I have my friend Melissa to thank for introducing me to this recipe. She made them for the Book Club a couple months ago and we demolished them within minutes. Then, when we all went to the Hamptons a week later she brought them again and once again we couldn’t have enough! We girls ate them as is, but I had mine with a bowl of soup and they were perfect. They also could easily be cut into crackers or other shapes for a nice snack on the go.
I decided to make these with whole wheat pastry flour which I am trying to use more lately. I have to say it didn’t change the consistency at all and the texture was still light and crispy. I actually didn’t feel that bad eating these, (in moderation, they do have lotsa butter and cheese.) Wouldn’t they be perfect with a bowl of tomato soup? These are very simple to make and took me no more than 30/40 minutes start to finish!
- 1½ cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
- ¾ cup flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more/less depending on how spicy you like them.)
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half (I used cream, because I had it on hand; suspect milk would work just as well)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
- On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is ⅛-inch thick.
- With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each ¼- to ⅓-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut).
- Gently transfer the strips to a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving at least ¼-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.
- Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
- Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days. (I highly doubt they'll last that long.)
Adapted from: The Smitten Kitchen