Cheese Straws

[donotprint]Lord knows why, but I’d never made a cheese straw until recently. Since I’ve been wanting to make them forever and we were having a bunch of people over I decided to make three different kinds and see what we liked best. It turned out to be a crazy amount of work that I’m not anxious to repeat anytime soon. But once I’m rested, I assume I’ll be happy to have a promising cheese straw recipe under my belt.

I started with the Lee Brothers‘ cheese straw recipe which I believe Smitten Kitchen has taken a crack at. In fact, I made a batch a few days beforehand planning on storing them in the freezer, but they mysteriously disappeared so I was forced to make a second batch. This recipe is brilliant, easy, and simple. The dough handles relatively well. The red pepper flakes are perfect. But, in my opinion, they are a tad too rich.

Next, I tried a recipe from 101 cookbooks. I used spelt flour instead of the buckwheat flour that is called for. My youngest liked these cheese straws the best, probably because they’re flavored with thyme instead of cayenne or red pepper flakes. But I found them a tad weak on flavor and the dough was hard to work with. 

Last but not least, I tried the cheese straw recipe in the New York Times Cookbook. I was a little unsure about this one because bread crumbs are a major ingredient. But I dove in anyway because a) I couldn’t find any other recipes for from-scratch cheese straws in my humble cookbook collection and b) how could Craig Claiborne steer me wrong? The recipe turned out well and was happily gobbled up by all of our guests.[/donotprint]

Cheese Straw Recipe

Adapted from The New York Times Cookbook.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
3 cups soft homemade whole wheat bread crumbs
2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayeanne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Dash of paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all the ingredients except the Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Process for until the dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds.

Remove the dough from the processor and form it into four equal-sized discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farhenhiet.

Remove one disc at a time from the refrigerator. Unwrap it and set it on wax paper or a silicone baking mat. (I highly recommend the later.) Roll it out until it is about 1/8 inch thick. With a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, cut the dough into 1/2-inch by 6-inch strips. Seperate the strips slightly while transfering them to a parchment lined baking sheet (or you can use your trustly silicone baking mat). Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown and slightly crispy. They should crisp up a bit more once they cool.

Yield: 4 dozen
Prep-time:  30 mintues

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Author: Cindy

Born in Charleston. Raised in the Silicon Valley. Live near Hartford, Connecticut with my husband and two children. We have lots of tropical fish.

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