I don’t know about you, but some of my very favorite snacks fall under the category of “bar food.” You know what I’m talking about — wings, sliders, soft pretzels, fried pickles — I could go on and on. There’s something magical about these little bites that pack a decadently-flavored punch, which makes them so irresistible.
You too? If so, you can add these to your must-make list: Mac and Cheese Waffle Bites. They’re out of this world — especially if you’re a fan of those gooey-crispy bits that are the hallmark of any proper pizza, grilled cheese, or quesadilla.
And the best part? They are super easy to make. Simply whip up a batch of your fave mac and cheese — but instead of baking it up in the oven, spread the mixture onto a baking sheet.
Refrigerate to set it all up, and then cut it into slabs.
Pop a square into your pre-heated waffle iron.
And wait for the magic.
A few tips, to ensure success:
- You want to use a recipe that calls for a LOT of cheese. I went with a Babble recipe (which is seriously the best mac and cheese ever). This one uses six cups of shredded cheddar. It was perfect.
- Make sure to chill the mac and cheese for a few hours before “waffling” — the firmer the slabs are when they hit the iron, the better the waffle.
- Cooking time will vary greatly with this recipe — based on how thick you make your slabs, and whether you use a standard or “Belgian” waffle maker. Start checking after 5 minutes. If the iron doesn’t open easily, give it another few minutes. The waffle is ready when you can lift the cover of the iron without taking the waffle with it.
- If you’re worried that you’re going to wind up with a sticky mess to clean up — don’t! Once the cheese melts and crisps up, your waffle will lift cleanly and beautifully from the iron. And it’s a good thing, as you’ll want to get every last crunchy, cheesy bit.
- I poured the mac and cheese mixture into a 9 x 13 pan, but any size will work. Simply spread the mixture evenly, until you have a layer that’s 3/4-1″ thick.
Mac and Cheese Waffle Bites
Makes: 12 whole waffles
2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked for 2 minutes less than package directions and drained
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
6 cups shredded cheddar, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with aluminum foil. Grease with butter or use a non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly golden, then remove and discard. Whisk in the onion powder and flour. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened (1-2 minutes).
2. Add half the cheddar and stir until melted. Stir in the drained pasta, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the remaining cheddar, mixing until well combined.
3. Immediately pour onto your prepared baking sheet, spreading until mixture is even. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
4. Preheat your waffle iron on the highest setting. Cut the mac and cheese into desired shapes and sizes (I cut mine into 12 slabs). Working with one slab at a time, place it in the center of your pre-heated iron and close. Begin checking after 5 minutes, and continue checking until iron cover opens cleanly and easily. Using a thin spatula, transfer the waffle to a cutting board. Cut into small pieces and serve immediately.
Note: if your waffle iron has numbered settings, use the highest.More On