All-Time Favorite: Classic Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are like deviled eggs--every Southern cook wants to make great ones. Here we've pulled together a couple of our all-time favorites, which can be served as appetizers, picnic snacks, or simple afternoon pick-me-ups. We've updated this classic by incorporating different types of cheese, ground spices, and nuts. These recipes pair well with soups or salads, whether you prefer wafers cut into round or square slices or you choose to put the dough through a cookie press to make the traditional straws. They can also go solo with a glass of Champagne or beer. No matter the shape, that's an idea worth toasting.
Our Best Cheese Straw Tips
- Shred your own cheese; it's stickier and blends better than preshredded cheese.
- Refrigerate unbaked dough between batches to keep wafers from spreading too thin when baked.
- Store baked cheese straws in an airtight container for 1 week. Store unbaked dough in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for 1 month.
- Bake stored cheese straws in the oven at 350° for 3 to 4 minutes to make them crispy again.
Cheese Straws 101
Follow these simple instructions to prepare Cheddar Cheese Straws. You can find cookie presses online or in retail stores where quality kitchen equipment is sold.
- Load the dough into the canister of a cookie press until it's about three-fourths full, being careful not to overfill. (Don't chill the dough--it may be too stiff to go through the press.) Attach the desired disk (star, bar, etc.)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Hold the press at a 45° angle to the baking sheet. Starting at one end of the baking sheet, turn the handle clockwise to push out dough, slowly pulling the press back toward you and continuing to turn the handle. Make rows until the baking sheet is full. (Tip: Parchment paper is available at large supermarkets on the same aisle as plastic wrap and aluminum foil.)
- With a knife, cut dough crosswise at 2-inch intervals to make individual cheese straws. (You don't need to separate them.) Trim ragged edges, if desired.
"Taste of the South: Cheese Straws" is from the March 2006 issue of Southern Living.