twist on the classic s'more--with gooey white chocolate and marshmallow, nutty whole wheat bread, and the bright sweet tartness of warm blueberries. The blueberries almost get baked into the bread so you get a little hint of blueberry pancakes in the mix. I also like to finish off this recipe with a little sprinkle of sea salt or even kosher salt to balance out all the sweetness.

I used my le creuset grill pan and panini press to make my sandwich, but it would be just as good in a waffle iron or on a skillet with something heavy on top (I'll use another pan or just fill my tea kettle with water).

These are best served immediately, so if you're planning them for dessert, just assemble them in advance and wait until you're ready for the sweets to begin pressing. Each sandwich serves about two people (it's pretty rich).  Or you could cut them into smaller pieces for a party.

Enjoy!

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Blueberry, White Chocolate, and Marshmallow Dessert Panini Recipe
Makes 2 sandwiches (4 servings)

Ingredients
4 slices whole wheat or multi-grain sandwich bread
salted butter, softened at room temperature
6 "jumbo size" marshmallows (like these)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or 1 white chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Sea salt or kosher salt

Directions
Preheat your panini press, grill pan, or griddle. Spread 4 slices of bread with softened butter on all sides.  Cut each marshmallow into three pieces and arrange three each on two of the slices of buttered bread (sticky-side down makes this easiest!). Top with white chocolate and blueberries, then cover with remaining two slices of bread to make two sandwiches.

Gently place each sandwich on the preheated grill and either close the panini maker, or top with a heavy object such as another heavy pan, a heavy heat-proof plate, or a tea kettle filled with water. Press down and let grill about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook on other side (if you're using a panini press, there is no need to flip.)

Cut each sandwich in half and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Serve immediately.



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