Grilled Cheese Dippers with Jarlsberg

Did you know that April is grilled cheese month? I’m not sure why it’s April. I think it would make more sense to be a winter month… January maybe? I say this because when I think of grilled cheese, I think of cold snowy days. When we had snow days growing up, I remember my mom always making soup and grilled cheese for us to warm up after playing outside or shoveling the driveway. I do the same now on occasion. It’s a quick and easy comfort food that I’m positive is well loved by the majority.

To celebrate grilled cheese month, Jarlsberg and Kitchen Play have teamed up for a fun grilled cheese event. I was lucky enough to participate in this event. How could you not get excited to work with cheese? My first idea is the one that stuck. I wanted to make grilled cheese dippers. Going back to my memories from childhood, my mom always ate her grilled cheese with tomato soup. The rest of us always had chicken noodle. I’m still a huge fan of chicken noodle, but for some reason tomato soup just seemed right for a dipper soup.

The best part about dippers is they’re so easy to make and the variations are endless! Before deciding on making basic dippers, I had written up possibilities of add-ins ranging from simple bacon to meat loaded sandwiches. Great meat options to consider when making your own: bacon, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, ham, turkey and even egg! Fun veggies to consider would be: hot peppers, tomatoes, red onion or maybe avocado. Use one or several add-in items, or keep it simple as a basic and classic grilled cheese.

The most important things to remember when creating the perfect grilled cheese…nope, not the add-ins. It’s not even the bread, though that can play a major role in the final outcome. Butter! Make sure the bread is good and slathered from edge to edge.

Beyond the butter… heat! This is especially important when using harder and thicker slices of cheese or sandwiches packed with extra ingredients. It’s also important when your bread slices are thicker than the average pre sliced sandwich bread. Keeping the heat in and around your sandwich is key to a perfect crunchy exterior and an amazing melty interior.

Grilled Cheese Dippers with Jarlsberg

Ingredients:

Jarlsberg cheese (often found in the specialty cheese section)
butter (tub or stick is fine, but it must be soft)
bread (choose your favorite or something new, I used a fresh loaf of Italian bread)
optional add-in items

Directions:

Preheat your pan of choice. My go to pan for grilled cheese is our electric pan because I can set the temp. If doing this, 350 is what I recommend. Let it heat up for a good 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice several one inch thick slices of bread.

Slather one side of each piece with butter, making sure to coat the entire side.

Prep your cheese! Using a cheese slicer, cut medium thickness slices. I didn't measure this, play it by ear and see what thickness works best for you. Definitely go thicker than the average store bought pre sliced cheese though. This will make for a extra gooey grilled cheese. Generally two slices and possibly some smaller fill in pieces will work for one sandwich.

When your pan is properly heated, place one piece of bread down on the pan - butter side down! Swirl it around a bit, then top off with cheese and the matching piece of bread - butter side up! Cover with a lid. Let sit for a few minutes, then carefully check its progress. Cook on the first side until it's a nice golden color. Carefully flip and repeat process. Please remember to not push down on your sandwich as it's cooking. That will flatten it. You want a nice thick sandwich. Trust me, no squishing is needed if you keep the heat in and let the pan do its job.

*If using additional add-in items, place them on top of the cheese before topping off with a second piece of bread.  Alternately, depending on your add-in items, you can cook two pieces of bread butter side down and topped with cheese. When those two pieces are cooked fully, simply sandwich your add-in items between the two cooked and gooey cheese covered slices.

Slice into quarters and serve with tomato soup or another favorite variety. Dip and enjoy!

For grilled cheese month, Jarlsberg is a offering a free ‘toastabag’ and a $1.00 off coupon towards the purchase of Jarlsberg cheese when you submit your own recipe. Submitted recipes will be featured on their site. *Note: I was not given the opportunity to try the toaster bag and cannot vouch for the product. Visit free toastabag to submit your own recipe.