Crisp, buttery, rich and cheesy, that’s what I want in a cheese straw. Many times I have made various recipes, only to be entirely disappointed. Once I tried a recipe that had puff pastry as the base. It was horrible! Not cheesy, but soggy, and as hard as I tried to crisp them up that Thanksgiving with a lot of LOVE, nothing would work. This recipe, however, fulfilled all my expectations. It must be loaded with calories, but to make just once a year and eat only one or two during cocktail hour shouldn’t hurt you. At least that’s my reasoning.
So as I was making these, they started coming out with a curled top. Hmm, I said, looks like a candy cane to me. So I went with it! Some are straight sticks and others are candy canes, perfect for the season. These would be great for your New Year’s Eve party. Enjoy!
SOUTHERN CHEESE STRAWS – adapted from The New York Times
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 lb. extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese, grate it cold first and then let it come to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grate cheese.
In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients until combined, then add cheese and butter. Process until dough becomes smooth and has the texture of Play-Doh. (My piano teacher’s first husband invented Play-Doh – it was originally wallpaper paste!)
Shape the dough into a cylinder, wrap with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Bring dough to room temperature (if it has been in the refrigerator for some time) and pack it into a cookie press fitted with a star disk. Pipe long ribbons of dough across the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, about an inch apart. Then cut into six-inch lengths. Or make into candy cane shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for about 13 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Store between sheets of parchment or wax paper in an airtight container or tin. Will keep for up to three weeks, if they last that long.