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Classic Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese

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  • 1 (500g/1lb) package of macaroni noodles, cooked 2-3 min less than package directions, drained and set aside
  • ½ cup butter, unsalted
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne
  • 1 ½ tsps garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika (can also use smoked paprika)
  • 2 tsps salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups heavy cream (I find heavy cream gives the best texture and creaminess, but you can use a combination of cream, milk or half and half to lighten it up a bit if you prefer)
  • 46 cups aged cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled
    Important: Please use cheese from a block, not the pre-shredded kind. Pre shredded cheese has extra ingredients to stop the cheese from sticking together in the package, which will affect the texture (you don’t want grainy cheese sauce!)
  • Optional: 1 cup crumbled crackers for the topping. Any kind of crackers are ok to use, but I have a few favorites: Cheez-It, corn chips, Ritz, etc
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  1. In a medium pot, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the pot with melted butter and combine using a whisk. Continue to whisk while the mixture cooks for about 3 minutes. It’s color should become more golden, it’ll become fragrant and get thicker. Be careful not to let it burn!
  3. Turn down the heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Turn up the heat a little and continue to whisk for a couple of minutes until the mixture is well combined and thickened. Turn off the heat.
  4. Next, add the cheese and continue to whisk until it’s well combined.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce into a large baking/casserole dish and use a spatula to scrape out any cheese left in the pot.
  6. Add the cooked macaroni noodles to the baking dish and stir to combine.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle crumbled crackers evenly over top of the macaroni and cheese. This will give your mac and cheese a nice crunch texture!
  8. Place the baking dish into the oven (uncovered) and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling. After removing from the oven, allow the dish to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American/Canadian