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Really, this isn't so much a post about how to make macaroni and cheese as it is a post about what to do with leftover macaroni and cheese. So I will let you find your own path to macaroni and cheese. If you make the macaroni and cheese specifically for this purpose, that's fine too, of course. But you're going to have to let it cool in the refrigerator for a while. It needs to be easy to handle. Because you're going to abuse it.
There were a lot of false starts on waffling macaroni and cheese. At first I tried just waffling the cooked and cooled chunks, but after a few minutes in the waffle iron, the cheese had melted away and the macaroni stubbornly refused to conform to the grid of the waffle iron. It had all of the easily imaginable drawbacks of waffled macaroni and cheese — cheese melts easily, after all — and none of the advantages (i.e., no discernible waffle form).
Then I decided to get clever which, as you may suspect before you even move beyond this clause, didn't lead to anything good. If the noodles were refusing to bend to the will and the weight of the waffle iron, maybe I could cut them down to size.
So I dumped a batch of cold macaroni and cheese into the food processor and gave it a whirl. I envisioned the resulting pellet-sized bits of macaroni and cheese conforming easily to the grids of the waffle iron, fusing together into one magnificent macaroni and cheese waffle.
Not so much.
And I made a loaf of macaroni and cheese, which had a slightly different texture to it — one that didn't charm me but which I thought would at least hold up in the waffle iron. I let it cool, cut off a slice, and waffled it.
This was all months ago. Since then, I avoided the topic by waffling abut 20 other things. And that worked well for a while. Until it didn't.
Macaroni and cheese popped up again.
I appealed to Ask.Metafilter for ideas.
Bread it, they said.
That's what worked.
First, I spread the prepared macaroni and cheese into a thin layer on a sheet pan and put it in the refrigerator. (If I had wanted to be more careful about it, I could have rendered it flat on both sides by pressing it between two sheet pans.)