THE ULTIMATE GRILLED HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICH WITH COOPER® SHARP AND WAFFLES
Legend has it (or Wikipedia, at least) that in 1894, the only food available at New York baseball parks was the ham and cheese sandwich. Cooper® cheese had about a year under its belt by then, so who knows … maybe that was us keeping those overdressed Gilded Age baseball fans fed.
Whether that’s the case or not, one thing we know for sure. Cooper® Sharp makes one darn good grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The kind that just might cause a turn-of-the-century gentleman to exclaim, “Say, good fellow, that is one resplendent piece of sustenance!”
But why stop there? Because you know what makes just about any sandwich better (besides extra Cooper® cheese)?
Waffles. That’s what.
Just swap out the bread for a slightly more indulgent, more gratifying, more … you know, waffle-shaped kind of bread. And you’ve got yourself a grilled ham and cheese that’s truly worth writing home about.
If that sounds good to you (it sure sounds good to us), let’s dive in and see how exactly to make this cheesy, waffle-y, truly delectable grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
STEP 1: MAKE YOUR WAFFLES
Seeing as this is a sandwich with waffles for bread, making some waffles is a good place to start. I mean, making waffles is always a good place to start. In life in general. But especially now.
So make waffles we shall.
1. MIX UP YOUR WAFFLE BATTER
If you’ve got a favorite scratch waffle recipe, handed down for generations upon generations from your waffle-loving ancestors, go ahead and use that. Otherwise, you’ll need a box of your favorite waffle mix. Whip it up according to the package directions and you’re good to go.
2. ADD SOME CHIVES
Chives are interesting. Partly because they may have come from Siberia by way of Alexander the Great. But also because they’re a cool mix of oniony, garlicky flavor without being overpowering. They’re not green onions, not scallions, not leeks … they’re just chives. And they’re just right to lend a little bit of savory to the sweeter taste of the waffles.
So chop up a 1/4 cup of chives and add them to the waffle batter.
3. ADD YOUR SHREDDED COOPER® SHARP CHEESE
Chives in the batter? Good.
Now we’ll add a little cheesy goodness to top it off. Grab 3/4 cup of shredded Cooper® Sharp cheese and add it to the batter. We’re using Cooper® Sharp Yellow cheese, but you could definitely use Cooper® Sharp White, or even Black Pepper if you’re feeling adventurous.
Once you’ve added your Cooper® cheese, gently fold the cheese and chives into the waffle batter until everything is nicely mixed. Be careful not to overmix. Mixing waffle batter too long is a great way to lose the light, fluffy texture you want your waffles to have.
4. COOK THE ACTUAL WAFFLES
Now the fun part of waffle-making. The making part. The magical process by which that mere puddle of not-yet-waffle goo transforms into a light and crispy, golden-brown, very-much-a-waffle waffle.
Pour the waffle batter into your preheated waffle maker and cook those puppies until they’re golden. Usually it’ll take around 5 minutes to make waffles, but your mileage may vary depending on your particular waffle maker.
Now, you’ve got a couple options here. You can make four regular-size waffles, two for each sandwich. Or you can make just two ginormous waffles for one ginormous sandwich. Which you’re welcome to keep all for yourself if you’re daring, but you can also cut in half to share. Or in quarters. Or in sixteenths, depending on how many friends you have. And/or how tiny you want your grilled ham and cheese sandwiches to be.
Once your waffles are ready, remove them from the waffle maker, take a second to admire your handiwork, then get ready to turn them into grilled ham and cheese deliciousness.
OR … JUST USE FROZEN WAFFLES.
Of course, you may not want to go through all that work of making your own waffles. Or maybe you just love frozen waffles.
In that case, your favorite frozen waffles will work just fine. Just toast them up and get right to the sandwich making.
STEP 2: ASSEMBLE YOUR GRILLED HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICHES
Just like the Avengers.
Except this is one of Earth’s mightiest sandwiches you’re assembling. And, while delicious, it will do little to protect your friends and family from planetary invasion. Probably.
Set two of your waffles (or one ginormous one) onto a nice, clean work surface. Add a layer of Black Forest ham, then top the ham with a couple slices of Cooper® cheese in a criss-cross pattern. Of course, if you took the blue pill and you’re going with the one-ginormous-waffle-sandwich option, you’re going to put all your ham and all your Cooper® cheese onto that one comically large sandwich. Cool? Thought so.
Finish both sandwiches up with a dollop of honey mustard, then cap them off with the remaining waffles.
And if it stopped here, you’d be in pretty good shape, but we need to get this sandwich nice and warm and melty and … grilly? Because we came here for a grilled ham and cheese, and by golly, that’s what we’re going to get.
STEP 3: GRILL YOUR SANDWICHES!
Yes, this step gets an exclamation point.
It is, after all, quite exciting. Because the grilling is where we unlock the real wizardry of the grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Preheat a medium skillet. We want it nice and warm so the sandwiches get right to sizzling.
- Once the skillet is warm, throw a couple chunks of butter in there and let them mostly melt.
- Butter the tops of your sandwiches.
- Carefully place your sandwiches (or sandwich, if of the ginormous variety) into the skillet.
Once your sandwiches are safely nestled onto their hot, buttery grilling surface, give them about 3-4 minutes to get a nice crispy, golden-brown crust. Then carefully flip the sandwiches and give them another 3-4 minutes on the other side, grilling until the Cooper® cheese is good and melty.
And just like that, you’ve got quite possibly the tastiest grilled ham and cheese sandwich that’ll ever cross your taste buds. Perfectly grilled, cheesy, melty, and waffle-ized for good measure.
STEP 4: PLATE, CUT, SERVE AND ENJOY!
Yes, that is one good-looking sandwich. Just imagine how it tastes!
Or don’t imagine … because the time has come to taste this glorious sandwich in real life. So remove your grilled ham and cheese sandwiches from the skillet, cut them in half for general ease of consumption, and serve them up. We like to add a side of a little extra honey mustard for dipping, too.
But however you serve this grilled ham and cheese, we know you’ll want to savor every last bite.
TOP 10 INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO YOUR GRILLED HAM AND CHEESE
Okay, so that’s the Cooper® grilled ham and cheese sandwich to end all grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. But the thing is, you can level it up even a bit more when you get creative with some add-ons.
More creative than waffles, you ask?
You better believe it, buckaroo. Try one (several? all?) of these additional ingredients to push your waffle grilled ham and cheese over the top. Or, more over the top.
1. TRY USING MAPLE BUTTER
I mean, you’re already using waffles. Maple syrup only makes sense, right? Swap out the butter for maple butter for an extra bit of brunchiness. Here’s a quick maple butter recipe to try:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Combine with a hand mixer until light and fluffy
2. ARUGULA OR SPINACH
Want to add a little green to your grilled ham and cheese recipe? Go for the classic taste of spinach or the slight peppery flavor of fresh arugula. It adds just enough intrigue to really bump your grilled ham and cheese to a new level.
3. DIJON MUSTARD
Swap out the honey mustard for Dijon. You’ll add a sharper, stronger mustard flavor that pairs really well with the ham and Cooper® Sharp.
4. FRIED EGG
It’ll be sort of a croque madame, which is pretty much just a fun way to say ham and cheese with an egg on top. Which you can do if you want—put the fried egg on top of the whole works—but it’s also fantastic if you sandwich that fried egg right between the ham and the Cooper® cheese.
5. TOMATO SLICES
Add a little fresh, juicy sweetness to your grilled ham and cheese with a slice or two of tomato.
6. PICKLES AND MUSTARD
Make your grilled ham and cheese into a quick approximation of a Cuban sandwich by adding the tangy crunch of pickle slices and yellow mustard.
7. CARAMELIZED ONIONS
It’s possible that caramelized onions make any food better. And they’ll definitely add a little something to your grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Just slice up an onion and sauté it in some olive oil, stirring often, until the onions are a deep rich brown. Then slather them on top of the Cooper® cheese before you grill your sandwiches.
8. SMOKED PAPRIKA
The sweet, smoky spice of smoked paprika will give your ham and cheese a kick of heat and smoky flavor that’s hard not to fall in love with. Just sprinkle some smoked paprika over the Cooper® cheese before you cap your sandwiches and grill.
9. PICKLED JALAPEÑO
If we’re being honest, pickled jalapeños could go on almost anything. But when you add them to a grilled ham and cheese recipe, they add just the right spicy kick to your sandwich.
10. COOPER® PIMENTO CHEESE
And finally, one of our very favorites, pimento cheese. Pimento cheese is indulgent, comforting and just plain delicious. And when you combine it with the Black Forest ham and waffles in this sandwich … well, it’s quite amazing. You’ll just swap out the slices of Cooper® cheese with Cooper® pimento cheese. Here’s a quick recipe:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 4-ounce jar diced pimento, drained
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound Cooper® Sharp White or Yellow cheese, diced or shredded
In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, diced pimento, Worcestershire sauce, onion and cayenne pepper until thoroughly mixed. Blend in the Cooper® Cheese. Refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.
HAM + COOPER® CHEESE + WAFFLES = YOUR NEW FAVORITE SANDWICH
And there you have it. That’s the Cooper® Grilled Ham and Cheese Waffle Sandwich in all its glory. A comfort food tour de force if ever there was one. A sandwich you’ll want to curl up with in the best of times, the worst of times and all the fairly mediocre times in between.
But then again, no time can be mediocre when this grilled ham and cheese is on the menu.