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Sunday, December 13, 2009

As I was perusing the web, looking for something, I came across this...Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac and Cheese!....yes, that is what I said!. The lovelies over at Merriment Design created (and won recognition for this this peanut-butter-infused creamy cheddar cheese sauce topped with crunchy grape jelly breadcrumb crust which placed 4th out of 19 chefs who were contestants in the sMACdown Charity Mac and Cheese Competition benefiting the Organic School Project Organization. Although alot of people may and do think this combination is weird, that is what they said about cheese on a slice of apple pie or a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. It really is for those who like a salty sweet combination, so for those of you who are adventurous enough to try this, here is the recipe.

{Peanut Butter Mac and Cheese Ingredients:
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter (for macaroni)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (for cheese sauce)
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
2-8oz bricks of sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
2-8oz bricks of mild white cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt to taste
Enough butter to butter your baking pan

Make the peanut butter mac and cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook 7 minutes or until al dente. Drain and cool immediately with cold water. Return to a pot.

Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer, whisking often, until the mixture is smooth, about 10 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of cheese until melted. Stir in the peanut butter; feel free to use a bit less or a bit more according to how subtle or strong you’d like it to be (NOTE: I used a blend of mild and sharp cheddar cheeses so if you’re using more mild cheeses use a bit less and if you’re using more sharp cheeses use a bit more). Season with salt to taste.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the macaroni to coat. Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni, stir well.

Pour macaroni into a greased 3-quart baking dish and top with jelly breadcrumb topping (see recipe below). Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until hot and bubbly.

Grape jelly crunchy breadcrumb topping

4-5 cups fresh homemade bread crumbs (see directions below)
4-8 tbsp butter (depending on your taste)
1/4 cup grape jelly

Place bread piece/slices on an ungreased baking sheet in a single layer to dry out. Bake in a 300F oven for 10-15 minutes; turn them over about halfway so they dry evenly. Remove from oven and let cool. Tear dried bread into smaller pieces and place in your food processor; chop into course breadcrumbs.

Melt butter in a medium, deep skillet. Add breadcrumbs and toast just until lightly brown. Add in grape jelly, allow to melt, and stir to coat. Continue to toast until starts to get crunchy. Remove from heat and set aside. Put on top of mac and cheese before baking.

photos and recipe courtesy of Merriment Design
Different Themes
Written by Lovely

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