I could never talk about childhood memories without mention of these delicious cheese straws. My mom used to make them for us on Christmas Eve when we were wrapping last minute presents or watching a movie with the rest of the family. She would make them into strips or "straws" at random times throughout the year, but during Christmas time, she used cookie cutters to make fun holiday shapes instead. I always remembered my brother and I fighting over who got the snowman since it was the biggest one. Silly kids.
Mom made her cheese straws in two different ways. Sometimes she would make them where the dough was soft enough to pipe from a pastry bag, other times, like for Christmas, she made the dough similar to that of a cookie dough, where it was pliable enough to cut into shapes. Both ways were equally delicious, but the ones she made during the holidays were my favorite. I always loved eating them right out of the oven; the melt-y, gooey cheesiness sent me right to heaven! They were so flavorful too with a hint of mustard and just the right amount of spice from our homemade pepper sauce.
What I love about cheese straws is that you can use any type of cheese you want. Cheddar is the most popular, but other types like pepper jack or monterey work wonderfully too since they tend to melt beautifully when baking. Feel free to combine different types of cheeses for an added layer of flavor.
This year I decided this was going to be my savory Christmas cookie. Instead of sugar cookies, I am giving these out along with slices of sponge cake. I think they are wonderful to bring into work too, it will be a nice change amongst all the sweets that will be going around the office.
Flaky, buttery, cheesy. That is all.
The headless gingerbread man.
So lets get started on this recipe. You'll need 1lb of grated/shredded cheddar cheese. Make sure it is room temperature. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, add 2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ heaping tsp cayenne pepper, and a few dashes of dry parsley flakes. Mix to combine.
Add 8oz softened butter. Heat in microwave for 20 seconds until soft, but not melted. Rub in with a fork until small pea sizes form. Set aside.
Beat two large eggs, add desired amount of hot pepper sauce, I added 1 tsp. Add 2 tsp mustard. Whisk to combine.
Add cheese to flour mixture, mix in thoroughly. Add egg and knead until dough ball is formed.
Divide dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.
To cut into strips follow this diagram. Ball up the ends until all dough has been used up.
Place on parchment paper (not wax paper) or a non-stick silpat mat and get ready to bake.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Over-baking will cause cheese to burn-bottom of cheese straw should be golden brown.
And now for the fun part!
Grab your favorite Christmas cookie cutters...
...and cut away.
My dear brother, if you're reading this, I just wanted to tell you that this year, he is mine 🙂
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. If you bake it any longer the cheese will burn.
Eat them right out of the oven or package them up to give away!
- 1lb grated/shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces softened butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- few dashes dry parsley flakes
- 2 large eggs beaten, room temperature
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- Grate cheese, set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, cayenne pepper and dry parsley flakes. Add butter and rub into flour with a fork until small pea size crumbs form.
- Add grated cheese to flour mixture, combine thoroughly.
- Add mustard and hot pepper sauce to beaten egg, add to cheese/flour mixture. Mix/knead to form a soft and pliable dough ball.
- Divide dough ball in two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.
- Roll dough ball out to ¼ inch thickness, cut into strips or use desired cookie cutters.
- Bake on parchment paper at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Serve hot, or after cooling, wrap in wax paper to preserve freshness.
If you'd like to pipe this mixture:
- Soften butter in microwave, do not melt. Set aside.
- Heat cheese in microwave, do not melt. Set aside.
- Place dry ingredients in food processor, pulse a few time. Add butter and cheese, pulse until mixed in well. Batter will be thick. Add eggs until batter is smooth. If it is still a little stiff to pipe, add a little milk until texture is soft enough to pipe.
All ingredients can be pulsed in a food processor until a dough ball forms. Keeping the butter cold will create flakes in the cheese straw. Only bring cheese and butter to room temperature if making cheese straw to pipe in a pastry bag.
Extra sharp cheddar is recommended for best flavor.