Macaroni and cheese in a waffle iron?
July 29, 2010 11:03 AM   Subscribe

How would you go about making macaroni and cheese in the waffle iron?

I've tried a few things, but nothing's really worked out. The things I have tried:

1. Making a baked, loaf-style macaroni and cheese in a bread pan, slicing it and then finishing it in the waffle iron. I still think this might be headed in the right direction, but the recipe I chose for the loaf-style M&C (haphazardly, off the internet) was just terrible. Easily the worst-tasting thing I have made in ages.

2. Making macaroni and cheese (baked) from an actual cookbook (probably either one of Bittman's or one of the Best Recipes cookbooks), let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and then put it in the waffle iron to reheat, but this did not work very well. I even put some of the cold M&C in the food processor to try to make the bits more uniform and more suitable for the waffle iron, but that didn't seem to make much of a difference.

I would tend to avoid Velveeta-style cheese products in general, but if that's what's going to make this work, so be it.

I would like to cook it as much as possible in the waffle iron though, of course, I recognize that I will probably need to cook the noodles separately, at the very least. As the above methods suggest, I am not above cooking it normally and then reheating it in the waffle iron, though that's not my first choice.

Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by veggieboy to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
whaaaaaat?

You should make a traditional stovetop macaroni and cheese (with a cheesy white sauce and very well-cooked noodles), let it cool, add binding agents (eggs and flour), and then put it in the iron. Maybe an egg and 1/4 flour for each two cups of cold mac + cheese. More cheese at this point wouldn't hurt either. This is how you make macaroni and cheese suitable for fritter or other destinies that require structural integrity.

May I ask why you want to use your waffle iron for cooking macaroni and cheese?
posted by peachfuzz at 11:08 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, also, it would be helpful if you tell us what's going wrong - the mac + cheese doesn't hold together? It sticks? What?
posted by peachfuzz at 11:09 AM on July 29, 2010


Have you tried breading it after it sits overnight and right before you put it in the waffle iron? It'd be like a fritter. Maybe it would help hold the cheese together.
posted by two lights above the sea at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2010


May I suggest the blog that asks the question "Will it waffle?" which has addressed this from a slightly different angle with mac and cheese pizza? http://www.waffleizer.com/waffleizer/2010/05/waffled-pizza.html
posted by pixiecrinkle at 11:12 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would take a look at a mac and cheese croquette recipe and use that as a guide. I think you'll need to coat the mac n'cheese in breadcrumbs (or other non-cheese option - bacon?) to make it play nice with the iron.

REPORT BACK, svp!
posted by cestmoi15 at 11:13 AM on July 29, 2010


peachfuzz: whaaaaaat?

Seconded.

On a practical note, Mac + Cheese is not inherently "formful", for lack of a better word. It it gets hot enough to melt the cheese, it's going to fall apart- cheese is not like a batter that cooks into solid form. I don't think there's a way to do what you want without fundamentally changing the recipe.

FWIW, one of the contestants on last night's Top Chef made a cheddar waffle as a component of a dish. That sounds like a more reasonable plan of attack.
posted by mkultra at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2010


Along the lines of what two lights said, check out Alton Brown's recipe for Next-Day Mac and Cheese Toast. Seems like you could cook it in the waffle iron instead of frying it rather easily.
posted by supercres at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2010


What are you trying to get out of this? If you are just trying to make mac and cheese, this is not the best way to go about it. Are you looking for some sort of different outcome?
posted by TheBones at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2010


I vote lots of cheese + binder - def a casserole style but do it in a loaf pan, slice, dip it in egg, then breadcrumbs (panko maybe), hot waffle iron. Done
posted by JPD at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2010


What a fabulous question.

Assuming this is the standard style waffle maker with heating elements on either end, I would do it thus:

Make a really thick and sticky M & C - lots of quality cheese, and not too much milk. I think smaller macaroni noodles will work better too.

Put wax paper on a cookie sheet, and while it's hot and kinda soupy, ladle the M & C onto the wax paper in pancake sized globs - spreading them out to about waffle thickness with the bottom of the ladle.

Put another sheet of wax paper on the top of your mac patties, and put them in the fridge for a few hours. Hopefully, they will congeal into relatively solid patties.

Now, pour a few cups of breadcrumbs into a shallow dish. Take the patties out of the fridge, and use a wide spatula to pick them up. GENTLY place the patty into the breadcrumb dish, cover with more breadcrumbs, getting an even coat around the entire thing.

The bread crumbs should prevent sticking as you gently place the M & C patty into the preheated waffle iron. If you're lucky, the bread crumbs will get a little crispy.

The only concern I have is that the patty will lose its shape once the M & C gets heated up and the cheese melts. Maybe you could add a bit of a thickening agent to the mix, like corn starch or flower?
posted by Think_Long at 11:15 AM on July 29, 2010


You need to make a really thick roux as your base, son. Also, stir a beaten egg or two into your completed, COOLED mac-'n BEFORE you plop it in the iron. The flour in the roux and the egg will help bind it together and form a lovely outer crust. I'd watch it very closely for over-browning, though.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:15 AM on July 29, 2010


yes essentially what you want to make is a mac and cheese croquette - which is bechemal based and requires you to cool it over night before dipping in egg and breadcrumb
posted by JPD at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2010


You could avoid using a Velveeta product by making your own cheese B├ęchamel (aka Mornay sauce), maybe mixing the breadcrumbs in there (or possibly gradually upping the flour content of it) in order to make it more batter like, maybe.

Alternatively (or maybe in conjunction with my other suggestion), are you open to different types of cheese? A less melty cheese might help it to keep everything bound together, probably something with a low moisture content, but high enough so that it will melt.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:23 AM on July 29, 2010


(I don't have any advice on the mac and cheese front, but guys, he's actually the writer of "Will it waffle?" I'm guessing this is for a future blog post.)
posted by estlin at 11:30 AM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Having made croquettes with Bechamel before I would say up the butter and flour a tiny bit but not a ton (you don't want wall paper paste) add an egg yolk or two off the heat, throw in heaps of cheddar + a splash of dry mustard + paprika, mix in the elbow pasta, spread it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment, cool over night. The next day cut out a piece the size of your waffel - (through the parchment so you can lift it with some extra support), remove the parchement, lower it into a beaten egg, the carefully cover it in breadcrumbs then into a well greased waffle iron.
posted by JPD at 11:39 AM on July 29, 2010


I think you want to make the waffle on a cold waffle iron out of cooled Macaroni and Cheese. Like lunchblock (click the links in the sixth paragraph for pictures). Or make a flat, circular lunchblock that you then batter and cook in the waffle iron.
posted by kate blank at 11:39 AM on July 29, 2010


a thick bechamel will set up really tight if you refrigerate it - that's the key not baking it. Then when you get it hot again in the iron you create the crust that keeps the now liquid mac and cheese inside.
posted by JPD at 11:40 AM on July 29, 2010


If you're really going for a purist, all-waffle-iron method, I'd experiment with a recipe like this which uses a thinner batter-like sauce with uncooked noodles. Letting it soak overnight and using smaller/thinner noodles might work to sufficiently soften them rather than needing to pre-cook (I have no idea).

I would nth the idea of adding a beaten egg or two prior to cooking - think along the lines of making pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes.
posted by nuffsaid at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2010


I don't have any suggestions for the waffle iron part, but Martha's macaroni and cheese becomes very solid if refrigerated overnight (and tastes great reheated). It'll probably be the right consistency for your iron.

So, what urbanlenny said, basically.
posted by giraffe at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2010


Another thing to try might be to wrap your M&C patty in a single sheet of phyllo dough. Make it a thin layer to hold it all together while it cooks.
posted by msbutah at 11:50 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


2. Making macaroni and cheese (baked) from an actual cookbook (probably either one of Bittman's or one of the Best Recipes cookbooks), let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and then put it in the waffle iron to reheat, but this did not work very well. I even put some of the cold M&C in the food processor to try to make the bits more uniform and more suitable for the waffle iron, but that didn't seem to make much of a difference.

You could try little pasta shapes that might work better with the waffle iron. I think this sitting overnight in the fridge and starting cold thing is the way to go, but I would cover each side with grated parmesan cheese -- it melts nice and brown and crispy and would provide a little structural integrity.

Other thing to consider is your cheese mixture in general, and I think a mix of cheeses of maybe swiss, parm, and cheddar, would be your best bet -- not too swampy or melty because then you won't get the crispy outside I assume you're going for.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2010


What if you mixed savory waffle batter with mac and cheese that hasn't been baked yet? You could play with the proportions to see what gives you the mac and cheesiest results that aren't a puddle of melted cheese and sad noodles.
posted by punchtothehead at 11:57 AM on July 29, 2010


Have you heard of fried mac and cheese? They put a breading around a ball of mac and cheese. Maybe you could do something along those lines.

Only serious problem I see with the whole process is that mac and cheese is mainly a fat. It hardens when cold and melts when hot. So it does not matter what form it's in when you start cooking it, it will become a melty mess when heated up. You would need something in it that would give it structure during the cooking process. Only things I can think of are flour and eggs.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 12:13 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


If this were me, I'd use french bread and the cheese of my choice (sometimes you want nasty velveeta mac and cheese, sometimes you want chalky cheddar), butter the bread (2 pieces) on one side each, flip the waffle iron grill plate to the flat side, put the butter side down, then noodles, then cheese, then top bread, and make a slammin' mac and cheese sandwich.

That's what I'd do.
posted by TomMelee at 12:16 PM on July 29, 2010


I have seen this deep fried mac and cheese and I have enjoyed it immensely. This is your path, my friend. Go forward.
posted by Jon-o at 12:16 PM on July 29, 2010


A compromise method might be to do a waffle version of Kenny Shopsin's Mac 'n' Cheese pancakes: Pour the batter in the iron; sprinkle some cooked macaroni onto it; top with a thin layer of grated cheese. I have made the pancake version successfully, but haven't made a waffle since I was a kid, so I'm not sure if you'll be able to get the molten-cheese-with-browned-crust effect with a waffle iron. Maybe you'd need to re-open it and add the cheese closer to the end?
posted by serathen at 12:29 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, everyone. I'm encouraged. So much good information and so many good suggestions here. I'm going to sift through it all later today or tomorrow.

(peachfuzz and mkultra, that's a perfectly reasonable question. It's for my blog. There's a link in my profile.)
posted by veggieboy at 12:41 PM on July 29, 2010


Is the waffle-baker hot enough to boil a pot of water if you set it on the open grid? If so, maybe you just use it like a stovetop and make your mac N cheese the same way everyone else does. Not as interesting as all these other suggestions, but it would still technically meet your criteria.
posted by CathyG at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2010


What if you froze the mac and cheese?

I'm really excited to see how this turns out.
posted by punchtothehead at 12:57 PM on July 29, 2010


May I suggest the blog that asks the question "Will it waffle?" which has addressed this from a slightly different angle with mac and cheese pizza? http://www.waffleizer.com/waffleizer/2010/05/waffled-pizza.html

Small world.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:57 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd say to try making a fritter batter, mixing in the shredded cheeses, cooking the noodles just a bit shy of done, then mix the noodles into the batter and pouring it into the waffle iron.

I admit it probably won't be as ooey-gooey as a traditional mac n' cheese, but I wonder if the flavor would come close.
posted by BZArcher at 1:03 PM on July 29, 2010


I swear it crossed my mind for a brief moment that this was the blog author, but then my brain went all "no way of course not." Apologies.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 1:11 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've successfully made mini mac-and-cheeses in a muffin tin, which might give you a good solid blob-like form with lots of crust to start from.
posted by judith at 1:17 PM on July 29, 2010


Hmm, what if you sealed mac-n-cheese between thin sheets of pasta or gyoza wrappers (mac-n-cheese ravioli!), waffled, then topped with more cheese sauce?
posted by bgrebs at 2:22 PM on July 29, 2010


On reflection, I think you need extra flour or bread crumbs to stabilize it. It doesn't really have anything structurally to hold its form once the cheese starts to melt. You could try something like basically mixing it into pancake batter, or making an incredibly stiff bechemel. You could also try leftover mashed potatoes as a binding agent.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:48 PM on July 29, 2010


Now that I've had a bit of time to digest and try some of the suggestions here, I wanted to report back. It looks like breading the cooled macaroni and cheese before it goes in the waffle iron is going to be the way to go. I've had pretty decent success with flour/egg/bread crumbs. Don't know if that's what's going to end up the winner, but it's definitely headed in the right direction.
posted by veggieboy at 8:29 PM on August 2, 2010


Hello again. For anyone still checking up on the thread, I posted the results in my blog. The link is in my profile. Thanks so much again for your help.
posted by veggieboy at 8:07 AM on August 10, 2010


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