Alright. I admit it. These photographs I'm about to share with you aren't super stellar. Hopefully, I'll be changing them out come Sunday morning with better ones as this was merely the test run for an appetizer Rachelle and I are preparing for tonights cooking club dinner themed 'the seven deadly sins'. So, making round two this evening means more pictures. I had to share this with you regardless of how I feel about the pictures. Absolutely had to. Deep fried mac and cheese might not be anything new, but damn is it delicious. Incredibly decadent and downright sinful. Oozing cheese laden noodles surrounded by a blanket of crunchy fried panko. Oh my. Dip these hot golden gems in whatever you like, our favorite was the sriracha laden ketchup, a little sweet with a little spice. Runner up was a spicy barbecue sauce. Tomorrow we have plans to make a jalapeno cheese dip, cheese on cheese, could it get anymore gluttonous than that?
What's even better, it's much simpler than you might imagine it to be. Some of the blogs, and other recipes out there suggested box mac and cheese was a big no-no. I thought it sounded like a good idea, I saw it as more cheese, powdered cheese. I prepared two boxes of Annie's Mac and Cheese with plenty of butter, milk, and the cheese powder. On the side I made a rich bechamel with with two tablespoons butter, 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of fresh thyme, two tablespoons flour, and two cups of milk. To that I added sharp cheddar, velveeta (per Saveurs suggestion), and a bit of well aged Dubliner. I think the trick is to make your mac and cheese far too creamy. So creamy you wouldn't want to eat it out of the pot or in a bowl. The refrigeration process seems to suck quite a bit of the cheesey moisture out of your m&c, so the creamier the better. I also think that the more gooey it is, the more it's going to stick together once it's chilled and while you're frying. So, I added about 3/4 of my bechamel to the already prepared m&c, until it was basically drowning in cheese sauce. Reserving the other 1/4 for thinning and adding a bit more cheese and jalapeno to for dipping. Spread your extra creamy m&c in the bottom of a prepared 8x8 glass baking dish. I had about 1/2 cup left over that wouldn't fit in the pan, so I used a melon baller and made little mac and cheese rounds (what's pictured above and below), so you could do them all round if you wanted to, or all square, it's up to you.
Once the cheese has spent a good 4+ hours in the refrigerator, it's time to fry. Pour a few inches of oil into a dutch oven and heat over a medium flame to about 350 F. While it's heating create your dredging station. Flour first, then a beaten egg, finally a healthy portion of panko. Cut your m&c in squares, or peel your balls off of the wax paper (ok, that didn't come out right) and you're ready to go. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, roll in panko. Drop into hot oil. These babies will only take a minute (or less) to cook. The result? A hot, cheesey, gooey, crunchy ball of fat goodness. Your thighs may not thank you, but your tastebuds (and guests) will.
A special thank you to Rachelle for taking over the frying duties. I hate all that hot oil popping! I couldn't have done it without you!