Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bacon Mac and Cheese Pretzel Bread Bowls

Who says you have to put soup in bread bowls?! Tonight we decided to mix it up and put our homemade mac and cheese in our pretzel bread bowls. A local restaurant (Water Tower Sports Bar in Lexington Heights) has a similar product on their menu and we absolute love it. So, we tried to recreate it at home. It was delicious. Definitely a great comfort food!

Here are the two recipes I combined: 


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (Parmaseano Romano would probably work just as well)
  • 3/4 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3-5 slices thick cut bacon cooked or Oscar Meyer Select Bacon Pieces
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs or potato chips

  • Directions
    • Get a large pot of water boiling for your noodles. When the water boils, cook the macaroni for about 2 minutes under the recommended cooking time. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water.

    • Meanwhile, warm milk in the microwave for about 2 minutes. 

    • Melt 2 1/2-3 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, and 1/2 cup pecorino Romano. 
    •  Mix drained noodles and cheese sauce in a 4-quart baking dish. Stir in the bacon. 

    • Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup cheddar and 1/4 cup pecorino Romano over the noodles and sauce. Scatter breadcrumbs or potato chips over the top. 
    If you use bread crumbs instead of potato chips, drop little pats of butter across the top of the breadcrumbs.  (You don't need extra butter if you use potato chips.) 
    Bake at 400 degrees until browned on top, about 25 minutes. 

    3 Tbsp butter
    2 cups hot water
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 Tbsp yeast
    6 cups flour
    2 teas salt
    8-10 cups water
    1/3 cup baking soda
    2 Tbsp melted butter
    course pretzel salt

    In a stand mixer, combine the butter, hot water, and brown sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let that sit for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the proofed yeast. Add three cups of flour. I mixed that together with a wooden spoon. Then, using the hook attachment for my mixer, I added another three cups of flour, one cup at a time. 

    Place the dough in a warm oven for about an hour or until doubled. 
    Punch the dough down and separate into 8 balls. Place the balls on a greased baking sheet and cover.  Let that sit for about 15 minutes. 

    Meanwhile, put 8-10 cups of water in a large pan. Let them come to a very slow boil. 

    Add the 1/3 cup baking soda to the water. Then put one of the dough balls in the slowly boiling water. Flip it after about 22 seconds. Cook on the other side for another 22 seconds. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

    Repeat for the remaining 7 dough balls. Then, using a sharp knife, cut an "X" in each dough ball.

    Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and spread over the top of the dough balls. Sprinkle with course salt. 

    Bake at 400 degrees for 17 minutes or until pretty brown on top. You can dig out as much of the soft inside dough as you want. It comes out very easily. 


    The final step to putting these together was to take out a little bit of the inside of the bread bowl. I scooped in the baked mac and cheese. Then I placed the bowl back in the oven for about 4-5 minutes (just enough to warm the bowl back up).