Our food editor is going rogue at this year’s cookie exchange.  

I love Christmas cookies and am certainly not giving them the year off at my house. But when it’s time to make homemade gifts for family and friends, I’m going savory instead of sweet. Here’s why cheese straws will be my holiday gift of choice:

Savory treats are extra appreciated

During the holidays, it often feels like you’re being bombarded by sugar from every direction. And while we all love gingerbread cookies, and bourbon balls, and peppermint bark, and chocolate truffles, and those little thumbprint cookies, and hot chocolate with marshmallows (see where I'm going with this?), eventually it all becomes too much and you will want a palate cleanser. Preferably in the form of a buttery, salty, cheesy cracker. With a glass of wine. It is the holidays, after all.

They’re as easy to make as cookies

If you can make sugar cookies, you can make homemade cheese straws. The dough, which is made from basic pantry staples, comes together quickly in a stand mixer. Once the dough is made, all you have to do it pipe it onto baking sheets and bake until lightly browned. And unlike cookies, you don’t even have to decorate them. (A bonus for those of us who are all thumbs when it comes to royal icing—also known as me.)

They travel well

Whether you’re toting them to an office party, dropping them off on neighbors’ porches, or shipping them across the country to faraway loved ones, cheese straws are sturdy and not prone to crumble. For a little extra “insurance” (especially when shipping), line the containers with a few layers of paper towels and pack them tightly.

You can make them ahead

When cool, baked cheese straws will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to one week. Although that is a very tempting situation to put yourself in if you are reserving them for gift-giving.