Mac n’ Cheese Bites

I can’t think of a better crowd pleaser than these Mac n’ Cheese Bites. With just a sprinkle of paprika and a twig of parsley, these bite sized pieces of heaven will be ready to leave your guests in awe.

 Mac n’ Cheese Bites

adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine magazine
makes about 40 bites

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups, packed, sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 24-count, nonstick mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2.In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 2 -3 minutes until thickened. Add cheddar and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese- and stir to melt. Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks, salt and nutmeg. Stir in macaroni. Your mixture is now ready.

3.Grease each of the mini muffin tins with oil and then pat down about 1/2 tsp of grated Parmesan cheese into each section of the tin (this will probably take about another 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in total). Make sure you pat it down- your goal is to create a Parmesan crisp that will act as a base for your mac and cheese mixture. Next, spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of macaroni and cheese into the prepared mini muffin pan. Each cup should be filled to the top. Pack each one down gently. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese (you should now have only 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese left).

4.Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Using a teaspoon, carefully loosen the mac and cheese bites and transfer to a platter to serve. To make ahead, bake and cool mac and cheese bites. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan cheese. Package and refrigerate. Place bites on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

p.s I was first confused by this recipe- so just to clarify you need a total of 3/4 of grated parmesan cheese. The first 1/4 of a cup goes into the cheese sauce, the next 1/4 cup is distributed among the muffin tin as you make your Parmesan base, and the remaining 1/4 cup is used to sprinkle on top of each bite right before baking.

I suggest that you use Parmesan cheese to create your base as it crisps up very nicely-however, you don’t need to necessarily use Parmesan to sprinkle on top of the bites..work with what you got. As you can see I sprinkled the tops with fresh cheddar as it is much more budget friendly.

Enjoy!

-R

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