Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé

This blog post has been compensated by Borden® Cheese. All opinions are mine alone. #BordenCheeseLove #CollectiveBias #Ad

The perfect combination of classic comfort food and an elegant and impressive dish, this macaroni and cheese soufflé is rich, creamy, and light-as-air.

Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé | Bunsen Burner Bakery

This year, I included a macaroni and cheese bar for our New Year’s Eve party.  It was a fantastically easy way to feed a crowd, and with a variety of toppings, everyone found something to enjoy.

I used an easy slow cooker mac and cheese recipe to free up the oven and stovetop. (It was fine, but not earth shattering – I’ll be working on that recipe for a while before I share it!)

When I started thinking about macaroni and cheese, the idea of 12 different takes on mac and cheese popped into my head, for my Year of [Something Delicious] series.  Obviously, I chose to go a different route this year (hello, cinnamon clementine bundt cake), but I couldn’t stop thinking about one of my ideas: macaroni and cheese soufflé.

Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Did such a thing exist?  Would it even work?  You guys know how much I love interesting food textures, so in my mind, it was amazing.

Rich, creamy macaroni and cheese, with a towering light-as-air dome of cheese soufflé on top.  I needed some, and I needed it ASAP.

I started by searching for similar recipes, but most of what’s out there is really more like a custard.  Egg yolk heavy, sour cream, no whipped egg whites – while I’m sure these are all delicious, it’s not what I had in mind, at all.

To the kitchen to experiment!

Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Soufflé ingredients are actually really simple: butter, flour, egg, cheese (and in this case, macaroni).

I already had everything I needed except the cheese, so I stopped by my local ShopRite and picked up some Borden® Cheese Sharp Cheddar Chunk and Borden® Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar Chunk.  Check out this store locator to find Borden® Cheese near you (and find other great recipe ideas).

This starts like any basic cheese soufflé: with bechamel sauce. Whisk together some butter and flour until smooth and then pour in some milk. Let it get nice and thick, then remove from the heat, cool slightly, and whisk in egg yolks.

(I also added some mustard powder here, because I think all macaroni and cheese tastes better with a little mustard.)

Next, shred your Borden® Cheese and whisk it in until you have a velvety smooth, super cheesy sauce.  Stir in the macaroni and take a bite.

I mean, seriously.  Just look at that unbelievably cheesiness.  ↓↓↓

Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Now look, if you want to stop here, and eat this as amazing stovetop mac and cheese, I don’t blame you one bit.

I almost didn’t get to the soufflé part because one bite turned into two and two turned into four, and it was really hard to force myself to put that spoon down.

But I promise, if you save some of the macaroni and cheese, it’s well worth it!

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery

To get the classic rise, you need to whip your egg whites until stiff peaks form. Crank that mixer up to high, and go to town!

Once the whites are huge and fluffy, gently (gently! really gently!) fold them into the macaroni and cheese.  This is the hardest part of the whole process – it feels like it takes forever.

Don’t stir, fold.  Slowly, gently.  You want to lighten up the entire mixture without breaking down those egg whites.

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, pour the mixture into some buttered ramekin or soufflé dishes. Because there’s a lot of solid ingredients, I knew these wouldn’t rise as much as a typical cheese soufflé, so I filled my dishes almost to the top.

Set them on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 25 minutes, or until the top is toasty brown and the soufflé rises.

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Quick! Get them on the table while everyone ooohs and aaaahs over your beautiful soufflé… before they quickly deflate.  Sigh.

(Relatedly: trying to photograph a soufflé is probably about as high-stress as it gets when it comes to food photography. Boy oh boy, was this a challenge – I assure you, these soufflés actually rise quite a bit higher, but it takes so much time to get them ready to photograph!)

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery

And the end result?  Even more amazing than I hoped.  This is the macaroni and cheese of my dreams.  A thick, rich bechamel sauce.  Creamy, gooey melted cheese, mixed with just the right amount of pasta.  A fluffy cloud of eggy cheese rising above the macaroni.  You guys.  You guys.

I didn’t even make this with Valentine’s Day in mind, but my larger soufflé dishes are red, so I set them on red plates to take pictures and suddenly it hit me in the face.  Perfect Valentine’s Day dish.

Food is love, right?  Obviously, I love food.  I’m a food blogger.  But most people love food, too.  And especially cheese – everyone loves cheese!  (Sorry, lactose intolerant friends.)  A home cooked dinner is the perfect way to show how much you love your family this year on Valentine’s Day, or any day of the year.  Cooking is my love language, and if you’re reading a food blog, chances are it’s your love language, too.

Whether it’s you and a significant other or you and a house full of crazy kids, let Borden® Cheese help you show how much you love someone in your life with this macaroni and cheese souffle.  Wow them with the perfect combination of cozy winter comfort food and the unexpected elegant twist.

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Romantic nights in not your thing?  (They’re not mine either, TBH.)  No sweat — turn this into the centerpiece of your next dinner party.

Maybe you’ve never tried making a soufflé before. It’s a brand new year – the perfect time to try new techniques in the kitchen!

Invite over your friends, and impress them with this macaroni and cheese soufflé. Set out a toppings bar – smokey bacon, salty cubed ham, spicy chopped scallions, sliced olives, toasted breadcrumbs, pulled BBQ chicken, sriracha (my personal favorite!) – the list is endless!

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery

Regardless of how you decide to serve this macaroni and cheese soufflé or whomever you decide to share it with, I’m already declaring this one of the best things you’ll eat in 2017.  And it’s only January.

Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé

The perfect combination of classic comfort food and an elegant and impressive dish, this macaroni and cheese soufflé is rich, creamy, and light-as-air.

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces elbow macaroni, dried
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces Borden® Cheese Sharp Cheddar Chunk or Borden® Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar Chunk, shredded
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.  Butter four 6-ounce of two 12-ounce ramekins or souffle dishes.  Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta as specified on the package directions until al dente.  Drain well and set aside.
  3. In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add in the flour and whisk for 1 minute, until the flour and butter are well mixed and smooth.
  4. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring continuously.   Add in the salt, pepper, and mustard powder.  Continue to cook, whisking slowly, until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from heat.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.  Stir in the cheese until completely melted and smooth.  Return the pan to low heat if the cheese does not fully melt.
  6. Stir in the macaroni, coating evenly with the cheese sauce.
  7. Pour the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until the eggs have tripled in size and form stiff peaks.  Transfer the egg whites to the macaroni and cheese mixture, very gently folding in the egg whites with a rubber spatula until no white streaks remain.
  8. Fill the ramekins almost to the top with the macaroni and cheese mixture.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and puffed.  Serve immediately.

 

Recipe adapted from Chowhound

Macaroni and Cheese Souffle | Bunsen Burner Bakery