Pressing work

Panini makers put the squeeze on all comers

Test Kitchen

December 26, 2007|By Amy Scattergood | Amy Scattergood,Los Angeles Times

When it came time to test the many panini makers, manual and electric, on the market, I was expecting to fall in love with a gorgeous, old-fashioned hunk of iron. This did not happen.

The manual pans, which are made of either ridged cast iron or anodized aluminum and come with heavy, ridged, cast-iron presses, are gorgeous. But as much as I wanted to love them, they look better than they cook. And the hinged, electric presses? I've been using one every day since I began my experiment.

Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press

Price: $50 at cuisinart.com, bedbathandbeyond.com and cooking.com

Details: This smaller press has a brushed stainless-steel housing, an 11-by-6 1/2 -inch nonstick surface and a floating hinge. It has only about half the surface cooking area of the other pans.

What we thought: The small grill size of this new model means you can cook only two panini at once. Its lack of runoff spout and tray and the preset temperature control make the grill less versatile than the others. And accommodating tall sandwiches is harder because when the hinge is fully extended, you lose about an inch of surface grilling area. No lock means you can't store it upright.

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