I love cheese straws! They make me think of Christmas party food. I found a wonderful recipe tonight in The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.by Matt Lee and Ted Lee. That wrote "we began developing the cheese straw of our dreams, and in the process found that cheese straws are among the easiest baked goods in the world. If it weren't for the blade on the food processor, a toddler could do it. You don't even need to grease the cookie sheet."
That did it for me! Certain words in the above description guaranteed my success. (The cheese straw of my dreams that was so easy a toddler could do it.) So I whipped up a recipe and started to cut the cheese straws, but something was wrong. In my haste, I didn't measure correctly and I could not cut the straws. So I dropped them on the pan, baked them and the cheese cookies were ok.
The words "so easy a toddler could do it" stayed in my head. How could I have messed this up? I started another batch. This time I measured everything exactly. The recipe turned out wonderful and I was able to cut long elegant cheese straws that truly tasted like dream cheese straws. Here is the recipe.
1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt, and red pepper and process in five 5 sec. pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 sec.
3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into long, thin strips, 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/4 inch between them. The dough will sag and 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.
4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 15 min, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container for 2 days.