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.
Adapted from Epicurious.