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Making Up For My Cheeseless Childhood: Chocolate Mac & Cheese


As a kid, my body didn’t really do dairy all that well, and my doctor suggested I cut dairy from my diet completely. Five-year-old me learned this meant she couldn’t eat mac and cheese anymore. Tears ensued. Luckily, I was eventually able to reintroduce dairy into my diet and found that cheese no longer any problem. So in this blog series, I’m trying out wacky, kid-friendly recipes, hoping to give families with cheese-loving kids fun, easy, and delicious meals to make together as I search for dishes that adequately make up for my cheeseless childhood. Missed the last post on my attempt at Mac and Cheese Waffles? Check it out!


Full disclosure: this recipe idea started out as a complete joke. The thought of mixing my two favorite foods hadn’t even crossed my mind until last week’s mac and cheese waffle misadventure, when I was writing about how breakfast foods are the only ones that could compete with the deliciousness of mac and cheese. My next thought was how chocolate could, too, but that combination was downright laughable. I decided to search the Google just for fun, doubting that anyone had actually tried it. But, lo and behold, POPSUGAR had a recipe, with a video and everything. It was legit. I was shocked and I was awed. I had my serious reservations, but if there is anything that my childhood self—and, let’s be real, my present-self—would want in her life, it would be a successful chocolate and mac and cheese mashup.

As usual, I played around with the original recipe a bit, replacing brie cheese with shredded parmesan and half and half with extra chocolate and cheese. This left me with:

  • Salt
  • ½ pound large elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound white sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ pound parmesan cheese, shaved

This recipe is really simple—and this is coming from the girl who couldn’t operate a waffle maker. For any seasoned mac and cheese cook, this should be a breeze.

To start, bring salted water to a boil and add pasta. Let cook for five to seven minutes. In the meantime, mix milk, nutmeg, and pepper in a saucepan on a low heat. When it starts to bubble, add chocolate chips and stir until melted. I added a handful of extra chocolate chips to help make it creamier, and also because chocolate.

ChocoMac_1

When the pasta is done, drain it and let it sit. Return the pot to the stove and use it to combine your butter and flour. Stir until a thick paste is formed. Then, slowly add the milk and chocolate mix. Continue stirring and add your cheese. I was initially worried at how liquidy my sauce was without the half and half, but a little extra flour and cheese did the trick.

ChocoMac_2

Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is nice and gooey before adding the pasta back in. When the pasta is evenly coated, you are good to go.

ChocoMac_3

I’m not gonna lie, I was terrified to take my first bite. So far, I’ve had a 1:3 success rate with these childhood cheese recipes, and even with POPSUGAR dubbing it “crack mac,” my prospects for this dish were low. But I powered through, took that first bite, and oh my god was it incredible. Like, out-of-this-world amazing. The chocolate gave it a subtle sweetness that was nothing close to the overpowering taste I expected. The nutmeg and pepper added a flavor that balanced the dish out. And, despite not having half-and-half, the sauce was creamy and gooey and perfect. I could not stop eating it. Seriously, I feel like I have to give an Oscar-style thank you speech to every one that got me to where I am today, experiencing this magnificence.

Thank you POPSUGAR, for providing this truly unbelievable recipe to the public. Thank you, Ghirardelli chocolate makers, for making such good chocolate. Thank you, Dr. Winkler, for telling me I couldn’t eat dairy and therefore inspiring me to venture on this journey. Thank you terrible mac and cheese waffles for leading me to the search that brought this crack mac into my life. And of course, thank you crack mac, you are sure to make up for my cheeseless childhood time and time again.

Can Pizza Dip push me over a 50% success rate? Stay tuned!

Sarah Cummings

Sarah Cummings is a native New Yorker braving the Boston winters to study Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. In her spare time, she can often be found rock climbing, cuddling the neighborhood cats, or integrating goat cheese into her every meal.