Yena and I made this the day before our homeschooling group’s Valentine’s Day party. We had wheat and cheese and butter in the house that we were trying to get rid of, so this was perfect. The recipe is quite flexible, so if you find you don’t have the exact amount of butter or cheese or flour, don’t worry. As long as the dough holds together, it should be fine. Of course, the more cheese you have, the cheesier the straws will be. Careful when baking these, you have to watch them as they burn easily. I burned the first batch, and they were the lovely twisted ones too, so we lost steam and decided to just go for straights with the next batches. You also have to make sure, if you’re saving them for a party like we were, to keep them hidden until it’s time for the reveal. They are buttery, cheesy, and highly addictive!
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
8 ounces grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons (or thereabouts) cream, half-and-half, or milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In bowl of food processor (or use whisk and a bowl), combine flour, combine flour, salt, mustard, and cayenne. Add in butter bits and pulse just until you get the consistency of cornmeal, about 20 times. Add cheese and pulse 20 more. Add 1 tablespoon cream and test dough to see if it holds together (just about), adding the additional tablespoon or more if necessary.
Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a rough square. It will be a bit crumbly, don’t worry. This is very much like working with pie crust, except cheesier :). Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and roll to ~1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 1/2 inch-thick sticks. Transfer to ungreased (but lined, if you like) baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes (until just beginning to turn color — BE CAREFUL AND WATCH!!). Let cool before transferring into airtight container.
TIP: These are really delicious with a salad or some tomato soup!