4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 cup for coating
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups warm milk
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 cups vegetable oil for frying
4 large eggs, beaten well
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
01In a large pot of very salty boiling water, cook macaroni until al dente, according to package instruction: drain.
02In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring until mixture is smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly add milk. Cook, whisking along the bottom of the pot, until boiling, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, another 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in paprika, garlic powder, salt, and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Add drained macaroni to sauce, stir to combine.
03Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Spray pan with cooking spray. Pour mac and cheese into the dish and smooth into an even layer. Cover dish and refrigerate until cold and solid, 3 hours or overnight.
04Heat oil to 350ºF to 375ºF.
05While oil heats, run a knife around the dish of cold mac and cheese to loosen and turn onto a cutting board. Remove parchment.
06Cut mac and cheese into 1-inch squares. Dip squares into flour, then beaten egg, then panko bread crumbs and place on a parchment-lined pan.
07Deep fry squares in batches, until deep golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Timing will differ for each batch because the oil temperature will fluctuate. Lift squares from oil and drain on a rack or paper towels. Serve hot or warm.