Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recession Proof Cheese Straws!

If you’re like me, you have noticed just how incredibly expensive cheese straws are! I know some come packaged in pretty little tins, which I know only adds to the cost. However, if you’re hosting a wine and cheese party or a small luncheon, why pay for a pretty tin, which will probably end up in your summer yard sale or the trash. This of course brings me to today’s post—cheese straws.

Another reason why I have been thinking about cheese straws here lately is because, several weeks ago, Cruella and I were out antiquing at Historic Roswell Antique Mall and bumped into Daryl (sales associate) who was whipping up a batch. After complementing Daryl on how great his cheese straws smelled, he of course offered us a few. I asked Daryl for his secret recipe and he pointed me to several Junior League cookbooks and said good luck! I could clearly see Daryl was not going to part with his recipe, and I didn’t really have that much time on my hands to go through every Junior League cookbook looking for every cheese straw recipe that had been printed since the 50’s.

However, recently while reading through Julia Reed’s Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gown, and Other Southern Specialties, I stumbled upon her recipe for cheese straws and Daryl had better watch out! And after all, a little flour, a little butter, a little cheese is not too terribly expensive, and you can freeze the rest for your next soirée. Although, Daryl did reveal that a cookie press does the trick, but then again, so did Julia!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
6 ounces extra-sharp, grated cheddar cheese
2 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter with the cheese and the seasonings in a large bowl. Add the flour and knead into smooth dough. Pack the dough in batches into a cookie press and press through the flat, ridged-line opening onto an ungreased cookie sheet to form “straws” 21/2 to 3 inches in length. Bake the straws until golden (do not let them brown) and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan with a metal spatula and let cool. Serve or store in an airtight container. Enjoy!


GrannySmithGreen said...

I'm so excited! The Julia Reed book is EXACTLY what our book club is doing this month! We are all going to cook something from the recipes. Guess what I think I'll make! Yummy!

Lisa D. said...

Hi Granny:

I bought Julia's book Monday Jan 5th, when everyone was buying diet books! I love Julia's writing style & how interesting that your reading it this month. I think everyone is going to have a lot of fun with it! I would love to hear how everything turns out!

Mary Kay Andrews said...

I love Julia Reed's books. Have you read The House on First Street? About her restoration of an old house in New Orleans' Garden District--right before Katrina hit? I highly recommend it. And about those cheese straws--I use the Savannah Junior League recipe--and instead of messin' around with a cookie press, I roll the dough into logs, chill and cut off "pennies" to bake.

Lisa D. said...

Hi Mary Kay

Funny thing - I was just reading about your book signing this weekend at Lakewood. Congratulations on your new book " Deep Dish" ! Yes, I did read Julia's House On First Street, sometime last year when it first came out & loved it! Being married to a New Orleanean, I even wrote a little about it in my blog. Thanks so much for your lovely comment & cheese tips - I can't wait to try!

Best Regards


P.S Also, Loved Savannah Blues & Little Bitty Lies. Looking forward to Deep Dish!

kantorhouse said...

The cheese straw recipe that you recomend is delicious! The flavors are so distint and the texture is perfect.

I completely enjoy your blog, Lisa.

Lisa D. said...

ha,ha! Thanks John.