White Cheddar Cheese Straws

cheese straws
15 years ago I moved to the land of cheese straws. Actually, it is the land of chicken pot pie, sugar cake, pulled pork barbecue, country ham biscuits, caramel cake, AND cheese straws. Every person I know has either a favorite recipe or a favorite source for each of these wonderful foods.

The arrival of November got me thinking about entertaining so I thought that I would share this tried and true recipe. I like to save the heavy hors-d’oeuvres for cocktail parties and simply serve a couple of light savory bites before a sit-down party. We call that having “just a little something” before dinner. On top of being light, crispy, and spicy, these are also extremely quick and easy to make.  This recipe is adapted from one published in Southern Living in 2007.

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6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper ( I use 1/2 tsp. for spicy straws)
1 tablespoon half and half
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add red pepper flakes and half and half and process until dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
On a well floured surface, roll into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Using a pizza wheel or a big knife, trim the edges a bit to even them up and then cut the dough into straws about 1/4 inch wide.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until ends are just slightly browned.  Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack.
Makes about 2 dozen
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