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Chocolate Paninis

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chocolate paninis

Reading all the food magazines in February makes me feel hopelessly unromantic. I don’t even remember the last time I made my husband a romantic dinner for two. (Do people really do this? On weeknights?) Valentine’s Day at our house, I’m sorry to say, is a family affair.  We might exchange a card now an then but we’re mostly opening dozens of homemade Valentines stuffed with cheap candy from all the kids’ classmates, and the card my 91-year-old grandmother sends me every year with a lipstick kiss on the envelope and Hershey’s Kiss tucked inside.

Last year, I made this easy Chocolate Fondue for dessert. The kids loved it and, honestly, when else are you going to make chocolate fondue? This year, I’m making Chocolate Paninis for breakfast. Not romantic, I know, but chocolate nonetheless.

You don’t need a panini maker for this recipe. The word “panini” simply means a toasted or pressed sandwich. I actually prefer to make theses paninis in the oven because a panini press smashes them too flat.  The most important thing is to start with good quality ingredients. For the bread, I like to use challah or brioche, but any good bread with a soft crust will do (once toasted, a hard crust can be difficult to eat, especially for kids). For the chocolate, I always use Ghirardelli or Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can use a finely chopped baking bar as well, but I wouldn’t bother because it’s more work and the chips melt just fine.

Begin by buttering one side of all the bread slices, then place half of the slices, buttered side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place the chocolate chips over the bread, then top with the remaining slices, buttered side up, to form sandwiches.

Bake in a hot oven until golden on the bottom side. Before flipping the sandwiches, use a spatula to press down on the top slice and smash the chocolate chips into gooey melted chocolate.

Carefully flip the sandwiches, and then bake until the other side is golden brown. Keep a close eye on them — they go from perfectly golden to burnt very quickly!

Let cool slightly — melted chocolate can burn — then slice and serve.

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Chocolate Paninis

Servings: 4
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 8 1/2-inch thick slices from 1 loaf challah, brioche, white or Italian bread
  • 3-4 tablespoons salted butter, softened*
  • 4 ounces (2/3 cup) semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate, best quality such as Ghirardelli or Guittard


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Spread one side of each bread slice with about 1½ teaspoons butter and place 4 slices, buttered side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Spread about a quarter of the chocolate chips evenly on each of the 4 slices, leaving a ¼-inch border around the edges. Cover with the remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
  2. Bake until the bottoms of the paninis are crisp and golden brown, 7-9 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Using a metal spatula, gently press down on sandwiches to spread the soft chips into melted chocolate. Carefully turn the sandwiches over and continue baking until the bottoms are crisp and golden, about 5 minutes longer. (Keep a close eye on it; the sandwiches go from golden brown to burnt quickly!) Let cool slightly, cut paninis in half and serve.
  3. Note: If you don’t have salted butter, use unsalted and sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of the sandwiches.

Reviews & Comments

  • That loaf of bread looks amazing! Do you have a recipe for that, too?

    • — Wendy on September 19, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, that’s a store-bought challah in the picture. 🙂 I do have a challah recipe on page 217 of my cookbook. If you don’t own the cookbook, let me know and I can send you a copy of the recipe via email.

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2018
      • Reply
  • What a great idea! I have never thought of making a sweet panini. I made mine with brioche and used a mixture of semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips. I also sprinkled a little powdered sugar on the top – messy but delicious!

    • — Lisa Creswell on March 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • I want to make these for school, but I will need to make them the night before. Would that be ok with this recipie?

    • — Cam on January 4, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Cam, The chocolate will solidify — won’t be bad at all, just firm instead of gooey 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2015
      • Reply
  • We loved these …but by request from the kids we added a bit of nutella — they came out perfect!

    • — sharon on July 23, 2014
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  • I added Nutella to this recipe and it gave it a nice nutty flavor. Not too much, but just that hint of hazelnut. It was great!

    • — Amanda S. on July 10, 2014
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  • I wonder what this would be like with pound cake slices… Hmmm…

    • — K on February 19, 2014
    • Reply
  • Great recipe. Keeping it on my plan if I need a quick dessert

    • — Stephen Piorkowski on November 7, 2013
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  • Needing a chocolate rush I made the chocolate paninis. Filled the bill to the T! Phew they were fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • — Linda Grothe on March 9, 2013
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  • Also made these with nutella …simply divine

    • — Denise on March 9, 2013
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  • made these and added marshallow fluff, good with nutella also

    • — Mary Thompson on March 9, 2013
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  • I made these for dessert at my daughters’ bday party and added marshmallow fluff and they were devoured

    • — Mary Thompson on March 9, 2013
    • Reply
  • Utterly decadent. My granddaughter loves these.

    • — Charlene Wheeler on March 9, 2013
    • Reply
  • I have made these a few times they are delicious!

    • — Sarahjones on October 2, 2012
    • Reply
  • These are addicting! It is also that perfect recipe for those “iffy” times where you want dessert, but not sure what to make. Recently, I decided I wanted to have some friends over for “happy” hour. It was kind of last minute, but I made your hummus recipe, my wings, and my daughter’s avocado salsa recipe up and then, was like…well, not sure we will have dessert. I did not have time to bake. So, I bought the bread and already had chocolate chips and the salted butter. Long story short. Our guests stayed late…and we decided we wanted something sweet…and like magic I produced this and it was absolutely perfect and impressive! Thank you. Problem is, we now look for every excuse to make these. (I make sure I have the bread on hand always now!)

    • — Karen on September 14, 2012
    • Reply
  • I tried this, and it turned out delicious for father’s day. He love them.

    • — julieh on June 27, 2012
    • Reply
  • We are empty-nesters, but I assure you I don’t need our three offspring home in order to make these! Looks delicious!

    • — Perrie on June 27, 2012
    • Reply
  • These so good and simple! I make mine with some good brioche (yum) and less chocolate chips with a smear of nutella.

    • — Rachel on June 26, 2012
    • Reply
  • I make Nutella sandwiches for my kids all the time and they love it…so I thought I’d give this a try! Followed the recipe exactly the first time and my kids really enjoyed it with a glass of milk. The next few times I made it I just used Nutella and toasted it in a pan on the stove top and it turned out just as good… Though a bit more runny, but still delicious!

    • — Crystal on June 21, 2012
    • Reply
  • I’d recommend cooking it in a skillet so you can more easily monitor the sandwich so the bread and chocolate don’t get burnt. Otherwise great idea! Also, I used to make something similar in one of those pocket press sandwich makers with peanut butter and chocolate chips (no butter needed because the press was nonstick) = peanut butter cup sandwich. Delish and sinful.

    • — Keith A on June 20, 2012
    • Reply
  • I made this for my boys for breakfast this past Valentine’s Day. It is now our go to special breakfast treat. I added some bananas because….well….it’s always nice to sneak in fruit where you can.

    • — Renee H on June 20, 2012
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  • Now THIS is my kind of breakfast! Great idea!

  • I make this with Nutella and marshmallow, we love it!

    • — Mary Thompson on June 20, 2012
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  • Oh yeah! I am definitely going to have to make these for my kids. They are going to love them.

    • — Tami on June 20, 2012
    • Reply
  • Looks delicious! will try this sometimes

    • — Lola Macaulay on May 21, 2012
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  • Oh, this is a great recipe. I found that if you do not have chocolate chips nutella works great, and is just as delicious.

    • — Lazendra Hairston on May 17, 2012
    • Reply
  • Finally, something my son will eat for breakfast!

    • — Donna on May 16, 2012
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  • This looks good and do believe the kids would love it!

    • — Kathy Wilson on May 15, 2012
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  • Chocolatey goodness. Im thinking about adding a little nutella as well. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — Ada Howe on May 15, 2012
    • Reply
  • Was a unique surprise to give my grandchildren a treat

  • Yum these were delicious!

    • — Sarah on May 15, 2012
    • Reply
  • I made these and OH MY! Perfect for a chocolate fix! This recipe is going to stay on my shelf for that fast chocolate fix.

    • — Andee on March 6, 2012
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  • Get out of town!

    Chocolate Paninis. They sound sinful! Can’t wait to try them.

    • — Elena V on March 5, 2012
    • Reply
  • Perfect for a quick desert.I added fresh berriers on top, raspberries were great.

  • Great idea! I made something very similar with nutella and bananas for Valentine’s Day! Thanks for the idea!

    • — Kristen on March 4, 2012
    • Reply
  • These look absolutely delicious! Must try asap!

  • Wow! These look amazing. I will definitely be trying this one. Good bread is a must for paninis!

    • — Sue on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • These also make a tasty afterschool treat!

    • — Merie on March 1, 2012
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  • chocolate heaven! cant wait to try this

    • — Rosalinda on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • Bread and chocolate, two of my favorite things! Combined for a tasty breakfast.

    • — Jen on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • This post had me drooling! My husband wouldn’t go for it but my 3 kids sure would! Cannot wait to make this! I bet it would be good with Nutella too!

  • This was great! The kids loved it too!

    • — Sarah on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • I am now the Mom of choice to make Saturday morning breakfast for my daughter and her girlies! This was a total hit the morning after her last sleepover! Thanks for the new badge of honor! LOL

    • — Kathy Kearney on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • This was delicious!

    • — Katie on February 29, 2012
    • Reply
  • they look great! will be trying them this weekend. might cut them into quaters and have them for dessert after a light supper – just an idea.

    • — Odette on February 29, 2012
    • Reply
  • These look fabulous! I can’t wait to try them.

    • — Amy Simonson on February 14, 2012
    • Reply
  • Once again, you woo me with your simple decadence. What better way to celebrate than with your family. You are so lucky to still have your Grandma! Love to all. Thank you.

    • — Karen on February 14, 2012
    • Reply
  • Jenn, the romantic dinners at home start when the kids are gone to college! We do lobster and Champaigne.

    Can’t wait to try these chocolate paninis!!


  • That looks great. I make mine with nutella & fresh raspberries…so good!

    Our Valentines Day is a family affair too. Just more love to share!

  • Romance..whats romance? Yeah, its a magazine/movie thing! Love your chocolate paninis!

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