Baked Ham and Farmhouse Cheddar Paninis with Spicy Fig Jam – Bring on the New Year!

Baked Ham and Farmhouse Cheddar Paninis with Spicy Fig Jam – Bring on the New Year!

Is anyone else ready for the New Year? The first half of the year for the Bunkycooks was just fine and dandy, but then June came along with my ankle sprain and then the you know what hit the fan! things seemed to go awry.  I hate when that happens!

I would say that the last week of the year has fit right in with that shit happens same pattern.  First, I spent nearly $40 on really expensive ingredients (Callebaut and Perugia chocolates, hazelnuts, Kahlua, etc.) to make this fancy schmancy cake for our holiday dinner and it was a total disaster.

You call this a cake? It baked up the same way twice.

I wish I had read the online reviews before I wasted all that money and spent many hours of my time standing on my achy breaky ankle!  It seems that everyone who attempted to make this cake experienced all the same issues that I did.  Who proofed that recipe?

Grainy Espresso Mousse for the fancy schamcy cake. The mousse broke down with the addition of the white chocolate.

Then, I pulled a spiral sliced ham out of the shrink wrap for our Christmas dinner and the ham literally fell apart on one side!  The meat was so lean that it barely had any fat and connective tissues to keep it together.  Since this was the second nightmare of the day (where is the boozy eggnog?) and after cussing mumbling a few things under my breath, we tied it up with string and it turned out to be one of the best hams we have had.  Second disaster averted.

The glaze on this ham is truly one of my favorites!

The ham was sooo good, that I wanted to be sure to use every bit of it (and I am not a real fan of ham casseroles or ham salad), so for dinner last evening, I made this fabulous (not kidding!) French soup (coming soon!) and these scrumptious Panini sandwiches!

Many of the slices have extra glaze since they fell off the bone…it just happened like that…oh, yes!

How can you go wrong with a fussed up and sophisticated grilled ham and cheese?  Well, you can, when the bread is a bit too crunchy.  Mr. Bunkycooks had a few spoonfuls of his soup (which got his stamp of approval) and then with literally the first bite of his “sammy”, he broke off a tooth (and I mean the whole tooth!).  We are talking down to the root, the nerve…ouch!  The dentist said it wasn’t my cooking, just a compromised tooth.  Thank goodness for that, huh?

So much for dinner out, a mini vacation, etc.  All Mr. B wants for New Year’s is his front tooth! 😕

These ingredients make a really special sandwich!

In spite of another friggin’ calamity minor mishap, the verdict is, the Panini has the perfect combination of savory and sweet with the glazed ham and English Farmhouse Cheddar (black wax).  The cheddar is rich, creamy and flavorful with just a bit of a bite (we are stocking up on this stuff!).  I used whole-grain mustard (which is an ingredient in the ham glaze) to cover one side of the bread and then slathered my homemade Spicy Fig Orange Jam on the other side of the Ciabatta before toasting warming the sandwich.

We made this sandwich again today and basically steamed it (with a little microwave assistance to melt the cheese) and it was just as amazing.  The best news is that no one broke a tooth off! My suggestion is to make this sandwich as toasty as you like, but steaming the sandwich works just as well.  Just toast it a bit before serving!

Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese oozing with the Spicy Fig Jam…oh, my!

I highly recommend this recipe for Dijon Maple Glazed Spiral Ham.  It is one of my favorites (courtesy of Dave Lieberman and Food Network).  (By the way, I substitute two cups of apple cider for the 3/4 cup of water called for in the recipe to place in the bottom of the pan.)

If you still have some ham leftovers, this is an awesome way to use them up.  This would be perfect for a light New Year’s Eve dinner or great served for a casual party with friends on New Year’s day.  Just please, no overly crunchy slices of Ciabatta. 😕

It’s time to pop the cork on this puppy! What a year it has been!

Good Riddance Goodbye to 2010 and let’s ring in the New Year!  Have a safe and happy one! :)

Baked Ham and Farmhouse Cheddar Paninis with Spicy Fig Jam


Leftover slices of Dijon Maple Glazed Spiral Ham (or other baked, spiral sliced ham)
Thick slices English Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese (black wax)
Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard
Homemade Spicy Fig Orange Jam (or store bought spicy fig jam)
Fresh Loaf of Ciabatta Bread


Slice Ciabatta bread in desired sandwich size pieces. Cut those pieces in half horizontally. Spread one side of bread with whole-grain Dijon mustard and the other with the Spicy Fig Jam. Top bread with slices of spiral ham and cheddar cheese.

Heat sandwich on a Panini grill or steamer until sandwich is hot, toasty and the cheese has melted.

Serve immediately.

22 Responses to “Baked Ham and Farmhouse Cheddar Paninis with Spicy Fig Jam – Bring on the New Year!”

  1. 1

    Barbara @ Vino Luci Style — December 30, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

    I have got to learn; no lunch and then this post and wishing right now for some sort of Twitter transport so you could send one my way!

    You know few could empathize with you like I can. Lucky for me my leg is barely bothering me right now. Cause I’ve wrenched my back so bad I can no longer feel the pain in the leg…whoo hoo! Sort of worried about a tooth but hoping our similarities end there!

    Here’s to a Happy and HEALTHY New Year Gwen!

    • bunkycooks replied: — December 30th, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

      Hi Barb,

      Cheers to ending a not so spectacular year on some fronts (mobility!), but it has certainly been rich in other aspects.

      I wish you much happiness in 2011 and look forward to meeting you soon!

      BTW, I would be happy to send one of these decadent sandwiches your way! Mr. B just put the rest of the ham in the freezer, so we are all set to go!

      Happy New Year!


  2. 2

    Kristina @ spabettie — December 30, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

    ah, YUM, this sandwich looks perfect.

    how was the cake supposed to turn out? it looks like you could spread a filling on it and roll… 😀


    • bunkycooks replied: — December 30th, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

      Hi Kristina,

      The cake was supposed to look like “cake”. It didn’t rise and was hard and flat. The picture in the magazine was beautious, etc. (think French pasty shop!). I still have the decorative “items” in the basement fridge…also a big waste! I did email the editor and left a comment. No response yet. If you are extra curious (bet you might be! 😉 ), let me know and I will email you what the recipe was.

      Happy New Year!


  3. 3

    Magic of Spice — December 30, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

    Oh my goodness, sorry about your cake…at least the ham tasted great even though it decided to add to your frustrations. And your poor husband, yikes I bet that was painful :( The sandwich looks great and I am glad things smoother out a bit.
    Happiest of 2011 to you!

  4. 4

    Fran — December 30, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

    Wow, what a post. But your panini photo drew me right in and ended on a mouth-watering note. Here’s to a better 2011!

  5. 5

    Christine @ Fresh Local and Best — December 30, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

    I adore the combination of sweet and savory in this sandwich, also I’m partial to ciabatta, which is so chewy and crunchy. I hope that 2011 brings much joy and prosperity to your family.

  6. 6

    ronnie — December 31, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    And through it all, you still make yummies! I bought a spiral this year, too. Niman Ranch. It was really good but wow, was it expensive. Determined to use every particle I made a ham spread and the bone went to make a fab kale and bean soup! Oh, how I wish I had seen your post for the panini first. That looks so delicious. I’d called that cake a crepe! Hopefully the editor can explain what the heck happened!

    Here’s to a healthy, happy, Gwen. And to more culinary adventures! R

  7. 7

    SusanS — December 31, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    Yum on the panini–I treated myself to the Cuisinart Griddler (with Amex points) and am looking forward to grilled sandwiches! This one looks like a great one to try.
    As to flat cake–great cut up for Napoleons–might work for cakeballs—Bakerella (who I think you know) is the Queen of cakeballs and pops. I have had more than my fair share of cake falls, crumbles and the like. SO frustrating to do everything right, because BAKING is indeed a labor of love (or in my case money or maybe love of money), for it to not turn out well is truly a disaster. Happy New Year….

  8. 8

    The Mom Chef — December 31, 2010 @ 11:04 am

    Oh man that panini looks fantastic, but the ham does on its own so I can imagine it would make any sandwich great. I hope you have a fantastic New Year’s celebration and 2011!

  9. 9

    Elizabeth — December 31, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    Oh I hate it when that happens! I really hope 2011 brings more for you than 2010 did, and by that I mean good things! Happy New year friend and I’m so glad to have “met” you this past year! I’m raising my glass of crappola Champagne to you! *clink*

  10. 10

    Becky — December 31, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    I know, too well, about cooking frustrations, but you’ve had more than your share.
    At least the ham turned out, and your panninis look wonderful. Sorry about Mr. B.’s tooth. Hopefully 2011 is a better, healthy year with your great recipes!

  11. 11

    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors — December 31, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

    I admit it – The Veuve Cliquot is my fave part…lol… No I am kidding – the ciabbatta is to die for with such fab flavors. Excellent pics as usual :)

    Here’s wishing you & Mr. Bunky a GLORIOUS New Year GWEN!

    Chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  12. 12

    Priscilla - She's Cookin' — December 31, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

    Wow, what a day! Delicious photo with the cheese oozing from under the ciabatta, yum. Hopefully, the Veuve eased the stress :) Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2011!

  13. 13

    Camala - CC Recipe — December 31, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

    So sorry about your cake, that is so upsetting! Now that Pannini looks so fantastic, love the oozing cheese ;-p Happy New Year!

  14. 14

    Laura — January 1, 2011 @ 6:51 am

    Your panini looks great, especially at 4am with me sick and unable to go back to sleep! I know what you went through with your baking disaster. We only like to blog about our successes, but it’s the failures that show we are human! Even with flawed recipes! Happy New Year!

  15. 15

    Kim — January 1, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

    Oh Gwen, next year you can look back and laugh on the disaster that was the end of 2010. 😀 It all goes up from here, right?!

    Happy New Year, and hope to see you again soon!!


  16. 16

    Rosa — January 1, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    That ham looks so scrummy and the panini are totally irresistible! Failure happens to us all…

    Happy New Year!



  17. 17

    Monet — January 1, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    Oh my heavens…those sandwiches are making me drool. Your first photograph is too tempting! I’m sorry that the cake was such a trial, but I would have taken that sandwich over any cake. Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

  18. 18

    Memoria — January 1, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

    That panino (singular form of “panini”, which is plural) looks AMAZING as do all of the other recipes. I must try out the ham recipe very soon.

    Happy New Year!

  19. 19

    Drick — January 2, 2011 @ 10:53 am

    oh yeah, I bet you are glad the last of the year is over, sounds like problems everywhere – hope you ate plenty of hoppin’ john yesterday…. great looking ham, nothing is better than a good baked ham and the things to do with the leftovers are just as good, as you have proved, nice sammy….

  20. 20

    Joyce Pinson — January 2, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    I bought Charlie a pananni press last year for Christmas as a “luxury” gadget. We use it much more than I ever could have dreamed. In the summer, it’s great so one doesn’t have to heat up the kitchen. You know about hot flashes and hot summers down there in Atlanta?

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