Cheese croquettes / breaded cheese bites (kaaskroket)

Breaded cheese, or cheese croquettes, is one of my favourite Belgian snacks to have whenever I’m at the Belgian coast and a must try along with shrimp croquettes (garnaalkroketten). Unlike what the name might suggest, there are no potatoes in this croquettes. The croquette is made from a delicious béchamel sauce loaded with cheese. The mixture then needs to chill in the fridge for hours until it becomes solid and can easily be breaded.

It is quite a difficult recipe to make though, which is why I’ve been putting making them myself off – for years. There are a few things that can go wrong: the mixture won’t become solid, the croquettes burst open when you bake them, .. The first ones I made ended up doing both so I popped the mixture in the freezer to resolve the first issue, and made them smaller and double breaded them to fix the second one. So the best advice I can give you is to try one before breading the whole lot. To be on the safe side, I will be double breading my cheese mix in this recipe as well.

 

Ingredients

Serves: 4-5

Adjust Servings
275 + a few tablespoonsg plain flour You'll need some flour to bread the croquettes as well, it shouldn't be more than a few tablespoons.
200g butter
250g grated cheese I highly recommend Emmental
250g Parmesan
1l full fat milk (warm) By heating up the milk a little bit before adding it you can avoid getting lumps in your sauce.
1dl thick cream
12 eggs eggs
1tablespoon nutmeg
400g pank breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Directions

1.
Melt flour at low heat in a big pot
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2.
Add flour to the butter
Stir until you get a smooth mix, then let it sit for a few minutes at low heat to dry it out as much as possible. It should smell like cookie dough.
By making sure it gets a bit of time to dry out, we can help make sure our sauce will thicken better later on.
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3.
Gradually pour in the milk and cook it at medium heat
Whisk vigorously while pouring to avoid lumps. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Keep whisking until you get a really thick sauce. It shouldn't fall of a spoon too easily, if it's too thin you should cook it for a bit longer or you might not get your cheese mix to set in the fridge.
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4.
Turn off the heat.
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5.
Spoon the cheese in and mix everything using a spoon.
Separate 6 eggs and whisk together the yolks together with the cream. The other eggs will be used later on.
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6.
Add the egg mix to the cheese mix and stir using a spoon.
Add more salt, pepper and nutmeg if needed. You should now have a really thick mix. If the mix pours of your spoon like cream it's not thick enough, keep cooking until it thickens. If it's not getting any better you will have to freeze the mix rather than refrigerate it.
Take a big casserole, it does not need to be very high. Rub some oil along the bottom and sides and pour the cheese mix into the casserole. Cover it with parchment paper and press down. Leave it cool down in a fridge for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight.
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7.
Slice up the cheese mix in rectangles of 5-7cm long and 3-4cm wide.
Make sure you don't make the croquettes too big as they'll need to cook longer which then increase the risk of bursts.
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8.
Time to bread the croquettes!
Whisk the remaining eggs together in a bowl, starts by whisking half of them just in case you don't need them all, and get your breadcrumbs and flour ready as well. Same goes for them: there is no need to put all of it in a bowl just yet as you can just add as you go.
Dust the cheese mix with flour, then dip it in the egg mix - make sure it's well covered, any unbreaded parts will end up bursting! Finally, coat the croquette in the breadcrumbs, same here: make sure every part of the cheese mix is covered! Dip it in the egg again and finish with breadcrumbs. Set aside.
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9.
Chill for 30 minutes or freeze.
Do you not want to use all the croquettes right now? Then now is the time to put them in the freezer! If you will use them then let them rest for 30 minutes-1h in the fridge just to help them set again as they might have gotten a bit warm from being out of the fridge.
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10.
Heat up your deep fryer or add oil to a deep pan - just a few mm of oil will do.
Cook the croquettes on both sides if you are cooking them in a frying pan. A deep fryer is highly recommend but not necessary - I got rid of mine and only have an airfryer now which I do not recommend using. If your cheese starts to burst out, which is fine if it's only a little bit, it will make it really hard to get them out of your airfryer, as they will stick to the basket too much or will burst everywhere.
Fry them in the oil until golden brown. If you hear any sizzling or popping it means your cheese is bursting out so make sure to take them out asap when that happens.
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