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Jack Daniel's Bacon Mac and Cheese
Whiskey and bacon come together for a killer dinner in this Jack Daniel's Bacon Mac and Cheese! Gooey & cheesy with sweet pops of candied bacon make this macaroni oh so crave-able!!
Whiskey Candied Bacon
- 8 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey (or whiskey of your choice)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound macaroni pasta
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel's Tenessee Whiskey
- 2 cups milk
- 12 ounces medium or sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 slices provolone cheese (double if thin cut)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup Jack Daniel's to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat.
- On a plate, combine brown sugar and cayenne. Dip bacon into Jack Daniels and then press each side into brown sugar mixture to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Watch the bacon so it doesn't burn!! (The sugar will run all over the pan and the bacon with have a shiny lacquered look.) Remove from the oven.
- Transfer the bacon to a plate coated with non-stick cooking spray to cool completely. Chop bacon; set aside.
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta; set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk to combine. Add 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel's and whisk into the roux. (The roux will be very tight.)
- Whisk in 1 cup milk until combined, removing all lumps. Add remaining milk and whisk frequently until sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Add cheeses; whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth. Add paprika, salt, and pepper, stir to combine.
- Pour sauce over pasta and add chopped bacon. (I like to reserve a little of the bacon to sprinkle on top.) Stir until pasta is completely coated in sauce. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.
Watch your bacon like a hawk after it's flipped! The sugar can go from awesome to burned quickly if you're not paying attention.
DO NOT use pre-shredded cheddar cheese. Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. The coating on pre-shredded cheese can give the sauce a grainy texture.
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