Strawberry-Chocolate Paninis

by Shannon

I’ve been on a little bit of a strawberry kick ever since one day last week when I went to this relatively new eatery in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station called Yoshi which sells – wait for it – yogurt and sushi. The thought of yogurt and sushi grosses out the majority of us but I finally got to a point where I just couldn’t listen to another person rave about the yogurt (not one word on how the individually wrapped sushi is selling) without trying it myself. I grabbed a co-worker and stepped into this vibrant little shop which offered several different kinds of non-fat yogurt (like vanilla, peach, cheesecake, chocolate, and mint) and all kinds of toppings. From Oreo cookies, gummy bears, and peanut butter chips to kiwi fruit, blueberries, and lychee, you can make your treat as good or as bad as you want. I was in a fruity mood so I chose peach yogurt with fresh slices of strawberries. I generally choose other berries to snack on over strawberries but that day, they seemed to go well with the peach frozen yogurt and the whole dessert was fresh, light and tasty. Now, I can’t get enough of those plump little berries.

Since then, I’ve been craving strawberries and bought a pint earlier this week that never seems to end. Looking around my kitchen and noticing some whole-wheat buns that I probably wouldn’t finish and a few ounces of cream cheese that I had nothing to eat with, I decided to make a Strawberry-Chocolate Paninis using my sweet, sweet strawberries as the star of the show. Cream cheese is spread on whole-wheat bread and topped with slices of fresh strawberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips before being smooshed and toasted in a panini press. The cream cheese provides the slightest bit of tang to balance out the sweetness from the strawberries and chocolate. Any kind of bread will do here (like sourdough or French) and dark chocolate could easily be substituted too. My ingredients below made two sandwiches but you can easily double everything to make more. This is a nice little dessert panini that’s perfect for when plain strawberries just won’t do the trick. I mean, who doesn’t like strawberries and chocolate?

Strawberry-Chocolate Paninis (makes 2 sandwiches)

  • 2 whole-wheat hamburger buns or any 4 slices of preferred bread
  • 4-6 medium sized strawberries
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, reduced-fat or regular, preferrably room temperature
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat a panini maker over medium-high heat. Spread 1 ounce of cream cheese onto the bottom sides of each bun. Layer strawberries slices over the cream cheese. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the strawberries. Top each with the remaining bun halves. Grill sandwiches in the panini press until golden on both sides (about 2-3 minutes). Halve sandwiches and serve.

The ingredients:

Spread 1 ounce of cream cheese onto the bottom sides of each bun.

Layer strawberries slices over the cream cheese. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the strawberries.

Top each with the remaining bun halves. Grill sandwiches in the panini press until golden on both sides (about 2-3 minutes).

Halve sandwiches and serve.

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