Was wondering about a breadcrumb topping for Mac and cheese. I've got the actual Mac down pretty well I think, but I'm dying with the topping.
So far I've tried just sprinkling them on top... This lead to a soggy mess. This was a clear mistake.
So I read a few links that have you "pretoast" the breadcrumbs, where you mix a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan with the breadcrumbs and heat them. This was better than the original but the breadcrumbs were like individual grains of sand, and burned very quickly since they're already baked once to make them, then toasted again in the pan, before baking a third time (I bake the mac at about 400°F (~200°C).
What I'm looking for is a crust of crunchy breadcrumbs not unlike an onion ring. I've had it once at a restaurant and can't seem to replicate it. So far just sandy and soggy. Any ideas?
(Also I should mention that I've tried mixing the breadcrumbs with canola oil ahead of time too without pretoasting. While this allowed them to bake a little longer, it still lead to the sandy outcome. I haven't had a chance to get panko breadcrumbs, so maybe that'd help a little?)