Macaroni and cheese, Belgian-Style and Cream Cheese Brownies

I don’t really know if there is such a thing as “Belgian-style” macaroni and cheese. I’m not even sure if they make or enjoy macaroni and cheese very often in this country… but I had this brilliant idea after reading a bunch of recipes to use a Belgian beer in the sauce… I had copied a recipe from a cookbook at Adam and Janice‘s house for Beer and Cheese Soup. And I’ve found a few other interesting recipes utilizing beer in some cozy comfort food dishes. And when Craig and I wanted to have Hans and Jolien over to see them again and try and pay them back some for all the help they have been to us this year, it was the perfect time. And of course (note the 14 times Sven Nys says “of course”) we needed some dessert, so I continued my current brownie kick with some Cream Cheese Brownies. Unfortunately everything was gobbled up so fast that I didn’t get to take any pictures (aka. I forgot), but here it is:

Macaroni and Cheese, Belgian-Style
Adapted from Epicurious, among other recipes

Ingredients:

  • 600g macaroni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 pieces bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 bottle Corsendonk Bruin or other dark beer
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, add pasta and cook 6-8 minutes (a couple minutes shorter than the package directions) or to almost al dente. Drain and set aside
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking pan.
  3. While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until just crispy and remove from pan.
  4. Add butter to pan, cooking until melted, then add onion and garlic to pan and cook for a minute or two until just beginning to soften. Butter should now be foaming. Add flour and stir into butter, onion, and garlic mixture, cooking for about a minute. Add beer, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan and stir into flour mixture. Continue stirring as mixture starts to smooth out and beer cooks off. Slowly add milk, stirring continually to prevent clumping until everything is mixed together. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until thickened. Add cooked bacon back in, reserving some for topping. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, reserving some for topping. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine cooked and drained with the sauce and pour into baking pan. Top with remaining bacon and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until Cheese is bubbling and edges are crispy.
  6. Enjoy! I know we did!

Cream Cheese Brownies
adapted from SmittenKitchen.com

*notes: The brownies came out a little crumbly. I don’t think they were undercooked so I probably went overboard with the chocolate and/or didn’t adjust enough with the flour. They also were better the next day after they had set more and cooled.

Ingredients:

  • 113g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 115g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g (2/3 cup) flour
  • 10g salt
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 75g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8×8 baking pan.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate in stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Stir in eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour and salt. Spread in the baking pan.
  3. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and egg yolk until smooth. Pour over brownie batter and use a knife to swirl into the chocolate, trying not to disturb the bottom of the chocolate layer too much.
  4. Bake in center of oven for about 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and sides begin to pull away from the pan. Top should be just browned. Try not to over bake.
  5. Enjoy! I know we did!
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