Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mac and Cheese Bites

These Mac and Cheese Balls were a big hit at our party! So simple and delicious, this was a perfect party food. The great thing about this recipe is that you can stretch out the preparation to suit your schedule. There is a lot of inactive prep time—the macaroni and cheese needs time to set in the refrigerator before you form the balls, and then the balls need time in the freezer before you dip into an egg wash and bread crumb coating.

When you are ready to fry the balls, be sure to use a candy thermometer and keep a close eye on the temperature. Remember, the temperature will drop when you drop the balls into the hot oil, so you'll need to monitor and adjust the stove setting. If the temperature gets too hot or too cool, it will affect the cooking time.

Adapted from:
Fried Mac and Cheese Balls, Chef’s Market

Makes: 6 servings

1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, warmed, plus 3 tablespoons for egg wash
1 pound grated Cheddar
1 pound grated smoked Gouda
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Marinara or Alfredo sauce, to serve

Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and stir it with a whisk. Cook for 2 minutes. Whisk the warmed milk into the flour mixture, working out any lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheeses, and stir until melted and smooth; season with salt and pepper. Fold the cheese sauce into macaroni. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a shallow pan and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

Shape the cold macaroni and cheese into meatball-sized balls and place them onto a waxed paper-lined tray. Freeze the balls overnight.

Beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons milk together to form an egg wash and pour it into a shallow bowl. Put the bread crumbs into another shallow bowl. Remove the macaroni and cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash then into the bread crumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you are ready to fry.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the macaroni and cheese balls until they are golden brown and center is hot, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite marinara or Alfredo sauce or combination or both for dipping.

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