Southern Cheese StrawsFrom the Kitchen of
Published: December 27, 2008
Far as I know, cheese straws are a very southern thing and so darned tasty! Excellent finger snack for parties too. You are fairly warned though right here and now ... they are literally addictive. For a party, you'll want to do two batches of this recipe.
I have never been able to retain that pretty shaped "straw" look of the commercial ones though - mine always flatten out - but I don't make these often and I am convinced that you really gotta have a commercial press to pipe out really chilled and stiff dough in order to retain that familiar commercial shape. Doesn't matter to me they're flat because they still taste the same ... delicious! I may try to freeze the piped dough before baking them next time. Didn't think about it till I was done this time.
If you don't have a cookie press you can certainly roll the dough into balls and then flatten them out with a fork into little discs. Be sure to check out my Spicy Cheese Bites too - they are very similar, but have a crunch to them thanks to the addition of Rice Krispies cereal!
Southern Cheese Straws
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
1 pound block of sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
to room temperature
2 cups of sifted White Lily all purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 turns of the pepper grinder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Dash of garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Shred the cheese in the food processor, remove it to a separate bowl while you change the blade to the steel blade. Return the cheese to the food processor, add the butter, 1 cup of the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder and process, adding additional flour 1/4 cup at a time as needed, until dough begins to gather around the blade. You want slightly stiff dough, but that is pliable enough to pipe through the cookie press.
Using the star tip of your cookie press, place a portion of the dough in the press and pipe out strips all the way across the length of a piece of parchment paper on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Cut the strips into smaller pieces about 3" long and using a flat spatula, transfer to a cooling rack to fully cool. Store in a tightly covered container.
Variation: Instead of using a press, roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Use a pizza cutter to cut dough into narrow strips, roughly 6 inches in length. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 325 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes. Doing these for a wedding reception? Use a heart shape cookie cutter to cut the straws into heart shapes.
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