Challenge Accepted: Mac & Cheese Doughnuts


The Internet is full of strange and wonderful things, my friends.

This isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, but there are a lot of people doing a lot of “interesting” things, and the ‘net allows us to catch a glimpse. Of course the vastness of the web is too much for even the most devoted digital subject, so it helps that our friends link us to various things, thus saving us the trouble of having to plumb the binary depths ourselves.

Such was the case when a friend linked me to some Mind-Blowing Mac & Cheese Donuts that I felt missed the mark. For one thing, there was no dough in those ‘nuts; they were simply thrice-cooked box mac & cheese, pressed into the customary shape. My feeling on the matter (which I expressed to said friend) is that if we’re going to propose something as questionable as mac & cheese doughnuts, it should live up to the promise of the name!

And that’s when she all-but dared me to do it.

While I originally contemplated a traditional ring-shaped doughnut with cheese-filled pasta in the dough and then topped with a cheese sauce (no, not powder from the box mixes), for the sake of ease, I scaled back for this first* try and decided a filled doughnut might actually work better and allow the filling to retain some of it’s dignity. After all, this is humble food we’re talking about, no need to go into deep deconstruction.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

Homemade Mac & Cheese

First, I included my homemade mac & cheese in that week’s dinner menu and purposefully made extra to hold over for the weekend. It’s a variation (no bacon in this one) of my Bacon and 3-Cheese Macaroni from What to Feed Your Raiding Party that depends on the basics of good pasta (in this case, brown rice pasta) topped with a multiple-cheese and egg-enriched bechamel (made with lactose-free milk to keep things relatively Low-FODMAP). It may not bear the neon orange of the commercial mixes, but such is our “sacrifice.”

For the doughnut I decided to try the Glazed Yeast-Raised Doughnut recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. By setting up my makeshift proof box I did achieve some lift to the dough but it was more out than up, so the finished product more resembled Fry Bread than anything else, but we made it work.

As the doughnuts came out of the oil, I topped them with a sprinkle of cheese (quattro-formagi blend, in this case) to allow it to melt a little before the doughnuts fully cooled.

While all that was going on, I took out a hunk of the chilled mac & cheese and sliced it up into smaller bits before reheating with a splash of milk. Since the doughnuts didn’t achieve the height I was looking for, I skipped the pastry bag with filling tip and just split the doughnuts and spooned the filling into them.

Mac & Cheese Doughnuts... because I could!

Mac & Cheese Doughnuts… because I could!

Todd was my initial taste-tester and he proclaimed them tasty enough to go back for seconds. The leftovers reheated perfectly with just a quick zap in the microwave (15 seconds was plenty) and made for a good mid-afternoon snack.

Does the world really need  a Mac & Cheese Doughnut? No more than we needed mac & cheese pizza or other doubled-carb dishes, but sometimes it’s nice to try something just because, you know?

*No telling if I’ll actually try this again, though I am still on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free doughnut recipe. 

Nibble on This: Nora Ephron on Carbs


I’ve had this one in my tickle file for a couple months, now, ever since NPR re-ran an interview with Nora Ephron after her death in June from pneumonia, a complication of her leukemia.

Screenwriter, Producer and Director, she’s had a hand in many of the movies that shaped my teens and twenties and, of course, served all three roles with the lovely Julie and Julia.

From that 2006 interview on Fresh Air, this particular portion snagged me enough that I sat at my desk and did the old-fashioned play-pause-type-rewind routine just to get it all down:

This is just a crap shoot. This is a lottery. Who knows? So I feel–I don’t think about the next 20 years, I think about today. So, today, I’ve already been to a bakery. This is the thing that I’m obsessed with is carbohydrates. I feel that I’m now living in an age where there’s the best bread we have ever had in the history of the world, there has never been more bread that is good out there. So it seems to me a shame not to eat some of it. Even if, and this is one of the terrible dilemmas of old age, you know, do you save all your money as if you’re gonna live til you’re 90, or do you spend it all because you might die tomorrow? Do you diet like a fanatic in the hopes that it’s gonna buy you a couple of extra years, or is it going to have nothing to do–are you gonna be hit by a bus and your last thought will be ‘I shoulda had that doughnut.’ And it’s very confusing to know what to do, but I’m coming down on the doughnut side. So I feel that, you know, that’s one of the things–I’m not so into 20 years, I’m kinda into is this meal I’m having something I really want to have? And if someone says to me ‘let’s go somewhere that’s not good’ I say ‘let’s not, let’s not, because I have a finite number of meals ahead of me and they are all gonna be good. They’re just gonna be good. That’s the truth.

I’d have to come down on the side of the doughnut, too. Or, in my case, lately, soft pretzel bread. I made some this weekend that was divine while being absolutely comedic in the making–kind of fitting for this quote in it’s own way. I’ll tell you all about it, I promise (next week), but for now, I’m going to enjoy a bit of wonderful, homemade bread and put on a fun movie to finish out my Sunday evening.