Deep-fried mac and cheese lava cake with a crispy bacon crust is a comfort food dream come true
Inspiration for this glorious, cheesy, magma-filled macaroni and cheese "cake" comes from Josh Elkin's mac 'n' cheese lava cake. When we saw this over-the-top creation, we just had to take a crack at making one ourselves. Do yourself a favor, and take a stroll through the rest of Elkin's drool-worthy concoctions, but don't do it when you're hungry.
Let's get right to the recipe. First things first: To get started, we need some homemade mac and cheese.
The cheese sauce gets its start by melting the butter.
Then add the half-and-half, milk, salt and pepper.
Add garlic powder, and stir.
Add the cheese.
And then stir.
Then add flour to thicken up the sauce a bit. And then — you guessed it — stir again.
Add the cooked macaroni.
Then give the mac and cheese a stir.
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and add the macaroni. Reserve some of the macaroni and cheese for use later. Chill in the refrigerator for about two hours.
Using a knife or thin spatula, cut around the sides of each muffin space, and gently remove the mac and cheese cake.
Using a knife or spoon, make a "well" in the middle of each cake.
Cut Velveeta cheese into small pieces.
Pack the Velveeta cheese into the well of each cake.
Use the reserved mac and cheese to cover the Velveeta cheese on each cake. Reshape the cakes if needed. Chill the cakes in the fridge.
Dice the cooked bacon bits.
Prep all the breading ingredients by putting them into bowls.
Cover the top and sides of the cake with bacon bits.
Lightly dredge the cake in flour.
Dip the cake into the egg, and then dredge it in the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Cover all sides with the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Lastly, dredge the cake in panko breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil and, using a large spoon, carefully lower a cake into the oil.
Turn the cake over so all sides will brown. The cake will brown quickly.
Remove the cake from the oil onto a plate with a rack on it. Repeat the cooking process for the remaining cakes.
Just before serving, warm the cake in the microwave for about 20 seconds or more if needed so the cheese in the middle is melted. Cut a piece from the cake just large enough so that the molten lava cheese can flow out.
Serve while hot. But careful, it's as hot as magma, for goodness' sake.
Mini bacon-crusted macaroni and cheese lava cakes recipe
1-1/2 cups garlic- and herb-seasoned breadcrumbs (or other seasonings)
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 cups canola oil (amount may vary depending on size of pan used)
For the macaroni and cheese
Heat a medium-size pan on low to medium heat. Add the butter, and stir.
Add the half-and-half, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Continuously stir.
Add the cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Continuously stir.
Add flour, and stir.
Add the macaroni, and stir.
Remove the pan from the heat in preparation to make the lava cake.
For the lava cake
In a muffin tin, spray cooking spray into 7 muffin spaces.
Ladle macaroni and cheese into the spaces that have cooking spray in them. Reserve the remaining macaroni and cheese for use later.
Chill the macaroni and cheese in the muffin tray and the reserved macaroni and cheese in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Using a knife, cut around the edges of each muffin space to carefully remove each macaroni and cheese "cake." Set on a plate with the bottom side up. They may need to be reshaped at the top (which was the bottom when it was in the tin).
Carefully cut out a "well" from the middle of each cake. Use a small spoon if needed to make the well large enough for additional cheese to be placed (the "lava").
Into the well of each cake, add about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the Velveeta cheese.
Use the reserved macaroni and cheese to cover the top of the cake. Pack the additional macaroni and cheese tightly, and reshape the cake if needed. Chill the cakes in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
To each cake, add salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bacon bits on the top and sides of each cake.
Dredge each cake in flour, then dip them in the egg, then dredge in the seasoned breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs.
To a medium-size pot, add canola oil. Make sure the level of canola oil is not higher than 1/3 of the depth of the pot. Heat the pot on low to medium heat.
Drop a small piece of panko breadcrumbs into the oil; when it sizzles, use a large spoon to carefully lower the cake into the oil. The oil should not get too hot — make sure it stays at about 325 degrees F.
Using the large spoon, carefully turn the cake over to the other side while in the oil. It will brown quickly. Carefully remove the cake from the oil, and lay it on a cooling rack while cooking the remaining cakes.
Make sure to constantly watch the oil to make sure it's not too hot. If the oil gets too hot, remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool before frying the remaining cakes.
Just before serving the cakes, put each one in the microwave for about 20 seconds or long enough for the cheese in the middle to melt. Then make a cut at the top of the cake, and cut down toward the bottom to let out the "lava."