Why I'll Be Gifting Cheese Straws Tins This Christmas

This Southern party staple is an excellent alternative to the usual Christmas cookies tin.

I love Christmas cookies and am certainly not celebrating Christmas without baking a few dozen. Still, when making homemade gifts for family and friends, you should make this savory treat instead. Everyone has their "baking spirits bright" during the holidays, but baking something other than cookies can be a nice change of pace. Plus, some people will always prefer savory to sweet, so this recipe is a great place to start. Here's why cheese straws should be your holiday gift of choice this year.

Savory Treats are Extra Appreciated

You're often bombarded with sugar from every direction during the holidays. While we all love gingerbread cookies, bourbon balls, peppermint bark, chocolate truffles, 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, made from basic pantry staples, comes together quickly in a stand mixer. Once you've made the dough, you 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).

Mamau’s Cheese Straws
Mamau’s Cheese Straws. Southern Living

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 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. (However, they might be too tempting to eat if you plan to give them as gifts.)

Mamau’s Cheese Straws
Robbie Caponetto; Prop Styling: Mary Beth Wetzel; Food Styling: Pam Lolley

Personalize Your Cheese Straws

In addition to a traditional cheese straw recipe, you can customize it to fit your and your family's preferences.

Spicy Cheese Straw Recipe

Crushed red pepper adds a kick to the Spicy Cheese Straw recipe. Combine the dried crushed red pepper with block sharp Cheddar cheese, flour, butter, kosher salt, and half-and-half for this tasty snack.

Mamau's Cheese Straw Recipe

Add cayenne pepper, softened I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, and Kraft Old English Sharp Cheddar Cheese Spread to a traditional flour and salt mixture to make Mamau's Cheese Straw recipe.

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