My son eats macaroni & cheese all the time. He absolutely loves it. While I was talking with my mom about things he might like for his “special birthday dinner,” I said, “Well, he really loves mac & cheese, but that’s not very special because he gets that all the time.” So my mom suggested these and I said, “Oooh! That’s an awesome idea!” while simultaneously thinking, “Bitch! I wish I’d thought of that!” Well it may not have been my idea, but the result on the plate is all me. I’m pretty proud of how well these turned out. They were sooo good. You feel a little more grown up eating macaroni and cheese when it doesn’t come straight out of a blue box with a package of orange powder mixed in it. To the recipe!
I found this recipe here on Food Network’s website. First thing I did was cook the pasta. I used the brand below, but any kind of elbow macaroni will do. I cooked it to al dente and then drained it and set it aside while I made the cheese sauce.
I got the cheese from the deli section at Wal-Mart. I needed a pound of cheddar and a pound of smoked gruyere.
This macaroni ain’t fuckin’ around. Next time I make this, I am definitely asking if they will shred the cheese for me, because just shredding all that cheese at home took me at least 20-30 minutes. In case you were wondering what TWO POUNDS of shredded cheese looks like, here it is:
It probably would have taken a little less time to shred if I hadn’t used my Microplane, but I wasn’t sure how well this cheese would melt, so I wanted to make the shreds as small as possible. After I broke my arm shredding two pounds of cheese, I sat down for about 15 minutes (probably more). Then when I realized that it was like 1AM and Tyler’s birthday was the next day and I still needed to wrap his presents, I got off my ass and got back to cooking. I melted two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan on medium heat. When the butter was completely melted and started to bubble, I whisked in a tablespoon of flour.
I stirred the flour until combined (about 1 or 2 minutes) and then added the warm milk. I’m not completely sure why it has to be warmed. (Maybe the butter/flour mixture will get lumpy if you add cold milk?) I whisked the milk in, getting rid of any lumps that formed. I let it thicken for a few minutes until I noticed the milk coating the back of my spoon.
The recipe said to take off the heat before adding the cheese, but it wasn’t really melting the way I liked at first, so I kept it on the burner on medium low while adding the rest of the cheese.
I didn’t really like the consistency of the cheese sauce in the picture above, so I decided to try and smooth it out by adding about another 1/2 cup of warm milk. Then I seasoned it with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
(Looks better now, don’t ya think?)
I poured the cheese sauce over the macaroni and stirred it up. Then I put it in a 9×13 pan, covered it, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning I took the macaroni out and used an ice cream scoop to form them into balls. This was actually a little tricky. I had to really mush them into the ice cream scoop so that they kept their shape. I found that if I formed one half of the ball, took it out, and then put the other side of the ball in and mushed it in again, they kept together better. I set them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Once all my balls were the right shape (lol…balls) I put them in the freezer until I was ready to cook them. They need to be in there for at least 2 hours so they can freeze. When I was ready to make them, I set out a bowl of flour, a bowl with some egg wash (two eggs and a splash of milk), and a bowl with bread crumbs. I dipped the balls (I can’t stop laughing at this) into the flour, then the egg wash, then the bread crumbs, and then set them on a clean sheet of parchment paper.
(They look beautiful already, am I right?!)
If you don’t have a deep fryer, I highly suggest you buy one because they are so much fun to use. Of course, you can fry these on the stovetop with a few inches of oil, but the deep fryer is just way cooler in my opinion. Anyway, I fried these in 350° oil two at at time in my awesome deep fryer for about 5-6 minutes. Since I could only fit two at a time in my deep fryer, I put the ones that were cooked in my convection oven on warm while the others cooked so they wouldn’t get cold. While the deep fryer was making these into delicious crunchy gooey goodness, I decided to make the sauce. And here comes some St. Louis love…
If you haven’t read my About Me page, you should check it out really quick. I’ll wait………….done? If you didn’t do it, the gist is that I am from St. Louis and I love St. Louis food. So this is why I’m using this sauce, straight from The Hill. I would have made a sauce myself, but I was already making so many other things from scratch for Tyler’s birthday and when you have shit like this so readily available, it’s stupid not to use it. Plus, it tastes AMAZING! I heated about 2 cups (I eyeballed here) of the sauce on the stovetop and when it was hot, I added probably about 1/2 cup or so of the heavy whipping cream. The sauce should look like this:
I served this by putting a few ladles of the sauce on the plate and then placing the mac & cheese balls on top. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about with this recipe was the smoked gouda. I personally didn’t care for the smokiness. After I made this, I realized that I had pinned something on Pinterest that was supposed to be “The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever” so I think I’ll have to try that and see if it’s better than this one. When I do, I’ll be sure to post a tutorial. In the meantime, try this one out. I think you’ll really enjoy it! 🙂