Are cheese straws appetizers or dessert? We think they are a savory accompaniment to either end of the meal. Cheese straws are also a nice touch with afternoon tea. It’s hard to go wrong with this traditional favorite that is found at the beginning of many Southern cookbooks.
1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 stick butter, softened
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cheese, butter, flour, salt and cayenne into a dough. If the dough doesn’t bind, add a sprinkle of water. Lift onto a floured cutting board and, using hands, shape into large pressed ball. Begin to flatten using the heels of your hands. Using a floured rolling pin, roll into thin layer about 1/3 inch thick. Cut into long, thin strips. (Alternative: squeeze the dough through a cookie press to make long, thin strips.) Then cut the strips to desired length; six inches is about right. Place the strips on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes to desired crispness. Let them cool on the baking sheet, then use a spatula to move them to a serving plate. Optional garnish: a sprinkle of paprika or salt over the lot. An optional final touch is a drop of hot sauce on a cheese straw when eating it.
SouthernAirs developed some of these recipes, aiming as always for authenticity. Others are on loan from cited friends and relatives, or from authoritative sources with permission.