Mac n' Cheese Cups with Crunchy Kix Topping
Mac n’ cheese, undoubtedly, tops my desert island foods list. Classic, comforting, and delicious, it’s no wonder kids everywhere carry on the mac n’ cheese legacy by claiming it as their favorite meal. So what could possibly make mac n’ cheese even more kid-friendly? Turn it into cupcakes. Better yet, add a crunchy topping to add even more yummy fun to the cheesy elbows.
Prepare these in the morning, keep in the fridge, top with the topping right before you pop them in the oven for an easy, make-ahead kids’ party snack. Or, add diced ham and serve with a salad or a side of broccoli for a quick, midweek meal. The addition of eggs in this recipe helps the cupcakes hold their shape, so you have perfect cupcakes every time.
How to make mac n’ cheese cups with crunchy Kix topping
You will need:
8 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 cups dry)
8 to 10 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 to 2 ½ cups)
1 cup low fat milk
salt and pepper, or other preferred seasonings
2 cups Kix cereal
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. With parental supervision, kids can easily help with this next part. In a large, zip-top bag, use a mallet, rolling pin or hammer to crush the Kix cereal. Be sure to place a towel or cutting board beneath the bag to protect the surface underneath. You should have about 1 cup of crushed cereal. Set aside.
Cook the macaroni in salted, boiling water according to package directions, about 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain the macaroni and immediately return to the saucepan. Stir in the cheese until it begins to melt. Add the milk and stir well. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and stir into the macaroni mixture. Add salt and pepper and/or other preferred seasonings (such as seasoning salt or cayenne pepper).
Scoop the macaroni mixture into the muffin tins and set aside. In a medium-size, microwave safe bowl, cook the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Stir the crushed cereal into the melted butter until you have a crumbly mixture. Top each mac and cheese cup with one tablespoon of the cereal mixture.
Bake 17 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly and the tops begin to brown. If desired, broil for one to two minutes more to brown the tops further.
Remove from the oven and let the mac and cheese cups rest for ten minutes to fifteen minutes. Slide a sharp knife around the edges of the cupcakes to remove from the sides of the pan. Use a spoon to scoop the mac and cheese cups out of the tins and onto a plate to serve. Makes 12 mac and cheese cups.
Meaghan Mountford, author of Sugarlicious: 50 Cute and Clever Treats for Every Occasion, has been creating crafty sweets for 15 years. She is especially fond of decorating cookies, marshmallows and putting sweets on sticks. See more on her blog, the decorated cookie.