Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cheese Straws

I made my first batch of cheese straws when I was just beginning to cook and bake myself.  I can still recall the impatience and urgency I felt when I became obsessed with the idea of making them one cold winter day.  I didn’t even have any baking sheets and so right after work I sped over to Target and bought a couple.  These cheese straws are so yummy and you can use all sorts of different cheese depending on your preference.  My sister and brother-in-law referred to them as fancy and delicious cheeze-its.

Servings: Makes about 24 sticks, but can vary depending on length and width of the straws you make.

1 ½ cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (can use any cheese you like)
1 cup flour
¾ stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy, but this makes it really good!)
1 ½ tablespoons milk


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix together 1 ½ cups grated cheese, 1 cup flour, ¾ stick chopped cold butter, ½ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper well.  Either work the dough together with your hands until the butter and cheese is worked into the dough or use a food processor.
  • Add 1 ½ tbsps milk and mix in until dough starts to come together and you can form a ball.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured surface.  Now there are a number of ways you can prepare the dough before baking, depending on your preference.  Here are a few suggestions:
    • Roll out the dough into about a 12- by 10-inch rectangle and cut about ⅓-inch wide strips.  You can either leave them as strips or try twisting them (the strips are delicate though so this can be difficult).
    • Pull out chunks of the dough and roll it with your fingertips to round it out into long round sticks. (This is my usual method).
    • Roll out the dough and use small cookie cutters
  • Transfer sticks/strips/whatever onto ungreased baking sheets, arranging them about ¼ inch apart. (In the photos the sticks are all close together but that's only because I moved them all to one sheet after they were baked.)
  • Bake until the sticks are golden, 15-18 minutes.  
  • Transfer to racks to cool.  Then try to restrain yourself from eating all of them at once!  These can be made a day in advance, but I don’t like to put them in an airtight container because I find they lose their crunch a bit.  
I’ve tried these with extra sharp cheddar and asiago and both times were delicious!  I’ve also heard that gruyere is pretty good and you can even try adding other flavors like dry mustard, cumin, or paprika.  When I know my niece and nephew will be eating these with us I omit the cayenne pepper since they are sensitive to spices.  
Adapted from Epicurious.


  1. Yummy! I like it spicy too. I think I've tried a recipe from Emeril that was like this. So good and addictive.

    1. I've also seen another recipe floating around that uses puff pastry and that must be good too! I first made these for a holiday party, standing in a tall glass, and they were a perfect appetizer to snack on.