I am officially obsessed with cupcakes! And, I am not alone. Cupcake wars, cupcake bloggers, cupcake stores–everyone has the sweet fever–or do they? I got into cupcakes because I really wanted to improve my cake decorating skills. They are pretty marginal, really, but I love trying out new techniques, particularly if a theme is involved. I am all about the theme! So, when my eyes happened upon a picture of macaroni and cheese cupcakes, I almost fell out of my chair. What happened to the cake?! Then I heard the answer: where have you been hiding? Behind the mixer?? I am so yesterday, I guess.
I began looking at what foods people are using to create the suggestion of a “cupcake.” The idea is really fantastic–a perfect little portion. I am not sure if the cupcake possibilities are endless, but they are certainly becoming more captivating, and the recipes out there now are pretty clever. Cupcake lasagna, anyone? How about chicken pot pie cupcakes? As it so happens, I have a mac and cheese recipe that I dearly love. I just needed to figure out a way to take my recipe and transform it into 12 little bites of delight.
Although I only used cheddar in this recipe, I think a cheddar/gouda combo would be better. Kids will definitely love these cupcakes, but then so will all the guys at the Super Bowl party. These are versatile and fun and easy to make. If you want to go all carb-crazy on this recipe, consider adding a “frosting” of mashed potatoes to the top of each. Crazy, yes, but crazy good!
Bring about 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add your elbow noodles and cook al dente–about 7 minutes.
Meantime, add your butter to a small pot over medium heat and once melted, add your flour and whisk until combined to create your roux.
Whisk in your milk, mustard and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and continue to whisk for another minute. Your sauce will look slightly thickened.
Remove pot from heat and add your cheese. Stir until all the cheese has melted. Add any salt and pepper you would like now to your taste. Allow to cool a couple of minute.
Rinse and drain your cooked noodles.
Go back to your sauce pan, take your one egg and beat it in a dish. While whisking continuously, pour your egg a small amount at a time into your sauce until all the egg has been mixed in. This is called “tempering”. If you pour the egg in all at once into the hot cheese sauce, you will end up with a cooked egg in your sauce, and that is no good
Add your noodles to the cheese sauce; gently stir together and set aside. noodles added to cheese sauce
To make your bread crumb mixture, combine bread crumbs, oil and Parmesan cheese in a bowl using your fingers
Press about a tsp of bread crumb mixture into each of the silicone cups. Bread crumbs for silicone cups
Fill each cup with Mac and Cheese. Filling silicone cups with Mac and Cheese. Take remainder of bread crumb mixture and sprinkle over top of each cupcake
Bake at 400 degrees for approx 20 min–until bread crumbs are slightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 min before serving