Spicy cheese straws

A flavourful and festive snack!

In my opinion, cheese straws are the perfect cocktail treat, snack food and sidekick for soup. No wonder they are almost ubiquitous in novels set in the southern United States – they’re festive, flavourful and fun. If you don’t have a cookie press, you can shape the dough into a cylinder approximately 1 inch in diameter; wrap and chill until firm then slice into 1/4 inch (.5 cm) discs and place them on a parchment-lined baking tray. Discs will bake a bit more quickly than the straws so start checking for doneness at about 12 minutes. Alternatively, you can shape golf ball sized pieces of dough into ‘snakes’ by rolling them on the countertop with your hands and place them on the prepared baking tray. Because they keep well for up to two weeks, cheese straws are also excellent for gifting.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz (400g) medium or old Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) room temperature salted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) cayenne pepper (or more, if you like things extra spicy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) garlic powder

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Grate the cheddar cheese and put it in a large mixing bowl along with the butter (use a stand mixer if you have one).
  • At medium-low speed, beat the cheese and butter until the mixture has softened and come together in a thick dough-like mixture, about 5 – 6 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beater(s) every minute or so.
  • Add 1/4 cup (30 g) of the flour to the cheese mixture then sprinkle the seasonings over top of the flour. Beat well then continue to add flour 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When you have beaten in the last of the flour, you should have a moderately stiff dough that is still soft enough to push through a cookie press.
  • Put a portion of the dough into a cookie press fitted with the star disc. Holding the press at a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, extrude the dough into strips that are 3 – 4 inches long, pinching them off at the desired length (or cutting with a knife). Straighten the cheese straws as needed and lay them in straight rows, spaced approximately 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) apart.
  • Bake for 17 minutes; remove the pan from the oven and flip the cheese straws over. Bake 3 minutes more. The cheese straws should be golden brown and crisp.
  • Use a flat, thin spatula or egg turner to remove the cheese straws from the pan. Allow them to cool on a wire rack. When they are completely cool, store in a tightly covered container.
  • Store baked cheese straws in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
  • Store unbaked dough, well-wrapped, in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 1 month.

Makes approximately 4 – 5 dozen (depending upon the size of your cheese straws).

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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