We miniaturized our kids’ favorite meal into party-sized poppers. For big and little kids: Let them help measure the ingredients, stir them together and fill the muffin liners. You can make the snacks a day in advance, and warm them up at 350ºF for about 5 minutes.
Special equipment: 2 or 3 mini muffin trays (for 36 muffins), mini muffin liners
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 400ºF. Line 2 or 3 mini muffin trays with liners, and coat the liners generously with cooking spray.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and follow package directions for al dente. Drain the macaroni, and rinse in cold water until it is cool. Shake off any excess water.
Put the heavy cream, cream cheese, eggs, mustard, paprika and garlic in a large bowl. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer until combined (the mixture may have small lumps). Add the cooked macaroni, Cheddar and Monterey Jack, and stir until combined.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the macaroni mixture into the prepared muffin liners. Combine the breadcrumbs and butter with your fingers in a small bowl until the mixture is the texture of wet sand. Sprinkle the top of each macaroni mound with buttered breadcrumbs.
Bake until the cheese is melted and the bites are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving hot or at room temperature. Serve with hot sauce on the side if desired.