We can't think of many parties that a platter or two of these bacon macaroni and cheese bites would be inappropriate at. Hosting a fancier affair? They're the perfect high-low contrast to a glass of champagne or sparkling wine (it's crisp flavor and effervescence will cut through the cheesy richness). Throwing a game day party? They're a no-brainer inclusion. Kid's birthday bash? All but the pickiest of eaters will be into them.
In addition to being ridiculously cute and tasty, they're also pretty easy to make. Yes, it takes some time to divvy up the mac and cheese between the muffin tins, but it's not really any fussier than baking off a big batch of cookies.
Really, what's not to love in this combination: carbs + cheese + bacon?
Make ahead: this recipe can be prepped up to the point of topping the macaroni bites with parmesan and refrigerated overnight. They may need an extra minute of baking to brown properly.
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus melted butter for greasing the tins
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 packed cup)
4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
2 slices thick-cut bacon (about 3 ounces), cooked and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush the wells of four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, pressing it up the sides of the wells.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until boiling and thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the bacon and macaroni.
- Fill the wells of the muffin tins to the top with macaroni, using damp fingertips to pack the macaroni into the tins. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top.
- Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.
- Appetizers, Finger Foods
- About 48 mini macs